Showing posts from January, 2015

Six Blogger Types You're Sure To Run Into Online

Almost as soon as you become an active blogger and immerse yourself in the greater blogosphere, you start to pick up on “unique” blogging personalities darting around you. Now I’m not usually one to form stereotypes or fit people into boxes, but there are some prevalent blogger types out there that can readily be detected!
Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong—I’m not here to pass judgment, nor will I illustrate any of these categories with examples. Each of us subscribes to different blogs anyway, so references are meaningless.
See if you can recognize any of these characters in your blog-roll!

The moneyed show-offs. They plaster you with their outfits of the day which happen to comprise painfully expensive labels. Oh, and for a backdrop? They’re either alighting from a Porsche Cayenne, or they’re standing inside their family’s palatial living quarters.
It’s not the wealth that makes me wince. It’s the ostentatious, in-your-face attitude they use to pass off their privileged wear as quotidian.…

Under Construction Brings New Flair to Mar Mikhael

I didn't realize how saturated with pubs Mar Mikhael had become until a trek last week through the residential quartier. I remember at first there were a few prominent spots, hipster and boho and almost guaranteed to be crowded: Internazionale, Radio Beirut, Bodo, Chaplin, Lock Stock and Secteur 75 (rebranded to Secteur).  Then came the restaurants and gastropubs like The Happy Prince and Sud and, more recently, Toto, Prune, and Divvy.
Now there are dozens of new pubs fighting for their claim to the nighttime beverage scene:  Kahwet Ghina, Perk, Hacienda, Anise, Terminal B, Hashtag, Snug, Tezkar Bar, and many, many others, too many to enumerate here, in fact. How will they differentiate themselves one from the other to draw in a full crowd night after night?

In my opinion, a new bar or resto-pub along Mar Mikhael has it hard, because competition is stiff, rent is high, space is limited, and fresh, out-of-the-box creativity is about as rare as a parking spot on Armenia Street.
But …

Have You Met Roberto?

Below is an excerpt from a piece I authored for
There’s a new restaurant in town, and it goes by the name of Harry’s Bar. A storied establishment first opened by the Cipriani family in Venice in 1931, Harry’s Bar has grown into a global brand with outlets all around the world. Lucky Beirut, it counts the most recent addition. The bar and restaurant is credited with inventing the Bellini, a peach purée muddled with Prosecco, as well as introducing carpaccio—thinly-shaved meat or fish—to the world of appetizers.
Every self-professed gourmet knows that an Italian meal is incomplete without a robust wine to wash it down, and Head Sommelier Roberto Galli at Harry’s Bar Beirut abides by this truth. Originally an independent contractor for Ferrari, Galli enrolled in oenology courses by night, earning his certification in three years’ time. His friend owned a wine bar where he’d moonshine on weekends and improve his flair.

In the video below, Roberto decants wine:

You can read the ful…

Amal Clooney And Those Bold White Gloves!

Amal Clooney always seems to cause a stir. First, the accomplished lawyer and human rights activist won George Clooney’s heart, locking in Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor within mere months of their engagement. The world watched with stunned silence, torn as to who had the better end of the deal—Amal or George.
Second, Amal was named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2014 for all the wrong reasons. Many people, myself included, chastised the debacle, furious that Walters didn't lay any praise on Amal’s long list of accolades and instead chose to focus on her union with George.
Now, in the latest controversy that’s got media folk and talk show hosts up in arms, Amal’s white gloves which she donned at the Golden Globes last Sunday are being mercilessly attacked. According to George, these elbow-reaching fashion accessories were knitted by Amal herself in anticipation of the awards ceremony. She paired them with a regal, one-shoulder black Christian Dior gown that brushed …

Five-Star Cuisine at TSC Signature

TSC Signature is like my second home. Every day I have an essential visit (or three!), even if it’s simply to pace the aisles, explore imported novelties, or exchange greetings with the boys behind the counters. My office is a stone’s throw from the gourmet supermarket, so stopping in at TSC is convenient and almost mandatory.
By now, my loyal readers are well acquainted with my praise for TSC’s wood-fired oven pizzas, premium salad bar, gourmet sandwiches, silky French yogurt desserts—in fact, just the natural aura of the place spells epicurean! If you’re going there to peck at one of their delicious food stations, then you’re in for a real treat, because the cuisine is first-rate and unbeatably priced for value.
Last week, my husband and I had the privilege of meeting TSC’s Executive Chef Amer el Hajj, who is often seen behind the grill working alongside his team. The down-to-earth culinary master, whose humble roots trace back to Kafaat, manned the kitchens at a plethora of five-star…

"Ful Mudammas" Gets Big Praise on a Major American Foodie Forum

Serious Eats is a spellbinding food forum that is a daily must-visit for me. I love following culinary trends in other parts of the world, and I particularly adore when their editors review classic snacks, cereals, and treats from my childhood growing up in the US. It brings back a rush of sweet memories and allows me to benchmark my foodie sentiments with those of other folks.
Of course, I light up even more when I see dishes from our Mediterranean neck of the woods featured on Serious Eats. It’s wonderful to watch our Lebanese and Levantine fare making waves in the grand old US of A, when for decades very little was known about it.
In fact, I vividly recall having to explain to my schoolmates any Lebanese food item my mom packed in my lunch. Basics like pita bread, tabbouleh, and hummus, all of which have successfully penetrated the global culinary lexicon, were totally alien to American diners in the 90s.
Today on Serious Eats, food editor Max Falkowitz writes a very endearing article

Beirut's Superhero Now Needs A Hero of His Own

I was so bummed to discover that one of my favorite restaurants downtown, Captain Cook, shuttered its shop on December 31. Here’s the message that was posted on their Facebook page:
Dear friends, 
As of December 31, 2014, we have closed our location in Beirut downtown after 17 months of operation.
We can proudly say that it was a successful year and almost a half. We won several awards and recognitions, and most importantly your satisfaction.
However, as much as we loved Beirut and believed in its resurrection, we hit our limits especially after the road was blocked in front of us for the last 3 months.
We decided to shut down and find another more suitable location.
We apologize from all our loyal friends and thank you for your understanding.
Hoping to see you all soon after announcing our new location.

I was a staunch advocate for Captain Cook’s success, having sampled much of their delicious fare and blogged on numerous occasions (one, two, three, four, five, six times!) about the concept …

Smoked Meat in Lebanon?

There’s an unmistakable buzz around the newest grub hub and café in Mar Mikhael, acoté, perhaps so named because it is à coté de, or beside, sister bistro Prune. Anyone who’s dined at Prune and experienced their sensational French fare would understandably have high expectations of any related restaurant. Owner Samer Maroun is fussy about good food made from high-quality ingredients, and it shows in the gourmet sandwiches on offer at acoté.
A few weeks ago, four of us visited the trendy café which accommodates both indoor and outdoor seating. We sat at the long high table and ordered a selection of sandwiches to share. What’s refreshing about acoté is that their sandwiches can be found nowhere else in Lebanon. They are adaptations of famous international sammies imported from Montreal, Maine, Tunisia, Italy and other far reaches of the globe.
The King Crab (30,000LL) features fresh king crab and avocado mash between two slices of pain de campagne. In a word, it is excellent. It lacks n…

Win A Specialty Apple-Cinnamon Cake with Daily Home Cooking!

Daily Home Cooking is a Facebook page authored by Hayat Fakhoury centering on cuisine in the home and its preparation. Almost daily, Hayat features a meal she's cooked (sometimes two!)--from rustic Lebanese dishes like fried lamb liver in pomegranate syrup to international teasers like mozzarella cheese nibbles. She also posts delicious cakes, tarts, and cookies emerging from her oven. For example, during Christmas, she labored over three different French buches--chocolate, chestnut, and buttercream--in addition to the traditional Lebanese rice pudding, meghleh

What's convenient about Daily Home Cooking is that recipes for every dish are posted, and this engages followers directly with Hayat. Recently Daily Home Cooking opened an account on Instagram dedicated exclusively to photos of its culinary creations. 
For the first time ever, Beirutista is teaming up with Daily Home Cooking to bring readers a sweet contest. All you have to do is guess what the cake belowis: the first c…