Showing posts from September, 2019

Lebanon’s Newest “It” Winery: Les Vignes du Marje

At first glance, one might consider the Lebanese national drink to be “arak,” that white, murky, anise-derived spirit related to France’s pastis and Italy’s sambuca. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’d immediately reconsider: Lebanon boasts upward of 70 wineries spanning the Bekaa, Batroun, Bhamdoun and Byblos regions. In my book, we’re unequivocally a wine-producing nation.

Surprised? According to Farrah Berrou, founder of B for Bacchus which host workshops and tastings surrounding Lebanese wine, the number of vineyards registered in 1990 was a measly seven. Fast forward to the millennium, and the tally reached 17. In 2010, it surged to 41, and by 2017, we hit 49. That means in the past two years alone, the rate of induction of new wineries has grown by a factor of seven!

One in particular, Les Vignes du Marje, is worthy of close attention. In the less than one year since its launch in December 2018, Les Vignes du Marje has captured the notice of wine connoisseurs, sommeliers, rest…

Toasted: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Let’s be honest here: it’s hard to get excited about two slices of toasted square bread, notwithstanding what goes between them. Am I right? Hardly my idea of a riveting culinary affair, especially when I’ve been making the trite peanut butter and jelly variety since elementary school.

Leave it to the epicurean genius of Jad el Hage to set me straight and send the ball hurling out of left field. Managing partner and executive chef at his company Foodlab, Jad is the face behind the concepts of l’Humeur du Chef (Mar Mikhael), La Cabane du Chef (Zaarour), and La Paillotte du Chef (summer popup in Halat). Rewind the chronology, and you’d find him helping to launch Tawlet alongside critically acclaimed food activist Kamal Mouzawak; manning the kitchens at the now-shuttered Talleyrand, once a bastion of enviable haut gastronomy; and flexing his muscles at the Byblos beach resort EddeSands.
Jad is a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, where he earned a bache…

Life Lessons I've Learned From My Toddler

As an adult, it’s natural to get bogged down in responsibilities, burdens, and commitments. In your quest to be mature and, quite simply, an adult, you often forget the joy of what it means to be free and genuinely happy.
Immerse yourself for a few hours in the world of a toddler, and you’re transported back to the carefree innocence of your youth. If you’ve ever mulled over the theme of Antoine Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Can anyone pinpoint with certainty the exact moment at which we traverse the bridge into the cold, exacting world of adulthood?
Back when I was a teenager, I promised myself I’d never lose touch with the kid in me, no matter how old I became, or how accomplished and besot with accountability. Now that I have a child of my own whose imaginative mind I can admire, I’m reminded time and again of the little things that are so easy to lose sight of.

Always look up. No matter how dull or bland our surroundings might prove, my son…