I did not account for a 15-hour layover in London’s Heathrow’s airport. Fortunately, running into Lana Del Rey and grazing on English potato crisps made up for it. Notably, crisps which were steak and onion flavored, allowed me to relive my expatriate days when my sister and I would gush over the salt, fat, and crunch a packet of Walker’s crisps would deliver.
Riding the waves of pop culture, I read “The Hunger Games” imbibing on Flat Whites from Costa and Eat. The purgatory of transit can be quite a taxing affair, unleashing an inevitable sense of melancholia when you’re on your own with your thoughts. Having said that, Heathrow’s airport signage was a pleasant distraction, particularly their mark for women’s toilets. I especially admired the substitution of the female’s ubiquitous triangle (implying a skirt) for a bubble dress of some sort.
The final hours of waiting prior to boarding, I wondered the terminals aimlessly. What struck me then was the plethora of impeccably-clad male travelers. Business jaunts on a Monday morning, I presumed. Inspecting the swarms of European suiting and exquisite shoes, I asserted that this region’s men know a thing or two about utility and managing to look more than presentable.
Finally arriving in Doha, I exchanged embraces with a familiar mild April heat. At my mother’s I was greeted not only by her presence but her Hummus, Lob el Koosa (sautéed inner flesh of Middle Eastern Zuchinni) and bulgar salad. Over and above that, sweet, hot, mint tea, and a generous slice of date cake with walnuts made up for all the international hassle I had endured in the last 48 hours.
A Levantine take on Egyptian Kosharee was a memorable lunch. Browned lentils with pasta, fried onion, cilantro and a sweet-hot-tomato sauce. Equally delicious was a baked Kibbe tray most rich, glistening with olive oil. It was moistened with ground lamb and spiced bulgar, pomegranate molasses, and pine nuts.
Fattoush paved the way for a fresh and acidic segue. Melba wheat toast offered a healthy alternative to the dish’s pivotal fried pita chip, doused with olive oil and tangy sumac.
Satiating my craving for Hamour, my most prized Arabian fish of sorts, I indulged in a seafood filled evening at L’wazaar, one of few, local, boutique seafood concepts around here. In a city that measures its cred with the name dropping of international labels, franchises, and chains, it’s always refreshing to experience a local venture that delivers something both delicious and own-able to the region.