Category Archives: Food

Do You Know Anyone Who Doesn’t Like Abou Arab?

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kaak

There are probably two or three Kaak places on my way back home every day but I rarely pass by them. However, whenever I’m headed North, South or to the Bekaa, Abou Arab is a must-stop. It’s the first thing that comes to mind whether we are going on a road trip, attending a wedding, going to ski or to the beach, or just visiting friends.

I don’t know how Abou Arab became so popular but I can think of 5 reasons:

1- Their Kaak茅 is always hot and fresh.
2- Their Kaak茅 is delicious and fulfilling.
3- Abou Arab is very affordable (Kaak prices range from 1,000LL to 6,500LL)
4- Abou Arab branches are perfectly located, on both sides of the highway, whether you are headed North, South or to the Bekaa.
5- The staff is very friendly and the service is super quick!

The only downside is that Abou Arab is not the cleanest of places but that’s how most Kaak places are and trust me, you will forget that as soon as you taste their Kaak茅 馃榾

My favorite are the Picon and Zaatar, Kashkawan and Zaatar and Labne with Zaatar. The chocolate is really good too. Sometimes I just order a plain Kaak茅.

The Abou Arab branches that I’m aware of are located in Tabarja, Choueifat and Aley.

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abou arab

Meet The Labneh Chocolate B没che

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The Labneh B没che is back this year for Christmas with a new flavor, Chocolate. These healthy and home-made Labneh-based B没ches are being prepared by my friend and dietitian Nicole Maftoum (#EatLikeNicole) and are delicious!

The Original Labneh B没che

The original Labneh B没che is made of:
鈥 Taanayel les fermes Labneh light cream pure at heart (7 times less caloric and 20 times less fattening than butter).
鈥 Walnuts with their high omega-3 content.
鈥 Almonds packed with proteins, calcium and fiber.
鈥 Goji berries, also known as longevity fruits all along with cranberries which are high antioxidants.
鈥 Cashew and Macadamia which are rich flavorful nuts packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.

While the Chocolate Labneh B没che includes premium cocoa beans.
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I tasted the Chocolate one over the weekend and it was good but I still prefer the original one. One thing is for sure, both are very original, very healthy when compared to the normal b没ches we have and more importantly they taste really good!

If you are interested and wish to order your b没che, check out Nicole’s page for more info [here].

UNESCO Adds Arabic Coffee To “Cultural Heritage” List

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coffee Source

UNESCO announced the new additions to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list last week and the tradition of making Arabic coffee was among the 20 new traditions.

Quoting the UNESCO report, “Serving Arabic coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies and considered a ceremonial act of generosity. Traditionally, coffee is prepared in front of guests. The most important or oldest guest is served first, filling a quarter of the cup, which can then be refilled. Common practice is to drink at least one cup but not exceed three.”

Even though the countries mentioned in the report are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, making Arabic coffee is also part of our Lebanese culture and is served in all occasions. The most common type is the Turkish coffee that you will find in most caf茅s in Lebanon. Street coffee sellers are also still popular in some areas like Tripoli.

Coffee-making begins with the selection of beans, which are lightly roasted in a shallow pan over a fire, then placed into a copper mortar and pounded with a copper pestle. The coffee grounds are placed into a large copper coffee pot; water is added and the pot is placed on the fire. Once brewed, it is poured into a smaller coffee pot from which it is poured into small cups.

First Visit To The Cheesecake Factory In Beirut

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The Cheesecake Factory opens officially today in Verdun, Beirut right across Starbucks but the media were all invited yesterday to try out the new outlet. I got there around 7 pm and the place was already packed but we were seated quickly.

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The place looks really nice from the inside and is very spacious. There’s a bar area on one side and the traditional cheesecake stand on the entrance. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming and some of them came all the way from The Cheesecake Factory Dubai to help out.

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Since I’ve been already to the one in Dubai, I knew what to expect but I was curious to know if the menu is the same exact one and the dishes taste the same. The menu is identical to the one in Dubai and in the States (as confirmed by my half-American cousin), offering a LOT of choices, more than you could possibly imagine. I felt a bit dizzy looking at the menu the first time and I took me half an hour to order yesterday. The light menu (SkinnyLicious庐) is also available.

We started off with few cocktails and appetizers:

Cocktails:
– Long Island Iced Tea
– Whiskey Smash
– The Ultimate Margarita
– Passion Fruit Margarita
– Pina Colada

The cocktails were huge and all good.

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Appetizers:
– Avocado Eggrolls
– Fried Macaroni & Cheese
– Hot Spinach & Cheese Dip
– Factory Nachos

The Mac & Cheese is a must try. The Hot Spinach & Cheese dip is really good, Nachos are good but I didn’t like the avocado egg rolls much.

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Moving on to the main dishes, we had:
– Chicken Madeira
– Chicken & Biscuits
– Cajun Chicken Littles
– Smokehouse BBQ Burger
– Herb crusted Filet of Salmon

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If you are a person who loves large portions of food then you will fall in love with the place. The dishes were huge and delicious. The Chicken Madeira and the smokehouse burger were my favorite.

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As for desserts, there are all kinds of stuff to choose from but you obviously have to try cheesecakes at The Cheesecake Factory so we ordered:

– Godiva Cheesecake
– Oreo Cheesecake
– Banana Pudding Cheesecake

The Oreo was ok, the Banana pudding was good but the Godiva was absolutely amazing and is a must-try! I’m sure there are other cheesecakes worth trying but you need like a year to try them all out so good luck!

All in all, The Cheesecake Factory in Beirut is everything you expect it to be and more. If you haven’t been before, you should definitely go and try it out. The food and service are excellent, the portions are huge and the prices are reasonable.

Make sure to go through the [menu] online before going to save yourself some time there 馃檪

PS: There’s an underground parking place right across The Cheesecake Factory if you don’t like giving your car to the valet.

Forget Garbage, ISIS & Elections: Lebanon Is Making The Longest Man2oushe In The World Today!

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50 years

Amjad school and Socrate Catering will attempt today to make the longest Man2oushe in the world startig 9am. Currently, the longest pasty measures 15.17 m (49 ft 9.24 in) and was achieved by Fuchsia (Saudi Arabia), in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia last year.

The last thing we need is another one of those silly records but then again that’s probably the only thing we can celebrate today since we don’t have a president, our soldiers are still captives, Russians shutdown most of our airspace and the Israeli jets are still violating our airspace on a daily basis. I just hope someone will end up eating this 32-meter long pasty.

Oh and the garbage crisis is still ongoing.

Update: Here’s a couple of pictures from the longest Man2oushe in the world taken From Socrates FB Page.

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sak

Who’s Spreading Rumors About Zaatar W Zeit?

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zwzwzwz

If I ask anyone about the food safety campaign that was kicked off few months ago, the only thing they will probably remember is the first list of restaurants that was announced by the Minister that included the likes of Roadster and Kababji surprisingly. Of course we still don’t know the nature of the violations at these restaurants, the standards applied to check these violations and if there’s any follow-up process.

I’ve been supporting this food safety campaign since day1 but I still don’t approve of the way the minister was flashing popular restaurant names in press conferences and causing serious damages to the businesses for reasons that are still unclear. Taanayel les Fermes for example got its share of bad publicity because most people mistook it for Centre Taanayel that was declared non-compliant.

Another example is what happened with Zaatar wou Zeit yesterday. I spotted an article early in the morning on Annahar saying that ZWZ received a warning from the ministry but I chose to ignore and check later on what ZWZ management had to say about it. As it turns out, they were unaware of any warnings addressed to them and they learned about it from the papers, which is quite absurd!

I traced back the article to the National News Agency but I couldn’t find anything on the MOH website. In fact, the latest health news there dates back to 2012.

All in all, sharing such articles can be seriously damaging and misleading and I think the MOH should investigate and make sure nothing is ever published without their consent. If there’s really a warning, we all deserve to know the whole story especially when the food chain in question is a very popular one.

moh

Doomsday Seeds Transferred From Syria To The Bekaa In Lebanon

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norway The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard in Norway

This is quite an incredible story. Apparently things have become so bad in Syria that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has sounded the doomsday alarm and made an extraordinary request in early September to remove thousands of samples and transfer them to a vault in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. The aim is to preserve Syria’s unique agricultural heritage after ICARDA’s gene bank in Aleppo, which includes more than 135,000 varieties of wheat, fava bean, lentil and chickpea crops, as well as the world’s most valuable barley collection, has been damaged by the war.

What is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in northern Norway, something of an agricultural Noah’s Ark, was set up as a guarantee against mass starvation. The world鈥檚 governments poured in their countries鈥 seed samples 鈥 unique strains of every crop 鈥 and the doors were closed in 2008, when no one expected them to be opened for many generations. It has more than 860,000 samples, from almost all nations. Even if the power were to fail, the vault would stay frozen and sealed for at least 200 years. The vault is meant to be opened only in the event of a catastrophic event, like flooding or drought, that would threaten a crop with extinction, according to Brian Lainoff, a spokesman for the Crop Trust, one of the vault’s international stewards.

ICARDA’s gene bank in Aleppo, Syria, includes more than 135,000 varieties of wheat, fava bean, lentil and chickpea crops, as well as the world’s most valuable barley collection.

Let’s just hope things will remain calm in the Bekaa.

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Sources: [CNN] [Independent] [Jazeera]

The Cheesecake Factory Is Finally Opening In Lebanon

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cheesecake

The Cheesecake Factory will not open at CityCentre Beirut as it was expected and announced. Instead, it’s opening soon in Verdun and they are already recruiting. I tried The Cheesecake Factory for the first time when I was in Dubai 3 months ago and it was really good! It took me half an hour to order though because their menu is huge but it’s totally worth it and the portions were huge.

cheese cake

I don’t have an exact opening date for Verdun but since they are recruiting it should be very soon.


Even though The Cheesecake Factory did not open at City Centre Beirut, you can find selected cheesecakes from the place at Vox Gold theaters

A Pink Burger To Spread Awareness On Breast Cancer

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duo

Duo Resto launched a “Pink Burger” during October to help spread awareness on breast cancer, and 1500LL will be donated to Faire Face Cancer Association with every Pink Burger order. I like the campaign but I’m not very comfortable with the idea of associating burgers (and fries) with a cancer campaign. I think they should have come up with a healthy “disease-fighting” burger like this one.

Personally speaking, I would never try it as I hate beetroot. Speaking of weird burgers, Roadster Diner unveiled the Black Burger earlier this year.

pink