VOX Gold Gives New Meaning to “Dinner and A Show”

When your date invites you to dinner and a show, the evening’s agenda is pretty clear: grab a bite somewhere, and then head to the movies to catch a flick. Slightly more glamorous plans would entail a Broadway show, perhaps an opera, or even a ballet. But that’s the general gist of it. Two concrete activities – chewing and viewing – taking place discretely and consecutively.
You’d never imagine the two would be fused into one.
VOX Cinemas at City Centre Beirut did the unimaginable: they took a perfectly great concept, VOX Gold, and gilded it with even more glitter and glitz. 
Originally, you would have been more than content to curl up in the leather-upholstered reclining chair, outfitted with plush pillow and blanket upon request. The private lounge area and minimum age restriction ensure your séance will be smooth and serene. But a gourmet dining affair all while taking in the film? That’s like double prizes.

Indeed, VOX Gold recently rolled out a gourmet package priced at LBP 75,000 (…

Tales from the Lebanese Hair Salon: A Lesson in Respect

Nothing like a foiled plan to shake up your Saturday.
I woke up animated and in good spirits on a weekend morning and decided a trim new hair look was long overdue. Ever since I acquired my own hair straightener in late 2012, visits to the salon have been reserved for special occasions and haircuts. I’m not particularly loyal to one coiffeur over the next, as convenience and proximity in my hectic work lifestyle are key.
But for the past two haircuts, I’ve relied on one artist to wield the scissors. While admittedly more liberal with them than I prefer, he’s got vision. At least I thought he did.
So last Saturday at approximately 9 AM, I picked up the phone and dialed Chad (whose name has been altered to protect his privacy). I asked whether he had any availability for a morning coupe, and after sensing a little hesitation, I put the ball in his court: “When’s the best time to come in today?”
A few seconds later, after undoubtedly scanning his appointment book, Chad declared 1:30 PM woul…

Palate-Pleasing Platters at La Petite Table

Note to self: avoid visiting a restaurant in its opening weekend. The experience will likely be far from its best possible version, and your judgment will be confounded by unfavorable factors. Come back when the dust has settled and the restaurant can orchestrate the meal performance, not you!
Such is what happened on my inaugural visit to La Petite Table in ABC Verdun. We were invited to try the bistro-like restaurant--not to be confused with La Petite Maison or La Table Fine--situated on the upper terrace of the mall, which only the evening before had witnessed its lavish unveiling.
Friday night, and the restaurant was teeming with diners. Waiters and runners were scurrying to take and deliver orders, but they simply couldn’t keep pace. Not all dishes were available, nor could special requests be tended to. At one point, the scene looked like a flock of headless chickens running around in every which direction. We vowed to return on a calmer evening.
And we did, the following Wednesday…

Five Years Blogging Strong!

I wasn’t planning on writing this piece. I generally shy away from personal announcements, from birthday parties to work anniversaries. We have Facebook and LinkedIn for that, right?
But it's a special year, and I'll make an exception.

This past July, Beirutista turned five. That is, in 2012, after months of reading and avidly exploring Lebanon’s blogosphere, from veterans like Gino’s Blog, Plus 961, and Blog Baladi to then recently launched No Garlic No Onions, I was excited to make my own foray into the online writing world. There was a deluge of adventures I wished to document and divulge, as well a pressing desire to channel my creativity through the written word.

And thus Beirutista was born. Like a barista, I aimed to serve – from tidbits about my adopted life in Lebanon to spotlights on food artisans and activists. At first, Beirutista took on a more philosophical slant, qualifying my recent settlement in my ancestral home and how I’d gotten there. I even authored a four-p…

Summer BBQ Essentials at Wesley’s

If there’s anything I look forward to most in summer, apart from the longer days and beach-worthy weather, it’s barbecues. Firing up the grill, tossing a fresh green salad, sneaking in chips on every excursion to the kitchen, and saving room for watermelon and ice cream all combine to make the ultimate feasting and frolicking affair.
As effortless as it seems, there are a number of key items that go into pulling off the perfect BBQ, and Wesley’s Wholesale is your trusted sous chef. Beyond food and drink, from spatulas for flipping burger patties to beach chairs for reclining in, you can find it all at your favorite American imports megastore.

When planning a barbecue, decide on a few meaty mains and then fill in the gaps. Spice up your meat with granulated garlic, coffee rub, Montreal steak seasoning, cayenne, or kosher salt. Off the grill, you’ll need condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish, mayo (they’ve got vegan too!), and A1 BBQ sauce – 20% off the entire brand! To suppleme…

Ogero on the Rebound: My Experience with Lebanon's Telecom Service Provider

This summer, we relocated to the Holiday Beach to make the most of the sea, summertime, and recreational living.
Figuring out what to do about Wi-Fi, however, gnawed away at us, because Lord knows you can’t survive on the astronomically expensive mobile data packages available in Lebanon. Of course not. We needed broadband internet.
But as any layman can attest, broadband establishes a connection to the internet over existing telephone wires. The chalet lacked a landline, so before we could even hook up Wi-Fi, we needed to apply for a phone line.

My husband and I started to sweat bullets. Two decades ago, when my parents put in a request for a landline from Ogero, not only were registration fees horrifically high, but the time it took for the application to be acknowledged and a technician to be dispatched saw an entire season pass. And those of you who reside in Lebanon know I’m not exaggerating.
In recent years, I’d learned that prices had since come down to reasonable levels, but I w…

Why You Can Never Truly Trust Online Restaurant Ratings

As a veteran food blogger, I’m often asked about the importance and reliability of online restaurant ratings. In Lebanon’s F&B landscape, Zomato has filled the role of restaurant search and discovery. Users can look up business hours, menus, photos, diners’ reviews, and contact info to learn more about a venue of interest.
Online data can certainly go a long way in creating a virtual restaurant visit even before the real one transpires. And I was quoted saying that a couple years ago in an interview with Wamda on “How Lebanon’s food scandal spurred startup solutions.” But while one can piece together an impression from the general attitude of previous diners, one would be sorely amiss to rely exclusively on visitors’ remarks.
In other words, Zomato is not an authoritative guide in the everlasting pursuit of outstanding restaurants. Yes, it is a warehouse of valuable data, but it suffers from a set of inherent limitations. And you’re about to be in the know.

False Reviews
Just as with …