Breakfast at Le Pain Quotiden…

Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Disclaimer: This blog is not turning into a food blog cause if it was, I'd blog about every new thing I ate. I'm just blogging about food I've enjoyed eating outside and would recommend to others.


1 Lebanese Style Eggs (w/o potatoes)     : AED33
1 Spanish Omelette (w/o potatoes)         : AED29
1 Belgian Waffle with Maple syrup            : AED16
1 Red Fruit Tea                                     : AED12.50
1 Hot Chocolate (Double)                       : AED 17
Total                                                   AED 107.50

With a frame of mind of having some sandwiches for breakfast, me and SJ entered Dubai Mall. We ended up having some eggs.

Being the lazy combo we've been lately, we decided to try PQ aka 'Le Pain Quotiden' as it was right next to the parking entrance to where our cars were parked. The restaurants decent decor helped sway our decision to eat there.

SJ ordered the Red Fruit Tea (pictured above) and the Spanish Omelette (pictured left). The tea was nothing special in my opinion even though SJ gulped it all exclaiming that it felt like drinking blood (not because of the taste but the colour obviously). The Omelette was ridiculously luscious with a divine mixture of olives, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and capsicum. Even though SJ claims to have the ability to make a better version of it, I doubt she could have bettered this.

I ordered Hot chocolate and the Lebanese style eggs (pictured right). The hot chocolate was simple and nice, just the way I like it. The eggs on the other hand was nothing as I expected ( I should have read the description carefully). Curiosity was the reason behind my order and honestly I was a little disappointed even though there was nothing wrong with the taste. The mint leaves was a nice touch but those beef sausages (tiny ones) were too salty and tasted a little odd.

To top off the meal with some dessert, we ordered the Belgian waffle with maple syrup as recommended by SN on twitter. The maple syrup was a little extra sweet and the waffle could have been crispier but when put together, it was just perfect. If we had any space in our tummy, we'd have ordered more but we couldn't so we plan to go back for more.

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Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With a full moon shinning upon us, me and SJ made our way once again to Jadaf; our little escape in the big city. She went off to do her daylight exposures with the film camera while I tried my hand at some light painting again. After some trial and error that led to some amateurish results, I decided to try some daylight exposures of my own.

Digital cameras can't handle very long exposures so to compensate I decided to shoot at f2.8. Some more trial and error brought me to this Pier that I initially shot for a daylight exposure but then brought it down by 2 stops to get this. This in fact is a composite of two images, a technique called focus stacking where I've focused on the horizon in one shot while focusing on the pier in the second shot and they've been put together in photoshop with some layer gradient masking. This allows me to achieve a larger depth of field even though I was shooting at f2.8 giving me the same result that a 30sec shot would have given at a higher aperture but without the noise. Simple but effective.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/21/2010 22:53:27 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 6secs
Av(Aperture Value) : f2.8
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 200
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 35mm

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Dhoom Dubai

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , ,

My first concert. I was asked to cover it as part of Eid in Dubai 2010. I found it easier then I expected but then it was a well lit concert. Had a media pass so I could literally stand next to the stage which was great to get some close up shots of the performers. My 70-200mm lens performed better then I expected and I'm very pleased with a lot of my shots. Took over 500 pictures in a mere 2 hours. Below are some of my favorite shots...

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If You Could Only See

Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , ,

If you could only see the way she loves me
Then maybe you would understand
Why I feel this way about our love
And what I must do
If you could only see how blue her eyes can be when she says
When she says she loves meSayin' you love but you don't
You give your love but you won't
You're stretching out your arms to something that's just not there
sayin you love where you stand
Give you heart when you can

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Cliché sunset shot...

Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/19/2010 17:16:52 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/1250
Av(Aperture Value) : f5.6
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 35mm

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Posted: Monday, November 22, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , ,

Don't you just love it when you come back from a shoot and are proud of a shot you've taken. Well that happened to me but in this case I'm proud of quite a few shots. I'm not going to upload all of them, but here's one I liked the most.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/20/2010 18:46:42 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/200
Av(Aperture Value) : f6.3
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 200
Lens : EF 24-105mm f4 L
Focal Length : 105mm

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I love you...

Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 by Stained in Labels: ,


I love you...
Beyond doubt
Without reason
This is where
I choose to be
This is why
You're everything to me
I love you...a lot
But a lot isn't enough
Being enough isn't the point
Far beyond that
Surpassing anything
But who needs to measure
This seamless emotion
So I just want to say
I love you
And nothing else matters

- Stained

I don't think I've ever written a poem that isn't depressing; this feels odd. Anyway the poems a little corny to say the least, quite basic and a little messed up but I like that

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Eid in Dubai, Zafran and Social Network

Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Eid in Dubai started yesterday on the occasion of Eid al Adha. Every evening they have various events at various malls and some of these events are being covered by me for the organizers itself. Boring but easy work so I don't mind it even though the pay isn't really that high.

Yesterday I was at Mirdiff City Centre, covering 5 bands (Emirati, Moroccon, Indian, Lebanese and Egyptian) that played every 15 minutes apart from breaking for prayers that is. They had an outdoor and indoor stage which made life hell cause past sunset, shooting outdoor was close to impossible. This prompted me to make SJ a voice activated light stand which worked out better then I anticipated. Started shooting at 4:30pm and got done at 8pm as I had to photograph all the bands twice.

Then we headed off to have dinner at Zafran, an Indian/Pakistani fusion restaurant at Mirdiff City Centre, recommended by SJ as she'd photographed there for her magazine earlier. The manager recognized her and gave us a 20% discount on the total bill which we balanced out by tipping most of the discount off.


1 Tawa Murgh                     :  AED 35
1 Lamb Biryani                     :  AED 55
1 Mango Panna                    :  AED 19
1 Mango & Cardaman Lassi     : AED 19
1 Fruit Ice Tea                     : AED 19
Total                                    AED 147

We started off with the Tawa Murgh (pictured below) as our starter, four pieces of chicken patties that reminded me of something my aunt used to make. I liked the texture and the taste of it but found the fact that they crumbled easily a little annoying. SJ on the other hand didn't like them at all. At the same time both of us were busy slurping away our drinks. SJ ordered Mango Panna (pictured left) that she hated cause she was busy comparing it to something she had in India which in my opinion was a little unfair. The taste was a little too strong while the juice itself was quite thick. I ordered the Mango & Cardaman Lassi (pictured above) that was nice in it's own way even though it wasn't rich enough for my taste.

For the main course we ordered the Lamb Biryani which was delicious. Both of us liked the lack of oil and the large quantity of lamb pieces to divulge into though the quantity of rice in comparison was a little less. Having finished my first drink, I ordered a Fruit ice tea which was brain freezing good (literally). The combination of tea and tangy fruitiness to the drink was spot on.

Throughout the meal, the manager and waiters made sure we were happy with the meal and even offered to exchange the mango panna for something else. Great ambiance, decent food and friendly staff, Zafran is worth a second visit for sure.

We topped off the evening with The Social Network. Based on the book 'The Accidental Billionaire' written by Ben Mezrich about the founding of facebook. The story revolves around how Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin launched that was later renamed to About the lawsuit between them and another lawsuit with Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra.

Jesse Eisenberg (playing Mark Zuckerberg) and Andrew Garfield (playing Eduardu Saverin) do a fantastic job making the lead characters believable in ever possible way. They complimented each other and the chemistry they oozed on the big screen was enjoyable to watch. Supporting cast in the form of Armie Hammer (playing Cameron Winklevoss / Tyler Winklevoss), Josh Pence (playing Tyler Winklevoss), Max Minghella (playing Divya Narendra), Justin Timberlake (playing Sean Parker) and the various lawyers were well written and performed faultlessly. Justin Timberlake once again proved that he can in fact act and the combination of Armie Hammer and Josh Pence playing the twins was like watching a tennis match between the same player even though it was technically played by the same actor. Very well done in my opinion.

When I first heard about the Facebook film, I was quite skeptical. But honestly, David Fincher (director) has done a fabulous job making this film entertaining and serious at the same time. The screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin might be slightly dramatic but brilliant in a clever sense of way as he has managed to add enough friction to the story to make it a true entertainer while staying true to the basic storyline based on the main characters real life experiences.

No one really knows how exaggerated the book originally was as Ben Mezrich was never able to speak to Mark Zuckerberg while writing the book. His main source of information was co-founder Eduardo Savrin and court documents released to him. So irrespective of how genuine the story is, it makes one good film, worthy a watch in the theater. The added fact that Facebook is in fact a real website, something I used to be addicted to gives the film that added edge making it further interesting to viewers like me.

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Plants cars and getting wet

Posted: by Stained in Labels: , , , ,

After the vada pav at Urban Tadka, this is what me and SJ were upto.

Basically I had to shift the remaining stuff i.e. plants, pots, stools, odd leftovers etc to my new house. Coincidently SJ was around so I decided to take her help. We got sweaty, dirty and wet in the process which also left my car quite messy on the inside to compliment the filthy outside. But it was fun in the usual. Anyway shifting has been completed, and we're trying to settle into our new home. This should be fun...I think.

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Eid Mubarak

Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , ,

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/10/2010 17:41:14 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/100
Av(Aperture Value) : f3.2
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 200
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 35mm

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Urban Tadka

Posted: Monday, November 15, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , ,

Winter is still busy being somewhere else which means Dubai is still hot and hazy. This inevitably forces me and SJ to shoot cityscapes early in the morning to get decent results. Early morning means breakfast which unfortunately isn't well catered to in Dubai especially on Friday mornings. Our choices are pretty limited to Ravi, Karachi darbar or something similar. Not the healthiest of choices but worth an indulge once in a while. And then SJ swooped in and recommended Urban Tadka. Situated in Karama(location map), it serves the best vada pav I've had in the UAE or the middle east by a far shot. I've ordered it every single time I've been there i.e. I've yet to taste anything else on their menu. Best part is, it's value for money which puts this on our highly recommended list (at least for their vada pav for now). I even dragged Sagaris there though they were unfortunately closed then. Oddly they've stopped serving vada pao for breakfast recently but we still managed to order 4 as SJ can be quite persuasive.


4 Vada Pav                     :  AED 20
2 Masala Chai (tea)           :  AED 4
2 Small bottle of water     :  AED 2
Total                               AED 26

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Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , ,

I usually don’t blog about food as much as I should or could. I’m not a foodie nor claim to be one (cause everyone else in Dubai seems to be one nowadays); I’m just someone who is quite picky about what goes in his mouth; a little too picky as some people close to me would know. Basically if it smells or looks bad, I don’t care if it’s the most delicious thing in the world, I won’t eat it. On the contrary, if something looks too good, I’m usually not too keen on eating it either. Also if it has a name I do not understand, I skip it (even though it’s my lack of understanding of different cuisines at fault). My only claim to fame (or annoyance for the people around) is my different or weird taste buds that usually disagree with everyone else around. To put it all together, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food; I prefer sticking with food I like instead of having something that I possibly might not like.

It all comes down to the fact that I’m quite hard to please; being the pessimist I am. This with my certain pungent to be a little too honest (read: harsh) about everything and anything that exists makes a bad combination for the people who try to cook for me. I am usually hardest on the people closest to me; one reason my mom calls me her biggest critic as I’m able to pickle out the smallest of mistakes or changes she might have made in the recipe.

My past inability to have spicy food has always been an obstacle for me to enjoy certain kind of dishes but with some practice, this is being triumphed over. I’ve also become a bit of a risk taker in the sense that lately I’ve been eating out a lot due to certain circumstances (read: SJ). With her assured urge to keep trying out unusual restaurants, I’ve eaten food at places I’ve never heard of. I’ve eaten some of the most delicious sandwiches to some very bad pasta courtesy her brilliant decision skills and my (sometimes bitter) stand to avoid wasting any food. My taste buds are certainly enjoying this rollercoaster ride even though my stomach seems to hate the front row seat.

A change in my food habits and possibly becoming a part of the foodie clan (*shudders*) are certain possibilities in the recipe. Time to mix and match the spices….

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Missing playmates

Posted: Thursday, November 04, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

After scaring off a few couples sitting in cars with our super powerful torchlights, me and SJ decided to have some fun. She was busy doing some day time exposures with her Canon film camera, I did some light painting shots with my 7D that unfortunately sucks at day time exposure due to high noise at any shutter speed over 30 seconds with digital cameras. So while she sat next to her camera, I decided to light her up and bits of the sand with my torchlight to imitate spotlights.

I really didn't know what to caption this picture so I asked on facebook if anyone had any ideas. Feroz came up with this title which I kinda like though SJ finds it kinda funny...

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 10/23/2010 23:00:04 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 30secs
Av(Aperture Value) : f10
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 22mm

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Posted: Wednesday, November 03, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In march 2004, I joined a car forum. I was 17 years old, used to communicate online in SMS language, my English was dreadful (still is in some ways), made a few friends, quite a few enemies and made a fool of myself trying to argue with some people who were making fun of Islam. In the end I got banned.

Yesterday I met Sagaris, a friend I'd made on the forum who's here on vacation with his parents. It was good to at last meet him as I was unable to meet him when I was in the UK last year as he was busy driving across America in a mustang. Anyway decided to play a guide to him and Sanj (SJ's cousin brother) yesterday.

Was woken up by SJ at 5:45am as we had to leave by 6am. Managed to get out by 6:10am and headed off to Sheraton Deira to pick up Sagaris. Then picked up SJ and Sanj.

Sj wanted to take Sanj to the beach so we headed straight to Jumeirah beach residence.

After several boring minutes, I managed to drag them off to the Arenco building in Dubai Media City to enthrall both the tourists with a view from the 31st floor. After spending an hour or so there (that included 10mins of contradicting the receptionist who was comparing the London tube and the Dubai metro), we made our way to Al Reef Lebanese Bakery to munch on some cheese manakeesh. Sagaris wasn't feeling adventurous so he skipped it. Then we headed off to the the Textile market in Bur Dubai to show them the Dubai creek and Al Bastakiya area.
We then took an Abra ride to Deira, walked to the next abra station looking with awe at the men loading boxes bigger then themselves onto boats
Took the Abra back to Bur Dubai and briskly made our way to some air conditioning i.e. the Dubai Museum. This was my first time there after it was refurbished/upgraded. It wasn't very exciting and we got done with it in a mere 30 minutes.
We made our way next to the Al Aweer used car market being the car freaks me and Sagaris were. It was 38'C which meant it was quite hot for my fair skinned friend, but we still walked around for around half an hour making fun of a few Aston Martins, staring dreamily at a Red Ferrari 328 and getting tempted by some cheap mustangs.

After a quick stop over at a petrol pump to replenish ourself, we randomly drove into the industrial area of Sharjah where I pointed out some garages that sell pieces of cars and explained about the shady business where parts of different cars are put together. Something Sagaris found interesting and weird at the same time.

We made our way then to Khalid lagoon where Sagaris found the Blue souk (also known as Central market souq) quite interesting. We had even decided to stop and check it from the inside but a quick plan change had us driving down at the legal speed limit on the university road as we tried to figure out where the Old Car museum was. We managed to find it and started gawking at the huge collection of vintage cars. With a entrance fee of just AED3, it's a must for any car affectionate. Sagaris and me had a ball of a time checking and commenting on the cars.
Then it was time to head home. 7 hours and 200+kms of fun. Hopefully the next time I'll meet Sagaris, we'll be hurtling down in a mustang on some British country road...

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It's AbdulRazzak

Posted: Monday, November 01, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Abdul Razzak scored a century to lead Pakistan to victory over South Africa. I'm talking about a cricket match that ended just a few hours back in Abu Dhabi (click here for more information). The Pakistanis on twitter obviously went mad being the hypocrites they are i.e. hate the players when they make small mistakes but go mad when they win and spamming timelines about how great the player/s are. They've started calling Abdul Razzak a legendary player which is plain ridiculous. People like Wasim Akram, Javed Miadad, Waqar YounisInzamam-ul-Haq etc are legends, not a noob like Abdul Razzak. I know calling him a noob is going a little far but in comparison to the REAL legends, he looks ordinary to say the least. He's got a long way to go to even get close to their skill and quality.

Moving on to the real reason for this post. Now the majority of the Pakistanis going mad are well Muslims. And like most Muslims in this modern world, they forget those minor things that we are not supposed to do (I don't claim to be any better but honestly it's these little things that I hold on to while ignoring the bigger picture). The cricketers name is Abdul Razzak, pronounced together so to make things easier, the name should technically be spelled Abdulrazzak. Unfortunately almost everyone calls him Razzaq, shortening the name would generally be fine in most cases but over here it's wrong. Razzak is one of Allah's name in the Holy Qu'ran so you can't call a human that (for more information about Allah's names, click here). So watching the word Razzak trending on twitter was great (as it stands for Allah), but the reason it was trending wasn't right.

There is so much more to Islam then people tend to follow or choose to understand, wish it wasn't like that. Honestly ignorance is one of the biggest issues faced by Muslims today, more than anything else.

In the end, well played Abdul Razzaq. I hope this makes the rest of the Pakistan team play better cause as an Indian, I do like to see our neighbor play well....

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