Saturday, 14 April 2007

Buffets and Bubbles

I think I've found a new calling: the connoissuer of THE BUFFET.

In the last 6 weeks, the girls and I have been to four buffets, but the most memorable has to be the Easter Sunday champagne buffet at Yalumba.

We bounced into Yalumba at about 1pm and proceeded to order just about everything from a la carte menu and marvelled at the free flowing bottles of bubbly. The tables were set beautifully, with huge chocolate roosters as centrepieces. Needless to say, once under the influence of some fabulous bubbles, we refered to them as something else.

We started with the requisite Arabic mezze and hommous and quickly moved on to the cold buffet, the hot buffet and dessert. In my opinion, the winners of the day were the hot cheesy, creamy potato bake (my Mum's is better, but this WAS good), and then entire dessert selection - which could have been called a buffet in itself.

We loaded up on little shot glasses full of liquid chocolate and fruit fillings, chocolates, fruit, pastries, brownies and many more delicious little treats. In my bubble filled haze, I forgot I was allergic to nuts (cashews and pistachios being frequent offenders) and munched into a delicious chocolate brownie. Within the minute, I was starting to feel itchy and was scratching (in a very ladylike manner) at my neck and was drinking lots of water and bubbles to combat the constricting feeling I was having in my throat. I was yabbering about brownies and nuts and it took me a few sentences to get the right words together that there were nuts IN the brownies.

Anyway, we all started giggling and going through the procedure for the epipen (medication on board for anaphylactic shock) and then laughed harder when we realised we didn't have it WITH us. Luckily I don't go into serious shock when I eat cashews and pistachios, I just have to stop eating them.

We were delighted to hear that there was going to be an Easter egg hunt. So, with the youngest of us at 23 and the oldest at 28, the 5 of us scampered off to all corners of the restaurant and dug around in pot plants and got down on the floor and looked under tables and in dark corners for all the eggs we could find. The eggs were real chicken eggs, but hard boiled and painted in bright colours. At one stage, Ash and Jena 'cheersed' with the eggs and smashed them together, with bits of eggshell flying about.

When the time was up, we headed back to our base table to pool our loot and count our eggs. We had 52 in total (one of them an unboiled egg lifted from the kitchen), and our ever so attentive waiter BONG (I kid you not, that was his name) quietly whispered to us that we would win with that many eggs. We were joined by a young Irish lad named Connell who had decided to donate his 2 eggs to our 52. Quiet lovely of him, but we knew our acceptance would mean sharing the prize, whatever that was!

Representatives from each table were required to take their bags of eggs forth for counting. So, off went a few of the girls and stood at least two feet higher than all the children in the game. We were told off by a table of two older floozies for being 'too big' for the game but we just smiled benignly and ignored them. We knew we had it in the bag when the kids were producing bags of 7 or so eggs. As expected, we won by a mile and our prize was a beautiful bottle of Bollinger champagne. Now it was lucky we entered - what would children have done with such a prize?

We were disappointed to hear that we couldn't take the bottle home with us, even though most of us were licensed to drink and posses alcohol in our homes. Yes, I am a women licensed to drink. What a ridiculous notion, but then again, this is Dubai.

We protested but knew we wouldn't win, so cracked it open and raised our skinny flutes in a toast.

I secured a few bunches of helium balloons and headed for the taxi rank and were off into the afternoon to Barasti Bar. I don't remember, and I also wasn't carrying my own balloons, but have been told that they almost caused a major accident on the motorway as we were hooning along in the warm afternoon sun. Having the longest legs, I was nominated to sit in the front seat, and in return thrust my balloons at Jena and made her hold them. I've been told I'll be holding my own balloons in future.

We made it to Barasti in one piece, and after a short roadside stroll in our heels & me still toting the balloons (complete with toots from massive trucks) we found a lovely seat in the beach side bar and proceeded to drink more.

It was a lovely way to celebrate Baby Jesus - having suffered the Catholic school upbringing, I was well aware it wasn't his birthday we were celebrating, but a few of the others weren't!

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What WOULD Sister Mary say to that?

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