Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mdairej Bridge: The Tallest in Middle East

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The 70 meter (230 ft) high bridge, near the mountain resort town of Sofar on the mountainous road linking Beirut and Damascus, was hit several times during the first days of the war but on July 21 a 200-metre-long section was completely destroyed as it was bombarded continuously. Ironically, the Americans paid for its reconstruction.

Also and as you can see from the picture, snow is everywhere. I don’t remember the last winter where we had that much snow.

New York Lebanese Man’ouche (منقوشة)

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My dad brought me this flyer back from New York as he was in the U.S for past three weeks. What caught my attention is that prices are almost similar to the Manakish places in Lebanon and for some items even cheaper than Zaatar wou Zeit for example.

The normal Cheese Man’ouche costs 2,500 or 3,000 in most Manakish shops while it costs 4000LL at ZWZ (Halloum Cheese Man’ouche at ZWZ costs 5,500LL though). The Regular Cheese Man’ouche at this NY shop costs 4,500LL (3$).

Lebanese hospitality

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I was at Babel restaurant the other day having dinner with some friends. After we were done with the cold & hot mezza and hot dishes, we were served fruit platters on the house. Noting that we were only 6 people on the table, we got:

– 8 apples
– 12 Kiwis
– 6 Bananas
– 8 Orange
– 8 Pears
– 20+ Kumquats
– Grapes

Kibbet la2teen (كبة لقطين)

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The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial [Wiki]. However, putting aside the religious aspect, there are several dishes that I look forward to during Lent, and that are rarely prepared in other periods of the year.

Kibbet La2teen is a Pumpkin Kebbe filled mainly with chickpeas and swiss chard. I usually wait for my aunt to make some or order them from KitchenMarket.

Is it profitable to open at the Zaitunay Bay?

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I posted few days ago on how the average price per 1 square meter in Beirut is over 3000$ and how Beirut’s average rent was $1,872 for a 150-square-meter apartment, higher than the Arab average of $1,526 per month. [Link]

I was also told yesterday that renting a 200m2 place (+ terrace) at the newly open Zaitunay Bay costs at least 1 million dollars a year. Let’s assume the price is exaggerated and say a restaurant named X pays 750,000$ a year for a 150m2 place that can fit 80 people.

750,000$ means 62,500$ a month and almost 2000$ a day.
– If a meal costs on average between 30 and 50$ at restaurant X, it will need between 40 and 70 customers EVERY day to break even.
– This will only cover the rental fees without taking into consideration wages, maintenance and operating fees etc…

Given that Zaitunay Bay won’t be working that well during the winter season, and that I’ve never seen a restaurant full in the three times I went already, I don’t know how restaurants will profit from opening there.

Update: I spoke to Ziad Kamel, Founder/CEO of the Alleyway Group, and Treasurer of Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants in Lebanon, and he told me restaurants at the Zaitunay bay pay approximately $400-500K per year.

Dip’n Crunch

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The last time I had Dip’n Crunch was probably in 2002 or 2003 when I was still in AUB. Apparently the place is still open but in Verdun only.

Dip’n Crunch is a fast food restaurant whose specialty is crunchy and tasty french fries with their secret sauces and pepper.

I’m thinking of paying it a visit to see if it’s still any good, even though I didn’t like the sight of frozen bags of fries on the street. It seems the bags are left there in the early morning up until the place opens around 10 or 11.

Thanks Remy

The “Halla2 lawen” Church

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I remember passing by this church while they were filming the movie “Halla2 lawen” and I had no clue what it was. It’s a beautiful old church situated in Jeita with blue walls from the inside. It is lit up during religious occasions, such as Christmas, Lent or Easter.

I will post another picture of it during daylight and from the inside as I plan to visit it again soon.

Meet Zionist Natalie Portman

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After the Lara Fabian boycott, it is time to boycott Natalie Portman’s Dior ad, even though there was another ad featuring Portman only few months back that went unnoticed. This case however seems different as Portman was actually born in Jerusalem.

My question is: How did the ad get past the local authorities if she’s an “Israeli” and should not be on our billboards? How did all the movies she starred in get to our theaters?

I am not fully aware of the boycott law when it comes to the Jewish State. I thought interaction with military or security individuals is forbidden only and considered to be collaboration.

For my part, I wouldn’t want to have any sort of contact whether it’s a civilian or soldier or whatsoever.

Average price per one square meter in Beirut is $3,223

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Beirut apartments are still among the most expensive in the MENA region, and Lebanon’s real estate trend is unlikely to remain sustainable, said a recently issued report. The report, dubbed “Global Property Guide,” ranked Beirut in 50th place in terms of the price of an average apartment. [Link]

Regionally, Beirut is second to Dubai. I wonder what is it that drives Arabs mainly and foreigners to buy houses and apartments in a country with no electricity, water shortage, no urban planning and tensions all across its borders. I’d understand prices in Beirut to be a bit expensive but the prices are just absurd, and it applies elsewhere too.

Average square meter in regions such as Jbeil, Tabarja or Keserwan as a whole costs around 1400$ last time I checked, and around 1800$ in Mount Lebanon areas.