A runner with an appetite for adventure!

A Tribute to Za’atar April 8, 2011

Filed under: Dubai,Food — Kelocity @ 11:20 am
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I grew up eating Za’atar. We used to eat it multiple times a week for breakfast growing up. My friends used to gag just looking at it, but it is SO good!

Zartar is an arabic word, so when it translates into english, there are multiple spellings: (Arabic: زَعْتَر‎, in english: zaatar, za’tar, zatar, zatr, zattr, zahatar, zaktar or satar).

What is it? It’s a mixture of thyme, oregano, basil, savory, salt, dried sumac and sesame seeds. We used to eat it baked onto pita bread with olive oil or butter.


My grandparents always had it at their house (my grandfather is Lebanese).

Another variation, that we called sim sim, was also a household staple. This is a mixture of honey and sesame seeds baked into a pita. We’d always have a slice of each for good measure.


It’s hard to find really good Za’atar around here. You have to find a really good Lebanese or Arabic market. I’ve found it a few times in LA before, but nothing quite like the bakery back in Boston.

And then I went to Dubai. Oh. My. Gosh. Za’atar EVERYWHERE! I had many za’atar croissants when I was there. I got awkwardly excited when I saw them! I even had a Za’atar mojito one night at the Burj Al Arab.


We did a bus tour of Dubai one day that included a walking tour of the spice souks. Our guide stopped and showed us different spices and let us smell and taste some of them.


In one particular stall, on a whim I asked “do you guys sell Za’atar?” The man smiled and said “of course!” and showed me a giant bag of my beloved spice, it must have been 1 pound or so. I was so excited! I’ve never seen it sold in that quantity before! I kept saying “oh my gosh! are you serious?” I turned to Irving. “Do you see that? They have Za’atar! Look at all that za’atar!” I don’t know why I was so shocked to see it. I mean, they do use it a lot in the middle east. I was practically jumping up and down. I asked “How much?” and he told me 120 dirhams. I didn’t do the math in my head very well, but I said “well, what if I buy three bags?” He said “oh, well if you buy 3 bags, only 100 dirhams each. Sounds like a deal! I said ok, I’ll buy three. And I made Irving fork over all the money we withdrew from the ATM that day. “Irving, I can’t believe we found it! What a good deal!”

(keep in mind, my entire tour group is watching this happen inside the little store!)

Irving smiles at me, maybe a little concerned over how excited I just got over seeing za’atar sold in bulk. He whips out our currency converter (which I highly recommend by the way) and tells me that I’ve just spent about $80 on za’atar. WHHAAA????

I mean, I love za’atar, but not THAT much! By now, our tour has moved on and we’re walking through the open market. I start bawling in the middle of the street. “How did I spend $80 on za’atar? I thought it was a good deal? What was I thinking? How did I just get ripped off? I’m so stupid. What a dumb traveler I am. Such a rookie mistake!”

I ended up going back and returning one of the bags. In the end, I spent about $45 on two bags… I gave one bag to my mom and grandparents for Christmas last year (You guys better eat that by the way!) and I kept one bag for myself.


And today, I opened up my za’atar for the first time, and inhaled deeply to smell the sweet aroma.


I decided to try my hand at making my own za’atar bread using authentic middle eastern flatbread. just kidding. I used Trader Joe’s brand.


I mixed it with some a lot of olive oil to make it a pasty texture.


I also brushed some olive oil on the bread, but I don’t think I needed to do that.


All ready to go in the oven!


I only baked it for 10 minutes, but next time, I’ll do it a little longer. The perfect breakfast! (as long as you floss your teeth after!)


So there you have it. All you needed to know about my love affair with Za’atar. If you see it at the farmer’s market or in an Arabic restaurant, don’t be afraid to order it! It’s delicious.


Around the world: A Video! January 22, 2011

Filed under: Cairo,Dubai — Kelocity @ 2:37 pm
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I’ve been working on a little video from our trip to Egypt and Dubai.



Video is 6 Minutes Long.

And the Winner is…. November 23, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 7:57 am
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Well… to be honest, only FOUR people entered the contest this time around! But we still randomly picked a winner!

And the winner is… Kristen P! She was also the only one who got all 9 answers correct! I’ll be mailing you out a great prize after Thanksgiving!

Here are the answers!


1.) Dunkin Donuts


2.) Cold Stone Creamery



3.) Coach



4.) Chilis


5.) Romano’s Macaroni Grill


6.) Bloomingdales


7.) Au Bon Pain


8.) Pizza Hut


9.) Mountain Dew
IMG_06807 IMG_0681

Thanks for playing!!


The Arabian Game: Round II November 17, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 9:15 pm
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It sounded like everyone loved the Arabic Signs game, we got a lot of great responses!!!

Here we go for Round 2! Same Rules apply: Email me at with as many answers as you can figure out by November 21st. (Don’t leave a comment with any hints, we want to see how many people can guess correctly!)

On November 22nd, we will reveal the answers and randomly pick a winner. We’re not sure what the prize will be yet, but we will send the winner something.

Ready, Set, GO!












Good Luck Everyone! Have fun! Email me by November 21st with your guesses!


Arabian Contest…Winner Announced! November 14, 2010

Filed under: Dubai — Kelocity @ 10:26 pm
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Thank you all who entered the Arabian Signs contest! I hope you all enjoyed it! We were impressed by some of your answers, but no one got all of them correct! Arabic letters read right to left, so maybe that threw some of you off. Great guesses though!

We picked our winner by using the Random Integer Generator from All the entries were numbered and added to the list and one was chosen.

The winner is…. LAURIE C. (Who also happens to be celebrating a birthday this week, but that was just a coincidence!)

Well Laurie, we promised you a sweet prize, and we hope we didn’t disappoint!!! We will be sending you this pretty awesome King Tut bottle opener. Enjoy!!

Here are the correct answers:

1.) Ikea
IMG_0552 IMG_0551

2.) Sanrio
IMG_0560 IMG_0561

3.) Taco Bell
IMG_0562 IMG_0564

4.) Uno’s
IMG_0565 IMG_0566

5.) TGI Fridays
IMG_0567 IMG_0568

6.) Gap
IMG_0570 IMG_0569

7.) Aquafina (Not Dasani!)
IMG_0579  IMG_0578

8.) Claire’s
IMG_0583 IMG_0584

9.) Starbuck’s
IMG_0585 IMG_0586

10.) Papa John’s
IMG_1057 IMG_1058 (2)

11.) California Pizza Kitchen
IMG_1115 IMG_1114 (2)

12.) Green Giant
IMG_1124 IMG_1125 (2)

13.) Crate & Barrel (Not Pottery Barn!)
IMG_1126 IMG_1127

14.) Subway
IMG_1232 IMG_1231 (2)

15.) Krispy Kreme
IMG_1234 IMG_1235 (2)


We were so excited that so many people wanted to participate, that we will be doing another contest, just like this one later this week! Stay tuned for some more Arabic signs… the next round has some great ones!! We’re not sure what the prize will be, (how can you beat a King Tut Bottle Opener?) but we’ll come up with something good! Stay tuned!


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