Laduree – Doha

Laduree Macarons

There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of macarons. Even before it became an ‘in’ thing to eat or even before I learned of its significance to the underbelly of pastry whisperers.

In cebu, at Php 40-45 a pop, it’s quite expensive as it already was. Then here in Doha, there was Le Notre (not that interesting), then there was the huge Paul macarons (easy to forget).. then came Laduree.  I think I dragged E down to the luxury brand section of villagio back when the shop first opened. I just had to have Laduree. Since, I heard it was incredible, it came from Paris and it’s the macarons of all macarons. Haha. Yes, I am gullible. But then it was, or perhaps my perception of it was.  I swallowed 10 macarons at QR 10 a piece the very first time I chanced upon it. E was like — “it’s not that special..” and I had to force feed him every half of my macaron just to make him change his mind. But alas he didn’t. I have to agree it is expensive.. But I guess, some experiences are priceless. wink.

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The shop has a wide assortment of macarons and macaron boxes (which you have to pay for as well, depending on sizes, the price varies). It also serves food apart from the pastry displays. They have a sitting area in the middle of the mall. How do they term this —mall al fresco?

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Last week would have been the third time I’ve bought those damn macarons just to help me remember what’s special about it. It is in fact the macarons of macarons, confirmed. Next time though, I want to try other items on the menu. I heard it’s good. How to convince E?

The Butcher Shop and Grill – Doha

short ribs
short ribs

 

Before we discovered Outback Steakhouse, our go-to-meat restaurant has been the butcher shop. Not for the steak but for the short stack ribs.  This is probably our tenth / fifteenth visit or somewhere in between. You get the appetizers, a sizable stack of ribs and pretty excellent service (on a lucky day).

Last week, as E is still on his avoid-poultry-seafood diet, we opt to eat out and splurge (owing to work stress perhaps). Since an unplanned fast was made the previous night, we were both starving by noon time. I ordered the short stack ribs, then the server who was a kabayan (filipino) informed us that there was a promo for their rib eye steak. You can get a 400g rib eye steak for QR 95, instead of a 280g for QR 99. Knowing E, he did not pass up the chance and ordered the 400g rib eye.

rib eye steak
rib eye steak

When the food was served, I was happy with my short stack ribs. And E was obviously disappointed with the rubbery consistency of the bland rib eye steak he ordered. Nonetheless, I halved my order and E somehow was comforted. We had to keep in mind never again to order the rib eye steak at the Butcher Shop. But the stack ribs though – still perfect. 😉

Shakespeare & Co.

I may have to edit the best salad in Doha write up I did yesterday. 🙂 The blue cheese and pear salad at Shakespeare and Co. is pure love. It’s filled with all these wonderful flavors that would leave you wanting for more. For me, it isn’t about the blue cheese or the pear, it’s all about the walnuts and raisins and mixed-in almost bitter almost sweet leaves and the amazing dressing it all comes with.

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We also tried their rib eye. E is trying to avoid all poultry / seafood to rid himself of all the allergy toxins which cause his skin to flare up. Outback Steakhouse still have the best steak in Doha for me, but the sauce at Shakespeare left E amazed. 🙂 Tangy, sweet and spicy.  That sauce plus outback’s rib eye would cause a welcome explosion in a steaklover’s senses.

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The place’s victorian interiors is very interesting. It is a refreshing change from the minimalistic theme most restaurants have these days. But E thinks it’s old-ish.. haha. I had to remind him about Louis VI’s replica room at the MET in new york, it’s chic. haha… I got rolled eyes in response. Oh well. But he told me he enjoyed the food and the sofa and the always-teatime-like ambiance there.

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In and around Doha, Qatar

Last weekend, my housemates wanted to go on a short road trip to Al Khor, I haven’t been there for quite some time so it was a welcome break from work and the monotonous laundry and house chores which would normally occupy my days.  We went to Al Khor and drove around. We ate at Pearl of Beirut (which is now owned by an Indonesian and a Filipino). I loved Pearl of Beirut but E and I stopped going there since the change of ownership –as you can no longer buy fresh from the market and have it cooked inside the resto.  If I may say so, the food quality has gone down a notch lower than before. But Al Khor is always a good place to go to get out of the city. It is quite near (30-45 minutes drive) and hanging out by the shore seems like a good choice on a not so hot friday morning.

Then on Saturday, E & I drove around bank street in Doha before going to the office to work over time.

I’ve taken good phone photos so I am sharing with all of you the weekend that was in and around Doha:

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Best Salads in Doha

In my search for the best salads in town, I have come to share with you all the top 4 places where you can get really good salads and get your green in while eating out.

1. Shakespeare & Co. (Dar Al Salam Mall)

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This is probably the best salad I’ve tasted in Doha – Blue Cheese and Pear Salad. All of the ingredients blend wonderfully in this concoction. Walnuts, raisins, cranberries, lettuce, blue cheese, pear, etc. The dressing combined everything and will give you a smooth taste in the mouth. 🙂

2. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Al Mana Tower, Al Sadd)

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The smoked salmon and avocado salad is a must try and so far had been the best on my list. The tastes all come together and for those who have no fish allergies, this salad could be heaven (at least for me, it was). You can also try their nicoise salad with tuna and egg, I loved the taste of that as well.

3. Spicy Pickle (The Gate Mall, West Bay)

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Their spinach salad (with walnuts and cheeses and lots of spinach) is a refreshing choice. It fills the stomach and you’ll feel good afterwards. E and I loved eating this during our overtime shifts. Our office is quite near the area.

4. MB Co (The Gate Mall, West Bay)

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Presentation wise, the caprese salad E ordered would have been pretty on point. What it lacks in leaves (which E was quite disappointed about), it more than makes up for the presentation. Lol. The cheese is soft and chewy and the tomatoes are quite good.

How to send money from Doha to Philippines and USA

In Doha, exchange houses abound. These exchange houses also serves as remittance centers for anyone who wants to send money to their families back home. Back when I was based in Jakarta, I sent money online through my bank and I was charged USD 20 for every transaction which was too much really but I didn’t know any other cheaper alternative back then. And for every transaction you get charged, you would be re-charged at the home country for another 15-20 USD!

When I started working in Doha, my officemates told me of exchange houses and the hunt for the highest exchange rate with the lowest charge cost began. I started with Al Mana Exchange near the airport road because I lived 5 minutes walk away from there. The service charge for bank to bank transfers is fixed at QR 20. And the exchange rates are definitely lower than what I would have received from other houses.

Now, fast forward… I have stuck with Al Dar Exchange in Al Nasr which gives the best rates for me at QR 15 charge. It would be worth mentioning that what you sent to your home country would be the same amount your family member / loved one will be receiving, no other charges back home. So if I send 20,000 QAR at 12 PHP exchange rate, my sister would receive PHP 240,000 no charge in her bank account which is great!

Yesterday, I had to send money to the USA and the people I am in contact with there needs me to have the money transferred bank to bank. It was then that I only knew Al Dar Exchange is not able to transact bank to bank for some countries, USA included. So I tried Al Sadd Exchange, and fortunately they have the service. You can send money to the USA bank to bank at QR 50 charge. But the bank in the USA would charge USD 40 (pretty huge)… but at least that was one chore off my list during the week.

My officemates tell me these houses also have good rates and service charge combination:

1. Al Fardan
2. Al Mirqab