Bar Tartine will be opening in the next couple of days somewhere near Mandaloun cafe in Dbayyeh if I am not mistaken. I love this place, specially the fresh morning baguettes and the desserts, and it perfectly makes sense for it to open in Dbayyeh as its only two branches are in ABC Achrafieh and Mar Mikhael.
I finally managed to find the new Tarboosh flavors after looking at more than 5 supermarkets and small shops. Supermarket Achrafieh didn’t have them, O&C only had the strawberry flavor only, TSC Zouk Mosbeh didn’t have any but Charcutier Aoun in Jeita had both. In fact, I only found the strawberry one at first at Aoun but asked the guy who went and got me a box of hazelnut from the storage room.
I have no idea why it was so hard to find them but I wasn’t disappointed at all, specially with the Hazelnut one. In fact I didn’t like the strawberry mix that much and doubt that i’ll have it again, but the Hazelnut is spot on as it really tastes good! I like it almost as much as the original one now. Hazelnut mixes better with the original than the strawberry and its after-taste is also much better.
Roadster Diner has re-asserted its commitment to food safety and quality and has decided to donate a full working lab to the Ministry of Public Health to improve their capabilities. Of course this is a good move but I am honestly quite surprised that the full report hasn’t been issued yet by Minister Bou Faour. We know nothing about the nature of the violations, the standards applied etc …
Instead of announcing few names every now and then, he should do it all at once and follow up in a month and that’s it. If his results are scientific and prove wrongdoings we all want to see how and where. As for Roadster, and despite being ISO 22000 certified, I think they should release reports showing their chicken is safe from the same laboratories the government is using.
via Al Jomhouria
Public Health Minister Wael Bou Faour published a new list of “bad” restaurants and supermarkets today but we have yet to see the full report upon which these checks were conducted. Just to make myself clear, I am fully supportive of this initiative but I don’t agree with the approach that the minister has taken. The businesses that were found guilty and the Lebanese have the right to know everything related to this scandal and what how severe is every violation. Stating that a specific item at a reputable chain or supermarket is “غير مطابق” could mean a million things and not giving further details could harm a restaurant’s reputation and scare away customers for the wrong reasons.
Moreover, I am very surprised that he hasn’t released the full list and is giving out few names every 2 or 3 days. What’s the point of that? Why focus on few names and leave the rest for later? If he wants his campaign to be successful, he should be scientific and professional about it. In all cases, everyone is still waiting for the full report if it will ever be released.
In order to illustrate better what I mean, check out Elyse Abdel Massih‘s take on this matter and the example she gave of what a “غير مطابق” chicken breast could mean:
To help better illustrate this, i’ll give a short example of how a simple chicken breast might be evaluated by the ministry and for the sake of argument lets forgo for now any potential responsibility of the suppliers who actually provide the chicken to their client restaurants and supermarkets.
1- Did the restaurant follow the right checklist for each item received to make sure that the received item is up to the health standard? (Expiry date, quantity, description of item, temperature, clean, odor, color, refrigerated…) ?
2- Did the restaurant have these sections available: cold section, dry stores, vegetable section, pastry lab, dishwashing, central kitchen?
3- If all sections are available are they also efficiently separated?
4- Was the refrigerator temperature the right one? Were the items in it separated properly? (The chicken always goes below the meat but never above)
5- Were the defrosting, cutting, knives clean and not used on other products? Separating chicken from meat? Water used to clean it also clean?
6- How about ambient room temperature, location, and the windows were they opened or closed? (They are not allowed to be open)
7- What about surrounding chemical hazards?( Strong perfumes , pesticides..)
8- Was there control of worker personal hygiene in place? (Health, hair, nails, shoes..)
9- Was there a risk of cross contamination? (It occurs when bacteria cross from food to food, hand to food or equipment to food)
Any point or all of them may have led to the stamp of “غير مطابق” or ”Not compliant” .
The ministry of health should publish the list of restaurants with explanation of what wasn’t up to the standard to avoid causing major reputation damage and mass panic.
If the mistake wasn’t a major one (transferring salmonella is way different than placing chicken above meat or forgetting a hairnet) the inspectors of ministry of health are obliged to take immediate actions on the spot before going public. Isn’t that what inspectors do?
PS: Elyse Abdel Massih is dietitian with experience and knowledge in food service
Grand Cinemas launched a new popcorn yesterday, the Air Popcorn which is a low-cholesterol and oil free brand of popcorn. I think it’s a smart idea specially when you’ve just had a heavy dinner and still want to have some popcorn or if you’re just on diet or have a high cholesterol. As far as the taste is concerned, the salt type is almost tasteless while the cheese version was saved by the cheese.
Every time I go to Les Caves de Taillevent, I fall in love with that place once again. I love the setup, the caves, the staff and more importantly the food and alcohol pairing sessions that take place there.
I was invited along with 8 or 9 other people last Friday for a session of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne and food pairing. To be honest, I am not a big Champagne fan but I’ve never had Piper-Heidsieck before, and given that it’s one of the oldest Maison de Champagne around the world and has an excellent reputation, I thought I’d give it a try and get to know more about Champagne tasting. Moreover, my good friend and the super talented Nicole Maftoum was the chef for the evening, so I didn’t want to miss out on her dishes.
Before we started the tasting, we were served hot freshly baked bread with a delicious herb butter. Afterwards, we got to try out Piper-Heidsieck’s finest champagne, the Rare Vintage 2002 bottle which is a blend of 17 crus which matured for over seven years in the House’s cellars. This was one of the best champagnes I’ve ever tasted and it was different from all champagnes I’ve had before. In fact we all agreed that they should have kept it for last as the bottles that followed weren’t as good as this one.
The dishes we got along with this bottle consisted of 1 oyster with Salmon sashimi in a pea puree with fish roe, followed by an organic salad greens with tuna sashimi, quail eggs, edamame and a parmesan champagne vinaigrette. I loved the raw fish but what I enjoyed most was the salad dressing.
We got to taste the 2006 vintage brut and the cuvée brut afterwards with a Porcini Rigatoni with Saffron dish and a Quinoa Paella with shrimps and a creamy thai-base sauce. Both bottles were good but I’d rather have the 2002 with both dishes. Speaking of which, I loved the Porcini and the Quinoa Paella that followed was fresh and tasty.
Moving on to the best part of the evening, we were served four different desserts along with a glass of Rosé Sauvage. The Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage has a hint of red fruits and is elaborated with a majority of Pinoits Noir, which matched perfectly with the Red Beans Dark Chocolate brownie, The Labneh Red fruits cake with nuts and dried berries, the Chickpeas fruit tart with vanilla pudding and the Rose sauvage Champagne ice cream.
I was anxiously waiting for the Labneh, yup Labneh, Red Fruits cake and it was very light and delicious! The chickpeas fruit tart was surprisingly good and the ice cream was amazing. It was the perfect ending to a thrilling and enriching experience.
All in all, I got to appreciate champagne a bit more with this tasting and I would gladly have a glass of that Rare Vintage 2002 bottle with fish and seafood.
I posted this video a year ago. Compassion in World Farming visited the Karantina Slaughterhouse and were shocked by what’s happening there. Since the Ministry of Health is launching a food safety campaign, it would be a great idea to start with the Beirut Slaughterhouse where most of the restaurants in Lebanon get their meat from.
“The slaughterhouse is chaos. Everything is coated in a layer of blood, faeces and body parts. The slaughter area is heaving with people, live animals and slaughtered bodies. The sounds and smells are overwhelming.
Men grab defenceless sheep by the fleece or back leg. They fall to their knees and are forcefully dragged, one by one, to the slaughter line. Cattle are dragged by ropes around their necks. When they try to resist restraint they are yelled at and beaten viciously with metal rods. The animals are visibly terrified and in their frantic attempts to escape they slip, trip and fall, slamming their heads into the concrete floor.
Groups of sheep are forced to jump over dead bodies and wide gutters full of blood. They desperately try to force their way away from the bodies of other sheep they have just watched being slaughtered. Cows are left suspended fully-conscious by one leg for long periods of time, their faces resting in pools of other animals’ blood. They watch animals being slaughtered all around them. I wonder if they realize it will soon be their turn?”
Health Minister Bou Faour confirmed to all the Lebanese today that the food they are eating is full of diseases and issued a list of restaurants and supermarkets that do not meet the proper health and hygiene conditions. The minister said that violating restaurants will be warned and fines will be forced.
Personally speaking, I love the initiative and I really hope that this won’t be a temporary campaign but at the same time, I disagree with the minister on publishing at first a list of places without sharing the full study that was conducted and all the information available on that matter. We need to know on which basis was this study conducted, what were the violations and why wasn’t the ministry doing its job in the first place before Bou Faour took charge? Who was responsible back then and who let Natour reopen and sell rotten meat once again? Are the violations all the same? Why weren’t they classified as serious or minor?
Now people will start freaking out and sharing this list blindly because that’s all they know. I mean seriously how the hell is Roadster and Kababji on that list? We all know they are the safest places to eat in Lebanon. And how can Hallab’s Achta in Tripoli be on that list? That’s his source of pride lol!
In all cases, Minister Bou Faour has been done a great job so far and I hope he will clarify this whole matter and explain to the Lebanese people how this study was done and what are the steps being taken to enforce further quality control in Lebanon and make sure what we are eating is safe. The last thing we need is another “Labneh” controversy.
Here’s the full list as compiled by LBCI, noting that Beirut is still missing (Why is that?) and that the violations were related to specific products or items as you can see from the picture at the bottom.
Maneea Farms Organization
Marche Du Rond Point
Dar al-Amar Restaurant
Shay W Assal Restaurant
Albdel Rahman Hallab Sweets/Restaurant
Racheed Moussa Stores
Bou Khalil Supermarket