Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Burger superweapon revealed

Last night I happened across a neat little restaurant. As typically happens, I wasn't looking for it. I was looking for a different place, but because addresses don't really mean much here, I couldn't find it. "Behind the BHS building," my buttocks.

Anyway, it all worked out, because this place, Eat 'n' Joy, specializes in something near and dear to my heart, if not my cholesterol count: the burger. There were 20 of them on the menu, ranging from the tandoori burger to the Arabic burger to the Mega-Zwicky.

Of course I ordered the Mega-Zwicky. It is two layers of deep-fried chicken, plus fresh veggies and melted cheese, and some kind of a secret barbecuey sauce. OK, it's probably not a secret, but the language barrier was high enough that I didn't feel like I could explain what I was asking without touching off an international incident.

Also, I ate it so fast that... well, I forgot to take a picture. But! The reason I picked that place out to begin with was the back wall, which is literally an edifice of fruit. Behold:

How to feel less guilty about eating a deep-fried treat.

I needed to stock up on vitamins, so I ordered the "Burj Emirata" based simply on its colors: orange-yellow and pink. It turned out to be mango and strawberry. And cold!

Half mango, half strawberry, all delicious.

It was all freshly squeezed/pureed. And this is actually one of the regional specialties that the guidebooks told me to look for. The Bedouins love their fruit juices. And so do I.

A few blocks away was a park I had been wanting to check out, the Capital Garden. It turned out to be kind of a miniature Central Park surrounded by walls of high-rises. There was a Dh1 entrance fee and not many people there... just a few people relaxing in the shade. I think some of them were actually groundskeepers.

The park was guarded by a giant teapot.

But it was a gorgeous day, and a little urban solitude sounded great. So I found some shade myself, opened up the laptop to read my cousin's rather engrossing manuscript, and listened to birds tweeting over the constant hum of traffic.

Yes, I admit it. I was wearing the forbidden flip-flops. But I was going to the beach next!

Then I headed to the Corniche, caught up in the beauty of the day and the purring onshore breeze. It was cool enough where there were people walking around, and the water was dotted with boats--powered and otherwise--darting around under the sun.

I walked a few miles to the beach, enjoyed an iced coffee and then set out to read until the sun went down. Except there was a hitch. The beach is divided into two parts. I initially thought it was "men side" and "everybody side." But in fact it's a little more nuanced than that. The "everybody side" is open to everyone... except men traveling solo. Ouch. So I was banished to the man beach, which wasn't so bad, I guess, except that there were a few too many banana hammocks wandering around.

One interesting feature of the beach is that there appears to be a permanent slip-n-slide soccer field set up. Some Emirati youth were engaged in a spirited game of falling down and laughing when I showed up.

Football without the footing.

And that was my day. No way I could have gotten through it without a belly full of strawmango goodness.

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