Showing posts from November, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Beirut

Today the United States will celebrate its most beloved and defining holiday—Thanksgiving. The whole world over knows about this festive day, when families in America gather for a home-cooked meal, usually turkey, complete with bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, maybe baked potatoes and yams, and of course, the customary pumpkin pie. Flights will be overbooked and pricey, as everyone rushes to get home in time. At night, many avid shoppers will camp out in front of their favorite stores with hopes of snagging door-busters and the incredible prices that characterize Black Friday. And perhaps most notably, Thanksgiving marks the official advent of the Christmas season. Turning a blind eye to the commercialized aspect of this holiday, I can’t help but be nostalgic for a day I have grown to cherish with each passing year. And that attachment is only magnified by the distance I find myself separated from my childhood home: a nontrivial 7,000 miles. Dad would secure

Lebanese Takes on the English Language that Make Me Cringe!

We're all aware of how non-native English speakers localize the English language to fit their manners of speech and even the alphabet of their mother tongue. The Lebanese have many a toe-curling adaptation of English expressions that always send me wincing: " Thanks God ": folks, it's either " Thanks be to God " or " Thank God ." " Welcome " rather than " you're welcome ": as if the expression were excessively long to begin with. " Kindly " rather than " please ": it sounds so archaic and quaint. " Thomesing " rather than " something ": whenever "s" and "th" appear in the same word, they invariably get reversed. " Wiz " rather than " with ". Are they trying to imitate the French? Trust me, it ain't chic. "Open all the year " rather than "open year round ". "We have  all what you want" rather than "

Fed Up With the Lebanese Restaurant Culture

I never thought I’d say this, but frankly I've tired of the restaurant scene in Lebanon. It seems that this country has become enamored with food, dining out, and little else. Restaurants are popping up anywhere a vacant space shows its face. In a six-month span of time, BIEL hosted two major food expositions, Horeca and the Beirut Cooking Festival . And in case we haven’t gotten our fill, this week will witness “Le Festival de la Gastronomie Francaise”. Local magazines, too, seem to be in pursuit of one aim-- Beirut's best burger --and my blog feed is constantly inundated with new restaurant reviews. The bombardment of new restaurants from every angle is starting to lose its charm. I can’t keep up. Has anyone else paid attention to the upsurge of French bistros lately? Couqley can probably lay claim to introducing this restaurant niche to Lebanon in 2010, but this year has really seen its fair share of newcomers: Prune in Mar Mikhael, Au Bistrot de Michel in Achrafieh n

Going Portable with Kaak and Labneh

Have you seen these new products in the yogurt aisle? Krocks, as they're called, feature kaak spears and labneh in a plastic cup for eating on the go. There are four flavors: original, labneh light, labneh with olive, and labneh with mint. Their concept mimics that of the American snacks I grew up on, namely Kraft Handi-Snacks with spreadable cheese paired with either Ritz crackers or mini grissini-like breadsticks. I had the chance to sample a pack--they are your usual kaak with labneh, no hidden surprises or mystery toy included. But two things escape me: what inspired the name "Krocks," and will they really be swept up at 2,650LL ($1.80)? Sure, it's all about the convenient size and originality of the snack pack (where else can you buy labneh on the go?), as well as the relatively nutritious nature of this light food fix (at around 150 kcal per serving). But you can easily snag a big bag of pretzels or kaak and a bottle of Ayran (plain yogurt drink) for a s