Category Archives: Reviews

When in Damascus – Syria

One of my best friends -Dina- is here in Amman for the summer, running away from the heat of the Gulf, and spending some time with family and friends, Dina made the choice to live abroad about a year ago, since then our friendship has become quite the hassle, we put an enormous effort to stay in touch, and to spend time together when she’s in Amman, I have to make her feel like she’s still part of our lives and that she’s not missing much.

Last week, Dina calls me up to tell me that she has to go to Syria to attend a friend’s wedding, and that I have to go with her because none else can! I – being a person who hates going to Syria so much – tried to get myself out of this trip, but fortunately I failed miserably, this was not my first time in Syria but it definitely was the best! Apparently Damascus is not – at all – the dirty, crowded, stinky and uncivilized city that most Jordanians believe it to be. Damascus is the oldest continuously inhibited city in the world, and this is quite apparent in the streets, buildings and urban life of Damascus, whether it has always been like this or not I’m not really sure, but Damascus is certainly changing, I’m not going to dwell much about the city itself, but I want to list the places that I visited and loved there, so if you’re wondering where to go in Damascus, here’s a list:

– Gemini Group: a Syrian chain of restaurants and cafesย  scattered all over the city, the one I went to – Sahara – is more of a club located in the midst of AlMazzeh Highway has this wonderful outdoor garden and a huge variety of dishes and beverages, a huge gym, horseback riding and play areas for kids.

– Swiss House: right before Gimini’s Sahara on AlMazzeh Highway, a beautiful restaurant; old wood, exotic trees all around and a swamp with frogs and grass.

Swiss House Restaurant

Swiss House

– Four Seasons Boulevard: on the western side of Four Seasons Hotel one finds a variety of fashion brand shops, restaurants, and coffee-shops like Costa, Rotana Cafe, while the ambiance of Rotana Cafe is really not my taste as I’m not into this Arabic pop music or this kind of posh setting, the breakfast on the terrace of Rotana Cafe was really nice, excellent food and a very nice view of the public parks and streets.

– Bloudan – Karm AlAlali Restaurant: on the top of Bloudan mountains, this amazing view of Damascus city, a lovely selection of Syrian food and wonderful sunset.

– Beit Alyasmeen: In old Damascus Bab Toma, there’s this wonderful old house that is now a restaurant, excellent food, beautiful smell of Jasmine, Fairuz singing in the background, everything is just so relaxing and refreshing.

– Naranj: In old Damascus, at the end of Medhat Basha street is this awesome restaurant, the most delicious food in the world, so classy and elegant, with a beautiful rooftop setting, a wide selection of Arabic food, excellent service, and Oh My God lovely pleasant ambiance, so warm and welcoming. Naranj is part of Gemini Group, a bit expensive compared to other Syrian restaurants, but quite acceptable compared to Jordanian restaurants.

Naranj Restaurant

Naranj

I wanted to visit other places like Qasyoun Mountain and Mashroo3 Dummar but we ran out of time, all in all it was a very nice trip, I’m glad I went with Dina, I do recommend everyone to visit Damascus.

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Juice Bang Bang – Review

Have you heard of Juice Bang Bang?

Juice Bang Bang Logo

It is a Bubble Tea house, so what exactly is bubble tea? Wikipedia defines bubble tea as follows:

Bubble tea is a sweetly flavored tea beverage invented in Taiwan. Drink recipes may vary, but most bubble teas contain a tea base mixed with fruit (or fruit syrup) and/or milk. Ice blended versions of the drink are also available, usually in fruit flavors. Bubble teas also usually contain small sago balls or pearls called “boba”. Pearls made of jelly are also available in many places. These teas are shaken to mix the ingredients, creating a foam on the top of some varieties. This drink is called bubble tea because of the marble-sized sago balls or “pearls” that are present and sit at the bottom of the cup. These chewy balls, although having little flavor, are sucked up through large wide straws and are consumed along with the drink. Sometimes the customer will be asked if he or she wants “boba” or “bubble” added in the drink. Both these terms refer to the sago balls

when I first heard of a bubble tea house I thought it’s actually flavored iced tea and I was very excited to try it because I just love flavored tea and iced tea, perfect in this hot weather and it doesn’t make you bloated or heavy like other cold drinks, so I went to Juice Bang Bang in the new Avenue mall in Swefieh to try it out, the place itself is so nice and the staff (who are actually the owners) are two very sweet guys, they have all these different flavors of bubble tea, and they’d recommend a flavor to you, and they’d customize your drink however you want it, they’re so sweet and easy going.. I tried the raspberry yogurt and it was so yummy, but it tasted more like milkshake or yogurt shake when I really was hoping for tea, anyway it’s so cool to watch them make it and prepare it, it tastes so good and it’s a very pleasant experience. I seriously hated the bubbles in the bottom, they ruin the whole “drink” experience and for me these jelly tasteless things aren’t edible, so next time I’ll certainly ask them not to add any bubbles to my drink.

Juice Bang Bang Avenue Mall

Juice Bang Bang is so fresh and cool branded, but the venue is horrible I hated Avenue mall, the parking is horrible, the food court is horrible, I didn’t like anything about Avenue mall, but I would definitely go to Juice Bang Bang again because they have this uniqueness factor that makes you go there again and again, it’s no regular milkshake place, it is different than anything else in Amman so even if the venue is horrible, the value you’re served is just worth it – specially with this 2 for 1 offer ๐Ÿ™‚ –ย  I think they might need to adjust their prices a bit I think it’s a little expensive without the offer.

I’m a bit disappointed with this sudden change of logos, they’ve been up and running for a few months and they’re already changing their logo, I couldn’t find a clearer version of the older logo, but you can see how the older logo looks like a tornado, it’s just hideous..

Juice Bang Bang old logo

the new logo is much better, but still I’m not so impressed with the name Juice Bang Bang, it’s too long and difficult to remember, they could have come up with a much better name.

Juice Bang Bang are paying great attention to being available online, they have an under construction web page that has the phone number, location and working hours, twitter feed and the facebook social context plugin, but this page is very search engine unfriendly! The page title had been “Page Title” for the longest time, recently they changed it to “juicebangbang”, the whole thing is one flat image, no text whatsoever, so searching for juice bang bang on google wouldn’t list this page, the twitter feed and the facebook plugin are good ideas, they increase trust in the brand and put the user in a great social context, which most likely results in this user becoming a facebook fan and a twitter follower.

Juice Bang Bang Web PageI wish these guys the best of luck, and my recommendation is if you haven’t tried it yet you certainly should. Let me know what you think.

Bite Me – Failure

I tend to have strong emotional feelings towards poorly implemented projects, this will be a series of posts that express some of these emotions, because blabbing about them to friends and family isn’t serving these emotions any justice.

have you heard of this new sandwich catering/delivery called “Bite Me Jordan”

Bite-Me-Jordan

Bite Me Intro Page

when you go to http://biteme-jordan.com first thing you see is this intro page above, prompting you to click to get to the website, the reason behind the intro page really beats me! Nonetheless, you click to get to the homepage.

Bite-Me-Sandwich

Bite Me Homepage

I’m no design expert but what’s up with the typeface? two different fonts, the one that seems to be the brand font I think is a failed attempt to ripoff BoingBoing font. Obviously whoever designed the logo and website of Bite Me knows nothing of design.

what’s up with the different font sizes? and the bold? this homepage paragraph is only lacking an italic word to look like the HTML pages of the early 1990’s

I have a feeling the business owner decided that they know better, design is not so important, and a brand is just a luxury. I understand a beginning of a small business is difficult, and that probably the owner wanted to save money here and there! but seriously the elements of Bite Me is inviting me to ask the owner to “BITE ME!”, I really wouldn’t wanna bite anything coming from that brand.

Let’s move to the menu page, after all this is a sandwich catering/delivery service, the menu seriously lacks options, and these limited options are seriously overpriced, a Big Tuna sandwich is for 4.00 JD add to that a 1.50 JD delivery and 1 JD for a soft drink (I’m assuming it’s 1 JD) and there you go, a quick lousy brunch for 6.50 JD hmmm remind me again Mr./Ms. Bite Me Jordan why I would order a sandwich from you instead of Subway for example?!

bite-me-menu

Bite Me Menu

Bite Me Jordan decides to be cheap and not hire a designer/web designer to create their logo and website, but expect people not to be cheap and order their 7.00 JD sandwich.

On a quick note, the music on the website under “Listening to” isn’t bad.