Category Archives: Food

Ashoura Traditions: The Commemoration And The Abbas Cookies

dupl-abbas-kaak
Picture From TasteOfBeirut

Ashoura Day is commemorated by Shi’a Muslims as a mourning day for the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Prophet Mohammad during the Battle of Karbala some 1300 years ago. Re-enacting the battle has been long a tradition among the Shiite communities and involves in few areas self-flagellation in order to remember the blood that Hussein shed for them.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of the Tatbir, or self-flagellation act and I’d rather see people organize blood donation campaigns on that day (Like Hezbollah does) but some areas in Lebanon such as Nabatieh like to maintain this tradition, which seems to attract foreigners every year.

As far as Ashoura food traditions are concerned, there’s the Hreessé dish and the Abbas cookies and I absolutely love both! I don’t know why I had never heard about Abbas cookies until this year but they’re definitely worth a try. If you are interested in the recipe, Taste Of Beirut wrote about it [Here].

IMG_2235
Check out more pictures from Nabatieh [Here]

The Happy Prince – Mar Mikhael

20131029_192914

The Happy Prince is a pub-resto open in Mar Mikhael on Alexander Flemming Street (Right down the street from Internazionale). Even though it’s not a burger joint, I’ve been hearing a lot about its burgers so I decided to go check it out. I went the first time last Friday but the kitchen was closed (It closes between 3:30 and 7:30) and the place was empty so I left and thought I’d come back for lunch on Saturday. I got there around 2pm on Saturday and the place was packed this time but there were no more burgers (as per the manager). I thought it was pretty weird that a restaurant known for his burgers runs out of burgers so I just left again and was annoyed this time.

Yesterday, I had few errands to run in Beirut and I found myself next to the Happy Prince around 7:30 so I parked and walked in. The place was totally empty so we sat and asked for the menu. We ordered a grilled corn salad and two orders of “The Cheeseburger”, which is the only burger they serve and consists of “selected cuts of US Black Angus beef served with house made french fries”. I had a drink while waiting for the burger and asked them if they had any carrots or crackers or chip but they didn’t serve any which is pretty weird for a pub.

PS: Around 7:40 people start coming in and the place was full before 8.

20131029_195108

The salad came after 20 minutes and it was really good. I loved how they mixed avocado with the grilled corn. Some 20 minutes later, the two burgers were finally here. As you can see below, the platter consists of small crispy fries with a slice of tomato topped with two slices of onions, a bowl of ketchup and the burger. I ordered my patty medium rare and my friend ordered it well done. The seating was comfortable but the tables were very close to each other which annoyed me. In fact at some point, they decided to add a chair to a nearby table and the guy who sat was almost sitting right next to me.

20131029_201135

My burger was delicious. I loved the bun even though the bottom was too thin, the patty was juicy and tasty, not too salty or too greasy. It was one of the best burgers I’ve had in Lebanon. My friend’s burger was also good but the patty was too salty for some reason (I took a bite just to make sure). As far as the fries are concerned, the portion was big enough for one person and I loved them.

20131029_201212

All in all, I loved The Happy Prince’s burger and it’s definitely on my top 3 burger places in Lebanon but I didn’t quite enjoy the experience at that place. What I mean is that I had to go three times to actually taste their burger, I couldn’t reserve in advance even though the place is relatively small, there’s a limited number of burgers everyday, the kitchen has limited opening hours, it’s hard to find a parking lot around the place and the service is kind of slow.

Marky’s Philly Joint

20131016_212623

Ever since Marky’s opened, I’ve been hearing mixed opinions about it, whereas some people hated it while others loved it and told me they’ve had the best burgers ever there (even though it’s a philly joint). Having said that, I ended up visiting Marky’s last week with a couple of friends and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed.

Marky’s is located in Sin el Fil on the road leading to the Mkalles roundabout. The joint is relatively small and fits around 20-25 people. There are two parking spots in front of the place but you can easily find a spot there.

Here’s what we ordered:
- 1 Chicken Caesar Salad
- 1 “The Philly” Steak
- 1 Oklahoma Burger
- 1 Cheese Burger
- 1 Cheese Hot Dog
- 2 orders of Poutine fries

20131016_201719

First of all, I got the salad in a plastic box with a plastic fork and knife which I didn’t appreciate. I understand that it’s a joint but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a proper table setting. Even the soft drinks came in plastic cups.

20131016_202104

Marky’s chef takes pride in his poutine fries, and on how they are prepared using fresh French fries, the traditional and secret poutine gravy and imported cheese curds from Canada. That’s the first time I ever taste Poutine fries, so I enjoyed them but I can’t really tell if they are authentic or not.

20131016_202821

20131016_202808

As far as the Philly steaks and hot dogs are concerned, my friend told me the Philly steak wasn’t as good as the previous time and the hotdog wasn’t appealing at all. I mean you expect cheddar cheese, corn and tortilla chips on a hotdog not lettuce and tomatoes.

20131016_202856

20131016_202924

Moving on to the burgers, the bun was great and the burger presentation was great but my friend and I didn’t like the patty, which is what the burger is all about. The meat was way too greasy and oily and had a weird taste and both of us forced ourselves to finish the burger. Of course it doesn’t mean the quality of the meat is bad as a burger is a matter of personal taste.

To sum it up, I didn’t expect to dislike the place specially after all the reviews I’ve read, which is why I am going to give Marky’s another try soon with a bunch of friends and see if it was a one-time accident.

Pizza Cups in Lebanon

1374729_584644184940083_646165405_n

I wanted to post about this new concept few days ago but I thought I give them a try first. I messaged the Pizza Cups people on Facebook to order but they insisted on sending a complimentary half-dozen for me to try. The 6 flavors I got were:
- Pepperoni
- Four Cheese
- Chicken Pesto
- Vegetarian
- Spinach and Caramelized Onions
- Mexican

20131009_133050
The half dozen I got

The cups are not that big and r meant for events and catering so don’t order them for lunch unless you’re planning on eating 12 or 18 pieces. I loved the first four flavors (Pepperoni and Chicken Pesto mostly) but I didn’t try the Spinach and Caramelized Onions nor the Mexican because I don’t like onions and spices. I think it’s a great idea to serve them over dinner or lunch and the dozen costs between 20,000 and 30,000 which is not a lot.

Note that you need an oven to heat the cups as the microwave messes up the dough (white and whole grain are available). Of course once they start delivering in the same day (You need to pre-order 48 hours before now), they will hopefully figure out a way to keep them hot and ready to eat.

PS: For those interested in ordering, call this number 79 188 831 to order in advance.

We offer cup-shaped pizzas prepared with fresh quality ingredients and baked with care and dedication. Our Pizza Cups come in a variety of 12 savory and 3 sweet flavors, with your choice of white or whole grain crust, to fulfill your different cravings.

Your orders will be delivered to you, just make sure to place them 48 hours ahead [Pizza Cups]

1380129_585983461472822_1027968683_n

Zaatar W Zeit’s loyalty program

1374833_10151726702258208_819888211_n
Source

I got an email from ZWZ a month ago informing me that I can now collect points on my loyalty card through delivery. I didn’t understand what loyalty card they were talking about but as it turns out, it’s the card few of us got a couple of years back after the missing Z campaign and the rebranding ZWZ went through.

The weird thing though is that there was no mention of that loyalty card at the ZWZ branches when I’d visit, and the waiters would never ask me for my loyalty card, which is quite frustrating as I’m a regular at ZWZ. I even asked around some friends who always visit ZWZ and they never heard of such a thing. One of them doesn’t even want to go anymore there knowing he could have collected points for two years lol!

As for deliveries, I order all the time from ZWZ (almost daily during July and August of this year) so it’s a shame they enabled the delivery option in September.

Either way, I am glad they finally decided to promote their loyalty program as it is much needed for a brand like ZWZ. You can check more information about it [Here].

Niederegger Marzipan Torte

20130929_120643

I was looking in one my bags today and found a Marzipan Torte that I brought back with me from Julius Meinl shop in Vienna. I love Marzipan and the stuff I found in that shop are so much better than the Marzipan (Marssaben) done here in Lebanon.

The one in the picture has Kirsch in it and is so freaking delicious it made me regret not getting a bitter portion back! I am very tempted to order it online but the shipping cost will be probably higher than the Torte’s price. Meinl sells it online as well as Niederegger.

I am going to check first at Stop & Shop, O&C and TSC Signature to see if they sell them.

20130929_120706