Behold, the tallest flagpole in the world!
This is located in Abu Dhabi, where I've just spent the past week visiting my sister and her boyfriend. Apparently it took the largest crane in the Middle East (which is saying something) to erect said pole, and this crane weighed a hefty 1200 tonnes. This flagpole took two years to be designed by engineers from the US, UAE and the UK.
Can you tell I spent rather a lot of time with someone working in construction?
Anyway, the first proper meal I had on our first day was Lebanese. It was a perfect introduction to the food filled week ahead, and was just the right amount of refreshing flavours to stop me from going into meltdown at the shock of the 38°C heat. 38°C! I've never been anywhere this hot - it later rose to 43°C at one point during the week. I kept scoffing at having to take taxis everywhere, but really; it was too hot to walk.
First to arrive was this tabbouleh. It was very different from any other tabbouleh I've had in that it seemed to be 90% parsley whereas others I've had used much more bulgar wheat. This and the rocket salad behind it gave refreshing relief to the deep-fried dishes that shortly followed.
The table was positively heaving before long. Calamari, olives and houmous were great, although I noticed the houmous was much milder in garlic than any I've had before. I also had kibbeh, a minced lamb ball fried, for the first time. Unfortunately I wasn't brave enough to order the 'kibbeh naye', which is raw kibbeh eaten a bit like steak tartar.
Much to my delight, they also brought us a plate of pickles. I'm not quite sure what it is about anything pickled, but I really can't get enough of them. I sometimes buy cheeseburgers from McDonalds just for the gherkins.
We couldn't identify what the pink pickled vegetable was - any ideas?
We also ordered the falafel and a mixed grill. The grill was apparently something of a let-down in size according to my Lebanese-expert companions, but it nevertheless we were no where near close to finishing it all.
Le Méridien Abu Dhabi
Tourist Club Area
Abu Dhabi 46066
United Arab Emirates
Tel: (971)(2) 644 6666