Tag Archives: coffee

Ritz Carlton Bahrain Gourmet Lobby Lounge Review

The weather is amazing.  And when the weather is amazing in Bahrain, people jump at the chance for al fresco dining.  A place that I’ve been gradually hearing more buzz about is the newly opened Ritz Gourmet Lobby Lounge outdoor terrace.  The setting is beautiful, with comfortable chairs on a patio overlooking the manicured grounds and swimming pool of one of the swankiest hotels in Bahrain.  Sheesha is available, with a multitude of flavor combinations, which for many will be a huge drawing point.  Indoors, the decor is very reminiscent of London afternoon tea parlors, and is elegant and luxurious without being overdone.  I was most excited about their dessert sundaes, since I feel there is a real lack of sundae places in Bahrain.  We ordered saffron tea, american coffee, tiramisu sundaes, oreo brownie sundaes, and the lobster mac and cheese to try.  The saffron tea was delicious, it had an exotic undertone of flavor without being overpowering.  The lounge also has an extensive tea cocktail menu, which is cold blended tea drinks that I still haven’t tried.  Next came the lobster mac and cheese. 

It was good, but nothing that I’d really crave again.  The sauce was mild and creamy, the lobster pieces were good sized but the whole combination seemed to lack a little flavor.  A few bites, and I was bored of the dish and ready for dessert.  And dessert came looking very good.

The portion size was good, filling without being excessive, and surprisingly I liked the tiramisu sundae more.  The coffee poured over it gave the ladyfingers a nice moistness and the white chocolate whipped cream gave the needed sweetness.  The oreo and brownie sundae was good, but nothing amazing.  The brownie bits were a little dry and the oreos being present in their whole form instead of crumbled also made the sundae a little dry and hard to eat. 

What redeems the Ritz’s lounge for its exorbitant prices (3.300 BD for coffee, 4 BD for each sundae) and slightly above average food is the beautiful ambiance and the setting in which you eat.  I felt like I was somewhere other than Bahrain, the pleasing views, comfortable chairs and attentive service made this a place I know I’ll go again and again.  Only next time, I think I’ll stick to drinks and dessert maybe choosing something from their exquisite looking pastry display case.  Check out the full menu here!

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Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Fall Pumpkin Recipes

There are some great recipes coming up this week, but before I get posting, I wanted to do another fall recipe roundup.  As Halloween looms closer and closer, pumpkins are taking over the food blogosphere.  For me, this is a very good thing because pumpkins are one of my favorite flavors for cooking and baking.  Their mild and creamy flavor makes them the perfect pairing to tangy cream cheese frosting, cinnamon and spices, and as the hearty backdrop of many savory dishes.  The appearance of pumpkin on menus once again serves to cement autumn’s presence in our lives, and I look forward to the slow but gradual advancement of winter-below you’ll find some recipes I am excited to try, and you should be too!

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing Brown Eyed Baker

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins Brown Eyed Baker

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe Girl (Great way to use up extra pumpkin puree!)

Baked Pumpkin and Sour Cream Puddings Smitten Kitchen

Simple Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles My Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Pie Bars Annie’s Eats

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Smitten Kitchen

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes (I love flavored pancakes!) Joy the Baker

Pumpkin Risotto The New York Times

Pumpkin Soup The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Now go buy some pumpkins! (Or canned pumpkin puree, as I tend to)

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Filed under Desserts, Main Meals

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If I’m going to imagine my ultimate dessert, it wil probably be something rich and chocolatey, gooey and warm. Or maybe my all time favorite, chocolate chip cookies with smooth chewy toffee centers and crispy edges. But every once in a while, I’ll feel like a really simple, plain coffee cake. The type with buttery white cake swirled with cinnamon and toped with a nutty crispy streusel. I’ve tried several recipes, all delicious, but this one by Ina Garten baked in a bundt cake pan made for an ideal dessert to take to a friends house that was met with rave reviews. The texture of the cake is made super light and fluffy by using cake flour instead of all purpose, and the streusel baked in the center gave a nice edge over coffee cakes that are only topped with streusel. I had cake flour with me, from the states (I haven’t yet found in Bahrain) but there is a really easy substitute that I’ll list below. Take this with you next time you are invited anywhere, and you’ll be invited back really soon!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) *
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

*Click this link for a step by step tutorial on how to subsitute normal flour for cake flour.  It’s really easy, doesn’t really need a tutorial but this really helps illustrate it.

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional (I love nuts in baking, so I added the walnuts.  Pecans would be great too!)

* For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup

* I actually made the glaze, using real maple syrup no less, tasted it, and immediately decided not to use it.  I felt the cake would be more than sweet enough, and I didn’t regret my decision.  If you feel like you’d like the glaze on your cake by all means go ahead!

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, and if using the glaze drizzle it on top when the cake is completely cool.

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Filed under Cakes, Desserts, Uncategorized