Category Archives: Food

Cancerous Wheat: Lebanon’s Food Safety Scandal Refuses To Go Away

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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 Minister Abu Faour replies back that the Economy ministry’s testing methods were “outdated and could no longer be relied on”, before Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb intervened and reconciled both parties.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.

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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.

Zaatar Man2oushe For 250LL is Back At Ghalayini Hamra

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ghalayini via Bairoute

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.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in Lebanon: Two Heartwarming Videos

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Here are two heartwarming videos on the occasion of Mother’s day done by TheSpot mall and Divvy.

1- #Shta2tellikMom: A son surprises his mother after living abroad for 6 years:

Best Mother’s Day surprise ever! By The Spot Lebanon #shta2tel…

Best Mother’s Day surprise ever! By The Spot Lebanon

Posted by The Spot Lebanon on Thursday, March 17, 2016

2- Divvy teamed up with a group of friends to serve their mothers on Mother’s day:
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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!

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What if on Mother’s day you were the one serving your mom?

Posted by Divvy on Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Proper Way To Detox

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lemall Detox Juice Stand At Le Mall Sin el Fil

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.

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Would you try a wheatgrass juice?

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

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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.

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Meet The Labneh Chocolate Bûche

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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.
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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 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].

UNESCO Adds Arabic Coffee To “Cultural Heritage” List

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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 cafés 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®) 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 🙂

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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