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Showing posts from January, 2014

"Lone Survivor": A True Story of Heroism That Will Move You

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It’s difficult not to take advantage of the proximity of Beirut Souks’ Cinema City, which is just a few hundred meters from my office. As such, I’ve occasionally found myself making a beeline for the movies in the early evening right after work, rather than curse my fate behind the wheel at the treacherous peak hour traffic. Yesterday was one such night. Rather spontaneously, I popped into the cinema, scanned the list of available screenings and show times, saw Mark Wahlberg’s name in the list of actors for “Lone Survivor,” and quickly nabbed a ticket. Two minutes later, I was settled comfortably in a near-empty stadium that could easily host 300 viewers. A young adolescent couple in the nosebleed seats and a few middle-aged men in suits (also looking to dodge traffic?) were my movie companions. “Lone Survivor” tells the story of four Navy SEALs who, on June 28, 2005, were tasked with the mission of capturing or killing a Taliban ringleader and his minions in the mountains of Afghanist…

L’Os Chews Its Customers to the Bone

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A few nights ago, we visited a restaurant we’d long been fixed on trying. L’Os (French for bone), on the way up toward Ain Saadé and no more than a kilometer from my house, is a cozy yet spacious restaurant perched on a hill with a majestic roundabout for an entrance. Inside, you’re immediately greeted by an olive tree in the center of the restaurant and a lit chimney just steps from it. Tables line the perimeter of the restaurant, in the style of a diwan, and you feel as if you’re dining at a mountain lodge. We settled in and opened the menu to find a page (two in fact—one in French, the other in Arabic) recounting the history of L’Os with photos of the founding partners—a sweet albeit sappy ode to the restaurant’s roots. The food offerings span two pages: on the left, the French classics; on the right, Lebanese mezza. At the top of each page, in imposing print, L’Os’ “traditionnelle baguette à l’ail” (garlic bread) was highlighted, so we took the hint and ordered one with coriander (…

Captain Cook's Courageous Mission

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Entrepreneurship has been on the rise in Lebanon, and nowhere is it more vividly portrayed than in the upsurge of restaurants. It seems that everyone who has some extra funds at his disposal wants to open a dining venue with dreams of raking in the big bucks. But truth be told, managing a restaurant is anything but easy. From the creation of a brand and brand identity; the design of an appealing menu with palatable food; the commissioning of a reliable chef; the assurance of excellent service; the establishment and upkeep of an attractive venue that is readily accessible and offers decent parking. All of these elements combine to form a winning recipe in the restaurant business, to which very few restaurateurs in Lebanon can attest. I had the chance to check out the new food venture Captain Cook, situated downtown across from the Saray and hidden behind coiled metal barriers. The joint focuses on delivery, as its sit-in space is no more than 20 square meters (the kitchen is below gro…

Beirutista's Debut Press Coverage

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Yesterday the renowned Lebanese newspaper Annahar published a half-page feature on Beirutista. It is divided into two parts: journalist Reine Bou Moussa’s article and an essay piece written by me in the spirit of my blog, entitled “Why We Come Back to Lebanon.” For those of you who cannot read Arabic, I’ll quickly summarize the article: my original aim with Beirutista was two-fold. First, it was a vehicle through which I could put pen to paper and give life to my thoughts as a Lebanese-American recently taking up residence in Lebanon. Second, it was an efficient correspondence tool with my friends in the USA—where I was born and “nurtured,” as the author put it. The blog, an online diary of sorts, allowed me to convey or dish up life in Lebanon to those who had never before set foot on its soil—these readers could vicariously live through me. But one of Beirutista’s unintended consequences in fact was unearthing a myriad of readers who shared exactly in my experiences, from my foreign…