If It Feels Like Home, It Must Be Tawlet Saida

I still vividly remember my first encounter with Tawlet. It was 2011, and I’d been in Lebanon for nearly a month when my friend Sarah K., who at the time was working with now-defunct group-buying site GoNabit, told me about an amazing deal on the site. “Women from the community are brought in to cook traditional dishes from their villages, and this way, you're treated to the real tastes of Lebanese rural cuisine.”

Interesting, I thought to myself. It was true inasmuch that any run-of-the-mill Lebanese restaurant won’t serve you typical home-cooking; the food spread is unequivocally mezza and mashewe (grills). But here was a restaurant that was employing homemakers to both showcase their unique dishes and, in so doing, preserve the authenticity of their respective regions.
I nabbed a pair of vouchers, and Dad and I went to the Mar Mikhael eatery. We were mind-blown. The dining space is admittedly crowded, so you’re bound to rub elbows with your neighbors, purposefully promoting conve…

The Bowled and the Beautiful at

If you’re in the business of staying in business, you should become good friends with a little thing called innovation. The only constant is change, as the saying goes, so if you intend to continue carving out a slice of the market doing whatever it is you do, it’s important to stay relevant.

The folks over at know it all too well. As the name suggests, was established primarily as a delicatessen, serving up all types of North American sandwiches, like smoked meat from Montreal, lobster rolls from New England, roast beef, and a slew of other meaty (and veggie) delights. The sandwich roster was complemented by four massive pans of daily rotating salads, conceived by Executive Chef Dory Masri, who trained under the UK’s finest – the world’s, rather – Mr. Gordon Ramsay.
Breakfast also figured into the menu, paying homage to eggs Benedict, pancakes, fresh in-house baked goods, and juices. And that about wrapped it up (pun intended).
The food scene as we know it is a swiftly e…

It's That Time of Year Again

Ever since I can remember, this time of year casts a certain spell over me. And it all starts with Halloween.

Growing up, the holiday meant costume competitions at school, plastic Jack-O-Lantern buckets brimming with candy, and eerie music. Our teachers would dress up in classic witch outfits, parade us around campus as we strutted our festive garb, and throw a classroom party festooned with black-and-orange cupcakes and a cauldron of dark punch. Though my costumes were terribly unoriginal and sometimes unrecognizable – my ninja suit one year puzzled a lot of spectators – Halloween always found me animated.

I cringed to see the day come to a close, but the one consolation I had – besides the inordinate amounts of candy to last me through the New Year – was my birthday the next day. Indeed, Halloween marks the pre-party to the real party in the quirky life of Danielle. And last year, on my birthday, I was blessed to welcome my first child into this world. How amazing is that? It seems th…

Top 10 Overlooked Household Cleaning Products

A few weeks ago, I confessed to thoroughly enjoying housecleaning. Well, “thoroughly” might be a bit of a hyperbole, but let’s just say the act of scrubbing, mopping, ironing, and polishing instills in me a fair measure of satisfaction. Not only is the process therapeutic, requiring me to work with my hands whilst granting me time to daydream, but I in turn feel renewed and cleanly.
And I was impressed to find many of you aligned with me! A poll featured on my Instagram stories revealed that 5 out of every 8 surveyed readers insist on cleaning their own homes rather than hiring outside help. Even in this part of the world, where housemaids charge minimal fees for a few hours of elbow grease, a considerable chunk of us prefer getting our hands dirty in the endless effort to achieve “cleanliness is next to godliness” status.
I promised you I would proffer a list of my favorite household cleaning products, but why preach to the choir when I can perhaps enlighten you and in so doing lighten…

Lebanon's Modern and Contemporary Art Museum

Last week, I spent the better half of a day becoming acquainted with the Modern and Contemporary Art Museumof Lebanon situated on the hills above Qartaba in a town called Alita. A mere seven-minute drive from the freeway, this art sanctuary is nestled in a pristine cradle of verdant Lebanese nature overlooking the Adonis Valley and the Mediterranean Sea.

How is it we never hear of these wonderful bastions of art, culture, and creativity that decorate our storied landscape?
Allow me to fill you in. The story of MACAM begins with a sprightly art lover and prolific writer named Cesar Nammour. For years, Cesar, now 81, found himself collecting and storing art pieces that would otherwise have been cast into the dark dungeons of oblivion. With no appointed home or master, these relics needed a foster parent to preserve and oversee their safekeeping.
Eventually, Cesar was actively sought out by artists to adopt their artwork, and tight on space, he set his sights on a decommissioned factory in …

Raw Café Delivers a Fresh, Natural Culinary Experience

If you ask me, it’s unfortunate that cafes in and around Beirut have no recourse but to brand themselves as arguileh hangouts in order to effectively draw a crowd. Yes, I vehemently oppose second-hand smoking. Yes, I strive to avoid settings where smoking sullies the breathable air. I’m there for the food – am I part of a dying breed?

While newly opened RAW Café, sibling venture of the nightclub RAW next door, may boast Lebanon’s favorite pastime, the hookah, I have news for you, folks: their cuisine doesn’t cut corners or make compromises on taste, quality, or aesthetics. Even the menu prices are an ode to affordable dining out, something the F&B industry is finally starting to promote in this wretched economy we live in.

Last Saturday, we pushed past the large glass doors and into a space whose industrial motif, high ceiling, lightweight aluminum chairs, and all-glass façade found us hopeful that maybe, arguileh aside, this café would dazzle on the alimentary side. Joanna, our gen…