King hosts 1,000 Hajis from families of Palestinian martyrs

Palestinian Muslim pilgrims wait at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday ahead of their departure to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2016

King hosts 1,000 Hajis from families of Palestinian martyrs

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued a directive to host 1,000 Palestinian members of the families of martyrs to perform Haj this year.
Sheikh Saleh Al-Asheikh, chief of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Haj and Umrah, expressed appreciation for the efforts King Salman exerts to extend bridges of friendship and strengthen brotherly relations between Saudis and Palestinians, and to help the latter perform the annual pilgrimage.
He prayed to Almighty God to bless the efforts of the guardians of the Kingdom for providing great services to Muslims in general, and the Palestinian people in particular.
Al-Asheikh confirmed that this generous gesture is an expression of Islamic brotherhood by leaders of this country toward Palestine and the Palestinian people.
He said the gesture toward the families of Palestinian martyrs would greatly contribute to easing their suffering. “It is yet another gesture that demonstrates the Kingdom’s support for the Palestinian people and their just cause,” he said.
Al-Asheikh confirmed that the Palestinian people deserve all respect for their great sacrifices to maintain Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs has deployed 700 preachers and translators to work during the current Haj season. They will abide by the approach of call and guidance and provide services to pilgrims so that they can perform Haj with ease.
According to Talal Al-Aqeel, an adviser at the ministry, most of the preachers during Haj are professors at various universities and have different specializations.
They have modern ideas, are moderate and do not harbor any extremist thought, he said.
He said that the preachers and translators would address around two million pilgrims in more than 30 languages to make them understand the issues they might face regarding Shariah.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.