Parakeets have started flying in the sky. Winter has crept into Dubai. It is that time of the year, when the whole social whirl starts.. Thankfully, the whirl has started moving away from the ritzy evening dos with designer shoes and practiced grins for the camera into the other skins of the city. Like Tweetups and community events.
Maybe Twitter was responsible and maybe Wild Peeta, Nick Rego, Fooderati Arabia, Lin, and a few others who started creating a space in the hearts of those who took the road less travelled, foodies and more soul-satiated folks. Such as Nomad Urbanistas like me..
Also thanks to the fabulous Dubai Metro’s Green and Red Lines which interweave and connect most of the city into a more accessible and socially interactive space. And to the city, which post-recession like most cities, started to reassess and look at what really matters in life. One such event is Bakefest DXB..
It started off at Wild Peeta two years ago. The fusion shawarma resturant, which also very generously lets SMEs and other social groups use their premises for community events first played host to Bakefest, when it was a small joint in Dubai Healthcare City…
Cut to 2011, its tony location, next to the World Trade Centre and bang outside the Dubai Metro Red Line, still plays generous host to community networking. The owners and brothers – Mohamed and Peyman Al Awadi – actually step back during events with their Wu Wei philosophy – an encouraging word here and a few quips there. Plus I have seen them buy something from every stand and give a new sense of dignity to the community whom they have given free space in the first place for such tweetups and SME-oriented occasions.
BakefestDXB 3 was done differently. Nick Rego asked the community to vote this time – so the bakers were exhibiting by popular demand. When I walked into Wild Peeta on Nov 26, the sun was shining brightly and the buzz was palpable.
Nick incidentally is a great baker and Toffee Princess is my fav sweet fix with her to-die-for cappuccino and camel milk fudge, though a bit pricey.
Since I had to go for a journo buddies lunch, I bought from the two instead of any tasting. A sweet rush on an empty stomach is not something I love anymore but the cakes, pastries and other edibles were so tempting that I clicked a few shots with my Nikon D60 on the go.
Chirag’s display was khatta meetha (Hindi for sweet-n-sour) since he had a rose and cottage cheese concoction that was reminiscent of a rabbadi (reduced milk sweet) alongside dhoklas (a Gujarati steamed savoury made with chickpea flour).
Melting Moments had this wicked chocolate cake.
But what really melted my heart was little Sara who had chocolate smeared all over her face and was joyously trying out everything her mum bought.
Went back by the Metro to Karama and then to Calicut Paragon – a foodie’s delight. At least 25 people were sitting outside and waiting for their turn. But the restaurant started serving lime juice to those seated outside. We fell hook, line and sinker for such extended hospitality and decided to continue to wait. Soon we were digging into into mutton biryani, tribal chicken and the absolutely divine Hammour Fish Fillet with kandari milagu (the Malayalam name for fiery tiny chillies) and agreed that life is beautiful.
Two hours later, I dug into a brownie bought from Nick’s table. Perfection with a crusty topping reminiscent of a blondie and a slight aftermath of chilli. Wicked.