Lebanese Karen Shammas & Nacif Elias Win Medals At The 2014 Phuket Asian Beach Games

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Karen

Karen Shammas was competing in the Sambo competition and won a silver medal after beating Korea and Syria in the quarter and semi finals respectively. As for Nacif Elias, he won a bronze medal in Jiu Jitsu after winning 3 games out of 4. [Sports-961]

Nacif has won a silver medal for Lebanon as well at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon back in September.

Congrats to both athletes!

What Could غير مطابق Mean?

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kol 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

London’s ‘Gherkin’ Tower Sold To Lebanese-Brazilian Billionaire Joseph Safra

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gherkin

Joseph Safra is presumably the richest banker in the world and is the top ranked Lebanese in the world’s richest Arabs list.

The Safra Group bought the Gherkin for a bit over 1 Billion Dollars.

London’s Gherkin skyscraper has been sold to investment giant the Safra Group in a deal reportedly worth £726m. BBC News spoke to a consultancy firm ahead of the sale to gauge how much the capital’s iconic skyline might now be worth.

It is estimated that 10 of the buildings that make up the city’s world-renowned skyline could be worth more than £7.2bn ($11.4bn). [BBC]

Rich-Leb

Quick Review: Dumb and Dumber To

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I don’t know how many of you remember the original “Dumb and Dumber” that was released back in 1994, but it was hilarious and a huge success. The prequel “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” that went out in 2003 and didn’t include Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels was a complete disaster though and I wasn’t expecting any new sequel after that, unless both original actors agreed to take part in it and that’s what happened.

“Dumb and Dumber To” brings back Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, aka Lloyd and Harry as they try to convince people 20 years later that “if they each had half a brain, together they would still only have half a brain”. It’s a fun movie to watch and if you liked the randomness of the first movie, you will not be disappointed with this one.

New Lighter, Healthier Air Popcorn At Grand Cinemas Dbayeh

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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.

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Piper-Heidsieck Champagne And Food Pairing At Les Caves de Taillevent

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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