Thursday, February 16, 2017

Soup With Soul: The Flavour Thief Raids Lebanon's Gourmet Scene

How often have you walked into a restaurant on a chilly winter’s day, pining for a piping hot soup to warm your heart and soothe your soul? You race through the menu to the section on starters, only to find the trite red lentil or onion offering, and that's if the restaurant's even bothered with soup.

Here’s a bit of history for you: the word “restaurant,” meaning “restoring” in French, was actually invented in the 16th century to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup sold by street vendors. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such reinvigorating soups, which then prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for the eating establishments (thank you, Wikipedia!).

If we acknowledge history, then restaurants owe their very existence to soup, and thus by default they should stud their menus with it. Instead, the imperative of soup has been altogether downplayed and discarded around these parts.

Which is why Youmna Sargi is taking action. A former senior art director at one of the world’s largest communications and advertising agency networks, Youmna spent considerable time at London's Le Cordon Bleu enrolled in food styling and food photography workshops, and that's apart from the five years of photography she took as part of her advertising studies at ALBA (Académie Libanaise de Beaux-Arts). 

More recently Youmna traveled to Thailand to train at the prestigious Blue Elephant Cooking School. Back in Lebanon, she was itching to import the authentic taste of royal Asia, but not through just any format. Realizing the gaping hole in public consciousness surrounding soup, Youmna decided to cultivate a community where the liquid food takes center stage.

Youmna Sargi is the soup guru behind The Flavour Thief

Enter The Flavour Thief (Instagram and Facebook), a so-called robber of spices, herbs, colors, scents, secrets and freshness held captive in Youmna's kitchen. Launched in late December, The Flavour Thief aims to uphold "Justice for Soups!" with the healthy, homemade, vegetable- and protein-rich variety.

Vats of homemade soup by The Flavour Thief

Each week Youmna crafts a different soup, collecting orders and literally cooking up a storm in her home kitchen. On Thursday mornings, she hand-delivers her potion in recyclable paper containers swaddled in distinctive bandanas.

During the month of February, for example, you can discover the following vegan options:

“Scandal in Mexico”: a tangy, mildly spicy soup chockfull of onions, garlic, bell peppers, sweetcorn, kidney beans, roasted tomatoes and quinoa.

"Scandal in Mexico"

“Stolen at the Night Bazar”: slow-roasted carrot soup with garam masala, caramelized onions, coconut oil and coconut milk.

"Stolen at the Night Bazar"

“Conspiracy in Chiang Mai”: the authentic Thai soup Khao Soi muddling shallots, ginger, garlic, red curry paste, turmeric, coconut milk, red peppers, peas, and egg noodles.

"Conspiracy in Chiang Mai"

“Robbery in Mumbai”: a hearty, mildly spicy soup with torrefied Indian spices, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, honey and red lentils.

"Robbery in Mumbai"

“In the Name of Tomatoes”: juicy tomatoes, celery and carrots paired with rosemary, wild thyme and green oregano, finished with extra virgin olive oil.

"In the Name of Tomatoes"

Each of the soups sells for 25,000 LBP/liter.

Beyond spreading awareness and passion for soup, Youmna and husband Georges host a monthly gathering at their home in Broumana where the specialties of the month take center stage. Descriptions and ingredients are stenciled in black marker on a dedicated wall in the living room—how’s that for hardcore? Guests, counting among them friends, acquaintances, and soup aficionados at large, are brought together under the banner of soups to engage in lively exchange and camaraderie.

Each month, Youmna hosts up to 30 lucky guests in her home for a soup gathering

Youmna’s startup of sorts has already started to build a cult following in Beirut and beyond. Come summer, The Flavour Thief will propose gazpachos (cold soups) alongside salads to keep customers cool and refreshed.

But for now, the possibilities are endless, and Youmna is making waves in the tide of gourmet consumption. Who knows? I can even see a three-day soup cleanse shaking Beirut’s babes to the core in healthy, sustainable fashion!

Orders accepted through Monday; delivery every Thursday.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How I (Don't) Celebrate Valentine's Day

When we were in grade school, I always thought Valentine’s Day was cut out for kids. The cute candy grams from secret admirers; the exchange of Disney-themed Valentine’s cards with tasty treats tacked on; red- and pink-frosted cupcakes washed down with cloyingly sweet punch. And who remembers those edible conversation hearts called Sweethearts? I was obsessed!

Conversation hearts candy (photo source:

I didn’t realize how much significance Valentine’s Day carries among adults until I moved to Lebanon. Midway through January, restaurants here begin advertising set menus for Lovers’ Day, and they’re not confined to merely one day. Try the entire weekend either leading up to or following February 14! As of February 11, some venues have already started to unload their romance-laced festivities on guests.

And it seems the Lebanese love to love Lovers’ Day. What’s not to like about the astronomical surge in prices of flowers, chocolate, and oversize teddy bears? Who wouldn’t enjoy being forced to opt in to a $150 couple’s package of dinner and a “one-man show”? *grimace*

(In fact, just as I am writing this, I received an SMS for a Valentine’s promotion at a French bistro in Achrafieh.)

Ever since I met my husband, we’ve adopted an unconventional approach to the holiday. This year is no exception, as we’ll likely stay home and curl up to a marathon of Gossip Girl. Well, I will, at least. He’ll probably tune in to Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" via YouTube. 

Since we're of the mind that you need no formal holiday to profess your feelings, we reverence every day. How, precisely? Here are some ideas, untethered from cliché.

I recently stumbled upon a website called that retails all things cosmetics, fragrance, nail, hair and body care. Given how polished and easy-to-navigate the website is, I was astounded to learn it is 100% local and Lebanese. The best part is it runs the gamut of international brands at decent prices. 

The website is so easy to use

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of their promotion on fragrances and nabbed a men’s Lacoste L.12.12 Eau de Toilette (100 mL) for $50, 20% off its original listing of $65. It took a few seconds to create an account and put in my order, and within 24 hours, the package was delivered to my office in downtown Beirut, free of charge.

Delivered right to my office, free of charge!

In short, I was able to nab a thoughtful, affordable gift for my spouse in mere minutes, free of the hassle of traffic, queuing at a cash register, and forking over unjustified sums of dinero.

If you want to pamper yourself or someone you love, definitely visit, and save 10% off your order with promo code BEIRUTISTAFEEL22. You're welcome!

If splurging is in the cards, go all out and book a Couple’s Retreat at the luxurious Le Gray hotel. I didn’t even wait for the month of February to transform an ordinary Monday evening after work into sensational R&R with my boo.

At Le Gray, no detail is overlooked, from the disposable underwear and bathrobe you’re instructed to slip on, to the firm and steady hand movements of the masseuses, to an indulgent dark chocolate fondue post-massage, coupled with champagne. You won’t want to leave this Garden of Eden, so make the most of the relaxing lounge, steam room, and shower to perpetuate the aura of paradise.

The face of paradise

Staying home on V-Day (or any day for that matter) is so underrated. What could be more satisfying than orchestrating the night at your pace, per your romantic whims and culinary fancies?

Sure, you can cook up a storm for your beloved (or yourself), but why bother with dishes on your day off? 

I’ve been exploiting Zaatar W Zeit’s nifty app (Google Play, Apple Store). With customizable wraps, manakish, salads, and pizzas, ordering and specifying my desired time of delivery has never been easier than 1-2-3, Z-W-Z.

Apply promo code ZWZBEIRUTISTA at check-out, and save 20% off your total bill. For first-time users, you’ll also get a free choco-banana wrap. Nothing spells romance better than Nutella!

ZWZ's slogan is "Love Regardless", aka "regardless of whether it's Valentine's Day"!

Pizza is always the answer

No list of mine is complete without my favorite imports wholesaler, Wesley’s. It’s become a veritable second home, and I love strolling through each aisle purposefully, scanning products and newbies and reading nutrition facts with interest. Wesley’s Hazmieh's first-floor stronghold Orange Label features a host of handmade chocolate, local and international wine labels, elaborate stationery and other novelties, both edible and non.

Gourmet chocolate at Wesley's Orange Label

There are also local and international wine labels at Wesley's Hazmieh

On the ground floor, you can pick up a box of easy-bake cake or brownie mix by Pillsbury and pass off the delectable final product as your own—no one’ll ever know! Downstairs, look for those intoxicatingly fragrant Yankee scented candles. Nothing like a beautiful aroma to set the mood!

If you need more ideas on how to spoil yourself silly, particularly as a gourmet, there’s no shortage of inspiration on this blog. Navigate and explore posts here, and if you still find yourself at a loss, you’re taking things way too seriously. 

In which case, congratulations: you’re a bona fide Lebanese.

Monday, February 6, 2017

BRGR.CO: Leave Your Price Reservations at the Door

Possibly the number one complaint lodged by customers of BRGR.CO is its high prices. Scroll through scores of Zomato reviews, and it seems everyone’s in general agreement that the burger house is unjustifiably overpriced for what you’re getting. In fact, the suggested price per couple is 80,000 LBP (US$ 53).

Let’s glance at the menu:

The 4-oz. original blend weighs in at 12,000 LBP (US$ 8), and you can double the patty for an additional 10,000 LBP (US$ 7). That’s a half-pound burger for US$ 15, equivalent to what Gordon Ramsay’s selling his bunned beauties at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood BURGR.

The 6-oz. Tender Blend goes for 25,000 LBP (US$ 17) and is best served medium-rare to medium to preserve the juiciness of the beef. Note that the meat blends diverge markedly in the 4-oz and 6-oz. patties, hence the price differential.

Should you choose to upgrade your burger to include sautéed Portobello mushrooms and onions with sliced smoked cheddar, the price bumps up to 21,000 LBP (US$ 14) for the 4-oz. format and 32,000 LBP (US$ 21) for the six ouncer.

6-oz. Tender Blend with Portobello mushrooms and smoked cheddar

Additional cheeses from mature cheddar to Gruyere command 3,000-4,000 LBP (US$ 2-3), and sauces like honey mustard and guacamole are charged between 1,500 and 4,500 LBP (US$ 1-3).

I can understand how a burger’s price could easily start to snowball. Start with a 6-oz. burger, slap on provolone, caramelized onions and truffled mayo, and your burger will tip the scale at 34,500 LBP (US$ 23). Unwarranted?

Arguably, no.

The thing about BRGR.CO is you will not meet a more impassioned operation whose unique selling point is its premium-grade imported meat. Everything’s been carefully curated, from the juicy, sweet slice of tomato in each burger to the avocados constituting the guacamole (yes, there’s now homemade guac on the menu!).

You cannot compare BRGR.CO to Classic Burger Joint, an exercise many so often undertake with uncharacteristic zeal. One is gourmet, the other is casual. True, both serve silverware. But the difference in beef quality is remarkable.

Perhaps in an effort to abate critiques of this price-comparing game, BRGR.CO introduced “trays” to its menu in the spirit of CBJ’s platters. For 19,750 LBP (US$ 13), you can have a 4-oz. burger with mature cheddar, fries, and homeslaw, which is a substantial reduction from what you’d pay if you ordered those items discretely from the menu [12,000 LBP (4-oz. beef patty) + 3,000 LBP (aged cheddar) + 5,000 LBP (homeslaw) + 6,000 LBP (fries) = 26,000 LBP]. 

Mature cheddar burger, fries and homeslaw populate the new tray for 19,750 LBP

Compare that to CBJ’s cheeseburger platter for 18,500 LBP, with American (processed) cheese. The price gap is less than a buck. Props to BRGR.CO on this smart move.

Other newbies on the menu include crispy corn tortilla chips with pico de gallo (10,000 LBP/US$ 7). Add guacamole (small: 4,500 LL/US$ 3; large: 8,500 LL/US$ 6), though I’d fine-tune the recipe to incorporate coriander and garlic for an extra kick. 

Corn tortilla chips with homemade guacamole (large size) and pico de gallo

The golden chicken fillets (19,000 LL/US$ 13) are fresh-battered tenders with honey mustard and sweet chipotle dipping sauces. You’ll almost immediately notice that these aren’t your frozen variety chicken nuggets – they’re undeniably fresh and plump.

Chicken fillets with two dipping sauces

I like the new structure the menu takes on, easily highlighting your chicken, veggie, fish and hot dog offerings (I hear the Coney Island Dog is unmissable). 

Santana and Caesar burgers flesh out the chicken roster, followed by a battered Portobello veggie burger, fish and chips and BRGR.CO’s acclaimed lobster roll. There are five fries options, namely the popular Parmesan-Truffle Fries (but at 19,500 LBP/US$ 13, these are admittedly expensive).

Desserts are decadent – you won't find cookies or Rice Krispies here. Instead, how about Minnesota Fudge Cake (15,000 LBP/US$ 10), a miniature chocolate bundt topped with a scoop of vanilla bean and drenched in caramel with crushed Lotus biscuits to boot? Makes a burger look innocent by comparison, doesn't it!

Minnesota Fudge Cake with caramel sauce and crushed Lotus biscuit

My advice when you elect to visit BRGR.CO? Embrace the fact that you’re here for premium beef and a premium burger, and leave your price reservations at the door. The entire experience will just taste a whole lot better.

Besides, with the new burger tray, there are price points to suit every budget. 

Beirut Souks
ABC Achrafieh

Friday, February 3, 2017

PureGray at Le Gray: The Ultimate Pampering Experience

As someone who sits behind a screen nearly 10 hours a day, five days a week, I’m a magnet for back pain, neck stiffness and poor posture. (White-collar employment is so overrated!)

So along with my new year's vow to deepen the pursuit of healthful eating, I’m taking action on total body care. Interior cleansing, exterior sloughing, if you will. The body is a temple, after all, and wellness is key.

Nothing beats a fabulous massage, complete with subtle aromas, warm oil, and dim lighting. Apart from the physical manipulation of the body, I want the pampering that comes with the holistic experience. I'm worth it, right?!

Readers of this blog no doubt understand my fascination and endless love affair with Le Gray – no, not Christian Grey from Fifty Shades – but Campbell’s Le Gray in the heart of downtown Beirut. I’ve waxed poetic numerously (123456about the luxury hotel’s culinary glory, modern feel, and welcoming vibes. Surely, their spa facilities would prove equally praiseworthy.

Le Gray's luxurious PureGray Health Club & Spa*

I decided to find out and booked a Couple’s Retreat on an ordinary Monday evening after work. We arrived to the hotel lobby and descended to the PureGray Health Club & Spa, boasting everything from facials and lymph drainage to volcanic hot stone massages and acupuncture.

After filling out a practical health questionnaire, we were led to our respective locker rooms and instructed to strip down to the bone, donning only the provided bathrobe and disposable underwear.

At Le Gray, the devil is in the details, like these L-shaped lockers

We then made our way to a dim lounge housing three cushioned chaise-longues and a table bearing Granny Smith apples, Sohat water bottles, and a spread of magazines.

Rest lounge for pre- and post-treatment*

There, Ataa and Liliane led us to our chamber, the incarnation of the ideal massage room – violet-tinted panel lighting, gentle classical music, and minimalist décor. We were asked if the choice of music was agreeable before being left to disrobe and tuck beneath the sheeted massage tables.

When the masseuses returned, they inquired whether we preferred soft, moderate, or firm pressure, in order to avoid any squirming or grimacing. Though both ladies appeared deceptively petite, their dexterous hands pointed to biceps of steel as they worked our muscles with slow, firm and long strokes.

The sanctuary -- immaculate and minimalist

Starting with the back, slathering warmed lime-infused oil across the skin, the ladies made steady progress along the arms, into the shoulders, up the neck, back down to the feet, then up into the calves and thighs. I love how Liliane fixated on my shoulders for some time, discerning readily how knotted the muscles in that area were. Shoulders are where we carry most of our tension, and I’m guilty of curling over a computer screen all day long and toting an oversize bag, which throws off my alignment. 

We were instructed to turn over for further massaging of the feet and legs. The cherry on top was a final head stroke, therapeutic beyond words. There’s something so calming and curative about a stranger running their hands through your hair – as when an apprentice washes your hair at the salon, or when a grade school classmate braids your mane tenderly. The rush, the release that swells your core and induces goosebumps, thrusts you into a heightened state of consciousness.

After the masseuses had finished, we were invited to return to the lounge, where a decadent dark chocolate fondue awaited us, accompanied by fresh fruit, marshmallows, and shortbread biscuits, and flanked by two flutes of champagne. Paradise encore!

Post-massage treat: dark chocolate fondue and champagne

Back in the locker room, I pondered over whether to shower before dressing, but the lotions hadn’t left a sticky film on my skin, and their fragrance was comforting. So I slowly pulled on my clothes, trying to perpetuate the experience as long as possible. I didn’t want the euphoric trance to end.

All smiles after an incredible pampering session

It was with great effort that I finally threw in the towel (pun intended) and headed out.

I’m definitely doing this more often. V-Day, you say? It couldn't come any sooner!

Couple’s Retreat
60 minutes at $260; 90 minutes at $330

During February, the “Perfect Date” features a couple’s candle-lit massage, followed by a heart cake with a glass of champagne for each; 60 minutes - $270.

*Select photos were pulled from the Le Gray Gallery.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Deek'Matic: Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

When I first saw Deek’Matic’s menu, I instantly thought, “Deek Duke knock-off.” Deep-seated in the chicken offering (hence “Deek,” or Arabic for rooster), the menu features wings, tenders, salads, burgers, and panini-style sandwiches, in addition to broasted (battered and fried à la KFC) and rotisserie. The only unique selling point I could induce from the menu alone was the “Fitmatic” section optimized for the calorie-conscious.

Deek'Matic's appetizers and dips

But the restaurant literature, notably its clean, sleek, red-and-white branding and unified brand image, spoke to me. With its incredibly lucid food photography and impeccable description for each food item, the menu underscored a broader, professional operation, and I was keen on meeting it.

So up we went to the Mazraat Yachouch area somewhere between Antelias and Bikfaya, right off the main highway (Google map it, it’s charted!). A smartly-situated corner joint, Deek’Matic is hard to miss with its bold red lettering and all-glass paneling. Inside, it’s got the feel of fast casual: a self-service counter where you order food, and immaculate tables and chairs where you dive into your nosh.

The cashier counter at Deek'Matic

The counter at Deek'Matic

And dive we did. At the behest of young yet impressively well-versed owner Nour Jalkh, we found ourselves gaga-eyed for fries, curly fries (dubbed “Twister”), crunchy chicken strips, and no less than half a dozen savory dipping sauces.

I’ve never been one to be tempted by fried matter. No, seriously, I’m not preaching from some glorified soapbox where nothing fried touches me (my Achilles’ heel are sweets). Over the years, I’ve accustomed my palate to grilled, seared, boiled, poached, and at most, pan-fried. But deep-fried? 

Nah, I’m good.

But Deek’Matic made me eat my words, among other things. I could not keep my fingers off those fries, which I pretended were simply the only available (and conveniently delicious) vehicles to get to those sauces.

A collection of dipping sauces

Really, now, homemade pesto dip at a fast-casual chicken diner? Be still my heart. There’s also a blue-cheese dip derived from the namesake cheese – brilliant, right? Kids, this ain’t some powdered faux cheese mixed with mayo. It’s the real McCoy.

The chicken strips (10,500 LBP) boast plump white chicken breast breaded in a corn-flake-like coating, but it’s only flour. Perfectly seasoned curly fries (small: 5,500 LBP, large: 9,500 LBP) have just the right balance of crisp and soft between shell and core.

Chicken strips

On to the burgers, which had me swooning with their fresh, Prunelle-sourced, seed-studded buns. Vintage (11,000 LBP) is a genuinely American burger, complete with dill pickles, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce on top of a smashed beef patty. I even acquiesced to its original “Deek’Steak” sauce, which transported me back to my childhood forays with the Big Mac.

Vintage Burger

The Wild West (13,000 LBP) layers a thick, marinated, grilled chicken breast topped with homemade onion rings, BBQ and garlic mayo sauces. A beautiful mess, it’s bursting with an uncanny juiciness and a flurry of textures and tastes you wouldn’t have foreseen as compatible.

Wild West burger with marinated chicken breast

Having sandwiches in the aftermath of those burgers was a huge risk – how could they measure up? The two we had are decidedly delicious, from the Light Chicken (8,500 LBP) with its light mustard sauce, rocket leaves, and whole-wheat bread, to the Romano’matic (8,500 LBP) with its delectable pesto-mayo concoction. But they’re still runner-up after those beasts of burgers.

Light Chicken panini sandwich

Romano'matic panini sandwich

Nour insisted we sample the dessert cups, which share a vanilla-bean-specked, panna cotta-like custard base. The toppings count crushed Oreo, Lotus biscuit, and, my favorite, blueberry coulis blanketed with Biscoff. They won’t wreck your diet (as if the burgers hadn’t!).

Panna cotta dessert cups. Clockwise from top:
crushed Lotus biscuits, blueberry coulis with Lotus, and Oreo

I felt surprisingly light as we pulled out of Deek’Matic, even though the only vegetable specimens we'd had were the garnishes in the bunned beauties. Now I have an excuse to go back and try the, er, salads. And possibly another burger.

What the hell? Throw in a side order of Twister and his trusted pal Crunchy Strips. There’s no shame among friends.

Mazraat Yachouh

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Latest & Greatest Must-Haves from Wesley's

Can you believe we’re already nearing the end of January? 2017 is off with a bang, the horses are rounding their first lap, and for those of us who vowed to make this year a healthy one, I hope you’re staying the course rigorously.

In theory, it’s always nice to commit to a hard and fast goal, like losing 10 kilos, or exercising an hour a day, or nixing refined sugar from your diet. The reality is, however, that we are humans, which means most of us are not so mechanical in our approaches. Sure, we're capable of commitment, but must we subscribe to an austere regimen? And need we achieve the end result in mere days?

Of course, not. The beauty, after all, is in the journey, more so than the destination.

Which is why this year, I’m deepening my pursuit of raw, wholesome, good-for-you foods whose ingredient lists are short, sweet, and decipherable. Naturally, I’m turning to my neighborhood megastore Wesley’s Wholesale to help foster that lifestyle.

And Wesley’s is on my wavelength. Every month I discover a new array of edibles at the imports wholesaler that fits my checklist for healthy, all-natural, nourishing and delicious.

Here are my latest buys:

A whole section dedicated to Nature Nate's real honey

Who knew that most honey bottles on a supermarket shelf are actually pasteurized and filtered? High-temperature heat treatment destroys the important enzymes present in raw honey, and filtration eliminates the pollen. The end product is far from naturally-produced honey.

Nature Nate’s is the mission of one man – Nate – who found his calling in getting honey to customers just as nature intended. Little is done to it before it is bottled up or packaged, and you can find it in cute individual servings perfect for the office or on the go! No messy honey dipper to bother with.

Individual portions of honey in convenient little packets

I’ve been drizzling it on my oats, atop goat cheese, and even on my pancakes – au revoir, maple syrup! This stuff truly is the nectar of the gods.

I'm not sure what you can do with this, but there you have it -- bee pollen bottled up!

Back in the day, there was just butter and peanut butter. No one ever thought to ground other members of the nut family and sell them en masse. In the past five years, we’ve started to see creamy spreads derived from pecan, cashew, almond and even coconut, and their health benefits cannot be touted enough.

What I love about Barney’s #spoonworthy almond butter is the fact that the almonds are California-born and –bred (like me!), starting with the highest grade and quality you can find in Central Valley. They are then blanched for an extra smooth texture untethered from the bitterness and grittiness linked to roasted skin. 

Certified gluten-free, peanut-free, GMO-free, and vegan, Barney’s almond butters come in eight varieties spanning Bare Smooth, Bare Crunchy, Honey + Flax, Raw + Chia, and, my favorite, Vanilla + Espresso. It’s studded with tiny flecks of crushed espresso bean for a simultaneously subtle and robust feel, and it goes beautifully with banana.

Barney's almond butter varieties

Just the term protein bar conjures up so many reservations in my head. Not only is its taste usually suspect, but the biblically long list of ingredients is enough to send even a chemist into a mystified stupor.

Enter the folks behind RXBAR (one hails from Lebanon!), who fashion their treats from egg whites, fruits and nuts. In fact, each bar’s packaging reflects a list of the core elements going into the bar and ending with “No B.S.” Pretty bold proclamation, but these people are willing to put their money where their mouths are (chewing RXBARs, surely, and boy are they chewy!).

Devoid of gluten, soy, and dairy, these novelties come in flavors as fun as blueberry, mint chocolate, and pumpkin spice, and they weigh in at 210 kcal a pop. 

RXBARs (L-R: blueberry, mint chocolate, chocolate sea salt,
pumpkin spice, peanut butter, coconut chocolate, and coffee chocolate)

Coming soon!

So named because they reflect a departure from the trashy foods flooding our stores, Rebel Kitchen produce organic coconut milk drinks, or “dairy-free mylk,” as they’re dubbed. Flavors are as enticing as Chai, Chocolate, Green Tea, and Coffee, drawing on a common base of spring water, organic coconut milk, and organic date nectar for a sweet touch.

They’re bottled in nifty 200-ml juice boxes to wonderfully outfit your child’s lunchbox, but don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone if you’re sneaking a few for you!

So this one is NOT edible, although if you’re like me, anything artistic and colorful passes as potential feeding material. Seriously now, writers and creatives, you'll want to keep reading.

Husband and wife team Nathan and Anna Bond launched a stationery business from their garage, keen on spreading passion for the memento-like quality of a handwritten card or note. Today, Rifle Paper Co. is an international brand with a huge roster of products, from agendas and address books to postcards, coaster sets, totes and recipe boxes. The full collection will soon be housed at Wesley’s Orange Label in Hazmieh, but in the meantime, you can nab Valentine’s Day cards, 2017 calendars and personal planners.

Valentine's Day cards by Rifle Paper Co.

You didn’t realize Valentine’s Day was just two weeks out, did ya? Admit it. 

What would you do without me (and Wesley's), huh?

I'm accepting candy grams for Hearts Day ;)

Blvd. Camille Chamoun
Antoine Gharios Center

For other branches, see here.


Beirutista has joined forces with Wesley’s Wholesale as Brand Ambassador. What exactly does that mean? Well, if you liked this post, you can look forward to similar ones every month or so. I’ll also be blogging about a variety of exciting new projects Wesley’s has underway, in addition to sneak peeks and product leaks! Expect cool new product giveaways from time to time, and if you’re a real Wesley’s obsessive like I am, I’ll gladly hook you up with 10% off your next visit. Just shoot me a message at any of my contact coordinates listed here.