Category Archives: Reviews

Butcher’s BBQ Joint: Soul Food In The Heart Of Mar Mikhael

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burger lamb Lamb-burger-ini; lamb patty topped with smoked brisket or smoked pulled pork

If you are looking for an authentic BBQ joint in Beirut, Butcher’s BBQ Joint in Mar Mikhael is the place to go. It’s a small and cozy place that serves mouth-watering “soul food” sandwiches, burgers and dishes. I’ve been there already 3 times and tasted almost everything on the menu. The Pulled pork sandwich, pork ribs and fried chicken with waffle topped by maple syrup are my favorites, the bacon is one of the best I’ve had in Lebanon, thick, crispy and really tasty, the Beef Brisket and Merguez burgers were good, I loved the green salad they offer as well as the sauces (try the butcher’s sauce and the gravy sauce) and the chocolate waffle dessert is a must-try. The only thing I didn’t like much were the fries to be honest.

maple Fried Chicken and Waffles with maple syrup.

Butcher’s BBQ Joint is perfect for a quick bite or a late night snack (before or after the party). Their Sunday brunch comes highly recommended but I’ve never tried it to be honest. They also serve a bacon-infused rum cocktail but I was never tempted to try it.

brunch Sunday Brunch

When you go visit the first time, let the manager help you with the order. He’s very friendly and helpful. Prices are reasonable when compared to the portions and quality of food offered. Butcher’s BBQ Joint is located in Mar Mikhael next to Train Station and Secteur.

20150826_203456 Merguez burger

20150826_203054 Green Salad


20150914_191013 Chocolate Waffles

Rating: 4/5

Review: Should You Buy The Apple Watch?

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First Impression:

I wasn’t very impressed with the Apple Watch when it first launched as I thought it was too big but I changed my mind when I saw a friend wearing it. He had the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band and it fit his hand (and mine) perfectly. Since I was already looking for a smart-watch for myself and mainly for my wife (iPhone user) as she doesn’t like carrying her phone all the time, especially with the new baby, I decided to get her the smaller 38mm Apple Watch Sport from Virgin Megastore in Beirut. I thought she’d find it more convenient to receive texts, emails and calls on the Apple Watch when she’s taking care of the baby at home, taking him out on her own or even at work during meetings. I basically wanted to see if getting notifications on the watch was truly more efficient and whether the health tracking would help her get more active.

Needless to say, I was more excited about trying the watch than she was as I’ve been hearing so many mixed reviews and wanted to see how it compares to other smart-watches and health trackers that I’ve tried. More importantly, a lot of people have been asking me if they should consider buying the Apple Watch or not, so I needed to try it out first.


To Buy Or Not To Buy The Apple Watch:

Instead of posting a long and technical review, I’ve compiled the pros and cons that I’ve encountered into three key points that will hopefully help you decide if you should consider getting the Apple Watch or not.

1- The Apple Watch is a “nice-to-have” but not a “must-have (yet)” accessory:

The Apple Watch was just released this year and is still a relatively expensive iPhone accessory that has limited functionalities and needs an iPhone (5 or later) to operate. It does feel like a mini iPhone and is fun to use but there’s a lot of room for improvement and I’m sure the second version will be better. Nevertheless, Apple fans desperately looking for a smart-watch and early adopters should definitely get the Apple Watch. I’d recommend you buy the least expensive model (opt for the 42mm size) as they all have the same specs and there’s no point in buying an 18 Karat Gold Edition Apple Watch unless you need a reason to spend your money.

2- Limited battery life is not a deal-breaker:
apple watch2

The Apple Watch’s battery life is supposed to be 18 hours, which means a full day but just like smartphone batteries, it really depends on how much you’re using it. In my first week of testing, the battery would last half a day because I was making calls all the time and exercising with the heart rate monitor while listening to music. However, in the weeks that followed, the battery would easily last a full day and sometimes even more which is good. If you are just wearing it to check the time and go through notifications from time to time, it can last up to 36 hours.

Of course the battery life is a disappointment to me as it’s a watch after all and I don’t want to charge it every day but battery life sucks in pretty much everything “smart” these days, especially mobiles, so I don’t consider it as a deal-breaker. Nevertheless, Apple should seriously consider improving the battery life in future watches especially if they add more functionalities to them. If we look at the current one, it only does basic and necessary functions (except the sending heartbeats part) so chances are you’re never going to drain the battery unless you spend hours tapping on the screen and making calls.

What sucks though is that the Watch has a different charger than the Mac or iPhone so you need to carry it around with you. The battery charges in around 2 hours.

3- It’s fun to use
apple watch 1

The Apple Watch offers a new exciting way of organizing things and can prove useful when grabbing your phone isn’t that easy. If you only need to take calls and receives/send texts all day, then you can keep the iPhone in ur pocket and use the watch at all time. Getting notifications on the watch allows you to send quick responses (make sure to use Siri!) and keeps you from missing important notifications and phone calls. You can also check the weather, set up appointments, keep track of your schedule and much more. Unfortunately, there are plenty of features missing like adding contacts, edit functions, built-in GPS, sleep tracking and I find it quite silly that the time is not displayed at all time on the watch. It’s the most basic thing that a watch should offer. I was expecting Apple to introduce it in the latest Watch OS 2 but they announced instead a “night mode stand” which still requires the user to click on the watch to get the time. On other hand, Watch OS 2 had some really exciting new features like the time travel feature, the new apps introduced (The Ping App to measure the speed of your golf swing is really cool!) and we can finally reply to emails.

As far as health & activity tracking is concerned, it’s basic when compared to professional fitness trackers and can be drastically improved. There’s no built-in GPS, which really sucks for professional runners, and the heart rate monitor is not very accurate but that’s always the case with wrist straps, whereas chest-straps are usually more accurate. I currently use the Polar chest-strap when I’m exercising and I’d rather use the FitBit or Polar Loop (or my Polar M400 watch) as a fitness tracker, unlike my wife who loved the Health App and got used to it. I think this is a matter of habit as well as it takes time to get used to a new health app. What I loved though about the Health App is how your move/exercise/stand goals are beautifully into a circular graphic to help you track your daily progress.

Overall Verdict:
apple 4 Touch Lebanon recently released an app for the Apple Watch that’s very useful to keep track of your balance and data usage.

As I’ve stated earlier in the post, the Apple Watch is not meant to replace your iPhone and probably never will. Moreover, this is Apple’s first attempt at making smart watches and just like any first-gen gadget, the second generation is guaranteed to be considerably better, so there’s no need to rush and buy it unless you’re too eager to try it out (like myself) and don’t mind paying $400+. The Apple Watch is fun and managing notifications on it is pretty cool. It saves time and comes in very handy during meetings, on the run, or even when you are in the living room and charging your phone elsewhere.

One last thing, someone had asked me why I bought the Apple Watch from Virgin Megastore as it’s relatively more expensive than other places there. To be honest, I’d rather pay a little extra and buy it from a decent shop than get the watch from shops that look more like grocery stores than tech shops. I’ve been buying stuff from Virgin for quite some time and I’ve worked with them on several projects and competitions and they are quite friendly and professional. When I went down to get the 38mm sport edition, it wasn’t available so they checked for me the availability in other branches and sent it to my office once it was available.

My First Ride In A LaFerrari

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ferrari ride

A month ago, I spotted a LaFerrari in Faqra and couldn’t help but share it on my Instagram. A week after, I get an email and a call from Ferrari Lebanon that there’s a LaFerrari ride coming up soon and that I’m invited to join. I didn’t even think twice before saying yes but I had to ask again if they meant a Ferrari or LaFerrari ride because going on a ride in this limited production hybrid supercar is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

What is LaFerrari?

LaFerrari is not just any super car, it’s a limited production hybrid sports car that costs over a 1 million dollars and “boasts the most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car and features the most advanced and innovative technical solutions” as per Ferrari’s own words. Basically, it’s the closest Ferrari road cars ever got to Formula 1 engineering and I was lucky enough to ride in one of them. In fact, there were two LaFerraris in that ride, which doesn’t happen quite often as there are only 499 units around the world (3 in Lebanon).

Just to give you an idea on how this Ferrari compares to the Ferrari 458 Speciale that I drove a year ago, LaFerrari has a higher top speed (350 vs 325), a considerably larger engine (6.3l vs 4.5l), has 12 cylinders vs 8 for the Speciale, and 366 more hp (963hp vs 597hp) which is insane!

The ride was awesome!

We left Beirut around 5:30 am to avoid any traffic and headed towards Tripoli. Both drivers were going easy when there were cars around and speeding on specific roads. The car has an insane acceleration and can reach 100 in less than 3 seconds and 200 in around 7 seconds. The ride was so intense that I barely spoke to the driver the whole trip as I was enjoying the engine sounds and taking pictures and videos. Of course our roads are really bad and it would have been more enjoyable to drive around a proper track but there is no such thing in Lebanon yet. If you are wondering if I drove LaFerrari or not, I could have asked but I didn’t because I was too tired (had a wedding the night before) and was not prepared to take this responsibility. LaFerrari is closer to an F1 car than a road car and I’m hoping I will have the opportunity one day to drive it or any Ferrari for that sake on a proper track, or even better in Ferrari’s HQ in Maranello.

I’m grateful once again to Ferrari Lebanon, especially to Marie-Claire, for this opportunity and it was nice to meet Scuderia Lebanon’s CEO at last. Big thanks to Christine as well!

Enjoy the pictures and the video I shared inside Chekka’s tunnel. I will share more videos soon.





Review: BRGRCO, Still My Favorite Burger Joint, Now Open At ABC Achrafieh

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I often brag about Brgrco and recommend it to all my friends but I’ve never done a proper review of that place surprisingly, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do that especially that Brgrco just opened its third branch in Beirut at ABC Achrafieh. Brgrco has been my favorite burger joint in Beirut for almost 4 years now and I have yet to find a better place even though I’ve tried many, if not most of the burger places in town.

So what makes Brgrco so special?

1- Simple Burgers, Prime grain-fed Angus Beef & High-Quality Ingredients:

Brgrco is all about the meat. The patty is 100% grain-fed Australian Black Angus beef, cooked on real charcoal grills without any sauces, spices or artificial flavors. The bigger the patty is, the juicier and more flavorful it is. All burgers are served medium and a couple of signature burgers are best served medium-rare. When I order Hussein Haddid’s signature burgers like the Butcher’s Cut, I don’t even ask for cheese on top and as I just want to enjoy this thick piece of meat served on its own. If you don’t like your meat medium or medium-rare, you can always have it well-done but you’d be ruining the burger and the whole Brgrco experience in my opinion. Of course you can add whatever you want to the burgers (pork bacon included) but I’ve never asked for anything except cheese on top.

2- Fries, Cheese Fries, Parmesan & Truffle Fries:

Not every potato makes it to be fries. I don’t know how they pick their potatoes but their fries are quick amazing and the cheese they use on top makes them even better. Parmesan and truffle fries are a must-try!


3- Redefining Gourmet Burgers & Always New Menu Items:

Every now and then, there’s a new exciting gourmet burger at Brgrco. The ones that I know of are The Raclette BRGR which is served during winter, the “Café De Paris” Burger, which consists of a fat and juicy medium-rare patty topped with a special butter-based complex sauce with over 12 ingredients and a fresh soft bun with a bit of Dijon mustard spread on it, The Falafel BRGR, the Truffle BRGR which I’ve never tried and the newly introduced Stroganov BRGR. My favorites are the Raclette and Café De Paris.

Café de Paris BRGR

Aside from burgers, Brgrco introduced last summer lobster rolls imported from Maine and Nova Scotia and boiled on a daily basis. It’s the perfect add-on to your main dish and it’s also the best lobster roll I’ve tried in Beirut.


4- The Desserts:

Make sure you always leave room for dessert when you’re eating at Brgrco. The Cheesecake pudding, The Banoffee cream cheese pudding, the toffee date pudding and the malted rich soft chocolate ice cream are all great choices. My favorite right now is the malted rich soft chocolate ice cream.



5- The Atmosphere, The Service & The Friendliness of the Staff

Every time I’ve been to any of the Brgrco branches, the staff was friendly, the service was impeccable and our food was ready in less than 15 minutes. More importantly, the quality and taste are always the same. The venues, especially the ABC Achrafieh one, are also very cozy, the music is nice and the cleanliness is showing. I remember having two minor complaints over the past 3 years which were resolved quickly and on the spot. Also, smoking is forbidden inside. Price-wise, some may argue that the place is expensive but if you truly compare the quality of meat and service that you are getting vs popular diners and fancy restaurants that serve gourmet burgers, you will realize it’s pretty much the same if not less.


Let’s not forget the cows of course, which are showcased in all BRGR.CO restaurants and are pretty cool. There’s also a small cow that I decorated and that is on display at Brgrco Sodeco branch. If you ever go there, check it out as there’s BlogBaladi written all over it.

All in all, these are the reasons why I appreciate Brgrco and why I keep coming back there. I have friends who fell in love with the place and others who just didn’t like the idea of having medium or medium-rare burgers. For me, burgers are all about the quality of the meat and I’m not interested in bulky burgers with burned patties, or low-quality meat topped with a zillion ingredients.

Brgrco is now located in L3 at ABC Achrafieh.

Review + Giveaway: Sony QX10 Lens-Camera A Great Smartphone Companion

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The black plastic cylinder shown above is not just a lens but a camera that features a 18.2 million pixel 1/2.3 inch sensor and a 10x optical zoom. The Sony QX10 doesn’t have a screen, mounts directly on your smartphone and is paired to Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app through WiFi. This pocket-friendly compact camera is meant to complement just about any smartphone and enables users to take high quality and more versatile photos and instantly share them on Facebook or Instagram.

I’ve been using the QX10 for 3 weeks now and I’m quite impressed by the ease of use, the image quality and the performance of the camera as a whole. The setup is quite easy, the camera options are simple and straight to the point yet the most appealing thing is the size and weight (around 100g) of the QX10 and the ability to place it anywhere you like and control it remotely. It’s something that you can really have fun experimenting with at gatherings, outdoor events, parties, street photography and I’m giving away one to one lucky reader :)


I prepared a brief review of the QX10 to help you understand how to set it up, how it works, how good is the image quality and other useful information. Enjoy it and make sure to check the competition details at the end of the post:

Ease of Use, Performance & Battery Life:

The QX10 is very easy to set up and start using. You will find in the box the lens camera, a detachable smartphone mount with an extending arm, a wrist strap, a battery pack and a micro-USB cable for charging and transferring images. You will only need to buy a microSD card but you can already start using the camera without it. The QX10 has three main controls, the power (on/off) button, a zoom and a shutter button. There’s also a small screen that shows you the battery life. I tried the small smartphone mount with an iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6, Galaxy Samsung Note 4 and LG G3 and it fit them all perfectly. Personally speaking, the ability to shoot without the lens attached to the smartphone is the QX10’s biggest advantage. You can hold it overhead, place it almost anywhere you like and take unique pictures. Moreover, and since the camera has a flat bottom surface (bottom also includes tripod socket), you can easily rest it for long exposures or videos.

Whether you wish to mount the lens on your smartphone or use it remotely, you will need to download the Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app to connect through WiFi to the camera. The application is also straightforward and gives you the option to automatically store pictures on your smartphone, which is very practical if you want to upload them right away on Instagram for example.


In order to connect the camera to the app, you will need to turn the lens on, open the application from your smartphone and then wait around 5-6 seconds for the connection to be made between the two devices. If you don’t want to wait that long and wish to snap instant photos at a race or event, then you can always leave both devices on all the time but this will quickly drain the battery life of both the camera and the smartphone.

In terms of battery life, I’ve only recharged the camera 3 times in the past 3 weeks but I haven’t been using it heavily. From what I read, you can take up to 200 images before battery dies out, which is more than enough even for a full-day shoot. What you should worry about though is your smartphone’s battery as using the display for long hours will drain the battery even if you’re not using your smartphone’s camera, so keep a battery pack with you just in case.

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UBay: A Rooftop I Recommend In Jounieh

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It’s the summer and rooftops are the best place to enjoy an afternoon drink and watch the sunset with friends. I usually prefer going to rooftops in Beirut after work in order to avoid going back home (Jounieh) during rush hour but I always thought we need nice rooftops overlooking the Jounieh Bay. There was a rooftop on ATCL but I think it closed down and there’s another in the old Jounieh souks but it’s not on the beach. UBay on the other hand is the perfect rooftop for me in Jounieh, as it’s located right on the beach in the middle of the souks and you can enjoy the mountain view as well. We were planning on going there to watch the Jounieh fireworks last week but we headed to the hospital instead for my wife to deliver that same night :)


Ubay is located in the old souks above Table Fine and is a rooftop lounge that offers drinks, serves Japanese food, offers a relaxing experience and plays a chill-out music while overlooking the Jounieh bay. Anywhere you sit at Ubay, you will enjoy a sea and mountain view. The staff is quite friendly, the cocktails are pretty good, the portions and the food are decent. I ordered Edamame, popcorn shrimps, smoked salmon roll, steamed shrimp dumplings and ubay rolls. The only thing I didn’t appreciate were the Ubay rolls as they were a bit too salty.

Price-wise, you will end up paying around 40-50$ per person if you have a couple of cocktails and a couple of dishes which is pretty decent. Here are some of the pictures I took of the place.

You can check out more info on their Facebook page [here].







Review: 3.5/5

The Westin Resort Costa Navarino: Where I’d Want To Wake Up On A Friday!

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When I first got the media trip invite to Costa Navarino from Wild Discovery, I started googling the location and the resort and quickly fell in love with it, but trust me, the resort and the whole installation are far more wonderful to experience than read about in reviews or see in pictures, and the weekend getaway I spent there was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ones I’ve had ever since my honeymoon euro trip back in 2013. As I said, it’s hard to describe how beautiful the place is but I’ll try to take you through my whole experience there and share amazing pictures that will make you want to take the next plane and head there (it’s only 2 hours flight away).

The Resort:

The Westin Resort Costa Navarino is a huge luxury resort located in a beautiful and untouched area of Messinia in Greece. The 5-star resort has 450 rooms and suites all designed and inspired by old Messinian mansions and enjoying an unobstructed sea view, add to that a multitude of facilities and recreational activities. I counted 5 restaurants, six pools, a playground for kids and sliding pool, tennis courts, two huge golf courses and a gorgeous spa. The rooms are clean and spacious, the staff is extremely friendly, the service is excellent, and everything is so calm and serene everywhere you go. To be honest, I thought I’d get bored in a relaxing resort but that wasn’t the case at the Westin Resort. You could walk for hours inside the resort and discover every day new things to do and new places to see.





The beach is a must-visit of course as it’s sandy, very long and quite amazing and you can spend the whole day there. There’s also this small bar with quite a dreamy ceiling that I highly recommend you pass by. Also what’s quite impressive about the resort is how eco-friendly it is and the management’s commitment to the environment. We were even told that every olive tree that had to be taken out to make way for the resort was planted elsewhere carefully.

Food & Drinks

The best meal I’ve had at the Westin Resort was the first one. We had just arrived after a long bus trip and the breakfast buffet was almost closed so we asked the staff if they could get us omelettes and they brought us something out of this world! I still don’t know the exact ingredients but it was really good.

In terms of restaurants, we tried Flame, Kafenio and Morias. Flame is a fine dining restaurant that overlooks one of the gulf courses and serves excellent steaks. All the dishes we tried were quite good and I enjoyed the Greek Labneh more than ours (Blasphemy!). Kafenio is specialized in Greek Mezze specialties which I didn’t appreciate much except for the pork-based dish. As for Morias, it was an international buffet dinner and a delicious one. Their wine (1827) is quite good by the way.






We also had the chance to visit a traditional home in the town of Pylos and learn from local women how to cook authentic family recipes. It was a fun experience followed by a full dinner and then a Zorba dance outside the house. Needless to say, the local women and my friends were mind-blown by my dancing (and cooking) skills.



Attractions & Things To Do:

As I stated earlier, the resort has two golf courses and we had the chance to visit one of them and try to hit some golf balls. It was much harder than I thought it would be, considering I’ve only played mini-golf in real life and golf on Nintendo Wii. We had an experienced player teaching us how to hold the golf club and make the swing and I got the hang of it after 10 or 15 tries. It was a fun experience and I want to give it another try at the Beirut Golf Club since I was told you don’t need a special membership to get in.

Aside from playing golf, we were taken on a boat trip to explore the gorgeous Messinian coast aboard a sailing boat. It was a 4 hours long trip but it felt like a 20 minutes one as I enjoyed every single bit of it. The ride was smooth, the beaches and coves were quite incredible and we enjoyed a good swim in the middle of the sea. Sadly enough, I was chatting with one of the crew members who told me that hundreds of illegal migrants arrived to Pylos aboard a tiny boat last week thinking they were going to Italy. Apparently, Greece has received over a million immigrants in the past couple of years.

As far as touristic sites are concerned, there’s an old medieval castle (Niokastro) in Pylos worth visiting as it overlooks the whole Ionian sea where the famous naval Battle of Navarino took place. You can take some amazing shots from up there. Moreover, there’s a small beach (Voldokilia) that a lot of people visit for some reason even though there’s nothing special about it (except that there’s a spot for nudists there but I didn’t see any).






The verdict:

The Westin Resort is a dream resort located on a sandy Ionian coastline and surrounded by beautiful landscapes. You will find a bit of history in everything around you while experiencing luxury and relaxation. If you are looking for a peaceful weekend getaway or a fun weekend with the family, this is the ideal place to go. The boat trip is highly recommended, the golf experience is worth trying but the best thing you can do is just sit back, relax and enjoy the view from your balcony or just wander around the resort and enjoy the beach.

It’s the ultimate place to wake up on a Friday morning but I don’t recommend you come back on a Monday because it will take you a couple of days to get back in a work mode.

For those of you who are interested in visiting this resort this summer, Wild Discovery has all the information you need [here]. Costa Navarino is part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts and we flew Aegean Airlines.

PS: On a side note, what made this trip even better were the other media members, mainly Rami who’s a great guy and a funny one (even though he overslept and was late on two occasions), dreamy and charming Pascale, my new crazy friend Vanessa, fellow blogger and friend Daniella who’s always fun to hang out with, and of course our awesome guide and my good friend Johnny.

Giveaway: Win An iPhone 6 With Zomato, My New Favorite Restaurant Guide In Lebanon

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Update: Deadline is extended till Tuesday 16th of June at noon as a lot of readers asked me for more time to write their reviews.

Update 2: And Our winner is Rita AS! We will contact you by email to inform on how to collect your prize. Thank you all for participating and I wish you the best of luck next time.

Zomato is going to offer the below 10 people (picked randomly) food vouchers as well to thank them for participating:
1- DanielaSK
2- Sam_LB
3- Fadi Bteich
4- Hala
5- Charbel Jammous
6- George Saliby
7- Michel Bseibes
8- Ralph Dagher
9- Roubz
10- Roy el Hachem

I’ve used many restaurant guide apps in Lebanon over the past years but nothing compares to Zomato in terms of user-friendliness, ease of use and the amount of information available. I was addicted to Four Square previously and I still use it from time to time, but ever since they came up with Swarm and messed up their whole layout, I lost interest in it. Zomato is a much simpler platform where you can browse places easily and find all the relevant information from updated menus, location, price range, reviews in seconds. You can also build your foodie profile by adding reviews and pictures and I like how you collect points for reviews and pictures and people get to see that.


What I love most about Zomato is how simple and efficient the search is there. You can either perform quick searches, by cuisine or just switch to the Nearby feature and see what’s around you. For example since Ramadan is near now, they already have two categories up “Open During Ramadan” and ” Iftar & Suhoor”. I know some of these features are available in other apps but they are not as clear and easy to access and the information is quite relevant and accurate but that’s probably because Zomato has a team in Lebanon working on the app and on updates daily and did not just deploy here.

big foodie Follow me [Here].

As far as food bloggers are concerned, it’s a great platform to get more exposure as you get to write your reviews and link back to your blog. I have already 28 reviews and 137 photos and I’ve already received almost 150,000 views for my reviews and pictures combined. You can check out my profile and follow me [here].

Moving on to the giveaway part, I met with the Zomato guys last week and decided to spice up my review to encourage people to use the app and understand why I like it so much, so we decided to come up with a small competition where one of the readers will win a brand new iPhone 6.

The conditions are quick simple:

1- Download, install and register on Zomato. [iOs] [Android]
2- Follow me [here] and update your Zomato profile with a picture and useful information and write at least 2 reviews (new reviews if you already have a user).
3- Write a comment on the blog post sharing your username and the names of two restaurants or places that you reviewed.

The Zomato team and myself will be going through every entry so please avoiding copy pasting reviews or creating several users as you will be instantly disqualified. I will draw a name by Sunday night and the winner will be awarded an iPhone 6.

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.

Go Watch Venus Play By Jacques Maroun (Rated 18+)

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venus1 Picture via Charbel Saadeh

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of plays and the ones I’ve seen in Lebanon so far were truly disappointing, but I finally managed to convince a group of friends to join me in watching Venus after repeatedly hearing positive feedback about it and I’m glad I did! Venus is an absolutely brilliant play and it was extended for 10 more days due to an overwhelming popular demand.

Here’s my review, and please bare with me as it’s the first time I review a play:

The Lebanese adaptation by Lina Khoury and Grabriel Yammine of David Ives’ broadway success “Venus in Fur” – the play is in colloquial Lebanese Arabic – turned out to be a hit under the direction of Jacques Maroun. Rita Hayek and Badih Abou Chakra – the only two actors in the play – mesmerized the audience with their impeccable acting. Although some conservative minds might be offended by the audacity of the actors and their indecent exposure, this is what exactly goes to show that they offered themselves unconditionally. The play itself includes direct references to the novel “Venus in Furs” by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Just like the term sadism was coined after the notorious Marquis de Sade, the term masochism was named after Sacher-Masoch. Although the theme is not superficial, the play is filled with humor which provoked many bursts of laughter by the audience throughout the one hour and a half performance.

If you’re open minded and you would like to try to understand the psychological need of being dominated or dominating – or even dominating while acting like you are dominated –, then you should definitely go watch this play.‎ You will definitely enjoy watching reality and fantasy as they intertwine. On a last note, I want to applaud Jacques Maroun and everyone who took part in this play for being brave enough to come up with such a play in Lebanon, and for placing the woman in a dominant power role in an attempt to defy society’s gender stereotypes.

Venus is showing from Thursday May 7th 2015 to Sunday May 17th 2015 at Babel theater. You can buy tickets on [Virgin Ticketing Box Office].


Rating: 4/5

Smoking Bun Mar Mikhael: A Joy To Any Burger Lover

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Back when I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, a friend took me to a burger place called Burgermeister located in a tiny street underneath a bridge. The place, previously a public toilet, wasn’t very appealing but it had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. The meat was perfectly cooked and juicy, the bun was a bit grilled and tasted great, the fries and toppings were amazing and the price was ridiculously low (7 Euros).

I think Smoking Bun is the closest thing to Burgermeister in Beirut, and it is by far the best street burger place that I’ve been to in Beirut, and in Mar Mikhail more specifically. Smoking Bun is located underneath Secteur in the middle of Mar Mikhail and is a small shop that only offers one burger. It’s small, simple, relatively cheap but its burger is fantastic and the fries are great as well. The meat is cooked medium (medium rare if you want to) and is covered with aged cheddar, the bun is tender and holds up nicely to the burger’s juices and it’s all topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. The fries are not-too-crispy not-too-soft and come with a house sauce.

Smoking Bun is street food done right and my favorite burger in Mar Mikhael right now (and I’ve tried most of them there). The burger costs 12,000LL, the fries 5,000LL, beer is for 7,500LL and soda for 3,000LL.







Rating 4.5/5