Category Archives: Food

About The Gandour Tarboosh Controversial Story

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Ever since I woke up this morning and people have been talking to me about that guy who found a metal nail inside his Tarboosh (Ras el Abed). I read the whole thread, including Gandour’s responses and claim that his story is a fabricated one.

Since they’ve decided to settle this offline, I won’t comment further on the story but honestly speaking, I seriously doubt Gandour would let such a thing happen and I would have taken this matter offline with them as it’s probably the shop’s mistake (assuming the guy’s story is not a fake one of course).

Well Played Duo

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I hate it when toilets are very far from the restaurant and that’s the case at ABC Achrafieh. I also hate it when you have to climb stairs to get the toilets. I guess I am lazy after a meal, just like everyone else :-)

Chili’s Beirut Quick Review + Giveaway (4 Meals For 2 To Win)

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Chili’s Beirut is one of the first diners to open in Lebanon, and among the very few to have kept the same level of cleanliness, quality and customer service throughout its 15 years. I’ve been going there since its early days and I don’t recall complaining about anything ever. The waiters are friendly, the service is fast, the food is great and the quantities are huge. More importantly, it’s probably the only diner in town that didn’t increase its prizes by 400% like others have done. In fact, I remember not going to Chili’s too often back in the old days mainly because we’d end up pigging out almost every time but also because it was expensive, but that’s no longer valid these days as you’d probably end up paying much more at other diners in town for less quantities.

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Chili’s has been around for 15 years and I think I’ve been going there ever since. I used to go rarely during my school years mainly because I lived far away from Beirut, but then started visiting often during my AUB years and I still go there every now and then till now, specially to the Margarita bar in Gemmayze as I could walk there from my work and avoid all the Achrafieh traffic. Unlike most people who used to go there for the Fajitas and Quesadillas, my favorite dishes were the Chicken Crispers and the Baby Back ribs and my favorite appetizers were the Texas Cheese Fries and the Boneless buffalo wings.

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If I wanted to have lighter dishes, I’d go for the fire-grilled chicken or grilled salmon platters. As for the dessert, mine is surprisingly not the Molten Chocolate Cake but the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie instead. I sometimes used to pass by and pick up this dessert without having anything else, and I remember they ran out of it for a while few years back and I got upset lol!

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I don’t know why I’ve never reviewed Chili’s on the blog, probably because I thought everyone knew how awesome it is, but I was wrong as a couple of friends told me after seeing my Instagram pictures that they’ve never been there apparently. That’s why I thought it would be cool to organize a small giveaway and allow people who haven’t been to Chili’s or haven’t been for a long while to go there and enjoy a meal for two. (I’m already taking care of my friends and inviting them this weekend.)

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Moving on to the competition, all you have to do to enter the draw is answer correctly the below questions by leaving a comment on this post:

1- Name a dessert item from Chili’s Menu different from the two I’ve mentioned in my post. [Hint]
2- Who is the famous Lebanese rally driver whose picture is shown inside Chili’s restaurant in Achrafieh? [Hint: He has the world's largest toy car collection]

The competition ends tomorrow at 6pm.

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NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

Good News From Tripoli! KFC Opens Again ..

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Picture from TripoliLebanonNews

We haven’t heard good news from Tripoli for a long while now, but today KFC reopened its Tripoli branch after it got burned by demonstrators back in September 2012.

I know that’s not a big deal when compared to what’s happening there but at least few Tripoli residents will get to work there and benefit from this re-opening.

Thanks Mustapha!

The Lebanese Labneh Scandal

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Joe Maalouf revealed last week during his show “7ki Jeliss” on LBCI that there are traces of Natamycin found in some Labneh products in Lebanon. These findings were based on laboratory test results conducted by UFAG, a well known lab based in Switzerland, and indicated that Dairy Khoury and Dairy Day milk products had traces of Natamycin, while Massabki Labneh had traces of sorbic acid. On the other hand, Candia and Taanayel didn’t show any traces of Natamycin or Sorbic acid.

Labneh

It didn’t take long before Dairy Khoury held a press conference and explained to the public that they are not doing anything wrong, but Health Minister Wael Abou Faour still referred the case to the General Prosecution and claimed that “adding Natamycin to Labneh is a violation of Lebanese standard specifications in the production of strained yogurt”. He continued saying that “there were no published studies on the public health effects of using Natamycin at the levels found in the labneh, particularly on children”.

I am no expert when it comes to such things, but based on what I’ve read, Natamycin is commonly used as a surface preservative for certain dairy products in Europe and the US, but should not exceed a certain amount. Having said that, the Health Ministry should redo the tests properly and make sure all Lebanese companies are respecting the standards set. Moreover, Maalouf should investigate not only the Labneh companies violating the law (If they truly are) but why the concerned ministry didn’t perform the necessary checks and approve of such products in the first place.

Review: O&C The Fresh Market

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O&C is a supermarket and restaurant that’s located on the Jal el Dib highway. I love shopping there as it’s a relatively small market where you can easily find everything you need, but I’ve never had lunch or dinner at their restaurant on the 2nd and 3rd floor. I remember once ordering Sushi and picking up a fish order for my parents, but that’s about it. O&C restaurant only serves fish and sushi.

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Having said that, I reserved a table for lunch last weekend and headed there with my family. I easily found a place to park and there’s of course valet parking for those who want to, then we went in and were seated almost immediately at our table. The place was packed and there were people waiting in the lobby as well. We were asked if we’d like to pick our fish from the display on the entrance, so I went there with my dad and selected which types of fish we wanted, and whether we wanted them fried or grilled. I am usually annoyed by the smell coming out of a fish display in supermarkets but the O&C one didn’t have a strong smell.

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After picking our fish, we ordered some appetizers, mainly Fattoush, Moutabbal, Fries, Chanklish and grilled shrimps. We also ordered around 20-25 pieces of Sushi. The waiters were very friendly but we waited a good 15-20 minutes before we got the drinks and appetizers which weren’t ours. Few minutes after, he got us the correct order and apologized for this mistake, which wasn’t really a big deal.

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The Fattoush was good but I’d rather have it without Debs el Remman next time as it was too sweet for my liking. The Moutabbal, Chanklish and Shrimps were really good and the fries which looked more like potato wedges than fries were good as well. We ended up ordering more shrimps as they were gone in no time and everyone loved them.

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Now the real surprise was the Sushi, which tasted fresh and was exceptionally good. I was told by some friends that it’s good, but I didn’t expect it to be better than Soto and Ichiban, which are two of my favorite Sushi places in Lebanon. I had some O&C sushi delivered to my place few days later as well and it was as good as the first time.

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As far as fish is concerned, the fried and grilled ones we ordered were good and the waiter cleans up and serves the grilled one for you. I usually prefer Mallifa when it comes to fried fish but they didn’t have any. It is worthy noting that the price tags that you see on the fish display do not include the frying (20,000LL extra) and grilling (24,000LL extra) as O&C is a market where you could just buy the fish and go so don’t be surprised to see extra charges on the bill.

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Moving on to the dessert, the waiter came with a selection of desserts that we could choose from, including Jelo, Chocolate custard, Riz bi Haleeb, Sfouf, Maamoul and Kaak bi Tamer, all free of charge. We ended up paying around 35-40$ per person which is a very reasonable price.

All in all, I would recommend O&C for fish and sushi, specially when it’s a rainy weather and you don’t wanna head out to one of those fish restaurants by the sea. I loved their delivery service as well, as they are punctual and have reasonable prices.

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Liza Beirut Restaurant Mentioned In The Architectural Digest

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The Architectural Digest is also known as the International Design Authority and has been out there since 1920. Liza Beirut is a contemporary Lebanese Restaurant that first started in Paris and is now open in Achrafieh on the second floor of a 19th century palace. Everything’s great about this place, from the decor to the ambiance and the food of course!

In case you missed my review of Liza, you can read it [Here].

Having won accolades for her namesake Paris eatery, restaurateur Liza Asseily is now offering her upscale Middle Eastern cuisine in the city that inspired it. Her new outpost, called Liza Beirut, is set in the Lebanese capital’s stylish Achrafieh neighborhood, where it occupies the second floor of a 19th-century palace. Devised by designer Maria Ousseimi, the decor of the light-filled 5,400-square-foot space provides the same local zest as the food—filigreed window partitions join wallpapers patterned with lush banana leaves and the country’s former currency, forming a chic backdrop for the smart contemporary furnishings. [AD]

Heads Up About Nutella In Lebanon: U.S VS Polish Version

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I was at O&C having lunch on Sunday and I thought I pass by the supermarket and pick up some stuff on the way out. On my way to the cashier, I noticed they had some Nutella jars on display so I picked up one but saw that it was priced at 9000 Lebanese Liras (6$), which is almost double the price of the one I usually buy. I asked around and as it turns out, the Nutella I got is the American version while the commonly available Nutella in Lebanon comes from Poland (Packaging done in KSA or something like that) and is priced at roughly 3$. Weirdly enough, the guy I asked told me this is the “original” one, as if the Polish one is fake or something.

I ended up getting both to see if the US one is any better but I haven’t tasted them yet as I am trying to get an Italian or German Nutella to taste as well. To be honest, I am just curious to know if they do taste that differently, but I don’t think I will switch to the US version and pay double the price even if it tastes better.

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The commonly available Nutella jar in Lebanon has Arabic writing on the back

Update: Here’s the list of ingredients for both as written on the back of each jar:

Polish Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable oil (palm), hazelnuts, fat reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, demineralized whey powder, emulsifiers (Soy Lecithins), flavouring.

American Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), Vanillin: an artificial flavor.

Cannelle’s Heavenly Brownies

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Cannelle is a pastry located in Achrafieh in the SNA building. People usually go there for its macarons, croissants and cakes but I highly recommend you try their brownies. The top is crunchy, and the inside is moist and fudge-like. It’s the perfect brownie for me!

If you are a Baba au Rhum fan, I recommend you try theirs as well.