Category Archives: Personal

Chocolat – Milano

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I found this place during the summer while walking around downtown Beirut. I think they’ve got the best ice cream in Lebanon easily. My favorite flavors are strawberry, pistachio and hazelnut. 3 scoops came in at around LL14,000 which isn’t bad when compared to placed like Coldstone Creamery and Marble Slab (two franchises I don’t think are available in Lebanon).

They’re located in the street behind Gucci.

About the Saudi Prince incident

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Yesterday when I watched the video above and read about how the Police officer was made to apologize to the Saudi Prince I got really really upset. In case you don’t know the story, a Saudi Prince parked in a no parking zone in Beirut, a cop came to give him a ticket and the Saudi Prince insulted the cop and the Lebanese. A crowd nearby overheard the conversation and attacked the Prince sending him to the hospital. The cop was then told to go to the hospital and apologize to the Prince.

As I said, I got really upset at how the cop was made to apologize to the Prince but then it hit me… diplomatic immunity.

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws (although they can be expelled). [Source]

How many times have you watched a movie where people with diplomatic immunity in the States commit a crime and the cops can’t do anything about it and most of the time have to apologize to the diplomats. It’s unfair yes, but at least it’s not a Lebanese only issue or a corruption thing. I’m not defending the Prince here but I wanted to highlight that the procedure that was taken in having the cop apologize to the diplomat is one that is required by the host country.

Things you need to know about the iPhone 4S if you’re in Lebanon

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I’ve been using the new iPhone for a couple of days now and these are somethings you need to know if you’re planning on using it in Lebanon.

Siri speaks and understands both English and French but not Arabic. You can’t speak both English and French to it at the same time, you have to decide which language you prefer and select it from the Siri menu.

You also need to have internet on your phone to be able to use Siri, even for simple tasks like setting the alarm. This is where 3G plays an important role since it speeds up the response time for Siri. With a regular Edge connection Siri isn’t as responsive and you won’t enjoy using her.

A big issue I have with Siri is you can’t teach it where your home or office is. For some reason Siri uses Google Maps addresses to learn these locations and Google Maps addresses is currently only available in the US. I don’t understand why Siri won’t learn based on my GPS location. If you’ve been using iOS 5 recently you might have played around with the new Reminder App. In that App you could teach it locations using GPS for example you could set a reminder that once you get home you need to walk the dog or once you get to the office remind me to call a supplier. So why Siri can’t learn locations with GPS is confusing specially if another app already does it.

The iPhone 4S is like the previous iPhone 4 with the biggest differences being Siri, a better camera and a faster chip which you will only notice when running games. If you want to see how better the new camera is download the two images below and compare:

Low light with iPhone 4S
Low light with iPhone 4

Back to Lebanon

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I got back to Lebanon two hours ago coming from Milano. Watching my first ever F1 race was just amazing, the sounds are way better than what you hear on TV and the whole experience just great. The only inconvenient, even though I’ve lost two or three pounds, is the amount of walking you have to do, and I am not saying that out of laziness. I had to walk everyday over 4 hours around the Monza Autodromo to get from the bus to my seat and back, so If you are not used to it, don’t even think of going to Monza.

I leave you for now with this picture where Sebastian Vettel, the race winner, is waving at me thanking me for my support. (Picture taken from my seat at the Parabolica turn)

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

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I will be leaving in few hours time to attend my first ever Formula1 GP, the Italian Grand Prix!

This edition will be the 82nd edition of the Italian GP and will take place at Autodromo Nazionale Monza, also known a La Pista Magica. This is my 2nd favorite Grand Prix after the Belgium GP (Spa-Francorchamps).

I will be sitting at the very famous Parabolica corner, which you can see below. I might not have access to any internet there so I won’t be posting for a couple of days.

I will be taking a lot of pictures and videos which I will upload once I get back.

Schtroumpf Achrafieh Valet Parking

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It looks like Valet Parking guys are after me these days. After my dispute with Zaatar W Zeit Kaslik’s valet, it is now Schtroumpf Achrafieh valet’s turn.

I was leaving work two days ago around 6 heading towards Jeitawi hospital in Achrafieh and decided to stop by La Cigale to buy something. I parked my car as shown in the picture, as it’s past 5 and park meter is off.

As I was stepping down from my car, the valet guy shows up asking me for my keys. I told him that’s a valid parking spot and I don’t need him to park my car. He tells me this spot is for the restaurant (Schtroumpf Achrafieh) and they paid the municipality to have it after park meter hours are done.

Having heard that, I asked him to call the restaurant’s manager, so he hesitated and was like you have to go see him yourself so I went up and asked Schtroumpf Achrafieh’s manager if the valet’s story is true.

Turns out it’s a big fat lie and they only request politely for cars not to park in the two spots in front of the restaurant. Afterwards, I asked Schtroumpf’s manager, who was very polite and apologized for the incident, to go talk to the scumbag valet they got and ask him to stop harassing people.

All in all, I am happy the manager talked to the valet instantly and I urge all the blog readers to do the same thing as I did and not just give away their cars.

Cow & Apple

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I love burgers and I love apple pies which is why I was excited to pass by Cow & Apple in Hamra today. It wasn’t hard finding the place since they’re located right in front of Crepaway so I didn’t get lost although I was expecting to. The place is located inside the entrance of a building and it’s pretty spacious with a bit of a school cafeteria meets burger joint look going for it. I thought the benches were pretty tight and claustrophobic but I really liked their lights and the menu scribbled on the kitchen window.

I got the menu and went through it and kinda got lost so I asked the waiter which burger was popular and he told me the #5 which included cheese, mayo, grilled onions, home made bbq sauce, lettuce, mustard and a 250 gram beef patty. He asked me if I wanted it cooked medium or well done, I chose medium.

The burger took around 15 to 20 minutes to arrive and I thought the presentation was good. The bun looked delicious and the patty was pretty thick so I couldn’t wait to devour it. I took my first bite and realized my burger was more well done than medium which was disappointing. Why do places bother to ask you how you want your burger if they’re going to cook it their way? The bun as I had assumed was really good, it managed to soak up the bbq and mayo/mustard sauce without getting soaked and it also had a slightly sweet flavor to it. The beef patty definitely wasn’t as good as Brgr Co nor as juicy but it was better than the very thin patty I had at CBJ two days back.

Now there is a slight twist with the ending since I ran into a bit of an issue with my burger. I was around 80% through my burger when I spotted what looked like a small hair. I decided to pull it out with my fork when I realized the small hair was actually not that small so I called the waiter and the manager came as well. They apologized and offered to make me another burger but I told them not to since I already had eaten practically all of it and I was pretty full. They told me then they wouldn’t charge me for it which I also refused since mistakes do happen and an apology was all I needed. They then insisted dessert would be on the house which I thought was ok since I wanted to try their apple pie anyway. I kinda felt bad for them since from all the people that could have gotten a hair in the burger it had to be me while I’m on my burger quest!

Over all though I was kinda disappointed and not because I found a hair in my burger but because I was expecting their burger to be better than this. If you’re in the neighborhood it’s not a bad burger to have but it’s not one I would crave or one that’s worth getting stuck in traffic for. One thing I think local burger joints should invest in is a good meat thermometer. Seriously if you can’t get that right then you should really hire a new cook.

Brgr Co

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I passed by Brgr Co today for lunch since it was another burger place that came highly recommended. When we first sat down the waiter asked if it was our first time and then proceeded to explain the different burger cuts and gave his recommendation based on how we like our burgers cooked. That’s a good sign. I originally wanted to go for the 8oz burger but based on the waiters recommendation I ended up with the 6oz patty and added aged English cheddar to it. I asked for the burger to be cooked medium since with the 6oz they recommend either medium rare or medium.

The burger arrived pretty quickly, I would say less than 10 minutes after we had placed the order. At first glance it looked pretty good, the bun was the perfect size with the patty sticking out every so slightly. The patty also looked juicy and the cheese decently proportioned. I noticed they had placed the condiments on the side which I appreciate. I personally believe condiments like lettuce and tomato take away from the flavor of the burger plus I don’t like the combination of cold condiments mixed with a hot juicy patty. I quickly took out my camera and snapped my shots before I dug into the burger.

First thing I noticed is the fact the burger was medium rare. I don’t mind eating a medium rare burger or even a rare one but I had originally ordered mine medium and if it was anyone else they might have been upset at a site of a bloody burger and would have had it sent back to the kitchen. With just 3 patty sizes it shouldn’t be hard for them to get the temperature right. I enjoyed my burger with my only comment being that I found the outside of the patty hard with the inside very soft. I prefer my burgers soft all over since I like biting into one and having the meat crumble in my mouth. It’s not the best burger I’ve had and probably not in my top 10 list either but, when I was done with mine I felt like having another one and that’s a good thing.

I’d definitely go back to Brgr co again. The next time I’d probably go with the 8oz patty since I’d love to see how that thick patty would look with the bun. On a side note I thought the interior was very cozy and the service was really friendly. Right now this is my favorite burger in Lebanon but I still have a few more places I need to try.