Big Blue Ribbon Dining

Big Blue Ribbon Dining

This post is in collaboration with Malone’s/Bluegrass Hospitality Group.  All of the opinions are entirely my own.

It’s a classic, and it’s in Kentucky!

Lexington, Kentucky, is fortunate to have several high-profile industries that conduct business in our city.  The horse industry, several large corporations, and various sporting events bring a variety of people to town on a regular basis. It’s an eclectic mix of people and countries and gives Lexington a metropolitan vibe.  We are very lucky to have an award-winning restaurant that reflects our southern heritage and culture and helps to promote Kentucky through its food.

Malone’s is the flagship restaurant of the Bluegrass Hospitality Group (BHG).  It was started in 1998 by owners Brian McCarty and Bruce Drake.  BHG offers several different restaurant concepts within the brand.  From steakhouses to sushi to casual dining and banquets, BHG has a wide variety of dining that suits every occasion and taste.  BHG has always been a great partner in helping Lexington to promote the dining scene, as well as Lexington and the Bluegrass region in general.

IMG_3492

Malone’s is a traditional steakhouse with a local twist.  The menu has many of the items that you expect to find at a premier steakhouse.  There are steaks, chops, and seafood as well as signature dishes with local celebrity endorsements.  Dishes like “Coach Cal’s” Chicken, Stoops’ Steak or the Randall Cobb steak, illustrate and celebrate Lexington’s love for sports.

We recently went to Malone’s for Saturday night supper.  We enjoy dressing up for dinner occasionally, although at Malone’s it’s not a requirement.  As in most restaurants these days you will find a wide variety of dress and people on any given night. But regardless of how you come through the door, you will be greeted warmly and made to feel welcome and appreciated. Genuine hospitality is a cornerstone of the Malone’s experience. It’s a ‘Southern Thing’!

Malone’s serves a hearty helping of classic steakhouse atmosphere.  It has a lot of dark wood, glass, and low lighting. It is also contemporary, but with many regional touches.  Signed menus from both national and local celebrities cover the walls.  You will definitely see lots of people you recognize…..whether it be in the booth next to you enjoying their dinner or their signatures on the walls.

IMG_3494

After we were seated in a cozy booth we ordered a cocktail.  Malone’s has a great wine list, including wines by the glass.  The list offers many different varieties and price points. You can be assured that you will find something that you like.  In fact, Malone’s is one of the few restaurants in Lexington to receive the Wine Spectator award, which is a special achievement.

IMG_3474.jpg

My friend is a bourbon drinker and Malone’s prides itself on their bourbon selection.  The restaurant even selects individual barrels of bourbon from the distiller’s rickhouse and bottle and sells their own blends.  That’s a unique and interesting way to differentiate yourself from other restaurants.  While I ordered a glass of Malbec, my companion ordered a Manhattan.  The drink was served with a side car on ice.  That’s a great touch for Manhattan and martini drinkers.  The martini glass is just the right size, around 4 ounces.  Not so big that the cocktail gets warm before the rest of the drink is finished, and the sidecar allows for the drink to be refreshed.  Too few restaurants offer this courtesy, and it illustrates Malone’s thoughtful commitment to hospitality and customer service.

IMG_3469.jpg

Prior to ordering dinner our waiter brought us a loaf of fresh bread, right out of the oven!  I’ve always loved Malone’s bread.  They even give you a loaf of fresh bread if you order carry out.  From the day they opened, Malone’s has always made excellent bread available as part of the meal.

IMG_3464.jpg

While the atmosphere leans to the casual, certainly never pretentious, there is nothing casual about Malone’s service. Our server was very knowledgeable and helpful.  The warm welcome from the hostess extends to the well-trained wait staff. The server’s assistant was very quick to keep my water-glass filled.  That is very important to me, because I drink a lot of water!

My favorite appetizer has always been a shrimp cocktail.  Steakhouse quality shrimp is something that you can’t buy at the neighborhood grocery or at Costco.  Restaurant shrimp is usually flown in daily or several times a week and is super fresh.  Malone’s shrimp cocktail is no exception.  The shrimp were large and firm without any hint of ‘watery’ texture.  You mix the cocktail sauce with the horseradish yourself.  This way you get just the right amount of heat.  The presentation is awesome.  The blue light under the ice gives the dish the cool vibe it deserves.

IMG_3479.jpg

 

Next the server brought our salads.  Malone’s is well-known for its bottomless Lexingtonian Salad. It’s fresh and fabulous. There are a lot of fine dining restaurants that don’t include a salad with your meal.  I really like the fact that Malone’s includes a salad with most, if not all meals.  The salad is served with bacon, tomatoes and house made dressing.  It’s a nice touch, well prepared, and really delicious. An alternative to a salad is Malone’s celebrated steak and potato soup…..it is robust and hearty and never disappoints.

For my main course I ordered the filet medallions.  They are twin medallions around 3 ounces each…..a perfect size for me.  I ordered them medium with a blue cheese crust and they arrived perfectly cooked.  To be honest, it’s difficult to grill a 3-ounce steak to perfection.  It’s really easy to over cook them, but to the chef’s credit, they were perfect!

IMG_3481.jpg

Not every steakhouse or fine dining restaurant serves USDA Prime beef. In fact, according to Malone’s website, “less than 2% of the beef processed in the world is rated as “prime.” Malone’s offers a variety of cuts of USDA Prime steak to eat at the restaurant, but also to take home.   Whether it’s a bone-in filet, a New York strip or filet medallions, they offer a wide variety of cuts to choose from.

On this night my friend ordered the pork chops.  They arrived perfectly charred on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside, with a fruit salsa of peaches, red and green peppers, and toasted pecans in a maple bourbon glaze. It was a perfect summertime meal cooked to perfection!

IMG_3480.jpg

Malone’s has always been a great place to celebrate special occasions.  The evening we were there the table next to us was celebrating a birthday.  The cake arrived and everybody sang to the birthday girl.  It was fun.  The slice of cake was huge.  It looked really good, certainly big enough for everybody at the table to have a bite or two!

IMG_3484.jpg

I’m a dessert person!  That’s my favorite part of the meal.  I really couldn’t decide between the cheesecake, or the special of the night, key lime pie, or the apple pecan crisp.  The manager happened to be passing by so I asked for his recommendation.  He said to definitely order the pecan apple crisp.  It was his favorite dessert.

My friend doesn’t really like apples so I ordered the apple crisp and he ordered the key lime pie.  Both desserts were really good, but I couldn’t get my friend to quit eating the apple crisp.  As I said earlier, he doesn’t even like apples!  The apple crisp was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the desert was topped with caramel sauce.  The crust was buttery, nicely ‘short’ and crisp, and the apples were cooked with cinnamon and more butter.  It was delicious!

 

The manager stopped by the table to see how we liked the apple crisp and I asked him about the story of the desert.  He told us that one of the chefs at Malone’s had perfected the desert and had entered it in the Kentucky State Fair.  It was no surprise that the apple crisp was declared The Best Dessert and was the blue ribbon winner several years in a row!

We are long-time fans of Malone’s and our Saturday night supper was another delightful big blue dining experience. In honor of the Kentucky State Fair opening this week, may I recommend that you visit Malone’s and have a piece of the award-winning pecan apple crisp. Enjoy a fine dining experience with a unique Kentucky twist! xoxo

###

In addition to Lexington, BHG venues can be enjoyed in Louisville and Florence, Kentucky; Franklin, Knoxville, and Bristol, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

If you don’t have Dubai on your travel list yet, you should add it today!  Dubai has so much to offer to tourists including unique and breathtaking architecture, fine dining, cool attractions, various types of shopping, lovely beaches, outdoor activities….. and the list goes on and on!

New York and Dubai 2014 049

One of the attractions that you should visit in Dubai is the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa stands tall over the city.  At night it sparkles like a huge diamond and at 160 stories tall you can see it throughout the city.  As you travel in the elevator up 14 stories, your ears pop and you feel a bit light-headed.   Did I mention that the elevators go 600 meters per minute?  According to our guide,  the elevators are thought to be the fastest in the world.  It took us just a little over a minute to reach the 124th floor…..that’s fast!  It feels like you’re in the movie, Star Trek. The views from the top are breathtaking.

As you scan the horizon from 2,722 ft. above ground, you can appreciate the vision of Sheikh Mohammad.  It’s a big-picture achievement and truly larger than life.  The Burj project was designed to move the city from its emphasis on oil to that of tourism.  Glass, steel, aluminum and concrete are everywhere to see.  It looks just like a movie set, but it’s not…..it’s an ultra sleek and modern city. According to Wikipedia, the building’s cost was $1.5 billion to build in US dollars.  Construction in 2004 and was finished in 2009.

New York and Dubai 2014 054.jpg

There is a connection between the Burj Khalifa and the US.  The architect that designed the Burj, happens to be from Chicago.   His name is Adrian Smith and he studied at the University of Illinois and also Texas A & M University.  He’s designed many buildings in the US, including the Trump Tower in Chicago.  Obviously, he’s a specialist in designing tall buildings.

We had a great time at the Burj and we couldn’t resist being super touristy.  They have a giant green screen that you pose in front of for fun commemorative photos.  Some people were confused and thought that I was really walking on the beam over the top of the building when they saw it on Facebook.  Now that’s a great optical illusion!

Burj

The Burj Khalifa is part of a mixed-use development in the middle of downtown Dubai.  According to Wikipedia, “the development includes 30,000 homes, nine hotels (including The Address Downtown Dubai), 7.4 acres of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 30-acre artificial Burj Khalifa Lake.  Dubai borrowed at least $80 billion for construction projects.”

New York and Dubai 2014 058

As I mentioned, the development includes the Dubai Mall.  Even if you aren’t a mall shopper, the malls in Dubai offer so much more than just shopping.  You really have to see it to believe it!  We discussed the souks of Dubai in a previous post, which are a totally different shopping experience.  But no trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the shopping malls.  Even if you’re not a shopper, you can find something to interest you at the mall.

At 3.77 million sq. ft.,  the Dubai Mall is the 2nd largest in the world.  There are over 1,200 stores!  The mall attracts over 54 million visitors a year.  According to Wikipedia, “the Dubai Mall was the most visited building on the planet in 2011.”  The Dubai Mall is definitely a tourist destination and you should plan on visiting it when you are in Dubai.

One of the first things you notice when you walk into the mall is the giant Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.  The tank is 10-million litre (2641720.52 US liquid gallons) and is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world.  The aquarium has more that 300 species of marine animals, which also includes a variety of sharks and stingrays.  My photos don’t do it justice!  You could watch all the fish swim for hours.  It was so cool.

The aquarium includes a walk-thru tunnel where you can get a first-hand view of the tank, as well as glass-bottom boat rides.  If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can snorkel in the tank or do a shark dive.  Talk about an up close adventure!

The next section of  the mall is called Fashion Avenue.  This branch of the mall is home to brands such as Bulgari, Valentino, Brioni, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier….. and the list goes on and on.  There’s an entire wing devoted to high-end shopping.  Even if you aren’t into couture fashion, the window shopping is great fun.

New York and Dubai 2014 470

As you keep walking, you see more and more things to do, that don’t include shopping!

The mall has a giant ice skating rink.  It’s as large as an Olympic-sized rink!  It is massive, and starts on the ground floor and extends to the second level of the mall.

New York and Dubai 2014 471.jpg

Art is very prominent throughout Dubai.  There are public art installations in most areas of  the city.  I believe public art really makes a city stand out and makes it much more interesting.  The mall has a “human” waterfall with beautiful sculptures.  You can see how large it is from my photograph.  The wall goes from the top to the bottom of the mall and can be viewed from each floor.  It’s quite unique and amazing!

New York and Dubai 2014 472.JPG

Gelato stores and candy stores were peppered all around the mall.  You couldn’t walk very far without seeing one.  The largest candy store in the world is located in the Dubai Mall.   Candylicious is over 10,000 sq. ft.  That’s a lot of candy!  The people of Dubai definitely have a sweet tooth.  The store windows have the boxes of candy nicely wrapped like beautiful little presents. Presentation is everything in Dubai.  From the buildings to the candy, Dubai is top-notch!

One unusual candy that is actually made in Dubai is camel’s milk chocolate.  According to an article that I read in Reuters.com,  “The company Al Nassma was established in Dubai and plans to produce 100 tons of premium camel’s milk chocolate a year.  They have 3,000 camels on the Dubai farm and the farm is controlled by the Dubai government. Our aim is to be the Godiva of the Middle East, according to the company.”

New York and Dubai 2014 322

The Reuters article goes on to say, ” All chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives with a range of locally popular spices, nuts and honey, according to the company. Camel milk contains five times more vitamin C than cow milk, less fat, less lactose and more insulin, making it a good option for diabetics and the lactose intolerant.”

I tasted the chocolate and I really liked it.  It is not as sweet as the milk chocolate that we are accustomed to here in the US, but it was really good.  The fact that it may be a little healthier than most chocolate you find made it even tastier!

New York and Dubai 2014 050.jpg

When you travel to Dubai, make sure you bring your tennis shoes.  You’ll need them for walking around and experiencing the mall and other beautiful destinations in Dubai.

Thanks for reading BubblyHorse.com. xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Souks of Dubai

Souks of Dubai

New York and Dubai 2014 162

You may be asking, what exactly is a souk? Well, the answer is that a souk is the name for a bazaar, stall or marketplace, primarily found in the middle east. In Dubai you can find souks nearly everywhere. It reminds me of a giant flea market with really interesting items and people.

There are certain parts of Dubai that have souks for textiles, perfumes, spices, or even electronics. According to Wikipedia, ” Evidence for the existence of souqs dates to the 6th century BCE. Initially souqs were located outside city walls, but as cities became more populated, souqs were moved to the city centre and became covered walkways.”

New York and Dubai 2014 146.jpg

 

When you are planning a trip to Dubai you certainly want to visit the various souks that the city has to offer. It’s a form of shopping that isn’t much different than shopping at a small boutique, or a flea market here in the US, except for the haggling and bargaining.

Now, I know what you are thinking. A lot of people don’t like to bargain or haggle over items and prices. Here in the US, that’s viewed as tacky or distasteful. The price of the item is as marked. Sometimes items are on sale, sometimes items are the full price.

In Dubai, haggling is an accepted and encouraged form of doing business. Now, you can’t go to restaurants and haggle over the price of your meal, or try to wheel and deal with your hotel bill, but it is a traditional practice in the souks.

The best time to shop the souks is the first thing in the morning. Our guide told me that  it is thought to be bad luck for the shop if the souk cannot make a deal on the first potential sale of the day. I experienced this one day while shopping, the shopkeeper was desperate to sell me a belt! After you get used to haggling, it’s sort of fun! You get the hang of it.  In fact, while I was haggling for a purse, another shopper asked me if I would help him negotiate for a watch.  I guess he noticed I was an experienced shopper!

In Dubai, there are a variety of souks to choose from. There’s the gold souk (which is unbelievable!), the Khan Murjan souk (it sells mainly arts, crafts and textiles), the spice souk, the Meena Bazaar (sells men’s and women’s clothing), and the perfume souk.

The first souk that I visited was the gold souk. It is unbelievable the amount of gold that you see. Dubai is known for its gold jewelry. You see, most Dubai gold is 18, 21, 22 or 24 carats, not the usual 14 carat like we see here in the US. The government of Dubai tries to be very transparent in the selling of their gold and has many rules and regulations. The difference in the gold is, according to Dubai Online:

• 24k- is pure gold
• 22k- alloy with 22 parts of pure gold and 2 parts of other metals
• 21k- alloy with 21 parts of pure gold and 3 parts of other metals
• 18k- alloy with 18 parts of pure gold and 6 parts of other metals

So, you get the drift, most of Dubai gold is really high quality. The price for gold is set internationally, so you can haggle on the sticker price in the souks, but they don’t have control over the commodity base price. The jewelry pieces that I saw were true works of art. The craftmanship of the pieces of jewelry was amazing. The higher the gold content, the softer the metal so it makes it easier to produce such intricate styles of jewelry.

New York and Dubai 2014 159

A lot of the jewelry is designed in Pakistan, and they are known for their craftmanship. Our guide told us that Indian brides often come to Dubai and purchase their jewelry not only for the bride and groom, but also their wedding party.

There is gold everywhere you can see. There are elaborate pieces of jewelry in the window and on display in the store. You can actually pick up the jewelry and look at it in the store. In the US there would be guards posted everywhere, but not in Dubai. Dubai is a very safe place both to visit and to do business.

The Meena Bazaar was the next stop on our shopping excursion. This souk, as I stated above, is the textile souk. They have men’s and women’s clothing, as well as fabric that’s for purchase. You really have to see the fabrics to believe it. The richness in the fabric in both the color and the workmanship is something to experience. Vibrant colors of pink, yellow, orange, blue and gold are everywhere you look.  The beading on the garments was really elaborate.

New York and Dubai 2014 303

 

In Dubai, there is a tremendous Indian population. The Meena Bazaar is comprised of many Indian goods. From traditional Indian jewelry to textiles and furniture, the Indian influence is in many, if not most of the souks. There are two Hindu temples located in the area that are lovely.

New York and Dubai 2014 304 (2)

 

 

The next stop is the spice souk. All I can say is WOW! There were large barrels of saffron, frankincense, cinnamon, turmeric, chili, curry, cloves, and the list goes on and on! The spice souk sells these spices and herbs in bulk. The colors and the smells of the market were truly amazing. It is definitely something to see. Saffron is so expensive here in the US, and in Dubai, there are barrels and barrels of it everywhere!

Photos by Expedia.com

 

Right around the corner is the perfume souk. There’s not really any signs that direct you to these souks, you just run into the different sections. You could walk around for hours looking at all the different merchandise. Trust me I did!

Frankincense is probably the most popular item in the perfume souk. There’s also a huge variety of incense available. Incense in sticks, powder, crystals, as well as numerous other forms are available. You can purchase perfume oils, lovely atomizers and bottles at the souk.  You can experiment and combine different oils to create your own fragrance. The possibilities are endless!

perfumes-the-souk-deira-dubai-city-dubai-united-arab-emirates-middle-eb6kxc.jpg

The last stop on our souk shopping tour was the Khan Murjan. We stopped in before we went to high tea at the Burj Al Arab hotel. We were a little early so we stopped in the souk to do a last bit of shopping. The Khan Murjan souk has a variety of souks that carry arts and craft items. From lovely woven carpets and rugs, to mosaic furniture and jewelry, there was so much to see! Each section of the souk was inspired by Egyptian, Moroccan, Syrian and Turkish architecture. It’s so beautiful.

We found some lovely pillowcases with that looked very Turkish with sequins and beading. We got some really nice items to bring back to remind us of the trip.

dubai-misc-1030-750x501

Photo by Dubai-online.com

Dubai certainly has many things to do and see when you visit. Visiting the souks is a great way to learn the culture and to meet friendly people. But be sure to practice your haggling before you go! xoxo

 

 

Meydan

Meydan

No trip to Dubai would be complete without a visit to Meydan.  Dubai and Kentucky share a mutual love of horses so it made sense that we visited the horse track.  Being a  travel blogger, this was right up my alley!

meydan 21

Meydan is the vision of His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  Or, as he is referred to in Lexington, Sheikh Mohammed.  Sheikh Mohammed is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.  He is a big-picture thinker.  According to Wikipedia, ” his goal is to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021.”  He has launched many large enterprises including Emirates Airlines, Burj Al Arab (the hotel we discussed for High Tea), Palm Islands and Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  His vision is truly remarkable.

Sheikh Mohammed is also a very active in Lexington.  He owns Gainsboro Farm in Versailles, Kentucky and is an active participant in horse sales, breeding, and racing.  Darley Stud is a global breeding operation owned by the Sheikh.  It stands stallions at stud in six different countries. According to Wikipedia, “Darley currently stands more than 50 stallions around the world.”

According to Darley Stud’s website Sheikh Mohammed is quoted as saying, “Breeding and racing horses is one of my great joys, and a challenge that I relish sharing with my family and friends.  I wish you good luck with the horses in your life, and thank you for considering the Darley stallions.” A true gentleman.

Darley Stud is also very active in charities in Lexington.  The Markey Cancer Foundation has received significant donations from the organization in the past.  His wife, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Hussein is very active in the horse world as well.  You might remember that she was president of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) during the World Equestrian Games that was held at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010. Princess Haya is also an accomplished equestrian who has competed in international show jumping competitions.

Sheikh Mohammed’s horse farm is in the middle of the city.  We visited and toured the farm, prior to going to Meydan.  It was definitely a treat as not very many people get to experience this.  The facilities were beautiful and the horses were well taken care of.  The horsey spa was nicer than a lot of the spas I’ve seen for people!  Not to mention more high-tech!

Following the trip the farm we went to Meydan!  Meydan is a world-class horse racing track (they also have camel racing) and also a luxury hotel that the Sheikh built.  It’s located just 15 minutes from the heart of Dubai and can be reached easily by highway. Dubai has a first-class highway and road system.  There’s quite a bit of traffic, but at least the infrastructure is there. Racing starts in November and ends in March.

maydan 14meydan 9

The last Saturday in March is the Dubai World Cup, which is the richest day in horse racing around the world.  According to the web site, the Dubai World Cup is a $30 million dollar race day.  That’s quite a payday! All the best horses, jockeys and trainers in the world race on that day.    It’s hot during the day so all the races begin at 3:45pm.  More than 50,000 people attend this event, including many international and national celebrities.

My birthday always falls around World Cup day so a group of us get together for breakfast (the time difference) to watch the races. It’s always cool to watch since I’ve been there.  It’s interesting to see jockeys from all over the world that we never see here in Kentucky.  The same for horses and trainers.  I usually don’t have much luck betting the races, but it’s still fun!

During the World Cup they even have a fashion show! Dubai ladies love fashion.  There is a reason why they have the largest malls in the world.  Best Dressed Lady, Best Hat, etc.  I’ve seen many photos on Instagram and they really go all out.  Beautiful fashion and hats.

Photo by Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News

We were able to tour the private room that the royal family watches races from during the meet.  It was a beautiful room with gold, brightly colored enamel and Swarovski crystals adorning the room.  But don’t look for the betting windows, because gambling is against the law in Dubai and the UAE.  This is in keeping with Muslim law.

meydam 13meydan 20meydan 16

Photos of all the past winners are located on a wall within the viewing room. The photos don’t do the wall justice, it’s really beautiful.  You may recognize some of the past winners.

meydan 23

Meydan Hotel is built-in the form of a wave in motion.  The lines and the architecture of the building are amazing.  It’s the first (and probably only) 5-star trackside hotel in the world.

meydan 5meydan 6

When you walk in you are amazed by the sheer size of the lobby of the hotel.  It’s very modern, just like the city.  Lots of glass and gleaming steel.  Everything in Dubai sparkles.

Meydan

The paintings of the UAE rulers are so large, you can see the comparison with the people.  Everything is bigger and better in Dubai!

meydan 2.jpg

The bar area in the hotel is lovely.

galler3Photo courtesy of Meydan

Just think, you could sit by the infinity pool, get a tan and watch the ponies.  That sure gives a new meaning to “winning”! And, according to the website all rooms have balconies that overlook the race track as well.  The hotel website says they are currently updating the infinity pool.  Looks pretty good to me!

171212_meydan_exteriors0822 Photo by Meydan

GrandDeluxeHero1_2017_07_17_Meydan_day22712_1.jpgPhoto by Meydan

Dubai is an absolutely wonderful place to visit.  The people are very welcoming.  In the recent Travel & Leisure’s The World’s Best edition, Emirates Airlines was ranked the #2 best airline (I can attest to the quality!), and the Dubai International Airport is ranked #3rd.   Dubai is a tourist destination, they appreciate visitors, and make them feel very welcome. It should definitely be on your bucket list!  xoxox

 

 

High Tea in Dubai

High Tea in Dubai

When I went to Dubai I really enjoyed the trip.  Some of my friends were a little hesitant to travel there due to concerns over safety and culture.  I am here to assure you that there isn’t a safer place to travel!  The people were lovely and very hospitable.  Dubai is a tourist destination, so they are welcoming and appreciative of guests.

Granted it was hot, but you didn’t really notice it because you are too busy looking in awe at the buildings.  Modern, sleek and high-tech is the best way to describe today’s Dubai.

I’m sure you all have seen the Burj Al Arab hotel on television or in photographs.  It’s the 5-star hotel that looks like a sailboat and it is magnificent.  I remember Matt Laur and Tiger Woods playing golf on the helipad…..there’s no getting those balls back!   The hotel is so tall I couldn’t even fit all of it in the photo frame.

New York and Dubai 2014 488

Tourists aren’t allowed thru the gates without a reservation in the bar, restaurant or for high tea.  If I were staying at the hotel, then I’m not sure I would want to see tourists traipsing in all day thru the lobby.  It’s a privacy thing.  It’s a very exclusive hotel.

During our trip to Dubai, a group of us decided to go for high tea.  We thought it would be a great way to experience the luxuries of the Burj Al Arab hotel.  High tea was served from 1-3:30pm and the charge was $138.86 US dollars. High tea at the Burj has 7 courses.  It was truly an adventure of a lifetime.

High tea 8.jpg

We arrived at the hotel and had to show our reservation at the gate to be let in.  We were allowed to go thru the gates and proceed to the hotel.  It was like going to Wonkaland.  Very exciting!

When we were seated for the tea we were served a glass of Louis Roederer champagne to begin.  You know how I love champagne!  Off to a great start.

IMG_3500

The next course was a berry tart.  It looked almost like a culinary work of art.  Almost too pretty to eat!

High Tea 5

No high tea would be complete without finger sandwiches.  The course included combinations such as goat cheese with pomegranate seeds, tomato and cucumber on whole wheat, cucumber and cream cheese, and lastly smoked salmon and cream cheese.  Smoked salmon and cream cheese was my favorite.

High tea 2

Chef’s carving came next.  Kobe beef tenderloin so tender it was like butter.  A little dollop of mashed potatoes completed the serving.  But wait, there’s more!

High tea

Next they brought out a tray of scones with Devonshire Clotted Cream.  I had heard of clotted cream but wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but it was really tasty! According to Wikipedia Devonshire Clotted Cream is:

“Clotted cream (sometimes called scalded, clouted, Devonshire or Cornish cream) is a thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow’s milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms “clots” or “clouts”. It forms an essential part of a cream tea.”

The tray was completed with an assortment of French pastries.  I found that people of Dubai love sweet treats.  Definitely my kind of people!

At.Mosphere-Afternoon-Tea Photo courtesy of Burj Al Arab

Did mention that in the ladies restroom they provided toiletries by Hermes?

If you ever get the chance to travel to Dubai, DO IT!  The people are lovely and it is the epitome of luxury.  You have to see it to believe it.  xoxo

 

 

No Bones About It!

No Bones About It!

This post is in collaboration with Bone’s Restaurant.  All of these opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting businesses that are partners with Bubbly Horse!

When you arrive at Bone’s, the building is very unassuming. With a simple awning and a small front drive, you might just pass it by. Trust me, you will be sorry if you do! But, as most fine dining restaurants, be sure you make a reservation.

There is a reason why Bone’s Steakhouse in Atlanta is always listed as one of the best restaurants in Atlanta, or for that matter the US.  The place oozes an old school vibe.  You almost expect to see the Rat Pack sitting in the corner drinking martinis!

 

I was in Atlanta for business recently, so my parents went along with me.  A small family vacation, and it happened to be my mother’s birthday!  There’s not a better birthday dinner than celebrating at Bone’s.  They really make you feel special and important.  Check out how they decorate the table below.  So cute!  I haven’t seen any other restaurant do this.  Very cool.

confetti.jpg

I have been a customer at Bone’s for a long time, so I even have a profile on file. The General Manager just happens to have a connection with Kentucky so I contacted him before we arrived in Atlanta.  He was so nice.  He greeted us warmly at the door and showed us to the table.  Our table was in the Dog Room, that’s where I like to sit.  Portraits of regal dogs adorn the dark paneled walls.  Glass wine cases and low lighting complete the ambiance. Everybody looks better in low light!

 

 

It was time to order dinner.  For my appetizer I ordered the lump crab cocktail.  The cocktail was served with both a cocktail sauce and a remoulade sauce.  You can’t believe how firm and delicious it was.  Fresh off the boat!

IMG_3312.jpg

Soon after the starters were taken away and the crumbs were swept away,  our main course arrived.  Bone’s is a steakhouse, so I ordered steak.  I can grill a good steak, but I can’t get the crust to turn out like professional grills do.  The filet arrived, cooked perfectly and already portioned out for me (dad and I always split a steak).  It was so tender I really didn’t even need a knife.  The outside of the steak was perfectly crusted.

IMG_3314

A birthday dinner wouldn’t be complete without a birthday cake!  And at Bone’s they give you about half of a cake.  Great for sharing, and it’s ice cream!  Delicious!

IMG_3324.jpg

The last part of the birthday celebration is my favorite.  I’m sure you have gotten the connection between the name Bone’s and dogs by now.  When you are leaving the restaurant you are presented with a cute little box to take home.  Guess what it is? A box of cookies, shaped like bones!

Thanks to Bone’s we had a great birthday celebration for Mom.  I would tell you how old she is, but I would have to kill you. Ha!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia on My Mind

Recently my parents and I went to Atlanta for some business.  We love Atlanta.  It’s only a 6-hour drive and it’s a major city.  The people are nice and the dining and shopping are great!  I’ll tell you about some more Atlanta adventures next week.  Stay tuned!

One of my favorite things to do on way back is to stop at a little road side stand and get some peaches.  Nothing is better than Georgia peaches!  I prefer them to South Carolina peaches.  Georgia peaches are sweet and delicious.

I was looking for some creative ways to use my peaches.  I found a great recipe!  You’re going to love this one.  Be sure to pick up some ice cream, angel food cake or pound cake.  Top these items off with these peaches and you have a world class dessert that is easy and delicious!

Fireball Peaches:

  • Fresh Peaches (I used three) sliced
  • Fireball (use to your taste)
  • Sugar and Cinnamon mix (I used 1/2 cup sugar and at least a tablespoon of cinnamon)

 

fireball peaches

Put the peaches in the bowl and pour the Fireball into the fruit.  Do it to taste, but I think I used about 1/2 cup.  Place mix in a ziplock bag and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Please be aware that because the alcohol isn’t cooked out the Fireball will still contain alcohol.  This dessert isn’t appropriate for kids.

fireball peaches 2

Take the peaches out and pour the sugar/cinnamon mixture in the bag.  Shake to coat.  Spoon mixture out and ENJOY! xoxo

Summertime Bites

IMG_3243

 

Sometimes bites that you share on the patio are great, summertime mosquito bites are not so good!  If you are like me, the mosquitoes just can’t wait until I come outside.  I know that you can hire a mosquito team to spray chemicals on your yard and trees.  The spraying works great, but I just don’t want all that poison out in the yard.  My dogs eat a lot of grass and I don’t think that it’s healthy for them.

So, I’ve tried several different things that has really been working for me this summer.  My friend Tracey sells Avon.  Did you ever use Skin So Soft back in the day?  It really works well as a mosquito repellant, without putting pesticide on your body.  They have a body wash, lotion and a skin oil.  It works great, but remember you need the original recipe.  If you need any Avon, let me know and I’ll send you Tracey’s contact information.

The second mosquito remedy is a homemade cocktail that I mix and spray on my yard and trees.  It’s all natural so you don’t have to be afraid for your pets.  Mix it up and try it out.

The recipe for the mix is as follows:

  • 1 big bottle of cheap blue mouthwash (you can get at Costco)
  • 3 cups of Epsom salt
  • 3 stale 12 oz. cheap beer (stale beer has no bubbles, leave the opened beer out for 24 hours)

You can buy the sprayer at Walmart for less than $10.00.  xoxo

IMG_3242

 

Delicious Little Nuggets

Delicious Little Nuggets

I have been patiently waiting for cotton candy grapes to arrive.  I LOVE cotton candy (it is super good in my champagne) so I knew I would like these grapes.  They are only available at certain times of the year, and they do sell out quickly.

Run, don’t walk, to either a Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Kroger, Sam’s Club or a Trader Joe’s to get some of these babies!  These grapes are so good.  They are so sweet, they taste better then a lot of candy I’ve tried.  That’s big, because candy is my JAM!

Cotton candy grapes are distributed by a company called Grapery.  They are actually produced in the USA.

In an article recently in Real Simple magazine they stated,  “distributed by the Grapery since 2011, a California-based company that cultivates table grapes, cotton candy grapes are juicy green spheres that naturally taste like the pink dessert. David Cain, a horticulturalist, developed the grape in an effort to give consumers more varieties of the bite-sized fruit, similar to the way that there are multiple kinds of apples, he told NPR in 2013. Without genetic modification or including artificial flavors, Cain made the grapes taste like cotton candy by hybridizing two different species of the vine-ripened fruit that highlights its naturally sweet taste.”

cotton-candy-wide (2) photo by Grapery

So, I have a great idea for you.  Why not freeze the grapes and use them in your drinks like little ice cubes.  Especially wine and champagne!  Just wash and freeze and you’ve got a delicious, sweet ice cube!  Mine are freezing now.

IMG_3064

Cheers xoxo.

 

Dining Delight

Dining Delight

This post is in collaboration with The Charleston Grill and The Belmond Charleston Place. All of these opinions are entirely my own.  Thank you for supporting businesses that are partners with Bubbly Horse!

Charleston is definitely a foodie destination.  Southern cuisine at it’s best!

Trip Advisor ranked The Charleston Grill in the Top 2 places to eat in Charleston.  I had read all the reviews and decided to make reservations for us (my parents and I) during our recent trip to Charleston.  My aunt and uncle had visited The Charleston Grill over the New Years’ holiday and have raved about it.   I didn’t realize that the restaurant was located in our hotel, The Belmond at Charleston Place.  How convenient!

When you arrive at The Charleston Grill you are greeted by a professional staff and ushered into a lovely dining room.  There’s dark paneling and luxurious fabric as well as soft lighting.  Candlelight and muted lighting makes us all look and feel better!  The lounge had a jazz combo playing softly.  It’s truly a beautiful space.

ocha_1366x650_dining_charleston_grill22

Photos courtesy of The Charleston Grill

The menu had several options that caught my eye.  At home, I don’t get the chance to have super fresh seafood, so I opted for the scallops.  The scallops were sautéed perfectly with a golden crust and had a piece of morcilla (which is a blood sausage from Ecuador) which was accompanied by pea puree.  The dish had a chili-chorizo vinaigrette to top it off.  All I can say was WOW!  I’m not even a huge sausage fan and I could have licked the plate!

IMG_0044[13185] (2)

As a side dish we ordered the roasted baby carrots.  They were so tender and delicious.  Sweet carrots accompanied by feta cheese, fresh mint and pickled Fresno chili peppers.  The feta cheese gave them just enough saltiness.  They were almost too pretty to eat.

IMG_0045[13187] (2)

throughout the evening, from the hostess to the sommelier to the server, the staff was knowledgeable and the service was top-notch.  To be honest, these days it’s hard to find a restaurant with high quality service standards, but The Charleston Grill trains and educates their employees, and it shows.  The wine list was extensive and had a wide variety of wines and price points.

No meal would be complete without dessert!  That evening the dining room had a special dessert.  It was a chocolate tart with a graham cracker crust and a poached pear.  The chocolate was warm and sweet and it was drizzled with a raspberry sauce.  Hello treadmill!  It was delicious and I ate every bite!

IMG_0046[13176] (2)

The evening was so lovely.  I would advise that you visit The Charleston Grill on your next trip to Charleston.  You won’t be disappointed!  Cheers xoxo.

IMG_3084