I loved being in the United Arab Emirates so much on my first trip that I couldn’t stay away much longer! This past December (I left on Christmas Day!), with my husband John this time, we flew into Dubai and headed to the fabulous Fairmont Abu Dhabi, where I opened their new Chameleon Bar & Night Club on New Year’s Eve! The club is amazing—all decked out in black, gold and mirrors, with an imported London DJ spinning hip tunes. This bar is FABOO! I had a great time creating the cocktail menu. From the plethora of incredible fresh fruit juices delivered daily to the fabulous selection of spirits, it was a creative playground. The menu features over 22 drinks … my favorite being the Bollywood! Tanqueray Ten gin, fresh mint, fresh pineapple and lime juices and a housemade light curry syrup—shaken and served up with a poof of coconut rose foam and a sprinkling of red edible gold flakes … Bling Bling!!
But to get there, we had to go through making a lot of drinks … and I mean a lot. Hey, it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it! The crew as always was amazing! What a wonderful group of guys to work with!
And while I was there, CNN contacted me … woo hoo! So, armed with my mini computer and SKYPE, I did a super-fun live piece on 2010 cocktail trends—straight from the hotel bar! Check out the CNN link here.
The Chameleon Bar Crew Ashwin, the Chameleon Manager
At the hotel’s Bliss Floral Studio—love the Sparkly Stools and the pink of course!
We opened with great success on New Year’s Eve and, whew, it was a long night. Bars there stay open much later than in the US.
The next day I got to relax a bit. Yes, it was New Year’s, so that called for room service breakfast (delicious Arabic breakfast!) while watching the camel races on TV—to me, probably just as boring to watch as football … but I guess it’s relaxing?
Arabic Room Service Breakfast Finally, I see a camel!
After we got the bar open and up and running, we headed into Abu Dhabi to be total tourists. We visited the Cultural Heritage Center, which covers local products such as dates and fish, crafts, and exhibits of traditional living quarters; there is a fun museum as well … all free to visitors! The view from the heritage center across the water is amazing—and, speaking of the water, it is super, super clear blue. And the local fish is absolutely delicious! I loved it—prepared just simply seared or in Indian curries. (And, yes, I ate the best Indian food I have ever had!)
John at the Cultural Center in Abu Dhabi Pedestrian Crossing Sign!
John and I packed back with us some fantastic spices, dried fruits, dates and a giant Shisha pipe (yes, they looked at this weird in Security) and some great Middle Eastern dance music … along with some hard-to-find Cuban rum! and an amazing genever gin from our stop at Amsterdam … sounds like a party to me!
From Arabic to Lebanese to Iranian, we had our fill of some fantastic cuisine this trip—and I can’t say enough about all the wonderful people there. It’s nice to know we have so many wonderful new friends on the other side of the world. Thank you, Facebook!
Ok—now moving on to the serious stuff … DANCING!
I’m in Seattle Dances! And I need your votes!
Watch out, Seattle! I’m putting on my dancing shoes and kicking up some trouble! The Plymouth Housing Group in partnership with Hallie Kuperman and the Century Ballroom is holding their own “Dancing with the Stars” Seattle version, called Seattle Dances! From now until the big event on Saturday, March 13, six other Seattle celebrities and I will each be trying to get in as many practices as we can. Winners are chosen by pledge votes as well as a People’s Choice award at the event.
You can vote for me online and help Plymouth Housing—an amazing charity I am proud to be dancing for! Or buy a seat and check out the action yourself!
Miami Here We Come!
This next weekend we’re heading to Miami for the Cheers Beverage Show. We’ll be presenting on Bitters in the Bar and Innovation in Beverage. I’ll also be featured as a celebrity bartender and shaking up a tasty Manhattan Bellini … (ri)1 rye, peach puree, red vermouth, my housemade harvest bitters—topped with a splash of Chandon Champagne and garnished with a gold gilded cherry!
Mark Your Calendars for Some Tasty Fun!
Thursday February 4th
I will be headed to the Uptown Met Market (located near the Space Needle), making a special appearance for the “bachelor” singles mixer event. The event will be featuring some of my appetizers (from my book Sips & Apps) served in the event room and I will be signing my books at the front kiosk from 6–8 pm. Come by and say hi!
Saturday February 6th
I’ll be shaking up a signature cocktail for the Seattle Hotel Association’s 13th Annual “Evening of Hope” Gala. The benefit event supports the Pike Place Market Foundation. Purchase a ticket and enjoy a fabulous dinner, a silent and live auction, a bedtime- fashion show, and some fantastic travel opportunities. I hope to see you there!
Sunday February 28th
I will be headed to the Seattle Food & Wine Event at the Seattle Exhibition Center from 1–5 pm. You can catch me at the Columbia Winery booth, where the first 300 people will get free copies of my Northwest Table cookbook! It will be a day of signing books and chatting wine! Purchase your tickets now and spread the word!
March 27th – 28th
Pencil in your calendars the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival—where my team and I will be stirring up all kinds of fun! Chowder cook-off’s, clamming—and there’s rumor of a Clam Fashion Show, too. More info to come—but mark the date for a weekend of small-town fun!
Here’s to cooking up lots of great fun in 2010!