Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

IHOP and Cheerios

1. IHOP. A few months ago, IHOP opened up in the UAE, at Dubai Mall. I know that IHOP is not that special in the US. I mean, it is, because it's a restaurant that serves breakfast all the time, but I realize that you are probably not excited about the IHOP that is nearest to you because it's always there. You know that if you want to go there, you can, anytime. Maybe there are even two IHOPs in your area, or three!

But I was so excited about this first IHOP. There is something about breakfast that is just delicious. There is something about being handed a plate full of pancakes, four different kinds of syrup, and just diving in. There is something about having french toast, (beef) bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and (veal) sausage on your plate and not only did you not have to cook any of it, it is all hot at the same time.

So we went to IHOP on Thursday. It was the kids' first time. They loved it. And even if you do have two or three IHOPs in your area, do any of them come with a view of the Burj Khalifa?

I thought not.

2. Cheerios. If you are willing to scour enough shelves and pay enough money, you can find almost any ingredient/food in the UAE. (Almost.) But I had never, ever, not in 4.5 years here, seen plain Cheerios. You can sometimes get Fruity Cheerios (US version), and until earlier this year, you could get Egyptian-produced Multigrain Cheerios (tasty enough, but only if you haven't had the real thing in ages). You can almost always get Honey Nut Cheerios, which are also Egyptian-produced but are also not Honey Nut, just Honey Cheerios. (Except for three weeks ago, when our local grocery store randomly brought in a batch of honest-to-goodness US-produced Honey Nut Cheerios. I bought three boxes. Next time I went to the store, it was back to Egyptian Honey Cheerios. Weird.)

Breakfast cereal kind of sucks here anyway, and Jeremy and I have been in a pretty bad breakfast funk recently. So it was with great joy and surprise and amazement and disbelief that when we were in Jumeirah yesterday, we stopped in at Park & Shop and found CHEERIOS. I asked the manager and he said they just got them in last week. It is a Christmas Miracle.

I know I am opening myself up to some ridicule here. In the end it's just pancakes and breakfast cereal, I get it. But you know how I am about food. So I'm not saying I ever thought less of the UAE for not having Cheerios (or IHOP). I don't expect every store to cater to my whims. But wow, breakfast this morning was fantastic.

A feast from a stranger

December 19th, outsourced