The Secret to an Endless Summer? Sangria in a Bottle!

While on honeymoon in Italy three years ago, I made a startling discovery: the Italians take their cocktails seriously. Very seriously. Seriously enough to bottle them up and sell them in a format perfect for versatile enjoyment.
We were at the train station in Rome awaiting an outbound train to Florence when we stumbled across Campari Orange Passion, a ready-to-serve cocktail aperitif combining Campari, orange juice and brown sugar inside a glass bottle. Practically packaged. Taste on point. Perfection just a lid-snap away.
Well, it seems the Spaniards are equally as serious in the cocktail department as their neighbors to the east, because guess what? The Spanish national drink – sangria, naturally – can be had in a similar, cocktail-ready presentation.

Sangria Lolea is the brainchild of a group of friends who wanted to channel excellent sangria crafted from good wine and natural ingredients. But any mixologist knows that the traditional Spanish cocktail requires dousing fruit in win…

The Importance of Failing Big

A couple of days ago, I gazed in bewilderment as James Franco impersonated an unusual dreamer in “The Disaster Artist.” Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, a man we know very little about besides his uncanny aspiration to become a famous Hollywood actor. The reality is that he is terrible at it, but he considers himself a “dedicated actor” and will do whatever it takes for LA to know his name.
Tommy teams up with the young and impressionable Greg Sestero, played by Franco’s youngest brother Dave, and the two move from San Fran to the City of Angels to take up acting. The only problem is, as one might predict, that Hollywood is not keen on shooing in either personality. Stiff competition and connections rule the city, and neither Tommy nor Greg is in a position to hit it big on the silver screen.
So Tommy decides that if he can’t land a role in someone else’s movie, he may as well write, produce and direct his own. And that’s exactly how “The Room” comes to be, a real film released in 2003 that a…

ZWZ's Boomburger Boxes: Boom or Bust?

Zaatar w Zeit launched their all-new “Boomburgers” to usher in my return to Beirut. Nah, I’m totally joking, but the coincidence did tickle me for a moment or two.
In all seriousness, your favorite manoushe manufacturer plus some (and by some, I mean their menu has more “some” than it has manakish!) is treading into burger waters again. I say again because years ago, they used to feature a burger composed of two flatbreads as buns. Perhaps owing to little demand, the burger was chucked from the food line-up, while focus was pumped into ZWZ’s wildly sought after sandwiches and pizzas.
It’s the end of 2017, and why not end it on a bang, or a boom! Thus reasoned the ZWZ food creators and management, and the Boomburgers were born.
There are two compelling aspects I’ll treat here. First, the edibles. Both chicken and Angus boomburgers resemble Beef Wellingtons, in that in lieu of a traditional burger bun, a seamless sack is adopted. In our Levantine cuisine, the ouzi most closely evokes ZWZ’…

Embracing Motherhood: 50 Days In!

A few weeks ago, I attended a comedy show by Tom Segura in Southern California. Toward the end of his sketch, Segura mentioned how he'd recently become a father, and that as such any notion of free time was destroyed. In fact, having an infant grants you moments at best.
After seven weeks of real, visceral motherhood, I couldn’t agree more.
Stephen was born during the wee hours of my birthday – November 1, or All Saints Day. What a saint he is for holding off on his arrival to make my special day immeasurably more precious. Seven hours of natural, unmedicated, and hence excruciating labor were quickly pushed to the recesses of my mind, to be forgotten. 

Weighing in at a dainty 3.210 kg, shy of the ultrasound technician's 4-kg estimate, he is affirmation of the adage that “big things come in small packages.”

As I sit here on my kitchen barstool typing this, I’m enjoying one of those “moments” Segura alludes to. Stephen nodded off nearly two hours ago, and odds are he’ll interrupt t…

Wild Revolution: 20 Years of Tailor-Made Travel

In the age of the do-it-yourself doctrine, it’s easy to rule out travel agencies when crafting itineraries and booking trips. I for one have been slave to that philosophy, going so far as to mastermind our honeymoon to Italy, from flights and hotels to inter-city travel, tours, and car rentals. Admittedly, it was a supreme challenge requiring hours of tedious research, precious time I could have allocated elsewhere during that frenetic pre-wedding period.
The reality is that some travel agents have preserved their place in our DIY-driven society. Adapting to the changing nature of booking travel and earning the title of “travel professionals” or “travel consultants,” they straddle multiple platforms to help clients achieve a wide array of vacations.
In Lebanon, Wild Discovery has revolutionized the role of 'one-stop shop travel provider' to a superlative degree. This year, they’re celebrating 20 years of packaging holidays into memorable experiences, operating through a network …

Anticipating Motherhood: Take 2

Nine months.
That’s three-quarters of the Gregorian calendar. One full academic year.
It’s also the gestation period of a human being. Nine months, or 40 weeks – 280 days – span the growth and development of the fetus before baby arrives.
I’m not sure where the time has gone, because I recall thinking how very distant my estimated due date seemed back in March, at my first prenatal appointment. But here I am, 39 and 1/2 weeks in, with a center of gravity that threatens to topple me over! I can’t believe I’m in the homestretch. Less than a week to go!
What are my sentiments? Mostly, I can’t take the suspense anymore – I need to put a face to the tiny human who’s been squirming and kicking in my belly vigorously, particularly in this final month. He comes alive in the evening, shifting about and taking on different poses that launch my stomach into bizarre undulations.

At the same time, I’ve never been more apprehensive. How many times are we told that nothing compares to parenthood, a phras…

Bitfood: Streamlined On-Demand Food Delivery

There you are, trapped in an insidiously long work meeting that risks spilling over into your coveted lunch hour. The pangs of hunger are piercing your paunch without relent, and two sad realizations set in. 
First, you won’t have any time to hop down to the corner bakery to wait in line and grab a sandwich – a pile of outstanding tasks looms over you forebodingly. Second, even if this meeting were to miraculously end now, you’d still need to hasten over to your desk, pore over the delivery menus, home in on a venue and dish, dial the delivery operator, articulate your order, communicate special requests, provide work address and directions, rush down to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash, and then watch the clock tick as the appointed delivery time – immediately – transforms to eternity plus some.

If only you’d known about Bitfood.
No, not the cryptocurrency and digital payment system known as Bitcoin, though it sure does operate in a similar vein.
Bitfood presents a fast, easy and effort…