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Christmas Time…Turkey Time! December 25, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Food.

It’s that time of year when households across the globe serve up a large succulent turkey, filled with a delicious blend of stuffing, complimented with a wide array of scrumptious side dishes.

Unlike regular folks, the four words that come to my mind whenever Christmas roles around each year:  turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.

I usually watch eyes wide open, mesmerized, as someone grabs a large knife and carefully slices the turkey open, only to reveal a treasure chest of stuffing within.  When asked whether I’d prefer red or white meat, I always request white.  The large, white, tender piece of turkey breast is placed on my plate, which is then topped with spoonfuls of stuffing and mashed potatoes, and finally flooded with mouth-watering gravy.  I may add some vegetables if the space on my plate permits.

Serving after serving, until ironically, the turkey stuffing eventually stuffs me!

Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas! 


Philly’s Best…In Amman December 20, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Food.

Thinly shaved rib-eye or USDA beef; a blanket of melted American, Provolone or “Cheez whiz” cheese; a mixture of sautéed onions, green peppers, and mushrooms; all sandwiched in a freshly baked Italian role.

The authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich can only be found in Philadelphia.  A regular Philadelphia debate is which of the oldest Philly Cheese Steak shops in the city is the best:  Pat’s, Gino’s, or Jim’s? 

I actually had the pleasure of trying an authentic Philly Cheese Steak at Pat’s while I was in Philadelphia back in 1999.  Absolutely incredible!!  I can honestly say that I haven’t had a Philly Steak since then that comes close to Pats’ perfection. 

But as you are aware, living in Amman, one has to learn to appreciate what is available.  I applaud the attempts of certain restaurants in Amman that manage to concoct some quite tasty Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches. After a tumultuous journey, in an effort to find the best Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches in town, the following restaurants have made it onto my Top 5 list.  And they are: 


5.  Casper & Gambini’s (They need to do away with the tomato sauce and add more onions, green peppers and mushrooms)

4.  Urban Grill (Not bad at all. A bit too greasy for my liking – and I am someone who loves greasy food)

3.  Nara (Very good sandwich. The bread they use is always fresh)

2.  Houston’s (Very tasty…They should consider using American or Provolone cheese rather than Mozzarella)

1.  Champions (Simply Delicious! The only place in town that actually thinly shaves the beef, rather than slicing it in strips)


10% “Selfish” Charge December 10, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Chatter, Food.

Mood:  Infuriated 

I’m sure many of you have ordered home delivery through Aramex@home or Sabeel or some other home delivery service.  Do you always check the bill accurately?  If not, I suggest you do. 

I’ve only recently noticed that certain restaurants are charging an obligatory 10% service charge despite the fact that your order is take-out.  I fully accept and understand the mandatory 10% service charge added to my bill when I actually dine in the restaurant itself.  But when it comes to take-out or home delivery, what “service” has the restaurant provided me with (other than preparing my food, which I’m paying for)? I am paying the delivery service, whether it be Aramex or Sabeel, a fee for actually delivering the food, but I should not have to pay the restaurant a 10% service charge!!! What for?!

Last week, I was craving Champions’ delicious, tasty, and almost authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.  So, I called them up and made the order.  Seeing how close Champions is to my office, we decided to pick up the food rather than have have one of the delivery services do so.  We easily save a good 30-minutes by doing it picking the food up ourselves.  Anyway, when my colleague returned with the food, I took a look at the bill too see how much I owed.  I couldn’t help but notice that a 10% service charge was added to the bill.  We are the ones who picked up the food!!  Champions should PAY US the bloody 10%!!!

Anyhow, I phoned Champions and asked the man who picked up why we were charged an additional 10% service charge to our bill when we had received no service whatsoever.  As expected, there is always someone higher up on the chain you have to speak to, so I was transferred to the “Manager”.  I asked the manager the same question and his simple, straight-forward answer was:  “restaurant policy”.  However, I wanted to understand why it was restaurant policy.  Why would a restaurant risk pissing off its customers by adding a service charge on take-out orders?  Well, I never got an answer, an explanation, or an apology. The manager simply defended and justified this sneaky, immoral, and deceitful act by calling it “restaurant policy”.  Policy my ass!  If a policy is going to make you lose customers, then you change it.  We were seven people that had ordered from Champions, and each swore not to order take-out from Champions again.  Their loss not ours.  Screw the 10%!  It’s a matter of principle.  The restaurant made 10% on a 70 JD bill by doing zilch!!

*Now don’t get me wrong, this incident will in no way stop me from going to Champions and enjoying the best Philly Cheese Steak this country has to offer*

Another restaurant I know that pulls a similar stunt is Shaman.   The same thing happened over a year ago and I haven’t ordered take-out from them since.  Something for all of you to think about next time you order take-out or home-delivery. 

So…So…So…Mansafied! December 7, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Food, Jordan.

You stare down at the huge pyramid of rice that lay beneath you.  Chunky, tender pieces of lamb rest succulently on top, with roasted pine nuts scattered across the platter.  You dip the large serving spoon into the big bowl of boiling dried yoghurt (jameed), and carefully pour it onto the selected areas, which each person at the table has proudly established for themselves with their very own invisible borders. 

You clutch a juicy piece of lamb. Your hand then courageously plunges into the pile of steaming rice and jameed.  Despite the burning sensation, your fingers skillfully mold a sphere-shaped mixture of rice, jameed, and meat, which you then hungrily chuck into your mouth.  Mmmmmmm…Your eyes gleam as you look back down at the abundance of “Mansaf” left for you to wipe out. As if immune to the scorching jameed, your hand continues for a second plunge, and another, and another, until the section which was quarantined for yourself is completely obliterated. 

Common post-Mansaf action:  Loosening of the belt.

Common post-Mansaf status:  Motionless, speechless, light-headed, worn out, stuffed…yet very satisfied! 😀

Mansaf Urdoni

Hummus, Hummus! November 13, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Food.


Unlike my coffee addiction, my Hummus addiction is slightly more controllable.

Be it Spaghetti Bolognese, Veal Milanese, Kubbeh, Soup or Salad, a delicious bowl of Hummus is always available to brighten up my meal.  I literally have Hummus with every single meal I eat at home.  Lunch or dinner.

I simply love Hummus!  I could eat it with anything.  It is especially my saviour when I get hungry during the wee hours of the night.

I’ve tried so many different kinds of Hummus from various places in Amman.  Abujbara, Al-Usra, Kalha, etc.  But my favourite is this small place located just behind Le Royal Hotel on the 3rd circle (can’t seem to remember the name. You can’t miss it though, so I suggest you check it out).  I fell in love with their Hummus back in 1997, and they have been supplying our household with Hummus since then.

With Cheese… August 26, 2006

Posted by O.J. in Amman, Food.


Anyone that knows me, knows that I could easily eat a burger everyday of the week.  I have a favourite burger joint in every city i’ve ever lived in; from Los Angeles to New Orleans, and from London to Dubai.

After having been back in Amman for five years.  I’ve tried so many different burgers that I feel I should publish a short Top 5 list of Amman’s Best Burgers.  Now, Amman is not really famous for its great, juicy, tasty burgers.  However, there are a few places here that manage to put together some delicious burgers.

Below are my Top 5 burgers in Amman:


5)  Living Room – Mozza Burger

4)  Champions – The Champions Burger

3)  Four Seasons (The Foyer) – The Four Seasons Burger (w/ cheese)

2)  Houston’s – Mushroom, Cheese & Onion Burger

1)  Whispers – Spicy Mushroom and Cheese Burger


Next week:  My Top 5 Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches 🙂