We round up the items, services and places A&L is loving. This week: Move App, Teatro's fortune cookies, Iraqi Maskouf and a combined steamer and blender.
What we're loving: the Move App, a steamer and Iraqi Maskouf
If you love walking (or running, or cycling), you'll love Moves, an app for the iPhone that can replace your pedometer. Not only does it track the number of steps taken, the time spent moving and the distance covered (in metric or imperial units), it generates a map using Foursquare data of where you've been. Every place you pause, the app will suggest a list of possibilities, with quite impressive detail and accuracy - and you can add your own items if the list doesn't identify precisely where you were. You can save your activity logs as jpegs to Facebook, Twitter or your camera roll and the app lets you know when you have reached a new record of steps. It's a great app that does away with other devices and runs discreetly in the background continually, making it ideal for logging all activity. It's free, but only for the iPhone at the moment - the company says an Android version is coming. Visit www.moves-app.com.
* Kevin McCardle
Teatro's fortune cookies
In my humble experience, fortune cookies are only good for the messages inside them. After reading that vague and random description of the present and/or future (and showing it to my dining companions for commentary) the cookie seems unnecessary. And while others may love them, to me they rarely taste good - or like anything at all. That is why I was so pleasantly surprised earlier this month while dining at Teatro, the signature restaurant at the Park Rotana Abu Dhabi hotel, during its Japanese food promotion. The restaurant usually serves a medley of Thai, Chinese, Indian and Italian cuisines and it's best known for its excellent sushi bar. There, for one of the Gourmet Abu Dhabi meals prepared by the chef Shinichiro Takagi, I found myself mindlessly munching on one of the fortune cookies offered after the meal. But instead of disappointment at a mouthful of dry crumbs, Teatro offered a flakey, delicate and delicious cookie that would stand up to any variety. No wonder: they are homemade on site. And unlike their counterparts elsewhere, worth every calorie.
* Ann Marie McQueen
If you're a seafood fanatic, then you have to try maskouf, a dish favoured by Iraqis across the world. The dish is steeped in Iraqi culinary history, dating back to the Sumerian and Babylonian ages. The Iraqi method of grilling fish involves using an open fire made from wood, bitter orange, apricot and fig trees. This combination is responsible for maskouf's tangy flavour. Where most Iraqi establishments worth their salt serve the dish, my favourite remains Samad Al Iraqi on Jumeirah Beach Road (04 432 7887). The maskouf there is truly spectacular: it is moist, a bit juicy, a little sweet and just melts apart. What I also love about this place is that all of its seafood in general - according to the staff - is caught daily from the rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates, sticking to the geographical and traditional culinary method of this historical dish. Check out www.samadaliraqi.net.
* Yasmine Al-Kuttab
Bought it, love it, can't live without it: Steamer and blender combined
Washing, peeling, chopping, steaming, blending, puréeing; all are just beyond the horizon for me, chores that are going to become as involuntary as breathing once my baby girl boasts something other than milk in her daily diet. I've been dreading the ordeal - I barely have time to brush my hair these days, let alone make baby food from scratch. Despite the impending ordeal, I am adamant that "homemade" remains a dominant feature of everything she eats; none of those preservative-filled jars for her. I've convinced myself that the least I can do to ease my guilt as a working mother is make her meals. So out I trotted to the nearest Mothercare store and purchased a Philips Avent combined steamer and blender - one I had heard about from other harried mothers and been told it was going to be my salvation. They were aboslutely right. It allows me to steam anything - fruit, vegetables, meat, chicken, fish - and then once the steaming process is over, I just flip the jar containing whatever it is that I just steamed and I blend, to reach any consistency I desire. Minimal washing up afterwards, small and compact so that it takes up only a tiny bit of real estate on my already crowded kitchen counters and unbelievably convenient. The apple sauce I made in that thing was good enough for my husband and I to devour, not to mention our baby girl. Definitely a must-have for every parent about to embark on the precarious experience of weaning. It's just under Dh800 and worth every dirham.
* Hala Khalaf
For more of what we are loving go to www.thenational.ae/whatwereloving