Category Archives: Food

Mrs.Clueless: One of My Favorite New Bloggers in Beirut

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food1

I have no idea who Mrs.Clueless is, I’ve never met her in person but I’ve been following her Instagram page since December last year and I love what she’s doing. She’s a newlywed who loves baking, cooking and eating and she came up with Mrs.Clueless to document her failures (not so many) and successes at home.

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She’s one of the very few food bloggers who actually cooks and shares recipes. Looking at her pictures and recipes, she’s obviously not that clueless about food and she sure knows how to style her dishes and come up with amazing pictures. In fact, the part I love the most are the pictures and the setup behind some of them.

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I tried once to reproduce one of her many Eggs & Avocado pictures [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] just for the sake of it but it turned out to be an epic fail. I love that combination by the way, I never really thought of mixing eggs and avocado but they’re great together.

All in all, she’s a new blogger and foodgramer that I highly recommend you follow. Check out her [insta] and [website].

Breakfast at Furn el Sabaya: Home-Made, Delicious & Clean

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furnsabaya1

I’ve been meaning to visit this small bakery for quite some time but I never got the chance to do so. However on Sunday, Brian woke up early and everyone was still asleep, so I took him for a ride all the way to Amchit and decided to drop by Furn el Sabaya to pick up breakfast.

20160612_081737 Brian waiting for his man2oushe

Furn el Sabaya (The Ladies’ Oven) opens every day from 7:30 AM till 2 PM and is run by a group of women who live right next to the shop. They’ve been managing this bakery for the past 20 years and take pride in preparing everything at home. They make their own Keshek, their own Zaatar (thyme), prepare their own bread (whole-wheat dough), harvest their own pumpkins etc. Also, the place is very clean and the “Sabaya” are very welcoming and friendly.

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Their menu is divided into two sections:
Commonly sold items: (Manakish Zaatar, Jebneh, Lahm Baajin, Keshek, Awarma, Bayd bi Awarma etc ..)
Vegan/Healthy section: The ladies are all vegetarian and they offer cold-pressed thyme mankouche done with no oil, Vegan pizza with broccoli, sweet corn, bell pepper and tofu, Vegan pumpkin, pies made with spinach, purslane and wild greens etc. PatyM covered this vegan section quite extensively, you can read more about it [here].

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I wasn’t really interested in that vegan section, so I ordered a couple of Zaatar, Jebneh & Keshek Manakish, two Bayd bi Awarma (preserved meat) pies and their famous sweet pastry, the “Mwar2a”.

They started by preparing the Bayd (Eggs) bi Awarma (preserved meat) Manakish. They basically crack an egg over the dough, mix it with herbs and then add Awarma (preserved meat) on top.

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And here’s the end result:

awarma final

As for the Mwar2a (or Mouwaraqa), it is the Sabaya’s signature dessert and consists of a thin dough filled with a mix of almonds, walnuts and orange blossom. It’s not that easy to prepare and they have a special way to roll the dough before putting it in the oven but the end result is one awesome dessert!

mwar2a

I found a video uploaded by my friend Bethany Kehdy on how the Mwar2a is prepared. Check it out:

[YouTube]

All in all, I love everything about Furn el Sabaya and I am glad we still have such places in Lebanon. Next time you are headed North, pass by these ladies for a unique experience and a great breakfast! I’m already planning my second visit to try their vegan section, especially the spinach and the pumpkin pies because they come highly recommended.

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Rating: 4.5/5

FoodBlessed & SMW: An Amazing Volunteer-driven Food Truck Serving Free Meals To Those in Need

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Maya

FoodBlessed, a local hunger relief initiative, and SOUPer Meals On Wheels, a first-of-its-kind food truck in Lebanon, were both founded by Lebanese Maya Terro and aim at reducing the number of people going hungry in Lebanon by offering free meals all year long.

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I feel bad that I wasn’t aware of this initiative up until now but the work that they’ve been doing is quite incredible and I love how they are trying to tackle several issues at the same time. Their business model is an ideal one for:

– Providing poverty-stricken people with free wholly nutritious meals.
– Reducing food waste
– Enhancing social responsibility among individuals and corporations

souper

They work with strategic partners and restaurants to recover surplus food and have provided over 250,000 free meals over the past 3 years to more than 210,000 needy people all across Lebanon. More importantly, they have rescued 11,000 tons of edible food from waste. I heard that the food truck sells pizza at night to paying customers but I’ve never seen it anywhere. I will try to ask about its whereabouts so that people can go, buy pizza and help out.

There are several ways to help out FoodBlessed & SMW. You can volunteer, become a partner and give away food or simply donate.

AJ+ shared a cool report on the initiative few days ago, check it out:

This is a beautiful initiative. I’m gonna try get in touch with Maya and see how I can help further.

The New Roadster Branch Is Pretty Cool

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rd1

The new RD look and feel has been the talk of the town for the past three days. Some people liked the new look, some hated it while others said it’s a copy of Divvy restaurant. I refused to share the comparative pictures between both restaurants that were circulating online because I’ve never been to the new RD branch and I thought they were misleading.

Anyway, I passed by the Backyard this morning before Roadster even opens, looked around the new branch and personally loved it. The new look is actually pretty cool and a breath of fresh air. In fact, I don’t think the old RD would have fitted in this new venue because most of the shops open there have the same feel, and the same applies to the Village Dbayyeh. As far as the new logo is concerned, I’m still not very comfortable with it but what matters to be is that the food and service quality remain the same.

In terms of comparing it to Divvy (I love that place by the way!), I think those who are saying it’s a “copy paste” obviously haven’t been to Divvy or other diners. Divvy Mar Mikhail doesn’t look anything like Divvy at the Village so you can’t really compare the two to begin with, and most restaurants open at the Village and the Backyard have this urban industrial feel so again the comparison doesn’t stand. Still, I do agree that Roadster’s new round couches (RD had round couches since ever) and menu look very similar and RD should have paid more attention to these minor details especially that Divvy & RD owners were ex-partners.

On another note, I’m surprised that no one saw similarities with the Zaatar W Zeit branches that re-branded few years ago (notice the front facade and stairs), noting that ZWZ & RD belong to the same people.

All in all, what I care about mostly is the food and service quality to remain the same because I’m not there to eat the logo. In recent months, I found myself ordering more frequently from Deek Duke because it’s constantly evolving and introducing new items. At this point, Roadster should do the same and reconsider its portions and prices. In terms of delivery service, the quality has been dropping drastically for all diners and restaurants not just Roadster.

Here are few pictures of the new RD branch in Hazmieh:

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Burger King Campaign Explained

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bk1

The Burger King ads were finally explained tonight. As it turns out, BK Lebanon is launching a one of a kind 9-meter long food truck that will have the full BK menu and will tour Lebanon and be present at several events & even weddings.

The numbers referred to the area of Lebanon and the different regions. To be honest, I thought about that but I didn’t get the exact numbers on Google so I wasn’t sure. In all cases, I wasn’t the only one curious about this campaign so I guess it was a good one 🙂

“10452 branches in Keserwan”
“451 new branches in Keserwan”
“252 new branches in Matn”

Indigo on the Roof New Menu: Excellent Choices, Exquisite Desserts

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Indigo on the Roof is Le Gray Beirut‘s exclusive restaurant and one of my favorite spots in Beirut. I’ve been there countless times for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and it has always been a pleasant experience. The restaurant is refined and offers delicious food, the staff is (almost) always friendly and professional, the service is great and welcoming and the panoramic views of Beirut are stunning.

A month ago, we were invited to try out Indigo on the Roof’s new menu with the arrival of Le Gray’s new Executive Chef Darren Andow, who has over 20 years of experience in the field and a particular passion for Lebanon (Thank u Google). That night, we basically tasted every single item on the menu in small portions and I was so impressed with the flavors that I went back a week ago for lunch to have a full meal and review properly the items I liked the most.

Seafood Platter

We were 4 people:

We ordered the seafood platter, the duck salad and the Burrata as starters. The seafood platter is rich and fresh, it contains oysters, shrimps, mussels and marinated calamari with a couple of dips. The duck salad and buratta were excellent, the seafood platter was good but I would have preferred ordering the grilled calamari over the marinated one. If you like fish and want to try something different (but less-healthy), go for the sesame crusted oysters.

Duck Salad

Buratta

As for the main dishes, we had the char-grilled veal chop served with portobello mushrooms, vine tomatoes and a Roquefort cream, the new Wagyu beef filet (marble score 7) with a bearnaise sauce and the truffle addict tagliatelle. The Wagyu beef filet was mouthwatering and amazing, just like all their steaks, I loved the veal chop as well and especially the sauce, and the tagliatelle is a great choice if you like truffles.

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Moving on to the desserts, I barely had the chance to taste them properly the first time as I was full from all the appetizers and dishes so I made sure I leave some room for dessert this time. We ordered the lemon grass crème brûlée, the classic lemon tart and the Valrhona chocolate fondant.

Le Gray’s desserts always leave me speechless. In fact, sometimes I pass by Gordon’s Cafe on the ground floor just to have their Pain Perdu. If I had to choose one dessert among the new items, it would be the lemon grass crème brûlée.

chocolate fonddant

lemon

pain perdu

All in all, everything we ordered was perfect from presentation, to freshness and taste, just like you’d expect things to be at a five-star hotel. The portions were sized appropriately, not too big, not too small and we ended up paying around $70 per person without the wine. Indigo on the Roof is not a restaurant I can afford to visit frequently but it’s definitely worth the money you will pay!

For me, it’s an ideal place for a romantic night out, a family/business lunch or dinner or to celebrate a special occasion. Breakfast at Indigo is also highly recommended (try their Eggs-Benedict).

Rating: 4.5/5

Did Anyone Figure Out Burger King’s Ads?

Posted By :

bk1

“10452 branches in Keserwan”
“365 new branches”
“451 new branches in Keserwan”
“252 new branches in Matn”

I tried mixing the numbers together, adding/subtracting them, it doesn’t make any sense. Does anyone know what this campaign is about? I’m curious to know now.

They should give away a prize to the person who figures it out because everyone I asked was clueless.

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teaser

Smoking Bun Opens in Hamra

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smoking

Yesterday the Smoking Bun guys called me to hand me an invitation for their new branch opening. When I went down to meet them, a fireman was there waiting for me with a small fire extinguisher labeled “Hamra on Fire” lol! They were also walking around Hamra stamping people to join them and “cool down the fire”.

Smoking Bun is my favorite street burger joint and is now open in Hamra near Mohammad Abdul Baki Street facing Hotel Cavalier. Its original branch is underneath Secteur in the middle of Mar Mikhail and it only offers one burger.

burger I had the double cheese burger yesterday 🙂

It’s small, simple, relatively cheap but its burger is fantastic and the fries are great as well. The meat is cooked medium (medium rare if you want to) and is covered with aged cheddar, the bun is tender and holds up nicely to the burger’s juices and it’s all topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. The fries are not-too-crispy not-too-soft and come with a house sauce.

Smoking Bun is street food done right. The burger costs 12,000LL, the fries 5,000LL, beer is for 7,500LL and soda for 3,000LL.

You can check out my original review [here].

Hamra is SMOKING! Now open in Hamra #HamraOnFire #SmokingBun

Posted by Smoking Bun on Monday, April 4, 2016

New York-based Restaurant ilili: First Lebanese Restaurant To Receive The 5-Star Diamond Award

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ilili2

This is the first time I heard about that restaurant to be honest as I’ve never been to New York and the news may be a bit old but it’s definitely worth sharing especially that it got featured last week on Kalam Ennas.

ilili ilili is apparently Sofia Vergara’s favorite NY restaurant

ilili, which means “tell me” in colloquial Lebanese, is a Lebanese Restaurant founded and managed by Phillipe Massoud who’s also the executive chef. ilili has been open since 2007 and has won back in July 2014 the five star diamond award, one of the highest awards available in the world’s hospitality industry. The award is the highest given by the International Academy of Hospitality and Sciences, in recognition of excellence in the field of hospitality, quality, service and more.

ilili3 Lamb burger, topped with air cured beef and a kashkaval spread.

The restaurant offers traditional Lebanese dishes with a contemporary touch, such as Atayef & Veal Bacon, Duck Shawarma (duck magret & chicken, fig jam, green onion, garlic whip), Kale fattoush and Lobster hummus. It also has all the traditional mezza that any Lebanese restaurant would serve (Baba Ghannouj, Tabbouleh, Fattoush, Warak Enab etc ..)

Quoting its executive Chef Massoud, “It’s a New York restaurant for the New York market. In a sense we didn’t open it with the Lebanese in New York [in mind]. We opened it for the New Yorkers in New York.”

knefe Knefe bi Jebneh

The restaurant and the dishes look amazing and I love how passionate the Chef is about Lebanese cuisine and Lebanon. I’m definitely going there when I visit NY.

[YouTube]

PS: All pictures were taken from ilili’s page.