What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack

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Updated 25 February 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack

Pita Pack is a Saudi sandwich shop with a diverse international menu. From traditional proteins to fresh salads, Pita Pack offers the experience of a quick bite that is both wholesome and familiar, which you can enjoy alone or with friends.

The recipes are inspired by a fusion of western culture and Arabian flavors.

The shop has a lively approach to naming its orders — deploying pop-culture puns, energetic language and casual vocabulary.

The sandwiches are made with fresh, light, medium-size pita buns, tortillas and brioche bread.

In addition to the more than 30 options on the menu, including vegan, seafood, beef and chicken, their tender American Philly cheesesteak sandwich is one of the best.

If you were thinking of offering your friends in the office or your family a brunch or dinner on the go, the shop offers "Pita box," a family-size option that includes an array of 20 different sandwiches of your choice.

Each order has its special sauce to complement the ingredients used. The restaurant also offers a selection of internationally inspired appetizers and salads.

It is located in Jeddah, Hilmi Kutbi Street, Al-Zahra district.

For more information visit Instagram @pitapackksa.
 

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Where We Are Going Today: Arches Coffee House

Updated 05 October 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Arches Coffee House

With plenty of natural sunlight seeping in from the windows, Arches Coffee House in Alkhobar is the perfect little getaway from your desk if you’re on deadline and want a slight change of scenery. Under many of the chairs, there are outlets so you can charge your device as you recharge, too.

On the afternoon of our visit, people with laptop bags had them leaning on the walls as they sipped their beverages quietly while looking out of the window.

If you do not want to read your notifications or respond to emails, an area in the back contains a bookshelf with a selection of books to browse and borrow. A few games are available there too, if you feel like passing the time in that way.

The cafe has a selection of savory and sweet delights, notably the mozzarella and tomato danish, their labna with zataar croissant and their raspberry eclair and date cake.

The barista recommended we try their banana pudding, a glass jar containing layers of fresh banana slices smothered with custard-like creamy goodness with a sort of cake base at the bottom.

They recently introduced matcha to the menu and it is offered in both hot and iced varieties. Beverages can be made with regular full-fat milk or one can choose lacto-free milk and they offer Alpro brand’s barista coconut variety, almond or soya as options.

Also at the barista’s recommendation, I tried their pineapple iced tea, which was refreshing. The iced tea had tiny pieces of fruit floating in the cup to nibble on. What I liked was how the iced beverage contained round ice cubes which melted very slowly and did not water down the drink rapidly.

The cafe, as the name implies, has arches. The white ceilings are carved to honor their architectural inspiration.

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Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky

Updated 03 October 2022

Where We Are Eating Today: Flaky

Alkhobar has a cool new restaurant in town — a whole place dedicated to crispy chicken born and breaded locally.

With the slogan “Crunch it out,” Flaky opened up earlier this year on the trendy Alkhobar City Walk. The main wall upon entering the eatery is decorated with a giant hand-painted chicken with sunglasses.

With a small seating area to the side and a sink so that you can wash your hands before and after a deep fried feast with sauces galore, Flaky is a good spot to stop for a quick bite or to indulge in for a longer time.

Flaky promises that every single chicken it sells is locally raised. Then the restaurant’s free-range chickens are chilled to ensure optimal freshness and are fried to order.

The original burger consists of crunchy chicken slathered with melted cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and some pickles to add a tangy punch between a perfectly toasted bun. It comes with a spicy option as well — the same concept with a different homemade sauce.

They also offer a maple sriracha burger, a buffalo burger and a Nashville burger — which promises to be a bit hot.

For those who want brunch in a bite, Flaky offers a chicken n’ waffle option in original and in Nashville-style. They also offer chicken strips and, of course, french fries: Original and loaded Flaky fries.

There are eight kind of sauces for SR3 ($0.8) a pop. Most of Flaky’s burgers are around SR30 and the fries are separate.

This summer, Flaky started to offer little ice cream bites in what they refer to as the “guilt-free zone.” The bites are layered with vanilla ice cream and coated in chocolate.

They now also offer mojitos in addition to bottled water and sodas.

Working hours are daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on most days and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays. Check Flaky’s Instagram page @flaky.sa for more info.

Delivery apps like Hunger Station, Jahez and The Chefz can have your Flaky order sent right to your front door.


Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast

Updated 01 October 2022

Alkhobar chill: Gioelia Cremeria offers a taste of Italy on Saudi Arabia’s east coast

A cool new ice cream cafe and shop has opened on Alkhobar City Walk, offering visitors a true taste of Italy.

Owned and run by local man Bader Al-Hussaini and his family, Gioelia Cremeria Italiana is packed full of tasty delights — from thirst-quenching fruity gelato and chocolate cakes to cookies and cannoli.

Before opening the store in mid-September — the first outlet of the famous brand in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East — Al-Hussaini and his father traveled to Italy to sample the products they would be selling.

On opening day the place was packed with happy customers young and old as they sampled the dozen or so treats on offer.

Al-Hussaini recommended we try the pistachio gelato, and it tasted like summer in a cup. The creamy texture of the ice cream combined with chips of pistachio was neither overwhelming nor too subtle. It also came with a thin wafer on the top to give it extra crunch.

As well as the desserts — available for eat-in or takeaway — the shop offers a wide range of hot and iced coffees, smoothies, frappes, and bottles of sparkling and still water from Italy.

Al-Hussaini said his personal favorite was the gelato, “because I really like it and we don’t have many gelato shops here in Alkhobar.”

He told Arab News that unlike most ice creams, gelato does not contain much water, “which makes it more creamy.”

Gioelia Cremeria Italiana is open from 4 p.m. to midnight.

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Where We Are Going Today: Bread Ahead

Updated 25 August 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Bread Ahead

Bread Ahead is a bakery that has traveled straight from London to Jeddah, and takes the doughnut scene in the city to the next level. The doughnuts are displayed on their side, and the fillings ooze out in perfect peaks. 

The melt-in-the-mouth doughnuts are like little clouds that makes the tastebuds explode with happiness when you bite into them.

The blackcurrant cheesecake version, for example, creates an explosion of flavors that perfectly balance sweet and sour.

If doughnuts are the highlight, the rest of the goodies on offer are not far behind. The perfect croissants can be enjoyed plain or with flavors such as pistachio chocolate and almonds.

Their bread and buns can be taken home, or you can order sandwiches and French toast from their sourdough or brioche selection.

They also serve pizza made in the authentic Italian way. They have kept the flavors simple but have perfected the taste of each.

The business not only aims to spread happiness through baked goods but also to spread knowledge through its baking school. You can register for the baking school through the website.

They hold small master classes that focus on just one kind of skill.

You can attend the classes regardless of where you are in your baking journey: beginner or an expert, there is something for everyone.

The classes are sometimes specific to a certain region, such as the eastern European or the Greek baking workshops.

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Review: Sleep app Loóna will give you a restful night

Updated 12 August 2022

Review: Sleep app Loóna will give you a restful night

Having good, uninterrupted, and peaceful sleep is essential for proper health because that is when the body is in recovery mode, a good sleep, or lack of it, directly affects the immune system.

A lack of good sleep has become a common problem with the overuse of mobile phones and poor lifestyle choices.

I found an app that improved my quality of sleep so much. Loóna introduces calming activities to keep and hold your focus long enough to slow down your racing thoughts. It takes you to sleepscape visuals with the theme of your choice: Oriental garden, fairytale castle, legendary temple, serene glade, a secluded harbor at night, or tranquil suburbs.

The sleepscape sounds are divided into five categories: Nature (campfire, rustling leaves, nighttime), water (rain, waves, river), wildlife (chirps, cicadas, whales), urban (coffee shop, humming downtown), and ASMR (vinyl crackle, cat purring, raindrops). You can choose your narrative style: Realistic, fairytale, sentimental, mysterious, nostalgic, and adventure.

After choosing the preferred themes and sounds for the customized sleepscape, you set your sleep schedule, your bedtime, and when you wake up. It counts your sleep duration and starts powering down for bed around your desired bedtime.  

So, if you choose to have your bedtime at 10:30 p.m. Loóna will gradually relax your mind around 9:30 p.m. through a wind-down zone. At 10:30 p.m., you leave your phone, stay away from bright lights, and fall asleep to the sleepscape stories. When you wake up at 8:00 a.m., you gently transition from being asleep to being awake. I enjoyed the interactive and calming activity the first time I used it. It was a 15-minute dive into Chinese myths and legends where I focused on coloring paper lanterns, origami birds, the shrine, and the dragon. It quietened my mind.

I played a calming story afterward and dozed off to sleep.

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