Where We Are Going Today: Casa Noor

Where We Are Going Today: Casa Noor
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Based in the historic Tarout Island in Qatif in the Eastern Province, Noora Ahmed handpicks ingredients from local farms while sprinkling in what she calls the “Noora” touch. (Instagram/casa.noor)
Where We Are Going Today: Casa Noor
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Based in the historic Tarout Island in Qatif in the Eastern Province, Noora Ahmed handpicks ingredients from local farms while sprinkling in what she calls the “Noora” touch. (Instagram/casa.noor)
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Updated 23 May 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Casa Noor

Where We Are Going Today: Casa Noor

When Noora Ahmed Almubsher decided to start a home-based business, she went all in. In 2021, armed with a degree in business, she used her passion for food to fill in the gaps she found in the market. She wanted to create something innovative that reminded her of home, and thus named her entrepreneurial pursuit “Casa Noor.”

While the word “casa” translates to “home” in Spanish, a place which generates comfort, warmth and deliciousness, her products and “noor” or “light” in Arabic, are very Saudi-centric.

Based in the historic Tarout Island in Qatif in the Eastern Province, she handpicks ingredients from local farms while sprinkling in what she calls the “Noora” touch.

Her purple-hued Saudi-made sauerkraut will perk up any boring dish, offering a perky pickled pick-me-up that is both healthy for your gut and fun for your taste buds. I added it to the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich, the oozing melted sharp cheddar merged well with the sauerkraut bits that offered a fresh, tangy bite to the crunchy toast.

We also tried her pickled loumi lemons in a jar, an essential staple in Qatif. Those lemon-lime bits of citrus goodness have a distinctive taste as it requires very high temperatures and humidity to generate that signature Sharqiya flavor. They are perfect for chicken marinates, to scoop up into rice, or drizzle into tart desserts.

For the Noora Tea blend, which was curated specifically to celebrate Founding Day, Almubsher brought in ingredients from different parts of the Kingdom and combined them into one mix. She joked that it was extra personal since it shares her first name, but it is also a loving tribute to the late Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman, whose name is proudly displayed at the front of the world’s largest woman-only university in Riyadh.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that Saudi Arabia has the capacity to produce world-class products that reflect our rich agricultural heritage,” she told Arab News. “These products are not only healthy and free from preservatives and hydrogenated oils, but they also taste good.”

“We want to convey to the world — and to our own community — that we have the resources and expertise to offer clean, sustainable, and locally-sourced food options that are accessible to everyone. This aligns perfectly with the broader objectives of Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and promote local industries,” she said.

For more details and to order, visit her Instagram @casa.noor.


Have a sunkissed and safe summer

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
Updated 16 July 2024
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Have a sunkissed and safe summer

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging.
  • Experts advise on how you can get that golden glow and save your skin from damage, cancer

RIYADH: As the summertime rolls in, recreational tanning becomes a popular trend among young Saudi men and women who seek a sunkissed glow all year-round. Despite the allure of a bronzed complexion, the dangers associated with recreational tanning cannot be overlooked, especially if one skips applying sunscreen.

Jumana Ghassan, 25, told Arab News that she remains steadfast in her belief that sunscreen will get in the way of a proper bronze tan.

“I never use sunscreen when I tan, which is something I do every weekend, because I believe SPF does not allow me to get a golden and glowy tan.”

Excessive sun exposure can cause collagen and elastin in the skin to break down, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and sagging. (Supplied)

She is convinced that by skipping this vital step in her skincare routine, she will achieve a deeper, more even tan.

Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, with cases increasing in Saudi Arabia because of the high levels of sunlight throughout the year.   

According to research conducted at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in 2020, the two most common types of skin cancer in Saudi Arabia are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, making up 51.4 percent and 22.5 percent of cases respectively.

The proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths. (Supplied)

While sunlight exposure has some benefits, exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from tanning beds or the sun can have detrimental effects on the skin.

Oncology specialist at King’s College Hospital London in Jeddah, Dr. Ali Al-Bayer, told Arab News: “Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to potential mutations and abnormal cell growth.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, with cases increasing in Saudi Arabia because of the high levels of sunlight throughout the year.   

• While sunlight exposure has some benefits, exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from tanning beds or the sun can have detrimental effects on the skin.

This damage is cumulative over time and increases the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, he added.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

Al-Bayer said that it was crucial to try to avoid direct sunlight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dermatologist Dr. Fatima Al-Satouf told Arab News that sunscreen acted as a barrier, shielding the skin from the sun’s rays and preventing damage.

“Overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in wrinkles, age spots and sagging,” she explained.

The proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths. (Supplied)

She added that by applying sunscreen regularly and correctly, people could significantly reduce their risk of skin damage and premature aging caused by sun exposure.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp.

Al-Bayer said that in nearly all cases, skin cancer appeared in areas that were most exposed to the sun.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

“It is important to choose a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) and broad spectrum coverage to ensure maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays,” he said.

Al-Bayer said that the use of sunscreen should be combined with other sun-safe practices, such as seeking shade during peak sun hours and avoiding unnecessary sun exposure.

Consulting with a dermatologist for skin checks and advice on sunscreen use can further enhance a sun protection regimen.

Sunscreen should be applied generously to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, arms, legs, and even the scalp. (Supplied)

“Regularly checking your skin for signs of sun damage, like freckles, moles, or sunspots, can help detect potential issues early on,” Al-Bayer said.

Al-Satouf said that it was recommended to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside to allow time for it to be absorbed into the skin.

“Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating, is crucial to maintain its effectiveness.”

Al-Satouf added that the proper amount of sunscreen for the face is equivalent to two-finger lengths.

In addition to sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, such as hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts, can further shield the skin from sun exposure.

Resorting to tanning beds is dangerous as they emit concentrated UV radiation that can be even more damaging than natural sunlight.

In fact, indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

To achieve a tan while minimizing the risk of sun damage, there are several strategies that individuals can adopt.

Rasha Al-Ghamdi told Arab News: “After a skin cancer scare, I opted to use spray tan to get my desired shade, and my skin has never felt this healthy and supple.”

Self-tanning products and spray tans offer a safer alternative to traditional sunbathing or tanning beds.

These products can help to achieve a sun-kissed glow without the damaging effects of UV radiation.

It is important to choose self-tanning products that contain safe and effective ingredients and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and maintenance.

Young people must prioritize their skin health and take measures to protect themselves from the dangers of recreational tanning.

By promoting sun-safe practices and embracing natural beauty, we can work toward a healthier and more inclusive beauty culture for all.

 


Where We Are Going Today: ‘21N 39E Brunch’ luxurious weekend brunch in Jeddah

(AN photo by Nada Hameed)
(AN photo by Nada Hameed)
Updated 16 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: ‘21N 39E Brunch’ luxurious weekend brunch in Jeddah

(AN photo by Nada Hameed)

If you want a luxurious weekend brunch experience in Jeddah with a breathtaking Red Sea view, look no further than the 21N 39E Brunch at the Waterfront Kitchen, Shangri-La Hotel.

In a setting inspired by life aboard a luxury yacht, the brunch features an exquisite open buffet with flavors from around the world crafted at nine live cooking stations catering to diverse tastes.

From the freshest seafood at the Atlantic Ocean station to the heavenly flatbreads and pizzas at the Mediterranean Sea station, every dish delivers its promise.

The BBQ live cooking station serves up juicy and tender fresh-cut lamb ribs that are so irresistible I went for seconds.

Watching the Indian naan bread being baked upon order is a treat, and the butter chicken pairs perfectly.

The giant royal ouzi tray is a showstopper, with tender lamb and well-spiced rice. The dish includes lamb marinated with a mix of spices and then slow-cooked until the meat is tender. It is served on a bed of rice cooked with a blend of herbs, nuts, and dried fruits, giving it a rich and aromatic flavor.

The roasted ducks at the Chinese station are another highlight, served with a delicious gravy sauce, sliced onions, and bell peppers.

The World of Chocolate Corner offers an extensive artisan dessert selection, with the clementine-flavored chocolate being a standout with its refreshing and tangy filling.

While enjoying the festive array of food on the table, I tried the mixed berries mojito from the special mocktail menu, made of fresh mint leaves, lime, mixed berries, and soda — and it did not disappoint.

The brunch is available every Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Families can also enjoy an interactive art experience tailored for children at the hotel’s kids’ club.

For updates, check their Instagram @thewaterfrontkitchen.

 


Where We Are Going Today: Emmy Squared Pizza

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Photo/Supplied
Updated 13 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Emmy Squared Pizza

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JEDDAH: If you are craving comfort food or looking for a cheat-day indulgence, Emmy Squared Pizza at Jeddah Yacht Club is your go-to destination. Nestled alongside the tranquil waters of the Red Sea, the restaurant offers a serene sea view.

Emmy Squared has brought Detroit-style pizza to New York and now to Jeddah. Their pizzas, traditionally baked in square steel pans, offer a classic dish with a contemporary twist. Their signature square pizzas has a “frico” cheese crust and signature saucy stripes.

You may like to try their EURO Cup specials, including the Euro Cup Tray and cheesecake. The tray, enough for three people, offers crispy chicken crunchers, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, a mini Emily beef burger, a mini Jeddah chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a key lime-baked cheesecake. The order comes with three different sauces: Emmy’s special sauce, fresh tomato sauce, and ranch sauce.

You might also try their festive Burger Tower, which is also under the EURO Cup specials and consists of four different burgers arranged on a steel stick — the Emily Burger, Le Matt Burger, Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, and Jeddah Chicken Sandwich. This order is perfect for the whole family, with tender chicken and super-fresh beef.

They offer three flavors of milkshakes that you can order along with the Euro Cup offer — Brooklyn, Nashville, and Charlotte Shake — in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

You will love their signature mocktails, including the Aperitivo Italiano, a refreshing mix of grapefruit, lemon and peach, and the Passion’tini, which comes with tropical mango, tangy lemon and passionfruit flavors.

Or try the kale salad, which features delicious ingredients such as artichoke, sunflower seeds, dried tomato and green olives. However, you might find the sauce a bit too spicy for a salad.

As you step into the restaurant, you will feel the family’s fun vibe. They offer a magician show on Fridays and face-painting activities for children.

They also offer SR200 vouchers for a challenge between diners who dare to eat their spiciest chicken burger. Plus, you can enjoy watching your Euro Cup game while savoring your meal.

For more information, visit the Instagram @emmy squaredpizza_sa

 


Where We Are Going Today: Qaf Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar

Where We Are Going Today:  Qaf Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar
Updated 11 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Qaf Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar

Where We Are Going Today:  Qaf Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar

Alkhobar’s Qaf Coffee Roasters is one of the first Saudi-owned cafes to launch in the Eastern Province.

The brand opened its first location in the Kingdom in 2016. The branch, in the Olaya district, is located on a quiet corner street just a short drive from the ever-busy Dhahran Mall.

Customers can try the iced cappuccino for SR17 ($4), roasted with Ethiopian beans. They will also enjoy the lemon cake with sugary frosting.

The location is suitable for small groups or solo customers.

Customers often visit Qaf for a caffeine fix on a work break, or to use the cafe as a workspace.

There are plenty of discreet outlets to charge your devices. There are also window-facing spaces with good natural light, as well as seating away from the sun. Real plants line the edges of the cafe, breathing life into the space. Fresh flowers are on every table.

Many visitors have long associated Qaf with elegant seating and good quality beans — with a distinctly Saudi feel. The cafe’s logo is the letter Qaf in Arabic, the same letter that the word “qahwa” starts with, which translates to “coffee.”

Over the years, Qaf has served customers at its original branch, as well as two others in the Alkhobar area. Now, the brand has two more locations in Riyadh with plans to expand.

The breakfast and brunch menu includes avocado toast, pancakes and other favorites, offered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Qaf also serves savory and sweet pastries, and several dessert options, including brownies and beverages.

Drip coffee packets are available for customers to make coffee at home.

To find Qaf’s opening hours and locations, visit Instagram @QafCoffee.


Where We Are Going Today: Density Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar

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Updated 07 July 2024
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Where We Are Going Today: Density Coffee Roasters in Alkhobar

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  • Popular offerings this summer include waffle sticks for SR22 ($5) which provide a fun way to eat waffles without the need for a knife and fork

A short walk from the Villaggio Restaurants Village’s dancing foundation is Alkhobar’s own brand of cafes, Density Coffee Roasters.

The brand’s two outlets are both in Alkhobar — the Villaggio branch opened five years ago and the second location, at Roofz on the corniche, opened about two years ago.

We tried their latte, which gave us the option to choose from regular, coconut, almond or lactose-free milk. It hit the spot.

Popular offerings this summer include waffle sticks for SR22 ($5) which provide a fun way to eat waffles without the need for a knife and fork.

The tiramisu bowl is also quite popular, going for SR30. For savory lovers, the cafes offer flaky cheesy or zataar croissants for about SR11, as well as a brioche sandwich for SR18.

We opted for the acai bowl. We devoured the neatly stacked banana circles sprinkled with chia seeds, scattered bits of pomegranate, lush and vibrant berries including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. They were all atop a glistening layer of peanut butter, granola and acai at the very bottom. One could swap out the peanut butter for yogurt. Each goes for SR36.

There is also fresh orange juice, mint lemonade, passion fruit and chocolate shakes on offer, among other items.

The cafes are open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday, 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, noon until 1 a.m. on Fridays, and 7 a.m. until midnight on Saturdays.

Delivery is via the usual apps, mainly Jahez and Hunger Station.

For more information and to see a full menu, visit them on Instagram @DensityCoffee.