The B018 You Don't Know: Gastronomic East Asian Cuisine

My Instagram followers know me all too well.

The other week, I posted images from a dinner I enjoyed at B018, one of Lebanon’s most popular discotheques. Within minutes, direct messages poured in, conveying utter disbelief at my visit there.
It’s true: I’m not a big fan of nightclubs. My idea of reveling involves an elaborate gourmet affair, a stimulating discussion with the chef, and strutting through the city afterward to undo the pesky calories. Try beckoning me with booze against a backdrop of acid jazz, thick fumes of cigarette smoke, and patrons pressed uncomfortably up on me? Not my scene.
So what was I doing at B018 on a Wednesday evening just days before the close of 2018? Getting a jump on my New Year’s resolution to party like it’s 1969? I mean, seriously, I’ve resided in Lebanon for eight years now, and B018 was never on my bucket list.
Up until I learned that as of last month, food figures into the club’s offering. And by food, I don’t mean bland and greasy breaded halloumi s…

What 2018 Taught Me

In a matter of a few short days, our feeds are going to flood with lofty New Year’s resolutions. It’s as if folks are waiting for a bell to sound to get on their marks, get set, and go. Let’s be real: every day is an invitation to identify personal weaknesses and work to either reverse, overcome or obliterate them.

And that is the approach I adopted over the course of this past year, which witnessed major changes in my life. I abandoned a fast-paced corporate job at an Alpha bank in pursuit of full-time, unassisted motherhood. That in and of itself was a milestone decision, one that has thrown unfathomable challengesin my path. I find myself constantly stretched thin as I juggle raising a toddler, managing a household, and tending to independent projects, all while trying to remain sane and look decent. 2018 has seen a fierce warrior emerge in me, and here’s what I learned along the way.

Social media can be a massive cloud of hot air. Heard of the millennial condition FOMO? “Fear of Mis…

Holiday Gourmet Guide in Beirut

Whether you’re descending upon Beirut for a few weeks this holiday season, or you’re a valiant local braving the traffic impasses on our roads, there’s redemption yet: Lebanon’s lively gourmet scene. Heck, if we as a country can unanimously decide on a solitary national treasure to cherish and uphold, it’s the cuisine and our intense love thereof. Not only do we do it better, we share immense appreciation for food (and drink) as an art form.
I won’t sit here and wax poetic about the age-old institutions you’ll no doubt be tucking into with family. Nope. This list is a casual, contemporary roundup of cool, seasonal stuff you've gotta gorge on before we ring in 2019. None of it is here to stay, so make haste and ready your eating utensils. Mostly, just bring your appetite.

Classic Burger Joint For the past six months, I’ve been monitoring Classic Burger Joint with eagle eyes. The remarkable improvement in the quality of meat, freshness of ingredients, and all-around value for …

Holiday Wine Guide: Top Ten Bottles Under $20 at Wesley’s Wholesale

December is here, promising good cheer, which means we are officially in holiday mode! That translates to lavish tables of good food, chilly weather, Christmas soundtracks on playback, and of course, loving, smothering family. Whether you deem the foregoing in a positive or not so positive light, the great news is I have just the party favor – or antidote – to make it all magical. And wine not!

Indeed, there’s nothing like that bittersweet grape elixir to render the holidays – or any occasion, for that matter – a shade more festive, forgiving, and frolicky. Rich white wines, big spicy reds, fruity finishes, oaky flavors, vanilla bouquets: The vast world of wine may not be particularly easy to fathom, but it washes down without a hitch. And a bottle makes a perfect dinner party gift, or an invitation to cozy up on the couch while consuming corny Christmas romances on Netflix.
Which labels, you inquire? Let’s make this a pocket-friendly roundup, because most of us find ourselves strapped …

Five Days in Istanbul

The last time we traveled was nearly a year ago, when we returned to Beirut after Stephen’s birth in California. Now that he’s a year old, we felt it appropriate to make a quick family getaway to a nearby country. Turkey immediately came to mind, as neither I nor my husband had ever visited.
Indeed, Istanbul is about an hour and a half plane ride from Beirut, and it is a popular destination for Lebanese because no visa is required. We booked a four-night stay in the capital, divided between Karaköy, close to the historic district, and Taksim, just a stone’s throw from Istiklal Caddesi.
I’d only entertained a few fleeting perceptions of Istanbul before arriving, but few proved to be accurate. Yes, the Turks are rather sly and expedient, much like the Lebanese. For example, as we exited the airport and scanned the sidewalk for taxis, a porter quickly darted to our side, and once he’d tucked us in to a cab, he demanded a fee. Then, our taxi driver pretended to know exactly where our hotel …