Solid Gold - Dubai and Abu Dhabi

I love jewelry so if I see anything gold it catches my eye.  While waiting for our coach from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, I wandered off and bumped into The Gold ATM.  Oh yeah, you read it right.  I was immediately intimidated by how much the prices were so I didn't even look and just took a picture.  Then I turned to walk back to my friends and saw a gold car in the same lobby.  I immediately thought to myself "I don't think I brought enough spending money."  To my surprise, I was ok!  The conversion at the time I went was 3.67 Dirham to 1 USD.  Phew!  

I was a little nervous because on my "must see" list was the Gold Souk in Deira which is known for beautiful gold jewelry.  Prior to visiting the souk. I asked some of the locals what they thought of it and where I should go to buy certain pieces and I was told ANYWHERE! I didn't understand until they explained that you can haggle at the gold shops and it's cheaper than the US.  It was like music to my ears.  I was able to score three pairs of 18K gold earrings and a custom made bracelet with "Mel" in Arabic for an equivalent of $390.  Not bad!

For those who would like to visit:

Gold Souk in Deira (Dubai)

Gold Souk  (Abu Dhabi)

This was the first thing I saw leaving the airport!

This was the first thing I saw leaving the airport!

24k gold Porsche

24k gold Porsche

Travel: Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

I was so lucky to have scored the best travel deal thanks to Travel Noire .  Ok, to bring you up to speed, there was a fare glitch with Etihad Airways on Christmas Day 2014 and I just so happened to be on twitter and saw the deal.   I totally thought this was a joke but when I finalized my purchase online, my non-stop round trip ticket from JFK to Abu Dhabi was $221. including taxes, fees, and travel insurance. Crazy, right!?!!  Which brings me to why I visited this beautiful Muslim country.

I had a list of sites that I wanted to visit but this by far was at the top.  To be honest, I did not have much knowledge about the Muslim culture except from what I learned in school.  I am so grateful that I was able to experience the culture first hand and practice some of the customs.  I left Grand Mosque with the deepest appreciation.

This was the most beautiful part of the visit....


Toro Toro Restaurant in Dubai

I have anticipated visiting Toro Toro in DC for quite some time but had the pleasure of doing so in Dubai! Funny, huh. Well, thank God for my 20/20 vision because I actually saw the sign from the other side of the Dubai Marina and just knew that I had to make reservations for my friends and I to eat there.  

Toro Toro  (which means bull in Spanish) is a Pan Latin restaurant that offers a delectable variety of dishes with influences from across South America.  They are known for their interpretation of the Churrasco which is a Portuguese and Spanish term for grilled meat.  It was really cool to have the skilled passadors come to our table and perfectly (and I mean perfectly) slice the meat for them to enjoy.  Now to be honest with you all, I don't eat red meat or pork so I am unable to recommend certain dishes but I will say from the looks of my friends empty plates, it must have been delicious.  

We ordered several different hot and cold plates as the food is served tapas style for everyone to share.  I have to tell you that after my first bite of the tuna takaki, I was just hoping they didn't want to try it.  It was absolutely deeeeelicious!  I could taste the savory citrus-based marinade of traditional South American flavors that are reminiscent of foods that I was raised eating.  Don't even let me describe the sautéed scallops! I'll just say I could have eaten two more orders by myself (no judgement please).  

 S auté  ed  scallops &  Tuna tataki 

 Sautéed scallops & Tuna tataki 

This is what I ordered (to share of course):

- Churrasco Skewer – serves 2

  • Brazilian-style Picanha steak 
  • Waygu rib eye steak
  • Australian lamb chop
  • Achiote marinated chicken

- Steamed asparagus seasoned with truffled hollandaise

- Tuna tataki seasoned with rocoto sauce/ leche de tigre / avocado

- Chicken anticucho seasoned with aji mirasol/ red miso paste / garlic ginger/ sweet potato purée / cucumber

- Sautéed scallops seasoned with lomo saltado sauce/ potato huancaina sauce

- Roasted potato seasoned with truffle/ chimichurri / parmesan

and for DESSERT....

- Chocolate espresso cake !

After the delicious meal,  we got a tour of the restaurant and I was in awe.  I mean the decor was to die for.  

Private dining area

Private dining area

These high back chairs are simply divine.

These high back chairs are simply divine.

The bathroom doors were FUR!!! I loved this detail in the decor.

The bathroom doors were FUR!!! I loved this detail in the decor.

If you are traveling to Dubai, Toro Toro  is the place to visit to experience delicious Latin cuisine and fabulous ambiance! 

For reservations:

Located in the Grosvenor House Dubai | Phone + 971 4 317 6000 | Email:

If you are interested in visiting in the United States:

1300 I st NW | Washington, DC 20005 | Phone (202) 682-9500