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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
Pierre Abi Hayla, from LE NOIR Atelier Du Chocolat, took part at the Valrhona Easter Contest 2016 and won the first prize. His Easter egg, “Egstrate” (Egg + strata which means geological layer), consists of seven layers of chocolate and includes Valrhona’s four colors (white, milk, dark and Dulcey).
Valrhona is a French premium chocolate maker and is considered one of the best chocolate manufacturers on the planet. Valrhona focuses mainly on high-grade luxury chocolate marketed for commercial use by chefs as well as for private consumption. You can find Valrhona in high-end supermarkets in Lebanon.
Eggs by Yoann Rolland (France) and Amanda Snouffer (USA)
If you are interested, check out the rest of the eggs submitted. They’re all handcrafted and are quite amazing!
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour first states that wheat entering Lebanon failed to match safety standards, and that few samples contain cancer-causing substances, then Economy Ministry Alain Hakim comes out and says that the results Abu Faour are inaccurate and that the wheat is safe. Minister Abu Faour replies back that the Economy ministry’s testing methods were “outdated and could no longer be relied on”, before Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb intervened and reconciled both parties. They later on agreed to develop an action plan that ensures the safety and quality of wheat entering Lebanon.
It’s good to see ministers work together in health-related issues , but what happened to the cancerous wheat units that were found by Minister Abu Faour? If he’s confident that some of the samples did not comply with safety measures, then where are they and why weren’t they confiscated? How will referring the wheat file to the General Prosecutions going to stop people from getting poisoned by this rotten wheat? Is Minister Abu Faour’s food safety campaign working or not?
Personally speaking, I don’t think Lebanon’s food safety scandal will end anytime soon because the way it’s being handled is wrong. The real problem has always been slaughterhouses and food storage yet what’s happening now is far worse as there are more and more violating restaurants (Dkekeen) opening and there’s no control over them anymore because the follow up process is not clear and the standards are not well defined.
All in all, the wheat scandal will be forgotten soon just like other scandals but the cancerous wheat is still in the market and Lebanese citizens are the only victims.
Snack Ghalayini is a cheap and popular snack in Hamra that used to sell the Zaatar Man2oushe for 250LL and the Cheese Man2oushe for 750LL years ago. Apparently the snack has decided to bring back the old price for a limited period of time starting March 14. I never enjoyed Ghalayini, not only because it’s dirty, but because his Manakish are not good. Fayssal and National Bakeries on Bliss Street are much better.
I didn’t mind going to those cheap snacks back in the old days but I would never do it now. Two of my favorite snacks were Anthony in Sin el Fil (Cheese Hotdog Sandwich) and Khoury (Lebanese hamburgers) in Jdeideh.
2- Divvy teamed up with a group of friends to serve their mothers on Mother’s day:
I would have loved to take part in that initiative but I wasn’t able to unfortunately. The idea was very creative and the video turned out to be awesome. It’s funny how some of the parents didn’t recognize their sons and daughters at first glimpse and their reaction was truly priceless when they did. Thumbs up to Divvy and the Uf Concepts guys!
Even though detox or “cleansing” diets are becoming more and more popular in Lebanon, I was never really tempted to try one. I’ve read a lot of articles on detox diets and the sure thing is you cannot detox your system just like that because that’s not how things work and mainly because your body is already getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat or do. There’s no secret recipe or detox wonders that will do a better job than your own body, and that’s why you should approach this whole detox thing differently in my opinion.
I was at LeMall Dbayyeh last week when I spotted a detox stand offering super fruits, or in other terms healthier and more nourishing cold-pressed juices with no additives, for customers to taste. The stand is a collaboration between LeMall and Succo Beirut, which is a place that I recommend for healthy snacks and fresh juices. Their carrot-walnut bread cake is really good and I love their granola bowls. They also have delicious energy balls that come filled with dates and almonds.
Of course it’s always good to see malls in Lebanon promote a healthy lifestyle but awareness is very important when it comes to detox diets and I’m glad there was a detox specialist at the juice stand to explain detox to customers and answer their questions because there’s a lot of ambiguity and confusion around this issue. I asked her myself few questions and her approach, which I agree with, was to promote a healthy eating rather than introduce detox diets to lose weight quickly.
Detoxing shouldn’t be about cleaning your body or losing weight quickly because you could be harming yourself in the process and you’ll likely just gain those kilos back really quick. Personally speaking, the only type of detox diet that is worth trying is one that follows a strict clean-eating approach, whereas you avoid processed and sugary foods and replace them with healthy options. Also, if you consume alcohol or desserts heavily, you could detox from these two only for a while and shops like Succo Beirut or Fresh Healthy Cafe (I love that place!) could help out by offering fresh juices and healthy snacks.
All in all, there are tons of articles out arguing about the benefits of detox and whether it works or not. I believe it all goes back to what every person wants but I highly recommend that you talk to a specialized person before trying any of these diets. The stand will be at Sin el Fil this week till Sunday so go check it out and ask questions if you have any.
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 Kaaké is always hot and fresh.
2- Their Kaaké 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 Kaaké 😀
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 Kaaké.
The Abou Arab branches that I’m aware of are located in Tabarja, Choueifat and Aley.
The Labneh Bûche is back this year for Christmas with a new flavor, Chocolate. These healthy and home-made Labneh-based Bûches are being prepared by my friend and dietitian Nicole Maftoum (#EatLikeNicole) and are delicious!
The Original Labneh Bûche
The original Labneh Bûche is made of:
– Taanayel les fermes Labneh light cream pure at heart (7 times less caloric and 20 times less fattening than butter).
– Walnuts with their high omega-3 content.
– Almonds packed with proteins, calcium and fiber.
– Goji berries, also known as longevity fruits all along with cranberries which are high antioxidants.
– Cashew and Macadamia which are rich flavorful nuts packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.
While the Chocolate Labneh Bûche includes premium cocoa beans.
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 bûches we have and more importantly they taste really good!
If you are interested and wish to order your bûche, check out Nicole’s page for more info [here].