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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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The Best Caramel Sauce You’ll Make

Salted Caramel Sauce

On the day I made eggplant parmesan, I wanted a simple dessert since I’d spent so much time in the kitchen already.  I also wanted to use up some of my extra brownie bites that I popped in the freezer.  Inspiration struck, or rather craving struck.  I decided to make homemade salted caramel sauce, then make sundaes with vanilla ice cream, caramel, brownie bites, toasted pecans and whipped cream.  Man, they were good.  Word to the wise, this salted caramel sauce will appeal to even caramel traditionalists, who like their sauce sweet without any added foodie twists (Amina, I mean you).  You barely taste the salt, it just highlights the sweetness of the sauce, and the reason for this is using salted butter as opposed to adding additional salt.  It tastes rich, and has a complex flavor that ready made caramel sauces lack.  It doesn’t taste like just any super sweet sugar syrup, you actually taste the toffee undertones.  It is surprisingly easy, requiring 5 minutes of active time, you just need to keep an eye on the caramel to make sure it doesn’t burn, because once going it cooks really fast.  Basically, just make this, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.  It lasts in a jar in the fridge for two weeks, and trust me you’ll find a lot of uses for it.  I’ll add some recipes with uses for the sauce very soon.

Caramel Sauce- Makes around 1 cup of sauce.  Source: Joy the Baker cookbook

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (I didn’t have this on hand so I substituted maple syrup-turned out great)
  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) good-quality salted butter (I like an Irish or French butter)
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup to the warming pan. Whisk the sugar occasionally as it begins to heat, to ensure that the sugar cooks evenly.

This is how it will look when you first start

 Cook the sugar to a nice dark copper color. The sugar will go from golden to dark copper fairly quickly. To help control the sugar, turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool burner just before you reach the dark color you’d like. The bottom of the pan will still be hot enough to continue to cook the sugar.
 Over low heat, whisk butter, all at once, into the copper-colored sugar. When butter is melted, pour in the cream. The mixture will bubble and froth, but keep mixing. When bubbling subsides, add vanilla extract. Stir. The caramel might feel too loose. Don’t worry; it will thicken as it cools.

You’re done! Enjoy this amazingness

 Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To thin, warm in the microwave for a few seconds until you reach the desired consistency.

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