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09 May 2013
Wanderfood Wednesday: Epicurean despot

[Hey, waitaminute, it's not Wednesday! Le sigh. Some of you may have noticed that the site's been down for over a week. Massive server issues last week. Special shoutout to my crack tech team -- ehm, that would be Mark -- for pulling some incredibly long hours and working tirelessly to get everything restored. I'd say we're about 95% back on track but there's still a few bumps to work out. Thanks for your patience! And now, only a week plus one day later than I'd intended to post, it, onward to the latest Wanderfood Wednesday...]

Before coming to Jordan, I was aware of -- and, I thought, prepared for -- legendary Arabic hospitality. Boy was I wrong! The food was amazing, without exception. And even an allegedly small snack got turned into a copious multi-course feast. These people don't mess around. And they don't take no for an answer.

Y'all know I suffer for my art, but the dinner that capped off our team outing in Amman tested even my limits. It was redonkulous.


I blame these two:

Adnan, our gracious host
Adnan, our gracious host

Rawan, our handler
the lovely and talented Rawan, our handler


After a brief tour of Amman, the team got dropped off at the Amman Marriott. Apparently the restaurant we were headed to didn't serve alcohol, so we were instructed to get liquored up at the piano bar. Amidst the snark teambuilding banter, the strains of various showtunes floated up from the lounge. Also a little Metallica. Lemme tell ya, you just haven't lived until you've heard "Nothing Else Matters" as interpreted by a Jordanian piano player in a long red dress.

rawking out at the Amman Marriott piano lounge
cuz why not play Metallica in a floor-length red dress?
f'shizzle


Onward to the restaurant! Rajeen is a phenomenal Armenian restaurant located in the heart of Amman's entertainment district. Siderant: Why are there no Armenian restaurants in DC?? In a town that has more Ethiopian joints than Addis, and even covers cuisines like Burmese and Afghan, why no Armenian? That's just criminal.

Rajeen Armenian restaurant
Armenian decor


As with most meals in Jordan, the feast started with a number of small plates, dips, and awesome bread.

appetizer thing
bread, om nom nom
more appetizer things


We didn't order off the menu, so I must confess that I have no idea what most of this stuff was. It was just om-nom-nommy. And the dishes kept on coming!

the pusher
meeeeeeeeat


With a brief stop for this digestive...

digestive


Annnnnnd then a whole batch of desserts. Ooof.

dessert thing
more dessert things
this dessert thing was a little sketchy


Bonus points to any foodies out there who can correctly identify any of these dishes. All I know is that we ate till we nearly exploded. It was deliciously grueling.

Overheard on the ride back from our team dinner in Amman:
"There's no democracy when it comes to food in Jordan!"

Epicurean despot. It's not only a great name for a band (or maybe a Food Network show) it's also how they do things in Jordan.


For more mouthwatering travel food photos, check out Wanderlust & Lipstick's WanderFood Wednesday.

 

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 1 comment


23 April 2013
Teambuilding in Amman: the hills are alive

roadside views from the Dead Sea to Amman
roadside views from the Dead Sea to Amman

After a long day of meetings, we were treated to a team outing in downtown Amman. First stop: souvenirs! Because nobody can come back from a biz trip without some junk for the family and the office, right?

someday we hope to look as fabulous as this mud model
someday we hope to look as fabulous as this mud model


We stopped at a souvenir stand on the side of the road between the Dead Sea and Amman. While our lovely hostess helped each teammate haggle their way through bargain purchases, we had a chance to check out the surroundings. On one side, a ramshackle tent village. On the other, gorgeous mountains. From time to time a small child would emerge, moving a scraggly herd of goats down the highway.

a different side of Jordan
a different side of Jordan

goatherder-in-training
goatherder-in-training

this little girl seemed puzzled that I was taking her picture
this little girl seemed puzzled that I was taking her picture...

...but her little brother totally got into it
...but her little brother totally got into it


And onward to Amman! Since we'd arrived at the Dead Sea in the dead of night, this was our first chance to appreciate the Jordanian landscape. The elevation differential was ear-popping.

beautiful countryside en route to Amman
beautiful countryside en route to Amman

Jordan was much hillier than I expected
Jordan was much hillier than I expected

room with a view
room with a view


Once in Amman, we drove past some interesting neighborhoods and notable structures, without much chance to explore beyond what we could see from the windows of the van. That's the downside to being part of a big group, and part of the reason we prefer independent travel. Still, we probably wouldn't found ourselves in Amman otherwise, and it was a nice overview of a surprisingly beautiful city.

downtown Amman

cool bridge

King Abdullah Mosque


We did stop and get out of the van to check out the Citadel and Roman ruins. The site was closed, but we got a chance to see it from the outside, and got some lovely hilltop views of Amman while the evening call to prayer rang out over the city.

Amman Citadel and ruins
Amman Citadel and ruins

eery green lighting
eery green lighting

Amman at dusk
Amman at dusk

yay team
yay team


We also had a quick pitstop at the Roman Amphitheater, which looks absolutely gorgeous at night and would be a kickass place to see a concert.

Mark thinks AquaSpank should play here
Mark thinks AquaSpank should play here


Roman Amphitheatre

and surrounding hills

manymanymany photos

Overall, I really liked Amman's quirky narrow streets and hilly landscape. The teambuilding continued at an amazing Armenian restaurant, but that's the subject of an upcoming WanderFood Wednesday post so stay tuned!

three cheers for biz trips to unexpected places
three cheers for biz trips to unexpected places

Arabic graffiti <3
Arabic graffiti <3


RELATED LINKS:
* browse all Amman pics
* browse all Jordan pics uploaded so far
* check out past WanderFood Wednesday posts (I haven't done one of these in a while and it's long overdue!) 

 

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments