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Qatar Restaurant Expresses Its Inner Fish-Monger


The Persian Gulf teems with a wealth of seafood, much appreciated on the region's tables. The star fish in these parts is hammour (grouper), but there is also excellent red snapper, douri (grey mullet), zobaidi (pomfret, a small flatfish), rabeeb (the underappreciated Malabar travelly), faskar (a kind of bream), barracuda, coffer fish (a kind of puffer fish), and more, and the scalloped spiny lobster caught off Oman is famous in the region.

Fish Market, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar, takes advantage of this piscatorial bounty with a fishy gimmick that actually works extremely well. There is no menu here; diners approach a long bank of ice into which are set a good variety of fish and shellfish, both local and imported from various places, each priced per 100 grams. The imports might include live lobster (the Atlantic kind) from Canada, tiger prawns from India, turbot and oysters from the coast of Normandy, and more. The really interesting stuff, though, is the Gulf catch.

All the fish, even those that have traveled some distance, look very fresh — clear-eyed and glistening. Depending on the species and the diner's taste, they may be grilled, fried, steamed, or roasted whole. We chose a locally caught barracuda, long and thin and gray — almost eel-like in appearance — to be grilled and some Gulf pomfret, which looked like miniature light-skinned turbot, to be fried. Another display is filled with vegetables: several kinds of mushrooms, three or four varieties of summer squash, broccoli, snow peas, white and green asparagus, bell peppers, chiles, and more. Again, the diner chooses, typically an assortment, which may be wok-fried with oyster sauce or, if the form of the vegetable is suitable, grilled. We had one assortment of mushrooms and one combination of shiitakes, snow peas, and red chiles, both cooked in the wok.

Several salads are available as first courses, but we opted to split an Omani lobster, simply grilled, with lemon butter as an appetizer. It was tender and sweet. Our fish was in both cases perfectly prepared, moist and flavorful, with (thankfully) no extraneous chef's touches, and the vegetables were nicely cooked and seasoned. A complimentary scoop of tart lemon sorbet was the perfect finish. In all, it was a simple meal simply cooked, but a very good one — not an easy thing to find in this wealthy capital — and a dining concept I would be overjoyed to find on my home territory.


Madeira Market & Wine Tour

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You know that ever-so-frequent moment when your mind starts drifting to a tropical island filled with swaying palm trees, soaring cliffs and vine covered mountains? That place where you conjure up an afternoon of gratuitous lounging, filled with copious amounts of wine and food while listening to soft island tunes in the background?

Fortunate for you, the only difference between a daydream and reality is a plane ticket!

Madeira is by far one of the most dramatic places you’ll ever rest your eyes upon. If you’re looking for a straight line…anywhere, forget it. There are two directions: curved and vertical. To survive this incredible half-day tour, you must embrace your inner island Jedi to revel the swirling among canopies of grapevines, juicy technicolored fruits, whitewashed cottages and enough island charm to put Gilligan to shame.

  • Private culinary tour through an iconic open-air market with your local guide
  • Private cultural tour through Funchal’s Cathedral with your local guide
  • High end tasting and tour of one of the oldest wine lodges in Funchal
  • Transportation to lunch with your private driver
  • Optional – Private tour of the Botanical Gardens

My husband and I had a wonderful day on a private tour with Ryan throughout the Douro Valley. He is extremely knowledgeable and helped us learn to appreciate Port. Beyond the wonderful private tasting sessions, he also brought us to a delicious lunch at a local Portuguese restaurant. Throughout the entire day, he provided us with tips and recommendations for the remainder of our journey throughout Portugal. The whole day was the highlight of our trip! We would HIGHLY recommend it!

Sara Scattarella White - Douro Valley Premium Wine Tour

31 Entrepreneurs from 9 Countries Join the Endeavor Network at 58th Selection Panel in Santiago

Santiago, Chile – April 22, 2015 – During the 58th Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP) , 31 high-impact entrepreneurs representing 18 companies and 9 countries were welcomed into the Endeavor network.

Endeavor now supports 1,082 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 684 companies across the 23 markets where it operates. This newest group of entrepreneurs was chosen at a panel held from April 20–22 in Santiago, Chile – also the site of Endeavor’s first-ever selection panel in 1998.

The conclusion of an intensive multi-step selection process that is the foundation of Endeavor’s model, the ISP brought together top business and industry leaders from Latin America and all around the world. These panelists spent a day interviewing entrepreneur candidates to learn more about their businesses and identify those with the most potential for high-impact growth. They then deliberated on whether or not the candidates should become part of the Endeavor network and help lead the entrepreneurship movement in their countries.

“With candidates representing industries ranging from education to transportation to e-commerce, this panel really demonstrated the wealth of entrepreneurial talent all around the world,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “Congratulations go to the Endeavor Chile team and board, particularly Board Chair Salvador Said, for bringing together so many promising entrepreneurs and notable business leaders in Santiago this week.”

After their selection into the network, Endeavor Entrepreneurs are given access to world-class services and programs, including introductions to local and international mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms who will help them address key business needs. Since 1997, Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created hundreds of thousands of jobs and built sustainable and transformative growth models in their home countries. In turn, they become crucial role models for future generations of entrepreneurs.

Endeavor will be hosting four more International Selection Panels in 2015. Locations will be in Amman, Jordan San Francisco Bay Area, CA Marrakech, Morocco and Mexico City, Mexico

Brief descriptions of the newly selected entrepreneurs and their companies follow.

Entrepreneurs: Federico Malek & Alan Kraus
Company: Avenida!

Avenida is a one-stop-shop e-retailer that offers its customers a vast selection of brand-name products at affordable prices, with flexibility in payment and delivery. It has already raised over US$20M in capital from international VCs like Tiger Global and Naspers along with an initial seed funding from Quasar Ventures (founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Santiago Bilinkis). Avenida’s integrated logistics allows it to have a delivery time of 48 hours compared to the typical six days of the local post. Avenida plans to have its own delivery fleet to be the first ecommerce site to offer same day delivery in Argentina—and in doing so, reach 70% of its addressable market within 24 hours.

Entrepreneurs: Linus Spatz, Dan Kaplan & Jorge Villalonga
Company: Inmunova

Nowadays, vaccines combine two types of proteins. One is naturally neutral, while the other comes from the disease. When combined, they generate antibodies, the proteins necessary to fight the target disease. Typically, these neutral proteins are only compatible with certain types of germs – only cancer germs, for example. Inmunova’s patented IMC platform uses a specialized protein that is compatible with any germ, allowing it to serve as the base for numerous vaccines. With two products in the final stages of testing (one to prevent a fatal bovine disease and another to prevent HUS, the leading casue of pediatric kidney failure), Inmunova stands to become a big shot in the the Argentine biotech scene.

Entrepreneur: Ernesto Cambursano
Company: DataFactory

For any media company covering a sports event, displaying the right stats immediately and sleekly is always the goal. But with dozens of games across numerous leagues across every night, collecting, sorting, and presenting sports events cost valuable time and money. DataFactory’s (DF) platform aggregates data from over 30,000 live events each year and displays it in esthetic, customizable visualizations. Already counting ESPN, Yahoo! and Fox Sports as clients, DataFactory plans on developing more product offerings in its unique market.

Entrepreneurs: Cristiano Melles, Luiz Marsaioli & Rafael Valdivia
Company: Sociedade Grand Vivant

Sociedade Grand Vivant is a holding company that is comprised of Pobre Juan restaurants, the traditional Argentine steakhouse chain, and a secondary B2B beef distribution business. Pobre Juan serves high quality Argentine steaks with cutting-edge global recipes, inside restaurants where contemporary Latin American design and top-notch customer service combine to produce an exclusive yet welcoming dining experience. Pobre Juan’s 11 restaurants also maintain a consistent ”hometown” ambiance through live local jazz music, while boasting an expansive wine collection curated by the winner of Brazil’s national sommelier competition. Prime Cater is Pobre Juan’s beef distributor that portions and cuts the beef not only for all of Pobre Juan’s restaurants but also for three direct competitors and 20 other independent restaurants groups. The vertical integration allows Pobre Juan to source the best meat available – from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Australia – portioned to perfection with 15% better margins compared to a traditional beef distribution relationship. The Pobre Juan restaurants have been awarded Best Steakhouse awards and global gastronomic prizes from a number of publications for nine of its locations.

Entrepreneurs: Francisco Salles & Renato Saraiva
Company: CERS

CERS offers online exam prep courses taught by Brazil’s top teachers. Its platform includes prep for the OAB, the Brazilian equivalent of the American Bar exam. It also offers courses for civil servant examinations that are requisite for professionals to enter government-affiliated occupations, and legal career courses that help aspiring lawyers progress in their careers. By virtue of its revenue-sharing model that provides teachers with 30-50% of the income generated from the courses they teach, CERS attracts the highest quality teachers to its platform. These teachers are financially incentivized to promote their own courses on the platform through their robust social networks.

Entrepreneurs: Pablo Guzmán, Jovino Novoa & Sergio Guzmán
Company: Sano Seafood

Sano Seafoods is in tune with its clients’ needs. In order to quickly cook perfect entrees for each customer, restaurant chefs need uniform protein portions that are consistent in shape, size, and thickness. Ensuring this consistency, adds costs such as longer prep time and additional waste to the cooking process. Enter Sano Seafoods, a secondary seafood processor that provides value-added premium seafood products to the retail and foodservice sectors. Sano Seafoods sells uniform fish fillets to the United States and Europe, bellies to Vietnam, collars and tails to Japan, and skin and bones to fish food producers, to give every client what they want, and waste no part of the fish in the process. Sano Seafoods also processes around ten additional types of seafood in order to offer clients a one-stop-shop for all of their seafood needs.

Entrepreneurs: Hernan Restini & Gonzalo Restini
Company: FMA

Inside Chile’s illustrious copper mines, FMA is striking gold. In a US$86 billion global market for mining equipment, most machinery is mass-produced few manufacturers create products tailored for specific challenges. These challenges arise because of the diversity of terrain and equipment inherent within mines, no two of which are alike. Mines currently rely on manual labor and poor mechanization to accomplish tasks such as changing the tires of giant dump trucks or winding the heavy electric gables of large drillers. Without proper tools, these tasks are not only inefficient but also unsafe for workers. First-Class Mining Attachments (FMA) designs and manufactures semi-customized equipment to address clients’ task-specific needs. From the Andean mountains of Peru to the desert plains of Mauritania, FMA’s clients operate in 25 countries across five continents. The company is on the brink of a major international expansion campaign to conquer the lion’s share of North American and Asian-Pacific markets.

Entrepreneurs: Juan Felipe Arbeláez & Pablo Arbeláez
Company: Vive Agro

Previously, restaurants and caterers sourced produce from farmers markets. Ripe with inefficiencies – a string of middlemen sell to other middlemen before reaching the end user – these markets force farmers to underprice their vegetables and fruits while giving restaurants little transparency over the food they use. It also required restaurants to spend valuable time and resources preparing and storing the vegetables. Vive Agro offers clients washed, cut, and ready-to-use vegetables, helping restaurants reduce their costs substantially. Meanwhile, the farmers who work Vive Agro obtain better prices on their produce and receive agricultural best practice from Vive Agro’s agronomists.

Accessing affordable capital is a longstanding problem in Mexico as a large portion of the population – the young in particular – do not qualify for a wide range of financial services – like loans, and credit cards – because of low or nonexistent credit scores. In practice, this situation means that people have high-friction alternatives to banks, such as offline pawnshop lenders, who can be slow to deliver funds. Kueski, an online micro-lending platform, applies big data and advanced analytics to approve micro-loans for Mexico’s financially underserved population within 35 minutes of customers placing their request. Fast, transparent, and available 24/7, Kueski is the most convenient lending platform for those who need an immediate loan.

Entrepreneurs: Andres Sucre, Sebastian Gomez & Adrian Cuadros
Company: Reserbus

To purchase a bus ticket in Mexico, 550 million bus passengers a year go to the station or a physical store, wasting hours of their time. At the same time, bus operators lose customer visibility and incur extra costs from maintaining physical sales locations. Reserbus solves these problems by connecting bus operators with customers through an integrated booking platform. Reserbus aggregates over 9,000 routes, and 650 destinations through 26 bus operators.

Entrepreneur: Francisco Cordero
Company: Laudex

Dinero drives diplomas. In Mexico, higher education is reserved for the privileged few, rather than the qualified masses. Only 2% of qualified applicants can afford to attend a private university, in contrast to 60% in countries such as Chile and Brazil. Laudex’s goal is to provide all Mexican students with the financial resources they need to achieve a higher education. A cohort of college-age students equal to the population of Switzerland (seven million) does not attend university in Mexico, largely due to the high cost of enrollment. Laudex continues to build alliances with Mexico’s largest private universities, it will expand its national presence.

Entrepreneur: Nicolas Droguett
Company: SeguroSimple

With SeguroSimple, five minutes could save you a lifetime of paperwork on your car insurance. The process of buying an auto insurance policy is riddled with inefficiencies for consumers: from the tedious nature of meeting with sales representatives, to the time-consuming process of sifting through tall piles of policy information. By moving the insurance industry online, developed countries now boast 50-60% online purchases of policies. Peru, in contrast, still relies entirely on offline brokers. SeguroSimple is Peru’s first digital insurance broker. The company plans to scale its business in Peru, expand regionally, and grow into new product verticals such as health and life insurance.

SOUTH AFRICA

Entrepreneur: Kirsty Chadwick
Company: The Training Room Online

Corporate training seems more like corporate torture for most employees. The global corporate training industry is notorious for its antiquated reliance on lackluster lectures and never-ending PowerPoint presentations. Existing systems are inefficient with high auxiliary costs like facilitator fees, travel, and lost employee work days, on top of the general cost of content development and upkeep. These systems also lack the multifaceted educational approach needed to effectively train today’s increasingly tech-savvy workforce. Enter The Training Room Online (TTRO), a digital learning design and development company that transforms clients’ employee training content into blended learning resources. TTRO’s strong team uses various design strategies, including animation, mobile, and video, to produce high-quality customized learning solutions that are more convenient, stimulating, and interactive than traditional offline solutions.

Entrepreneur: Philippe Gelis
Company: Kantox

While large businesses receive preferred foreign exchange (FX) rates from banks, most SMEs are stuck paying exorbitant fees in order to do business outside of their home market. Kantox is the first peer-to-peer (P2P) foreign exchange market that connects SMEs and Mid-Caps to each other to offer equitable trade rates. While using Kantox’s platform, the majority of clients save more than 80% than if they used a bank. This is largely because Kantox offers transparency with the live market trade rates and its clear 0.09 -0.29% commission fee, compared to banks’ typical 3.0% fee.

Entrepreneur: Daniel González de Vega
Company: Smartick

Smartick is improving mathematics learning with just one click. Malaga-born learning company Smartick channeled its inner child and ventured to make math learning fun and more effective for children, ages four to fourteen. The company built an online, adaptive platform that teaches mathematics skills. The methodology consists of daily, 15-minute working sessions in mathematics, comprehensive reading, and some cognitive domains (e.g. memory, attention, reasoning, and mental flexibility). Students work on modules that adapt in real-time to the child’s individual level and performance. Since the product launched commercially in 2011, more than 10,000 students from 35+ countries have benefited from Smartick’s highly effective approach to teaching mathematics.

Entrepreneur: Juan de Antonio
Company: Cabify

Hailing a taxi the old way in Spain and Latin America is often inefficient and difficult. Across Latin America in particular, taxis are unreliable and unsafe while black cars are expensive. Meanwhile, drivers face fluctuating salaries, depending on an unpredictable stream of passengers. With Cabify, a mobile app that connects users with drivers, users can book a car in advance, know the journey’s price ahead of time, and enjoy a quality experience. Operating in Spain, Chile, Peru and Mexico, Cabify aims to push the pedal to the metal and expand rapidly in the region over the coming years.

Entrepreneur: Sassan Khatib-Shahidi
Company: German Imaging Technologies (GIT)

GIT is leaving its imprint on businesses in MENA. As a result of the steep cost of print toner, companies save up to 50% per order by purchasing remanufactured products in lieu of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges. German Imaging Technologies (GIT) is the market leader in producing remanufactured toner cartridges in MENA and has been the largest supplier in the UAE since 2007. The company sells toners that are 20-30% less expensive than OEM toners, do not compromise on quality, and have a reduced environmental impact. GIT has over 1600 corporate customers in the UAE and exports to 18 countries in the MENA region, an estimated US$1.3 billion toner market. The company is a full-service provider of printing solutions for businesses, offering renting, leasing, and sales of printer equipment as well as maintenance services. In 2011 and 2012 GIT was named one of the top 50 companies in the industry globally and an Arabia 500 Fast Growth Company.

Entrepreneur: Wadih Haddad
Company: The Box

In Dubai, a city built around luxury, extra closet space comes at a premium. Although Dubai is known for its modern skyscrapers, magnificent architectural buildings, opulent hotels, and shopping malls, real estate in the Emirate comes with a whopping price tag. As a result, the majority of residents struggle with space constraints. Until The Box built its first self-storage facility in 2008, there were few options for self or bulk storage. Founded during the heart of the financial crisis, The Box has grown to 25 facilities and 250,000 square feet within the UAE, operates facilities in Lebanon and Qatar, and has partnerships in Canada. The company plans to increase its footprint across multiple cities in MENA through opening new locations, constructing joint venture facilities, and management contracts with competitor companies leading to acquisitions.


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Easier: There are dozens of companies to choose from, such as dessert specialists Red Velvet NYC, pictured, who will deliver pre-portioned ingredients and a recipe to customers' doors

Experiment: FEMAIL tested out nearly a dozen different services to see whether it is possible to spend a week living only on meal kits

Dinner: Blue Apron's steakhouse salmon with thyme-sauteed potatoes, green beans and mushrooms ($59.94 for three meals per week for two people).

The nationwide meal kit provider's instructions are slightly overbearing (they go as far as telling you how many wedges to cut a lemon into to juice it) but they are also clear. The instruction sheet is written in six simple steps with pictures to check that you are doing it right.

Cooking the potatoes and the salmon in olive oil seems a bit unnecessary but the results are professional-looking and tasty. The ingredients - especially the fish - all look and taste really high quality.

Quality produce: Miranda found the experience restaurant-standard, including this salmon meal from Blue Apron, but questioned the toll on the environment and her health

Indulgent: Cocktail Courier delivers cocktails ready to shake, such as The Original Sidecar, pictured

Drinks: Blue Apron recipes come with wine pairings suggestions but instead I opt for cocktails in the form of The Original Sidecar by Cocktail Courier ($4.99 per cocktail + $9.99 shipping, 12 cocktails per order, or $39.99 per box for subscribers, prices include tax, tip to bartender and delivery).

The company bills itself as a premiere online cocktail service delivering craft cocktails made by professional bartenders to people's homes.

It arrives promptly in a box with all the key ingredients including a one oz bottle of Rémy Martin 1738, one oz bottle of Cointreau, one oz freshly squeezed lemon juice in a plastic bottle and oranges for the twist and sugar to rim the glass. It doesn't come with a cocktail shaker but I improvise using two glasses.

It's easy to make and the results are really impressive, it really tastes like something you might order and spend $10-15 on in a cocktail bar.

Lunch: Blue Apron's Spicy miso-glazed chicken wings with purple rice and zucchini salad.

I get up early to prepare lunch in time for it to cool down so that I can take it to the beach. The recipe, although easy, teaches me a lot - including how to make perfect chicken wings. They come out crispy and smells great.

When I eat it a few hours later cold as a picnic it tastes amazing. It is easily the best savory recipe of the entire week. Purple rice is not something I have regularly, but will definitely look out for now and the chicken wing recipe I would definitely make again.

Portable: Miranda took Blue Apron's Spicy miso-glazed chicken wings with purple rice and zucchini salad, pictured, to the beach

Treat: Seared pork chops and fig compote with sauteed kale and farro salad by Blue Apron made for an indulgent Sunday dinner

Dinner: Seared pork chops and fig compote with sauteed kale and farro salad by Blue Apron.

As a Brit, sometimes get a bit homesick for a traditional roast dinner on a Sunday so this makes a worthy replacement. It's indulgent and succulent and with all the measuring and thinking done for me it feels a lot easier than cooking a normal meal from scratch.

I can't eat the farro - which I replace with rice - or the spice blend because they both contain gluten (they currently don't have a gluten-free menu) but even without them it is a pretty hearty meal.

As the meal kits start rolling in, the fridge starts filling up and the boxes are a bit overwhelming. The kits generally come in boxes with ice packs and insulation and trying to work out how to dispose of them with least impact to the environment is confusing.

The delivery from meal kit service Plated comes in a box insulated with recycled material but working out how to dispose of it isn't entirely clear. Blue Apron say their packaging is recyclable and that if customers struggle to find somewhere to recycle they will pay for it to be sent back to them.

Lunch: I take leftover pork from last night's dinner in a gluten-free roll to work. The pork tastes good cold and it is satisfying enough to stop me from going in search of other options.

Snack: The New York-based Quinciple box ($49.90 per week for delivery box to Manhattan or Brooklyn or $42.90 for pick-up from Brooklyn, Long Island City or West Village, New York) contains an amazing cheese - bufarolo by Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn, New York - which I test out while I cook.

Complex: Plated's tilefish with orange beurre blanc over asparagus and mashed potatoes was adventurous for a Monday night

Ambitious: But after 45 minutes cooking, the results, pictured, were worthwhile

Dinner: Plated's tilefish with orange beurre blanc over asparagus and mashed potatoes ($23 per person, plus $6 for shipping a two dinner/two person plan).

The tilefish recipe is much more adventurous than what I would normally go for on a Monday night but the instructions are simple and effort minimal.

The end result looks almost like the picture on the recipe card and it tastes great. I have never tried tilefish before or made an orange beurre blanc so I feel like I've done something new. It takes no more than 45 minutes, as billed, and at 490 calories it is not bad on the nutrition front.

Once I've eaten I set to work on lunch for Tuesday from the Quinciple box.

Lunch: Quinciple's Orange crush drumsticks with bufarolo dipping sauce and seabean salad

The Quinciple box, which contains ten ingredients from around the country and two recipe cards, is my favorite of the week. Although the box doesn't contain every single component for the recipes, having the whole ingredients, not pre-measured, makes me feel like I have more freedom and offers a bigger sense of achievement from the cooking process.

The recipe itself is more complex than the others and my decision to substitute ordinary flour with coconut flour makes for a slightly interesting sauce. I also learn about the ingredients I'm using from the explanation card inside and where they're from - even if it turns out I am not the biggest fan of seabeans which are too salty for me.

The organic chicken, from a farm in Pennsylvania, works really well with the orange crush hot sauce that the recipe suggests cooking it in.

Unusual: Quinciple's Orange crush drumsticks with bufarolo dipping sauce, pictured, was tasty but the seabean salad very salty

Idiot proof: The ingredients for Plated's meals, pictured, come in separate bags, labelled with the name of the ingredient and what meal it is for

Dinner: Plated's Caesar steak lettuce cups with lemon potatoes ($12 per person, plus $6 for shipping a two dinner/two person plan)

Having opted for this thinking it would be a light summer meal beforehand - and even during the cooking process - I am surprised by the outcome. It's huge, the potatoes are completely unnecessary and the Parmesan on top a decadent move for a weeknight meal.

Despite all this, I really enjoyed it, it is seriously tasty and the steak is great. There is also sufficient left over for lunch the following day.

Drinks: Instapour ($49.99 per kit for monthly members - each kit makes eight cocktails - $39.99 for weekly members and $49-$59 for one-off kits and gift boxes including delivery using ground shipping or on demand services).

The cocktail delivery service provides on-demand drinks and cocktails in New York and Los Angeles and free ground shipping to most of the US.

Just as I'm about to sit down for dinner, I get a call from an UberRUSH delivery man who is standing outside with cocktails.

Like Cocktail Courier, they come with bottles of liquor and pre-blended mixer so all you have to do is shake them with ice and drink. But Instapour comes with cocktail implements - I get a shaker and stirrer - and garnishes such as glazed cherries with skewers and candied fennel seeds in jars.

There's cherry and black peppercorn margaritas, the Rosemary Rozay Collins with Bombay Sapphire and The Snapkat (a Snapchat-themed drink containing organic whole leaf masala chai tea, lemon, lime, demerara sugar, pomegranate, pirate dreams).

I make a Rosemary Rozay Collins to have with my dinner and am seriously impressed. The candied fennel seeds are a brilliant touch. The focus is more on fun than refined, but it offers a unique experience that is simple and fast and I can imagine doing again for a special occasion or buying for a friend as a present.

Heavy: Plated's Caesar steak lettuce cups with lemon potatoes, pictured with Instapour's Rosemary Roazay Collins, made for extremely generous portions

Ready to go: Instapour's ingredients, pictured, came with bar tools and garnishes in jars

The Chef'd box arrives insulated with foil-covered foam. They say it can be recycled if taken to a polyurethane recycling depot, but I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the waste.

A pile of flat-packed boxes is stacking up in the kitchen, I've had to put ice packs in the bath to defrost because there's no room left in the freezer and I'm not sure what to do with some of the items that claim to be recyclable but are not covered by curb-side services.

Lunch: I have leftover Caesar steak lettuce cups. Although I am grateful to be eating such amazing food, I'm starting to crave a less opulent meal - as ridiculous as that might sound.

Dinner: Martha & Marley Spoon Chorizo and kale tostadas with radish and cilantro ($48 for two meals for a couple, cost per serving reduces the more meals are ordered, delivery is free and covers most of the US).

Martha & Marley Spoon, formerly Marley Spoon, is extremely accommodating with delivery and scheduling a time in the evening when I will be at home. Until I spot the calorie content (780 per serving), the tostadas seem like a perfect Wednesday night meal. The chorizo is great quality, the tortillas taste really authentic and the instructions are easy and simple to follow. It takes 30 minutes maximum to make but I still have lunch to make which means in total eating and food preparation ends up taking up most of the evening.

Drinks: Instapour's cherry and black peppercorn margaritas

The mixer for this is great and compliments my tostadas perfectly. I especially like the cherry and skewer.

Vibrant: Martha & Marley Spoon's Chorizo and kale tostadas, pictured with Instapour's cherry and black peppercorn margarita, tasted flavorsome and fresh but also was calorie-heavy

Lunch: Martha & Marley Spoon's gluten free broccoli pasta with hazlenuts and basil

Like the tostadas, this dish is quick and easy to make. But the portions are huge - honestly there is enough for two of us to last a couple of days - and at 765 calories per serving it's an intense meal. The hazelnuts, basil and lemon are a really nice touch and I would definitely make a version of it again. The gluten free-pasta tastes great but it's a heavy meal and perhaps not the best option for lunch. I'm really starting to crave a nutritious non-bloating soup.

Dinner: Sun Basket's pan-seared steak with romesco sauce and kale-artichoke salad.

Sun Basket 's seasonal, certified organic and sustainably sourced ingredients look and taste fresh and tasty. But considering the California healthy image the brand projects, their recipes, although very simple and easy to follow, are much heavier than I expected.

The steak is beautiful quality and cuts perfectly. The romesco sauce is delicious, but comes ready made, so I don't feel like I've had much to do with its creation.

After dinner I make a PeachDish kit to have for lunch the following day.

Rubbish: A pile of recycling and waste, pictured, built up throughout the week

Lunch: PeachDish veggie tacos with quinoa and avocado (the two meals I ordered came to a total of $50, prices start at $12.50 per serving, shipping is $7 and free to regular subscribers).

The southern-inspired company's whole feel is about coming from a farm and being connected to the land which goes as far as the recipe cards which say 'yield' for number of servings and enclosed in the box is a sheet of paper listing their suppliers and their locations.

The meal is quick and seriously easy to make and features full nutrition fact on the back of the recipe card.

Although I'm not immediately sold on the idea of quinoa inside a taco, it works, and with beans and avocado there is no need for meat.

Hearty: PeachDish, pictured, provide southern-inspired meals

Filling: PeachDish's veggie tacos with quinoa and avocado leave no need for meat

Drinks: Greenblender's blueberry walnut cobbler (subscription plans start at $39 per box, they deliver to 38 states)

The company sends subscribers a box every week containing five new smoothie recipes and pre-portioned ingredients for ten smoothies - and claims never to repeat the same recipe.

It's a great idea because while lots of people may have smoothie makers, having the inspiration to try out new recipes takes a bit of motivation sometimes.

At work I make a smoothie to re-energize mid-afternoon - going for the blueberry walnut cobbler.

As well as more run-of-the-mill ingredients such as bananas, the box also contains more unusual items such as lavender and brightly colored straws. They only use gluten-free and vegan products - including their oats which are gluten-free.

Snack: Seriously juicy peach from PeachDish

Dinner : Seared ahi tuna with watercress, chili and ginger salad by Chef'd ($34 for two servings, free shipping on orders over $40)

This is not a cheap meal but with ingredients of this quality - the tuna is beautiful - I can understand why. I can't imagine being able to buy a portion of this size and quality in a New York restaurant or even fishmonger for cheaper.

The lime and ginger marinade is fresh and easy to make but I leave out the fish sauce in case it contains gluten.

It's a great way to eat in on a Friday night while still having something special to mark the end of the week.

The meal is so good and quick to make that I would rather eat that at home than go out to a restaurant for dinner.

Nutritious: Miranda avoided a Friday afternoon energy lull with Greenblender 's blueberry walnut cobbler

Preparation: Although ingredients are pre-portioned, they still require customers to chop up ingredients

This was the most spoiled culinary week of my life and the most indulgent.

It is obviously a privilege to eat such incredible ingredients from around the US and I learnt new cooking techniques and discovered new produce through doing it.

I enjoyed the inventiveness of some of the services, especially Quinciple, Cocktail Courier, Red Velvet NYC and Instapour - which I could see myself using again or for special occasions.

It's also quite liberating not having to go to the grocery store or even think about buying ingredients. Apart from oils, salt and pepper, most items I needed were included.

But after a few days of consuming solely meal kits it was impossible to ignore how bloated and lacking in energy I felt and it wasn't just me - my boyfriend, who is normally a keen carnivore and eater, said the same.

I also started missing coming up with ideas for myself which for me is part of fun of cooking. Using meal kits, the end product didn't feel quite so satisfying.

It was noticeable how much rubbish and recycling we accumulated. I recycled everything I could but struggled with the 'compostable denim' from one of the box insulation packs which my local food scraps composting group took but were not sure whether or not they would be able to compost.

For breakfasts I ended up making my own rather than meal kits because other than smoothies there do not seem to be many options out there - yet. Chef'd said they are planning to add breakfast and snack options in the future.

It's great that the popularity of meal kits is getting people back into cooking and introducing them to new ingredients but personally it is something I would only use occasionally, if at all, rather than for day-to-day eating.


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Yum Yum at K108, Doha

Over the next few weeks there are going to be one or two posts about restaurants in Doha. There won’t be too many I promise. I know the taxi fare from Dublin to there makes a meal out prohibitively expensive.

We had heard whisperings that there was some good food to be had at Yum Yum by Hugo Coudurier at the K108 Hotel. So a group of 5 of us headed for dinner on a night recently.

The Hotel is deceptive from the outside, its interior is very different to what you would expect. Upon entering the restaurant, albeit at an earlyish time, it was empty. I live my life by one main rule: Beware an empty restaurant. Soon though, other tables began to fill up and by the time we got to the menus and bread (very tasty, in particular a focaccia style creation) my fears were quickly being allayed. The restaurant itself is a large space, whitewashed walls and is quite cosy given its size.

I started with some grilled vegetables served with discs of Haloumi. It was a very pleasant way to start the meal, well cooked veg, tangy sauce and a well dressed salad. Another had the pea soup with shrimp. This was unfair on the crustacean in question, it was somewhere between a prawn and a lobster when served. Leaving said diner very content. Another notable starter for its presentation alone was the ravioli, slightly under perhaps, but that was the only niggle for what was a very pretty and tasty dish.

For my main I went for sea-bass, in a (I forget the name of the sauce) sauce served with risotto and crispy onions. The fish was cooked nicely, and there was a richness to the sauce and risotto. The crispy onions added a wonderful crunch. I would have liked something a little zingy perhaps for contrast, but it was still a delicious dish. Another main of note was the burger, which was off the menu, but apparently is a favourite at this place. It was munched very happily by said diner.

Few opted for dessert, I was one of the brave souls who did. A well presented lemon tart was happily eaten. You are going to have to take my word for this- as the lighting was perfect for dining, awful for food photography. Thankfully. My darling sibling went for a chocolate fondant, which I didn’t get to taste, which would lead me to believe she enjoyed it. Throughout service was brilliant. Not overly formal as often can be the case in Doha and our waiter was happy to suggest dishes along the way. He was very attentive and yet you barely noticed him.

I was a guest at dinner (Thanks again), but the menu is very reasonably priced for the food and service you receive. Definitely one of the best places in Doha.


Lefkada: A guide

Amazing Lefkada

While Lefkada is easily accessible, it is linked to the Greek mainland via a small bridge, it remains one of the Ionian’s most unspoiled destinations. A haven for many Greek and international tourists, Lefkada’s beaches are simply glorious. Its main town is sophisticated and then there are the vibrant coastal towns of Nydri and Agios Nikitas, plus plenty of small sleepy villages where life remains unchanged. Lefkada town is a great base and a wonderful place to explore, there are many pretty churches to uncover and then there is the ‘shabby chic’ appeal of the unusual but colourful corrugated-iron building style (a legacy of the earthquakes that have plagued the region for centuries).

Bus: there are usually four buses per day from Athens to Lefkada, each taking around 5&1/2 -6 hours. You can now reserve tickets online and the cost per ticket is around 30-40 euros: www.ktel-lefkadas.gr

Plane: a number of low-cost airlines fly from the UK and other European destinations, particularly Italy, to Preveza airport, on the Greek mainland. Within Greece, small airline Sky Express offers a limited number of flights between neighboring islands Kefalonia and Zakynthos, as well as from Crete. From Preveza airport, you can either take a taxi from outside the terminal building or hop on one of the buses that pass by on the main road. There are roughly six buses on weekdays and two on a Sunday: www.skyexpress.gr

Ferry: there are some limited ferries between Kefalonia (Fiskardo) and Lefkada (Nydri). Vassiliki, on the south coast of Lefkada, can also be reached by ferry from Kefalonia and Ithaca: www.gtp.gr

Checking in

The island is very easy to get around by car and the historic center of Lefkada makes a wonderful base. After a day spent exploring the islands spectacular beaches, by night you can meander along the vibrant laneways of the old town which are filled with cafés, tavernas, and restaurants.

The Aigli: Set in the historic centre of Lefkada, the Aigli is housed in a restored heritage building, originally built in 1800. The boutique hotel has a gorgeous garden and outdoor bar: www.theaigli.gr

Ziv & Tonic: Ziv&Tonic apartments, are located next to the central square of old historic Lefkas town on a quiet street, 2 min. walk from the sea. The traditional stone buildings have been beautifully renovated and have a great range of amenities. Perfect if you want to explore the islands amazing produce and have fun with a little self-catering: www.zivtonic.com

San Nicolas Resort: At the more lux end of the scale and at the other end of the island from Lefkada town is the San Nicolas Resort. Perched above Mikros Gialos beach, the San Nicolas is a boutique hotel with contemporary style and a 25-meter horizon style pool. San Nicolas Resort is open seasonally, May through October: www. sannicolas.gr

How to get around

Public transport on the island consists of a few buses from Lefkada town to Nydri and Vlyho, Poros and Vassiliki. There are regular buses to Agios Nikitas. Other villages are served by one or two buses daily. If you want to make the most of your visit, hiring a car is your best bet.

What to see

The beaches: are the islands best assets. Seek out the stunning Porto Katsiki, which is dramatic and requires around 100 steps but rewards you with a turquoise sea against sheer white cliffs. There is the family-friendly Agios Nikitas. Milos beach is also accessible by boat from Agios Nikitas. Don’t miss the long white stretch of beautiful Kathisma.

Chanel your inner shipping tycoon: and take a boat trip from Nydri to visit Skorpios, the private island where Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis in 1968.

Visit the coastal village Agios Nikitas: a gorgeous fishing village filled with tightly-packed bars and tavernas, it has the feel of a tiny slice of Mykonos with its whitewashed alleyway that leads to a stunning pebble beach. Don’t be put off by the initial first impression of a large car park – it gets better!

Take a volta around Platia Agios Spyridon: the beautiful square in the heart of Lefkada Town, a hive of local activity and home to the island’s annual summer arts festival.

Visit the village of Karya: the main square is shaded by enormous plane trees and filled to the brim with chattering diners at several tavernas. Keep an eye out of the textile shops, which are home to a special type of embroidery called “Karsaniki” for which this village is renowned.

Roam in the home of Odysseus: take a boat trip from Nydri to the neighbouring island of Ithaca for the day.

Spend time in the vines: at the Lefkas Earth winery: www.lefkaditikigi.gr

Honey: try one of the stunning amber coloured thyme honey from one of the many roadside vendors across the island.

Lentils: a specialty of Lefkada, try a traditional dish of Eglouvis lentils, or take some to use at home. In Lefkada, these special lentils are cooked with garlic and oregano to a thick creamy consistency.

Salami: One of the most traditional local products, Lefkada’s salami is reputed to have an Italian “origin”, specifically the people of Burano, Italy, who came to settle on the island.

Fish dishes: savoro (red mullet in a rosemary marinade) and aliada (the Ionian name for ‘skordalia’ served with fried salt cod). The island also has excellent quality avgotaraho (dried fish roe) but is produced in small quantities.

Sweets: nougat mandolata and pasteli (a sweet of honey and sesame)

Wine: There are lots of wine stores in Lefkada, including a very charming old school store where you can buy local wine direct from the barrel. Wine is also available at the rural cooperative Τ.Α.Ο.Λ in Lefkas town. Varieties to look out for include: Vertzami and Vardea. The red grape, Vertzami is cultivated solely in the island of Lefkada and it produces an intensely coloured wine.

Where to Eat (and shop)

Minas’ tavern, Nikiana: this family-run tavern sits above the scenic seaside village of Nikiana and specialises in fresh fish. The traditional fish soup and marinated anchovies come highly recommended: www.tavernaminas.gr

Ionian Taverna, harbour front Niydri: This cute little taverna is family run and offers homestyle cooking – just like from yiayia’s kitchen. Cheap and cheerful Greek family classics.

Taloni, Chortata village: all of the taverna’s produce from potatoes to roosters and rabbits are home raised from their own farm. Traditional home-style cooking, not to be missed: www.t-aloni.gr.

Margarita, Lefkada: a popular restaurant frequent by locals as well as tourists. The tavern also is one of the few places that run out of tourist season.

Maria’s Taverna, Kolivata: off the beaten track, Kiria Maria opens the terrace of her home, surrounded by trees and gardens to serve her own organic, seasonal produce.

Agios Nikitas: there are a number of tavernas to choose from and they share a similar menu of grilled sardines, salads and more.

T’agnantio comes highly recommended for fresh seafood and a chilled atmosphere, with sea views.

Karya: this lovely traditional village is home to several tavernas and Karaboulias is a great choice, located in Karia’s main square.

Galaktopolieos (traditional dairy bars): there are a number of traditional dairy shops in the centre of Lefkada town. Stop by for a mid-morning sheep milk yoghurt with honey, served in a traditional terracotta tub or choose a more indulgent afternoon snack of krema or rizogalo.

Fishmongers & Grocers: Lefkada town is also home to a number of open front fishmongers, where the catch of the day sits on chilled slabs of marble for you to inspect. The seafood was of an incredibly high quality and so fresh, the calamari would blush and change colour before your eyes after a gentle prod from this fishmonger. The street grocers also have a great range of high quality, fresh fruits, and vegetables including generous crates of just picked wild greens.

Delimaris Salami: visit a branch of this family-run store to try one of the island’s famous salami. The Delimaris family have been making traditional salami since 1964.

Produce market (laiki agora): a small local produce market runs every Saturday morning opposite the Town Hall in Lefkada Town.


Activities

Make the most of the extensive resort grounds with two outdoor tennis courts and a jogging trail.

Located at the heart of the resort, our Grand Pool is a real urban oasis of indigenous trees.

The Grand Pool of Al Messila Resort & Spa also features two Jacuzzi areas accessible by guests with no extra charge.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Mini Gym

Spacious and fluid, there are a number of designated areas, from a fitness room with mini state of-the-art equipment, to a restful, sleep room and interactive play zone.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Mini Gym

Spacious and fluid, there are a number of designated areas, from a fitness room with mini state of-the-art equipment, to a restful, sleep room and interactive play zone.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Mini Cinema

The Little Explorers&apos kids club also offers a cinema dedicated only to our younger guests, screening different a different movie every afternoon.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Learn And Play Area

Designed to combine play with learning and spreading over more than 800 sqms, The Little Explorers&apos kids club at Al Messila Resort & Spa is the first of its kind in terms of scope and concept.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Plunge Pool

The outdoor playground and temperature-controlled pool at The Little Explorers&apos kids club are the perfect spot to run off excess energy.

Food Lab - Culinary Workshops

Enjoy a holistic Michelin-Star cooking experience with the various culinary workshops hosted by Executive Chef Pino Lavarra.

The Little Explorers Kids Club - Water Fountain

At the Little Explorers&apos Kids Club, priority is given to learning while having fun in the largest hotel kids club in Doha.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Suite

Upgrade your spa journey to a grand Treatment Suite and treat yourself to a private steam room, liquid healing pool, experience showers and cocoon bed.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Suite

Upgrade your spa journey to a grand Treatment Suite and treat yourself to a private steam room, liquid healing pool, experience showers and cocoon bed.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Suite

Upgrade your spa journey to a grand Treatment Suite and treat yourself to a private steam room, liquid healing pool, experience showers and cocoon bed.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Suite

Upgrade your spa journey to a grand Treatment Suite and treat yourself to a private steam room, liquid healing pool, experience showers and cocoon bed.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Suite

Upgrade your spa journey to a grand Treatment Suite and treat yourself to a private steam room, liquid healing pool, experience showers and cocoon bed.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Treatment Room

Whether you&aposre dashing in for an express massage, or treating yourself to a 90-minute session, dive and indulge at Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Essential Oils

All the products featured in Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat are carefully designed to transform your skin so you truly feel the power of touch.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Steam Room & Experience Shower

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat combines oriental heritage and techniques with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities leaving you feeling enlivened.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Sauna & Experience Shower

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat combines oriental heritage and techniques with state-of-the-art technologies and facilities leaving you feeling enlivened.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Secret Garden

Indoor or outdoor, relaxation is at the heart of the palace setting of Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Personal Training Room

Our professional personal trainers will custom a fitness journey for you, including private classes in a fully-equipped fitness studio.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Pilates Studio

Rediscover Pilates in luxuriant privacy with our state-of-the-art studio featuring reformers, Cadillac beds, Wunda chairs and barrels.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Mindful Space

Immerse yourself in a complete body, mind and soul wellness journey at the Mindful Spa of the Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Mindful Space

Immerse yourself in a complete body, mind and soul wellness journey at the Mindful Spa of the Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Lobby

At the heart of the resort lays a pearl, Al Ladies Messila Wellness Retreat, bestowing wellbeing services and experiences, exclusively for ladies.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Amethyst Relaxation Area

Recenter your mind and soul as you make the most of the Amethyst relaxation area, with dimmed natural light and the latest wellness technology.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Amethyst Sleep Cocoon

Guests of the Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat are welcome to unwind at the Amethyst relaxation area before or after discovering the enigmatic experiences of The Worlds.

Ladies Wellness Retreat - Amethyst Relaxation Area

Guests of the Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat are welcome to unwind at the Amethyst relaxation area before or after discovering the enigmatic experiences of The Worlds.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Discover innovative and rejuvenating spa treatments at Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Echo of ancient Middle Eastern traditions can be found at the Oriental World.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Call out to your inner self through sounds of nature, sensory simulators and Chromotherapy at Mystic World.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

The relaxation area of the Mystic World especially charms with the calming sound of water, paired with Chromotherapy.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Feel enveloped in the cocoon of beauty at the Floral World.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Let us take you on a journey, and allow yourself to be spiritually close to positive energies.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Encased with precious elements, the holistic cleansing rituals performed at the Oriental world speak of eliminating toxins and negativeness.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

The relaxation area of the Mystic World especially charms with the calming sound of water, paired with Chromotherapy.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

The Mineral World is an authentic journey through the benefits of mineral essences, part of The Worlds at Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

A full room built with Himalayan salt awaits at the Mineral World. Breathe and relax, while absorbing the benefits of true salted crystal.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Mineral World says “I am an ocean, extremely deep with healing elements. Dive in and enjoy.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Blossom and bloom. Welcome to the Floral World at Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Let the Scent of flowers allow you to inhale wellness at the Floral World.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Discover the benefits of Chromotherapy while water flows and heals at the Floral World.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

At the entrance of Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat, a beautiful sculpture gives welcome to our guests. The &apospearl&apos symbolizes transformation and growth and the safe space needed to achieve this: Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Thanks to the arabesque architecture, Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat perfectly embodies the strong sense of place represented all around the resort.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Part of Al Messila Resort & Spa, Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat welcomes guests in a gated &aposprivate palace&apos style setting

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Wellbeing Therapies will restore your body and invigorate your mind, leaving you feeling enlivened. You will enjoy and benefit from a combination of the following wellness treatments depending on your current needs.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Our wellness therapies are designed to help promote detoxification, rejuvenation, deep relaxation and re-connection to mind and body. We prescribe a minimum of 2 hours to benefit from your customized experience.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

At Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat we only use natural products yet the most beneficial.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Aqua Yoga – we offer personalized Aqua Yoga with a focus on supportive exercise, rehabilitation and restoration.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Aqua Gym – we offer personalized therapeutic Aqua Fit lessons with aqua biking in the water for those in need of rehabilitation.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

A dedicated area for rehabilitation and rejuvenation with 3 separated pools, where take the maximum advantage of the healing properties of water.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

A private Yoga session led by one of our certified personal trainers is always recommend as part of a complete full body-mind-soul wellness journey at our Ladies Wellness Retreat.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Discover the benefits of LED treatment paired with our effective facials.

Al Messila Ladies Wellness Retreat

Located at the Floral World, the Hearbal Sauna has soothing effects on body and mind.

For moments to enjoy and share amongst food enthusiasts

The Food Lab features 8 stations, fully equipped with stove and appliances, facing a main counter, where one of our award-winning chefs will lead the cooking class.

The Food Lab - Dining Area

Thanks to the dedicated dining area, guests are able to first learn and then share all together their creations.

The Food Lab - Dining Area

Exquisite in design and decor, the dedicated dining area is just adjacent to the Food Lab, and it is part of the overall cooking experience.


A message to our Guests

First and foremost, we want to express our sincere concern for everyone who has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For more than 40 years The Cheesecake Factory has been dedicated to genuine hospitality and taking great care of our people so they can take great care of you. The health and wellbeing of our staff members and guests is our top priority and has been our guiding principle throughout this unprecedented time.

We are following all local service guidelines and are looking forward to continuing to serve you during this time whether it&rsquos for dine-in, takeout, or delivery, and wanted to share with you some of the actions we are taking to ensure your continued safety.

DINE-IN SERVICE
We are continually evolving our efforts to ensure the highest levels of sanitation and safety and have implemented the following in our dining rooms in addition to all safety procedures currently in place for our take-out and delivery service:

  • We have installed an additional air purification to the already best-in-class system in our restaurants. This new system uses Bi-Polar ionization which creates positive and negative ions to actively clean the air as it passes through the building&rsquos systems, killing bacteria and viruses, and reducing allergens and airborne particles without creating ozone or any harmful biproducts. Third party laboratory testing has shown that the iWave® air purifiers can effectively reduce pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
  • Encouraging all staff members to get vaccinated when the vaccine is available to them and providing hourly staff with paid time off for each vaccine appointment.
  • Reconfiguring seating in the dining room, patio and bar to meet social distancing guidelines Additionally, we are in the process of adding partitions between booths and patio tables wherever possible
  • Using floor decals to remind guests in our lobby and bakery areas to keep to social distancing protocols
  • Continuing wellness checks of all staff members before each shift, including temperature checks with a thermometer
  • Providing all staff and managers in our dining rooms and kitchens with personal protective equipment
  • Reinforcing staff handwashing routinely
  • Having hand sanitizer available in our lobbies and restrooms for guests
  • Making reservations available through Yelp
  • Using text paging to allow guests to wait outside of the restaurant without using a pager
  • Providing a QR code for guests to scan to access a digital menu on their mobile device should they prefer not to use one of our sanitized menus
  • Not presetting any tables
  • Providing takeout containers for guests who prefer to wrap their own leftovers
  • Allowing for contactless mobile payment at the table with the guest&rsquos personal device
  • Sanitizing pens after guest use

These are just some of the changes we are making to protect your safety while at the same time providing the hospitality and delicious memorable food you&rsquove come to expect from us.

TAKEOUT
In addition to continuing to maintain our high level of cleanliness and sanitation practices, we are taking extra precautions to help ensure a safe experience when picking up take-out orders from our restaurants. This includes:

  • Ensuring that our teams have the information they need to remain healthy and instructing them to stay home if they&rsquore not feeling well
  • Ensuring proper social distancing is maintained This includes increasing the distance between our guests and cashiers to minimize contact, and placing markings on our floors to help guests distance themselves from others
  • Cleaning and sanitizing all cashier counter surfaces, pens and pagers after each use
  • Positioning our credit card machines so that guests may swipe their own credit cards without staff assistance
  • Requiring staff members to wear gloves when handling food and/or take-out orders
  • Constant handwashing
  • Transitioning to wrapped utensils for those guests who request utensils
  • Cleaning and sanitizing all door handles throughout the day, and leaving front doors propped open (where allowed) to minimize contact

Helpful hints to minimize contact:

  • Order online and pay ahead (saves you time and significantly minimizes contact)
  • Select our &ldquoCurbside Order Option&rdquo when ordering online or tell us when phoning in your order you don&rsquot even have to get out your car&mdashit&rsquos like our drive thru

DELIVERY
We are taking extra precautions to help ensure that your delivery order gets to your door safely. This includes:

  • Sealing the outermost packaging to ensure that there is no contact with your food from the kitchen to your door
  • Transitioning to wrapped utensils for delivery orders for those guests who request utensils (However, if you don&rsquot need utensils, there is an option to decline them in the order process.)
  • Ensuring that Dashers maintain social distancing when picking up orders from our restaurant

Our delivery provider DoorDash has implemented the following:

  • Orders will automatically default to the no-contact option, "Leave it at my door." You can also leave additional details about the drop-off location, such as "Leave next to the plant" to help your Dasher.
  • They are offering hand sanitizer and gloves to Dashers
  • They are also in direct communication with health experts regarding best practices

We have been following the guidance of the CDC and our local health departments and will continue to do so throughout this evolving situation.

We encourage you to stay healthy and we look forward to serving you soon.


THE REMEDY

The remedy Isobel’s neighbor gave her was Ammonium carbonicum. Always characteristic to the specificity of homeopathy, this remedy will not be appropriate for a man, a child, or a younger woman for such tempests. It is, however, often one that is specific to the passage into, through and out of menopause. It is a special remedy designed especially for menopausal women, not by a drug company with a patent, but by the nature and characteristics of the original substance.

Ammonium carbonicum is also a remedy for chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness and feeling worse around and after menses. Dr. Margaret Tyler in Homeopathic Drug Pictures offers other uses. “There is relief from faintings and other neurological or cardiac symptoms, including heart palpitations that arise during the time of menopause.” Dr. James Kent, who wrote Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica reports, “The menstrual blood is blackish, often in clots, leucorrhea is acrid, and there is violent tearing in abdomen and vagina. There is a sensation of deep-seated soreness in the whole pelvic viscera at times it seems as if all her inner parts were raw.”

Isobel never noticed these particular symptoms, but her neighbor confided that some of these kinds of pains led her to this remedy choice. Instead, Isobel suffered some of the near hysteria that Dr. Kent describes: “This remedy has [addresses] hysteria. The condition in the woman, if in a mild degree, is not hysterical, it belongs to the sensitive nature of women, but if carried to a more marked state it is hysterical.”

These are clinical findings that homeopaths have garnered through the centuries. However, homeopathy also offers more insight into its double-blind data called provings. Excerpts from these medical provings of Ammonium carbonicum can be found in Dr. C. Hering’s volumes entitled The Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica as well as in Dr. Timothy F. Allen’s work The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica.

In Isobel’s case, her passionate nature was forced into apathy by the anti-depressant drug. It threatened to destroy her personality in fact, to obliterate the very essence of who she was. Indeed, if homeopathy were not available to right the wrongs, it would likely have been better to have simply put up with her outbursts for months, if not years, in an effort to save her from the scourges of chemical treatment. For someone else who might not be subject to such intense emotions the use of the same drug may have brought relief from anger only to cause depression to set in. Do we really want to chemically tamper with human dials? I think not.

Like august and dignified architecture, our maturing bodies and minds hold treasured secrets. We can take on the responsibility of being the master of these mysteries, or we can acquiesce to a patented, synthetic counterfeit inflicted upon us by an industry gone haywire. Flying buttresses provided by the likes of spandex and underwire bras are at least a harmless way to bolster old age. But chemical drugs are far more sinister than oversized falsies. They eventually reveal themselves to be dangerous counterfeits. By the time we reach this age, authenticity is what we most crave. No one minds a telling patina as long as the soul behind it is intact.

Diana Vreeland, who became editor of Harper’s Bazaar at the age of sixty once said, “There’s only one very good life and that’s the one you know you want and you make it yourself.”

Entering menopause is a journey of transformation that can be matched and aided by the authentic nobility of a homeopathic remedy. Together they offer womanly self-empowerment that puts our hormonal house in order. This morning, Isobel painted her toenails red. “I like to look down at them peeking through my shoes,” she said. “It reminds me of how vibrant life can be.”

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2013.

About Joette Calabrese

Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom (NA) is a homeopathic consultant and educator. She is on staff at the British Institute of Homeopathy, Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY and Daemen College, Amherst, NY. Her CD Perform in the Storm is a convenient study of homeopathic first aid and is a natural accompaniment to her teleseminars. Her CD Secret Spoonfuls: Confessions of a Sneaky Mom, is a Weston A. Price Foundation-styled primer. All are available on her website joettecalabrese.com


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