Archive for Random

The 2013 list of Qatar’s best burgers

I’ve been wanting to put this together for a while now. Due to the nature of some followers though, let me just say this. I do NOT control your stomach. I’m posting this list of what I think are the best burgers in Qatar because I love burgers. I’m not telling people to eat burgers, this country is fat enough as it is. I’m just saying that if you WERE going to eat a burger, you might as well make the calories worth it.

Also, while this list is sort of in order of most favourite to least favourite, I’m not quite sure I can pick a #1 because these burgers aren’t directly comparable. What do I mean? Well, some burgers are just delicious meals to fill your stomach, some are more of an experience. Do you have your own favourite burger place? Comment in the comment section below!

 

Prime Rib Burger
Kempinski – Westbay

This burger, as I was told by the manager, takes a day to prepare since they grind it, marinate it, and then mix in some secret ingredients (I’m thinking a bit of flour and egg?).

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘the meat melts in your mouth’? It’s not an expression anymore. This burger WILL melt in your mouth. Stay away from their fries though. They aren’t that great and are super salty.

 

Garlic Burger
Butcher Shop and Grill – Villaggio

Alright, here’s what you do. You rock up into the Butcher Shop, grab one of the cushy chairs (trust me, you’ll need it), and order a Garlic Burger (I like mine well done) and ask for a slice of cheese. Then for the side, ask for their steak chips and if you’re a sauce lover, order ALL their sauces. If you don’t want to go crazy and sample all the sauces then order a Garlic Sauce, Peppercorn Sauce, and Cheddar Sauce. Now you’ve got some sauces for your burger and to dip your chips in. Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking of it.

 

Shack Burger
Shake Shack – Villaggio

This is probably the only burger that I crave for now and then. I literally feel, “I need a Shack burger!”. I’ll mention this up front, sometimes they have bad days and the burger comes out greasier than usual, but they’re more than happy to make you a new one! I love the fresh tomato, fresh lettuce, their special sauce, and how their meat is so juicy. My order? A double shack burger (extra cheese if I’m feeling the need to increase my dairy intake), well done, and some cheese fries. If you do order the cheese fries, ask for the cheese to be on the side so that you have something to dip into rather than ending up with soggy chips. Oh did I mention I love cheese? Watch out though, they try their best to push you to buy ice cream… Delicious burger goodness only please.

 

Wagyu Market Burger
The Market  (W Hotel) – Westbay

Now this is a tough one, because now and then The Market change their burger completely. So far, they haven’t let me down. Let me describe this burger to you. They’re generous with the meat (Australian Wagyu beef by the way), add some caramelised onions, a BBQ like sauce, and a slap of cheese. There’s other stuff on it too like tomato and rocket and stuff, but you’re here to read about the meat. Are you the type of person who likes his/her meat medium well? These guys understand where you’re coming from. Oh their fries are delicious too because they are infused with truffle!

Oh want a bargain? Go down to The Market for their lunch time special (think it was 99 QR). I order their Tomato Soup with Sour Dough bread, The Market Cheese Burger (which comes with russian dressing sauce and crispy onions), and mix it up for desert.

 

Rocket Single
Johnny Rockets – Multiple Locations

Their burger is just a good old fashioned burger. They’ve got their own special sauce, have a ring of onion in it (sometimes too much onion), a nice big slice of tomato, and lettuce. I love how they slightly toast the bun too. They’ve recently launched a Wagyu version of their typical burgers, but trust me, it’s not worth it. I don’t taste the difference. The only thing different is that you’re a few riyals lighter. Since you’re there though, try out their bowl of chili. In my opinion, it’s the best chili in Qatar. Watch out though, sometimes they don’t have the original chili and try and replace it with their ‘home made’ version, so always ask up front.

 

 

Hot Rocks
Fuddruckers – Khalifa Stadium

You’re now saying, “Khalifa…. are you serious? Fuddruckers?”, to which I reply, “Why yes Maam-sir I am!” They have very good burgers. Great value burgers in fact. There are two things to mention here. 1- Try their their Hot Rocks burger. The meat is moist, have delicious chipotle bbq sauce, crispy bits of bacon and pepper jack cheese, they’re generous with all the toppings and you can have as much salad as you like 2- If you’re adventurous, they’ve got a 1 POUNDER. Yes! The burger is as big as a baby’s head. It’s huge. Think you can handle it?

 

 

Salmon Burger
W Cafe (W hotel) – Westbay

Now I’m not really a salmon lover, but ermahgerd, sermern berger! You have to try it! It’s soft but doesn’t fall apart, it’s delicious but with no guilt attached. Order it with a side of Salad, and you’re good to go. Hey wait… I didn’t mean go now….

On a side note to any potential restaurant owners reading this. WELL DONE, does NOT mean burned. Well done means that the meat should be brown (no pink). You can still have a well done but juicy burger! Just saying.

I’ll be updating this list as and when I discover delicious burgers worthy of the title.

 

Other notable burgers (because the community sent these in) are:
- Elevation burger (It didn’t make my list because the fries are drenched in oil, went three times and twice my order was wrong, and the place just smells like grease. The burger is good, but too oily).
- K108 (This place has a nice burger (which I think is not on the menu) but I’ve been a few times. Once the burger was great, the other time it was over cooked and chewy)
- Burgerry (This is a new joint and I’ve only been once. In terms of value, I feel it’s over priced. A small bottle of coke is 10 QR! The burger I received was burned BLACK, I didn’t get an apology and the second burger seemed under cooked and soggy. Happy to give them another try.)
- Just Burger (Went twice, first time the burger tasted dry and was pink even though I asked for well done. Second time we had to sit outside because their ventilation was not working and the place was smokey. This time the burger was oily but still pink inside).
- Hardees Angus Burger (Honestly? I love it. It’s a good fast food burger, but not one that I crave for)

 

Want me to come and try your burger? Confident that you’ll be added to the list? Send me an invite to contact – at – iloveqatar.net (replace – at – with @) If you are offering a complimentary burger, then I’ll need a voucher because I’ll only go if you don’t know when I’m coming to make it fair :)

2013 list of Qatar / Qatari bloggers

Qatar Bloggers

It’s about time I put this list together. It’s been tough finding people who still blog regularly. If you want to get added to this list, just leave a comment in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to add it. Want to add a description to your blog? Let me know too.

Vani Saraswathi (@vanish_forever)
The Life of Ummhttp://ummon.wordpress.com/

Kelly Johnstone (@kelly_johnstone)
Under the Doha Sunhttp://underthedohasun.wordpress.com/

Maria (@boulderhijabi)
BoulderHijabihttp://boulderhijabiindoha.blogspot.com/
Just another American hijabi out in the wilds of Qatar! Just trying to be controversial to spark discussion, something we could all use a little more of!! Peace and love always. (Her words not mine!)

Nat High (@nat_high)
Bright Lights, Little Cityhttp://littlecityblog.wordpress.com/
Love this guy’s blog (Even though I’m not on his blog roll!). Interesting observations around Doha.

Skeptic in Qatarhttp://qatarskeptic.blogspot.com/
Glen McKay moved to Qatar in 2006 and from around 2008 has been blogging about, everything really.

Flip Stewart (@Flip_stewart)
Flip Thinks – http://flipthinks.wordpress.com/
Good reads, but TERRIBLE theme! Change it!Hooray! She’s changed her theme!

Velvet (@velevetgarvey)
Must Love Dusthttp://www.mustlovedust.com/
I really like this blog. It’s designed well, categorized well, written well. The two sections which are quite unique to any site let alone blog are “Where can I find” and “Newbie Tuesdays”.

Christine Gerber Rutt (@justkookie1)
Just Kooki - http://justkooki.com/
Very nice person by the way, quite social on twitter. She talks about stuff that’s typically what the only community is buzzing about. Only thing that’s difficult about the blog is getting around. Needs better categorization.

In Dohahttp://indoha.wordpress.com/
Not only does this person go around an explore Doha but he/she (don’t know the person) takes some really nice photos.

Rizza Lana (@rizzalana)
My Demeanourhttp://rizzalana.blogspot.com/

Layla Al Siyabi (@LAS_Fashion)
Creative Nationhttp://creativenationgcc.wordpress.com/
Run by Omran and Layla Al Siyabi, an Omani couple living in Qatar.

Rachel C (@funkyblog)
The Funky Qatar Blog - http://funkyqatarblog.com
This blog can be a bit confusing at first. Is it a blog? Is it a portal? However, trust me when I say that it’s part of the experience. You know how when you find a drawer full of stuff and you start sifting through and find some awesome things you didn’t expect to? This is the blog equivalent.

Nailya Bentley (@scaryazeri)
Scary Azeri - http://scaryazeri.blogspot.com/
I first wondered what this person must look like due to the title. I then started to think of words that rhyme with Azeri (perhaps that was the best word). Anyway! This Azeri (that’s someone from Azerbaijan) talks about her life in general.

Qatari Bloggers (who blog in English):

Khawla (@kawkawii)
Kawkawiihttp://www.kawkawii.net/
This is quite an unusual blog since it’s in both English and Arabic. About Food, Fashion and Hair

Myself (but I don’t need to list myself do I?)

That’s pretty much it, the ones that used to blog, stopped. Do you know any more?

Oh and if you’ve got a blog roll, don’t forget to add me to it :)

So an ‘Earthquake’ hit Qatar (again) – Here’s everything you need to know.

(I’ve gone ahead and used copy from my last post because a lot is still relevant from last week).

Everyone is talking about now discussing the stronger Qatar Quake that happened. Now it’s more of a sway than a Quake. Over at QSTP the feeling was quite smooth; this time it was like the table was gyrating in a circular motion (I’m thinking hoolahoops). Since it was the second time, I immediate knew it was… STOP!  tremor time (just a quick MC Hammer hat tip there). Everyone started to evacuate quickly. Good response time. This time there were additional rules, like not standing underneath any structures that could collapse. (nice!)

After evacuating the building, I got onto the Tweet machine to see who else felt it. Some thought they were dreaming, some felt nothing and thought it was a joke, and most people were surprised. (Yes, the same responses as last time).  Not many jokes about it this time. Either people were having a ‘oh no, this is actually a thing now’ moment OR they spent all their good jokes on the last tremor. People felt it in Bin Mahmoud, Westbay, Education City area, Old Salata, Airport Road, The Pearl, and other areas.

So what’s the deal? We didn’t really have an earthquake, it was just the aftershock from an Earthquake in Iran Pakistan border. Reports say that their earthquake was  7.8 in magnititude (last one was 6.4 in magnitude). It was felt in UAE and Bahrain too.
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/16/earthquake-hits-iran-pakistan-border

So what happened in Qatar? I was actually happy to see so many people tweeting pics of buildings that were evacuated.
A few that did a great job taking this seriously were QSTP, Ministry of Defence, Qatar Airways, some buildings in the Pearl (yes only some took it seriously.), Al Mana Towers, ictQatar, and The Pearl itself restricted access into the location for a while.

I actually asked people to take note of whether or not their building did anything. You’ll know if you can trust them now or not. You’ll also know that you should put in a complaint to get the management to take things seriously.

It was a different feeling for different people. Some felt nothing, some said that it was quite extreme. Personally, I think that for most people that live here in Qatar and haven’t experienced an earthquake, their reactions might be slightly exaggerated. Having said that, if you were in higher floors in buildings, then you would have felt it much more than others (wider range of motion, albeit slower). That’s physics!

Let’s look at this from a positive perspective. Luckily, since this was a tiny little motion, perhaps it was a good thing. Perhaps this will show off the low quality buildings and highlight the ones that were constructed very well?
According to a friend working on Westbay projects, the towers all comply with Quake Code regulations. That’s a comfort.

Someone kindly tweeted a link to Earthquake Safety Measures. Thanks @neethatx.

Now, people said that it was a shock (no pun intended), since it was the first time ever that this happened. That’s not true.

In 1998 there was quite a shake up which caused a few pot holes to form.

On the 20th of July 2010 the Metreology department confirmed there was a slight tremor, but it was in the north east of the country and not many people felt it. Source

On the 18th of January 2011, there was a post on iCNN stating that a slight quake (most probably another aftershock) occured for 20 seconds. Source It was later confirmed that it was due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan that caused the aftershock. Source

On the 9th of April 2012 there was an earthquake that hit Southern Iran and tremors were felt across Doha. Source.

So there you have it everyone. Stay calm when it happens, check out the quick guide of what to do above, make sure to tweet AFTER you’ve exited the building, and stay safe :D

So an ‘Earthquake’ hit Qatar – Here’s everything you need to know.

Update: Another tremor felt in Doha on 16 April 2013. See here.

Everyone is talking about the Qatar Quake. Now it’s more of a sway than a Quake. Over at QSTP the feeling was quite smooth. Like a boat gently rocking. First thought was that someone was shaking their leg and causing the table to shake. Got annoyed for a moment. Looked around and saw everyone looking outside and we were immediately evacuated.

Funny, even the earthquakes are chilled out in Qatar.

After evacuating the building, I got onto the Tweet machine to see who else felt it. Some thought they were dreaming, some felt nothing and thought it was a joke, and most people were surprised. ‘No No, it’s not an earthquake, Qatar’s just trying to show the world how to do a proper Harlem Shake”. People felt it in Bin Mahmoud, Westbay, Education City area, Old Salata, Airport Road, The Pearl, and other areas.

So what’s the deal? We didn’t really have an earthquake, it was just the aftershock from an Earthquake in Southern Iran. Reports say that their earthquake was anything from 5.4 – 6.4 in magnitude. It was felt in UAE and Bahrain too.
Source: http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=311834

So what happened in Qatar? I was actually happy to see so many people tweeting pics of buildings that were evacuated.
A few that did a great job taking this seriously were QSTP, Ministry of Defence, Qatar Airways, some buildings in the Pearl (yes only some took it seriously. Sabban Tower management for example did nothing according to a tweet shared with us), Al Mana Towers, ictQatar, and The Pearl itself restricted access into the location for a while.

I actually asked people to take note of whether or not their building did anything. You’ll know if you can trust them now or not. You’ll also know that you should put in a complaint to get the management to take things seriously.

It was a different feeling for different people. Some felt nothing, some said that it was quite extreme. Personally, I think that for most people that live here in Qatar and haven’t experienced an earthquake, their reactions might be slightly exaggerated. Having said that, if you were in higher floors in buildings, then you would have felt it much more than others (wider range of motion, albeit slower). That’s physics!

Let’s look at this from a positive perspective. Luckily, since this was a tiny little motion, perhaps it was a good thing. Perhaps this will show off the low quality buildings and highlight the ones that were constructed very well?
According to a friend working on Westbay projects, the towers all comply with Quake Code regulations. That’s a comfort.

Someone kindly tweeted a link to Earthquake Safety Measures. Thanks @neethatx.

Now, people said that it was a shock (no pun intended), since it was the first time ever that this happened. That’s not true.

In 1998 there was quite a shake up which caused a few pot holes to form.

On the 20th of July 2010 the Metreology department confirmed there was a slight tremor, but it was in the north east of the country and not many people felt it. Source

On the 18th of January 2011, there was a post on iCNN stating that a slight quake (most probably another aftershock) occured for 20 seconds. Source It was later confirmed that it was due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan that caused the aftershock. Source

So there you have it everyone. Stay calm when it happens, check out the quick guide of what to do above, make sure to tweet AFTER you’ve exited the building, and stay safe :D

The Man, The Boy, and The Camel – Lesson

camel

Here’s an Qatari version of an Aesop Fable. ;)

A Man and his son were once going with their Camel to the market at Souq Wagif. As they were walking along by its side a guy in a cruiser passed them and said: “You fools, you have a camel! What use is it if you don’t ride it?”
So the Man put the Boy on the Camel and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men sitting at a coffee shop, one of whom said: “See that lazy kid, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women at a machboos stand, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Camel. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor camel of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Camel’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the camel to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Camel, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Camel fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

“Try to please all, and you will please none.”

National Day is coming! Will 2013 be the year of the woman in Qatar?

Catch my monthly column in Qatar Happening magazine :) 

It’s December and everyone is either gearing up for the National Day festivities, planning for the holiday season, or excited to celebrate the new year. If you’re into fireworks and want to enjoy a time when everyone’s out in the streets with smiles from ear to ear, parades, fireworks, decorated cars (some beautiful and some that make you shudder), and more entertainment than you can handle, make sure to stick around here in Doha.

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem Bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach towards extraordinary heights.  The people of Qatar have always been pushed to make their mark. Education is provided to all Qataris, the 2030 vision gives us a roadmap for our future, and role models like His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani lead by example.

I should really be focusing on the topic of National Day, but I’d like to talk about women. Oh yes. Women. Hard working. Sensitive.  Talented. Perhaps even driven by the fact they want to prove that they’re the future of Qatar.

It’s clear to me that a lot of women paid attention as Qatar grew. Thinking back to my experiences in the work place, I’ve seen women put in double the effort than many men do. They crave responsibilities, study harder, work harder, and take calculated risks. Even the best entrepreneur would envy their work ethic. Of course some would say that I’m generalizing, and I may well be, but remember that I can only talk about my experiences. Need some examples?

Well we’ve got an obvious example like Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Missned. An icon. Making a difference in Qatar AND the world when it comes to Education, humanitarian efforts and mixing that up with fashion trends of course. The message I take away from everything that she’s done is: life’s about leaving behind an enviable legacy of positive change.

Then there’s Aysha Al Mudhehki (and her team of course) that have done a fantastic job with Injaz. Did you know that in 5 years, they’ve reached 5,000 students by bringing together businesses, corporate volunteers, and educators to inspire young people to succeed? She then worked with Shareefa Fadhel to launch the Roudha, a women’s cener for entrepreneurship and innovation.

We also have Buthaina Al Ansari who was ranked 19th on the list of 100 most powerful Arab Women for 2012. She made a big impact for Qatarization at Al Rayan Investment AND founded Qatariat, a company that specializes in helping Qatari women advance in the workforce.

I’ve got to also mention, Maha Al Essa, who’s started her own design agency called 974 Design. An agency that, in my opinion, could compete with some of the biggest ones out there. I’d also like to add that she was my first direct report when I was on the online team at Vodafone. She went from someone with no experience, head first, into a new challenge and came out a star. I’m proud of that.

Many also know, Razan Suliman, who created Bylens Photography as a small startup that’s now turned into the biggest local stock photography company in the country.

I should also mention Ashlee Stratt from the Qatar Happening team who really has to be admired for her patience (especially when she’s following up with me on my articles; sorry!) especially since she’s an editor with a million deadlines!

I then see others like Layla Dorani (who has a fantastic start up idea by the way called RAW ME), Shabina Khatri (the female side of the masterminds behind Doha News), Shaikha Al Mudahka and her team (who are putting together the future generation of designers in Qatar with Dress to Impress), and my list goes on.  Yes not all of the people I’ve mentioned are Qataris, but they’re women. Women in Qatar. Women who are making a difference in Qatar.

I wouldn’t be able to list all of the amazing women who are making an impact (and I apologize to anyone who feels left out), but trust me when I say that I admire all your efforts. When I attended and spoke at the Women Leading Change event (organized by Rachel Petero and her team), I was awed. Oh and I promise that when I was speaking on stage, I was shivering because it was cold, not because there were so many strong women staring at me.

Did you know that the majority of top students and graduates are female?

Did you know that they’re better at multi-tasking? I pride myself on being able to focus. You know what’s better than focus? Being able to focus on everything. and STILL getting it all done.

Did you know that there is a steady rise of female managers and executives?

These ladies are stepping it up and I’m worried that many of us guys are going to be left in the dark, especially since they are that figurative light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to Qatar’s future.

Inshallah my daughters, when I have children one day, can be half the women that these amazing people are.

So what do you say ladies? Care to make my prediction come true? We’re still in 2012 and I think I’ve only just seen the beginning. 2013; The year of women in Qatar.

Thoughts?

Marhaba did a piece on me

That’s nice of Marhaba Magazine, they were very complimentary. If I was a blusher, I would have blushed :D

You can read it here: The elusive Mr Q from iLoveQatar

Qatar’s first iPhone 5 unboxing

In case you missed it a few days ago, here’s Qatar’s first iPhone 5 unboxing video :)

Villaggio is now open (20th Sep 2012) – Updated: 21/9/12

20120920-101017.jpg

So great (or disappointing depending in your perspective) news for the weekend. Villaggio mall is open (or is opening).

@fzaghmout and @queensara33 tipped us that the mall was open. Now I was skeptical. Last time mall management told us that it was opening, they didn’t. I learned that they were always hopeful rather than realistic.

ILQ’s friends, @dohanews, posted that the mall was open after hearing from Villaggio, however I needed a bit more than the managements word. The expression #burnmeonce comes to mind. Havent been to DohaNews? Check them out, they’re awesome.

So asked on twitter and @hamishfs confirmed that he was in the mall itself but very few stores were open.

On our Facebook pages, we were told that people weren’t allowed in because of fired drills and civil defense testing not finished. So people were told to exit.

Extra thanks to @azmiodeh and @haniarif for getting back to me.

Update: now I’m told that people are allowed in. Who’s going to take the first smiley pic in the mall and send it over? :p

Update2: The fire victims families have issued a public letter, read it here.

e-Ink/LCD idea. I should probably patent this idea but…

So I thought of this around 2 years ago but I finally decided to share this concept. I should probably patent it, but oh well, I can’t keep this great idea a secret from the world. (Note: If you’re a major company and want to take this idea, I’m easy to please!).

Basically take a tablet device with two layers. One is a typical LCD/OLED/Color display. The second layer is e-ink with a transparent background. When you want to use your iPad (for example) as a normal tablet device, the e-ink layer would be switched off and since it’s transparent, it would look like you’re using a normal iPad. When it’s time to read a book, the LCD would switch off and the e-ink layer would switch on giving you that nice ‘paper’ looking screen.

This would make reading better, save a great deal on battery, reduce eye-strain, and potential to use the LCD backlight as a backlight for the e-ink screen for night reading.

Anyway, just something that’s always been in my mind.

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.