1 We traveled on a very clear day. I took this photo from the window of the plane as we flew over the Mediterranean Sea.
2 Here we are headed toward the Red Sea.
3 In this photo, we are over the Red Sea.
4 Qatar Airways provides monitors, so passengers know where the plane is located at any time during the long flight.
5 And, this is the vast Saudi Arabian desert.
6 Here we are after the nearly 12-and-a-half hour flight. We enjoyed a very comfortable ride courtesy of Qatar Airways. My makeup artist, Daisy Schwartzberg, accompanied me on this trip. http://www.qatarairways.com/us
7 Also joining me were Heather Kirkland, Judy Morris and Thomas Joseph.
8 We stayed at the Hotel Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz Carlton property in Doha. Doha is seven hours ahead of New York, so it was evening when we arrived.
9 Sharq Village & Spa is located on the Gulf Bay. It's a luxury beach hotel, which includes courtyards filled with cooling pools, fountains and many outdoor lounging areas.
10 This is a fountain of rose petals outside the entrance to the hotel.
11 Wael Maatouk is the General Manager of Sharq Village & Spa. He welcomed our group and joined me for this quick snapshot.
12 This is a view of the beautiful Doha skyline across the West Bay. Most of the skyscrapers are located in this area. Doha is Qatar's fastest growing city, with more than 40-percent of the nation's population living in Doha or its surrounding suburbs.
13 This photo was taken from Nobu, Doha, our first stop in the Qatar capital. Located at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Doha, this is the world's largest of Nobu's restaurants with one of the most spectacular views. http://www.noburestaurants.com/doha/experience-3/
14 Inside, there is a wide arc timber staircase by Canadian artist Pascale Girardin, that leads to the main dining room. The three-level restaurant was designed by Nobu's longtime collaborator, David Rockwell, who was inspired by pearl-diving, one of Qatar's main sources of revenue.
15 Nobu Doha spans 26-thousand square feet, and has more than 130-seats in the double-height dining room.
16 I admired these handsome teapots made of hammered nickel.
17 Our first course was a selection of tasty bites, including edamame, scallops, and squab.
18 Our second course included all kinds of sashimi - salmon, yellowtail, oysters, and tuna served on shiso leaves. We also enjoyed several small white teapots of cold sake.
19 This is lobster with yuzu, noodles and shaved, fried artichokes.
20 This is wagyu beef - it was very tender, and came with a choice of various sauces.
21 For dessert, we shared an assortment of fresh fruits, such as passion fruit, rambutan, dragon fruit, and berries. Our platter also had mochi, tiramisu, and a delicious custard cake.
22 We all enjoyed our dinner, and the sake.
23 Marco Larsen is one of my neighbors in Bedford, and is a publicist for Qatar Airways. He owns a public relations firm called Public. He served as the liaison for our trip. http://publicnewyorkcity.com
24 Nobu's Chef de Cuisine, Andrew Bozoki, came to visit our table. His role at Nobu Doha is to oversee all culinary operations for the restaurant, which features Nobu's signature new style Japanese cuisine blended with exotic global flavors.
25 The next morning, we went to Al Shaqab, the Qatar Foundation’s equestrian center, where Arabian horses are trained. Founded in 1992 by Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, Al Shaqab is now the region’s leading equine education resource center. http://www.alshaqab.com
26 Qatar has been known for its prized Arabian horses for centuries. The center is a tribute to the equestrian world and to this breed. Here is a table top model of the entire facility.
27 The Al Shaqab stable houses more than 400-Arabian horses. Marco greeted one of the Arabian horses in its stall. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world.
28 Al Shaqab’s breeding philosophy is to preserve the Arabian breed and to produce horses that are beautiful, athletic, and have character and kindness.
29 Here is another mare and foal. Arabians come in coat colors bay, gray, chestnut, black, and roan. They are also good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please.
30 Here is one of the riding rings at Al Shaqab.
31 This is a view of the semi-roofed outdoor arena.
32 And this is the indoor arena - the facility is so well-maintained.
33 I had the honor of meeting Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. She is on my right in the blue. I was able to walk with her in the Qatar International Food Festival Opening Ceremony and Processional.
34 The booth vendors presented their foods to Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa as she passed by.
35 We enjoyed meeting the vendors and trying the different foods. This festival turns Doha into a gastronomic wonderland, offering an eclectic array of tastes from Qatar and around the world.
36 Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa and I also had fresh coconut juice.
37 It was very refreshing on a warm day in Doha. Sheikha Al Mayassa is the sister of His Highness, The Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
38 Sheikha Al Mayassa chairs Qatar Museums, which manages the country’s art collection and museum landscape. She holds a degree in arts and political science from Duke University and is fluent in Arabic, French and English. She stopped for a quick photo on the Doha Corniche, a waterfront promenade.
39 Her Excellency has a large staff - we all walked along the promenade together.
40 Here I am with the daughters of the Prime Minister of Qatar, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.
41 While in Qatar, I agreed to host a demo at the Qatar International Food Festival, or QIFF. The festival was held in three locations: The Museum of Islamic Art Park, Katara and The Pearl-Qatar.
42 It was very exciting to see such a large and enthusiastic crowd gather for my demo.
43 Here was my view of the guests and media from the stage.
44 My producer, Judy, supervised the demo and took lots photos with her smart phone to contribute to this blog.
45 This Qatar Airways "flight attendant" served samples of my favorite green juice during the Sheikha's processional tour of the Festival. As the juice was passed around, I talked about how it's made, and why I enjoy it so much. http://www.marthastewart.com/312434/green-juice
46 I conducted my demo at the Live Cooking Theater. Qatar Airways Azza Salaheldin Ahmed Elamin introduced me to the audience.
47 Azza was also a great translator for the event.
50 I explained to the audience how easy and inexpensive it is to make healthy, tasty juices at home.
51 I invited Thomas to drink a glass of juice with me on stage - he was happy to have the refreshing drink.
52 Next, I made three other dishes - a green goddess dip, a quinoa salad with zucchini, mint, and pistachios, and a grapefruit, salmon, and avocado salad.
54 The crowd had samples of each recipe on eco-friendly bamboo plates.
56 A very nice photo of Daisy, Judy, and Marco.
57 I loved these clever "ice rolls". An ice cream base is poured onto a freezing cold metal plate, and then chopped with metal paddles as it freezes. In minutes, the cream firms up and it's spread into a thin layer and scraped into these delicious rolls.
58 The process was very interesting to watch. We all enjoyed the refreshing treat on a very warm day. They were so tasty!
59 Here I am joined by the culinary team that helped prepare my demo and made samples of each of the recipes for the guests to taste - Chef David Kulesza, Chef Tom Abbott, Chef Decha Mingkwan, and Chef Inayat Kalim.
60 Chef Aisha is considered to be the "Queen of Qatari cuisine" and has published many cookbooks focusing on the foods of the Gulf region. She is also a television and radio host, and has had many of her articles published in Qatari newspapers. It was a joy to meet her.
61 The Doha Corniche is a waterfront promenade extending several miles along Doha Bay. It was beautiful to walk along the Corniche and look at the beautiful views.
62 I was interviewed by Mr. Q, Khalifa Al Haroon. He is an entrepreneur, inventor and the CEO and founder of iloveqatar.net, a community web site he set up in 2008.
63 Mr. Q is very friendly, curious and enthusiastic. I enjoyed our discussion.
64 Here I am with Mr. Q.
65 The interview was done on the Doha Corniche with the beautiful Museum of Islamic Art behind us. This iconic building was designed by architect I.M. Pei. It is the first of its kind in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf and has a very large collection of Islamic art, plus a study and a library.
66 It was a very fun afternoon at the festival. Heather, Thomas, Judy and Daisy posed for this photo as we left the venue.
67 For dinner, we gathered at the home of Qatari diplomat, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, and his wife, Muna Rihani. Here is Muna's beautiful table setting - I admired her silver and murano glass chandelier.
68 Muna set up a beautiful table, with lots of silver, and white.
69 Here I am with our hosts, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Muna, and their friend, Jana Jaffe. Muna is the chair of the United Nations Women for Peace Association, and a collector of antiquities. http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/66/
70 The buffet was set with bowls of fresh fruits, including pears, figs and grapes.
71 These figs and grapes also made a wonderful decoration.
72 This is traditional Middle Eastern food - hummus, chicken and lamb.
73 This is a fresh salad of chopped vegetables and herbs including cucumber, tomato, radish, parsley and mint, dressed with lemon and olive oil.
74 And, locally caught fried fish - whole fish, which is a traditional way to serve it in the Middle East.
75 Here I am with Muna and a huge bowl - wait until you see what is inside.
76 A very large Middle Eastern dish. Thomas was just as amazed as I was with the size of the serving bowl - it must have been nearly three feet wide in diameter. I would love to have a vessel like this at the farm.
77 This is traditional Qatari food, It's a blend of Iranian and Indian cuisines because of its location in the Gulf region. This dish includes biryani rice with white fish hamour.
78 Here I am with Suzanne Kanaan, Muna and her son, Abdulaziz. Behind us is The Pearl-Qatar, an artificial semi-circle shaped island of luxurious condominiums. Muna's apartment is also part of The Pearl-Qatar.
79 Views from The Pearl-Quater are breathtaking.
80 It was such a clear and beautiful night - the lights were so captivating. The name "The Pearl" was chosen because the island is built on one of Qatar's previous pearl diving sites. Tomorrow, I'll share photos from the desert and my ride on a camel.