According To BuzzFeed: Hummus, Halloumi Cheese, Cactus Fruit, Falafel, Shawarma, Labneh, Kibbeh and Baba Ghannoush Are Israeli Delicacies

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This BuzzFeed article by ReThinkIsrael is so ridiculous and disrespectful to international cuisines that I don’t know where to start. The author could have simply stated there are things you could eat in Israel, but to claim that these are Israeli specialties is just too much. Moreover, how can you claim that a fruit is specialty?

I scanned through the list quickly and 8 of the 19 items listed are definitely not Israeli and I am sure there are others as well. One thing that caught my attention was the Krembo, which is the equivalent of Tarboosh in Lebanon. There have been talks that Tarboosh may be copied from a Swiss company’s product (Le Petit Perrier) but I am pretty sure both came before the Krembo.

As far as Hummus is concerned, here’s a proof that Hummus is Lebanese.

Fashionable Candles for Palm Sunday

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This doll is part of an art exhibition at the Beirut Souks done by Cynthia’s Candle. The candles on display are supposedly the world’s tallest Palm Sunday Candles which I hope no one will consider buying for their children. I remember when I was a kid, I had to carry my younger cousin’s 1 meter and a half candle for a good hour just because he was too little to hold it.

Aside from the exhibition, there are other fashionable candles for kids which are pretty cute, at least for girls. You can check them out [Here].

First Impression: PZZA.Co At The Beirut Souks

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Yesterday was the soft launch for The PZZA.Co Italian restaurant so I passed by and had a late lunch there. PZZA.Co is a gourmet italian concept brought to you by the same people behind BRGR.Co, which is by far my favorite burger place in Lebanon. PzzaCo is located right next to Brgrco at the Beirut Souks.

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The outside of the place looks very similar to Brgrco. The interior is simple but quite artistic and catchy and gives a cozy feeling. There’s a huge artwork done by Gregory Gatserelia (resembling an erupting volcano, Mount Vesuvius maybe) above the oven that expands to the whole roof that you can see in the picture below.

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As far as the food is concerned, PZZA.Co servers starters, salads, mozzarella specials, pizzas (including 3 Hussein Hadid signature pizzas), pastas, risotto, a couple of chicken and veal dishes, and of course desserts. The wine they serve is an Italian one. Here are some of the stuff I tried out:

Salads:
WP_20140410_12_36_00_Pro Baby Spinach salad with toasted pine nuts (with a traditional balsamic vinaigrette)

WP_20140410_12_37_19_Pro Fennel with oranges, pomegranate and pecorino romano (with an orange and pomegranate vinaigrette)

Both salads were fresh and tasted great and I absolutely loved the Fennel with oranges one, specially with the Orange and Pomegranate vinaigrette sauce.

Starters and Pastas:
WP_20140410_12_37_34_Pro Bocconcini in Carroza (baby mozzarella cheese breaded served with a tomato basil sauce)

WP_20140410_13_00_00_Pro Rigatoni Creamy Bolognese (served with Minced beef)

The breaded Baby Mozzarella balls were a delight and didn’t feel that heavy even though they were breaded. The Mozzarella tasted fresh too. As for the Rigatoni Bolognese, I am not a big fan of minced beef so I couldn’t really judge if it’s any good but I didn’t mind it.

Pizzas:

WP_20140410_12_39_03_Pro Marinara Fresh: Tomato, garlic, oregano, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil

WP_20140410_13_00_51_Pro The Wild Mushroom: Mozzarella Cheese, taleggio cheese, wild seasonal mushrooms and truffle oil

The Italian Chef running the cuisine is from Napoli and he takes great pride in preparing fresh tomatoes for his pizza. The Marinara is an authentic Neapolitan pizza and consists of fresh tomato, garlic, oregano and fresh basil. I noticed a lot of people in the restaurant had ordered it and the tomato did taste very fresh, but I’d rather have some cheese on top or mixed with it.

Moving on to the Hussein Hadid signature pizza, The Wild Mushroom was just delicious and I think I finished the pizza by myself. The dough was just perfect, not too thin not too thick, a bit crispy on the sides but tender when you eat it. The ingredients were all fresh and I liked the taleggio cheese which I hadn’t tasted before, at least not to my knowledge.

I noticed that they have a Calzone on the menu as well. The last decent one I had was at Pinocchio Achrafieh years ago, so I am looking forward to trying it out next time.

Desserts:
WP_20140410_13_36_27_Pro Caramel and Biscuit Pizza

WP_20140410_13_36_40_Pro Vanilla Bean Panicotta

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I didn’t want to try the chocolate or caramel pizzas because I usually find them too sweet but my friend insisted I try out the Caramel and Biscuit Pizza and I am glad I did. I will let u figure out which biscuit is put on top but it was a heavenly sweet pizza. The Panicotta is a dessert you won’t find in many places and is worth a try and the Tiramisu was good.

Price-wise, PZZA.Co is really affordable as the salads, appetizers and pizzas range between 10$ and 20$ and the quantities are decent. Of course there are few special dishes and signature pastas and pizzas which are a bit more expensive, but you can easily have a salad or appetizer, a pizza and a dessert for like 30$.

I really liked PZZA.Co and I am definitely going there soon to try out the Calzone and have that Caramel Biscuit Pizza again.

Review: Heritages (2013)

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I went to watch Philippe Aractingi’s latest movie/documentary “Heritages” and it honestly didn’t live up to my expectations or at least to what I’ve heard and read about it. Heritages is basically a documentary on Aractingi’s family, where he shows in pictures and old footage how they’ve been moving for decades from one country to another and why. While I loved the amount of old pictures, old videos, breath-taking stories and impressive archive the director has, I wasn’t really sure what he was trying to prove or the final message he was trying to relay throughout the movie.

In fact, there were several powerful messages that I loved, specially when he went to meet the family of a good friend he lost during the war, when he sat down with his kids and showed them his old “toys” back from the war days or when he tries to describe to his kids what Achrafieh looked like at some point and how children used to play back then. I loved how he approached his children on the war issue and I hope all parents are as honest and straightforward as Philippe is. However, the last scene was a bit too cheesy and the whole “building nations and staying in Lebanon” thingy is not very convincing, specially that the director has been trying to come back relentlessly to Lebanon but in vain and odds are that his sons and daughter will probably leave Lebanon for the same reasons he did.

Don’t get me wrong as I am not blaming him or saying it’s a bad thing to leave. On the contrary, and just like his wife said, Lebanon is a country that people leave, not stay in and build a family, and that’s the unfortunate truth we all live in these days. Unfortunately, not all of us have the option to leave and even when we do have that choice, it’s not as easy as people might think it is because of several factors such as money or family or society maybe, but for me, that’s not a country I’d want my children to grow in at the moment and probably won’t be for the next 10 years or more. The scenery on that final scene was breath-taking though and reminds us of Lebanon’s beauty or whatever is left of it.

All in all, Heritages is a nice family documentary that I do recommend you watch as the director has done an impressive work collecting all his archive and linking between his grandparents’ stories and his.

[YouTube]

My Top 5 FIFA World Cup Songs

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[YouTube]

The official song for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is out and it’s a horrible one. I can’t believe they picked Pitbull for such a song. Looking back at the old world cup songs, whether official or not, the “Carnival de Paris” is by far my favorite one.

You can check it out below:

[YouTube]

The other four World cup songs that I like are:
2- Shakira – Waka Waka
3- La Copa De La Vida – Ricky Martin
4- Los Ramblers – El Rock Del Mundial
5- K’NAAN – Wavin’ Flag

Illegally Held Chimpanzee In Lebanon Freed After A Nine-Year Struggle!

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Animals Lebanon recently took up the case to free Charlie, a nine year old chimpanzee that was smuggled into Lebanon in 2005 and sold to Animal City zoo, and they finally managed to free the animal yesterday after a court ruling. Charlie is the last known chimpanzee in Lebanon. He will be moved to approved chimpanzee sanctuary where he could get expert care and live with other chimpanzees in a natural enclosure.

Few days ago, Animals Lebanon also managed to rescue a neglected lion and two tigers from a zoo in Lebanon.

Thumbs up to Animals Lebanon for their awesome work!

What’s Inside The Lebanese Parliament Drawers?

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Here are few examples of bills buried in the Lebanese Parliament drawers and that need to be tackled ASAP!

1- Retirement Benefits Bill
2- Civil Status Laws Bill
3- Mental Health Bill
4- Women Citizenship Bill
5- Anti-Corruption Bill
6- Anti-Censorship and Freedom of Theater and Cinema Bill
7- Penal Code Revision
8- Labor Law Revision

For those interested, Gino who first wrote about this gave a brief explanation of every bill.

To learn more about the Lebanese Economic Association who’s behind this video and many others, click [Here].