I get fed with a little help from my friends…

May 29, 2010

J cooked for me today. Stir fried romaine lettuce – never tried it stir fried – (olive oil, garlic, onion, oyster sauce & fish sauce), you could sprinkle sesame, maybe add shrimp & eat with rice, too. We had it straight up. After that came a tomato salad with a labné, garlic and blue cheese dressing. How refreshing! And that rosemary-olive focaccia from Bread Republic in Hamra was just purrfect with it.

It was a “Massaya day with J” (I love how that rhymes). Started with the Rosé: a pale peach color, it’s fun, light, with a little grapefruit in the palate… you could add sparkling water & make it bubbly!

Then we moved on to red: the Chateau Massaya Silver Selection 2006 – honestly, I was pleasantly surprised considering I normally wouldn’t be caught dead with that stuff in my mouth. Berries and plum, then I could’ve sworn I got peaches and pomegranate!? or maybe it was too much wine! Full and slightly oaky, it’s a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet, and Mourvèdre.  With that wine came a delicious tomato & cauliflower puréed soup with Thai yellow curry paste, basil and some créme fraiche. Spicy with a kick. Thanks J, it was an ab-fab treat.

Last night at L & A’s pad. Simplicity at its best. Started of with a rocca and fennel salad, chèvre on an apple slice topped with bacon, and a roasted bell pepper ratatouille. Main course was an oven roasted rack of lamb with rosemary. Dessert: red berry, peach, and apricot fruit salad with prosecco! Nice touch, L.

We washed that down with a couple of bottles of Chateau Belle-vue 2003, a Lebanese wine (from a small vineyard with limited production). Tannic and metallic; a smooth blend with black currant and dark berries that’s full and velvety in your mouth. Impressive! Try them www.chateaubelle-vue.com


Let them eat…

May 28, 2010


Had dinner with a couple of lovely ladies at Bread (on Rue Gouraud in Gemmayze) a couple of days ago. I discovered a new seasonal vegetable we have in Leboland called Akkoub (tumbleweed – tastes like a combination of Asparagus & Artichoke). They serve it cooked in a salad with mushrooms, or you can have it with Tagliatelli and cream sauce. Go Akkoub! My new favorite veggie – good and good for you!

I recommended that we try a couple of their Tapas, but regretted it soon after they arrived (consistency guys!!). We had the Crab Cake Burger… burger? Why? Unnecessary! And, the cake itself was too dry, so I’ll give it a zero for price quality ratio! We also had the Pregnant Calamari (stuffed with Feta cheese) which was undercooked… I’m just glad it was fresh and didn’t cause disasters.

I like that they’re using local scallops which are cute little babies (compared to the ones you get elsewhere, e.g. the US) – they have a pinkish color and are almost sweet – I like to eat them on the shell, raw, with a twist of lemon. So we tried the Riso Nero with Scallops (naturally black rice, apparently) but I don’t get why they sliced the poor little scallops… they lost their oomph!

For wine, the ladies weren’t drinkers, so we had a small carafe of Chateau Karam’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Jezzine.  Dry with strong plums, but sharp and didnt have the usual ‘Cab’ body. Nothing special but drinkable… yaani, basically, I’ll spare it and won’t cook with it.

As for dessert… The ladies had the Vanilla Icecream with Sour Cherries (nice!) and the Apple Strudel with a Vanilla scoop.

As for moi, I had my dessert at home 😉

Bread is open Monday – Saturday for Lunch (12pm – 4pm) and Dinner (8pm – 12am) call 01-566506

once upon a bubbly brunch…

May 25, 2010

… there lived a succulent bottle of Moët & Chandon Millésime Rosé 1999, and… Oh My Bob!!! At first I was worried about whether or not it would be good, I mean, an 11 year old bottle of bubbly, and Bob knows where the hell its been stored before it settled in my humble fridge. The nose: intense and mature; the color: a deep pink with a tint of orange-red; the palate: strawberry with spice, almost peachy, then creamy and full… yaani, in other words, complex and delicious! I want to thank whoever got me this bottle at my Champagne orgy last August.

At this point, the food doesn’t matter anymore. But had I known it, I imagine salmon – and I’m not talking smoked here – perhaps with a ginger mango relish, my famous rosemary potatoes, then strawberries and pineapple with a drizzle of chocolate – on top of pancakes, maybe.

Happy Birthday, T! It was a pleasure sharing the bottle with you.

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall…

May 21, 2010

… that’s right, last night it was the Four Seasons with M.  We went straight to The Bar/Lounge on the 2nd floor. One section overlooks the land fill in Solidere (that’s supposed to be The Lounge) and the other part is a red bordello’ish area (The Bar). We sat in the part with the view.

Apéritif was a flute of Moët et Chandon Brut for M and a Negroni for me (Gin, Campari & Sweet Vermouth)… basic and served with smoked almonds, cheesy cashews, and dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, and strawberries). The bar menu had a couple fun sounding items: Shrimp Knefeh (a little oily, but a nice touch of mint in there) and a Sumac Tuna man’oushé (didnt try). Speaking of menu, the waiter kept insisting on taking the menu back and I really like to take time going through my menus…. so I couldn’t help but torment the poor guy 😉 In the end I got my menus from another server… he almost had a conniption. Ma badda hal ad!

We ordered a bottle of 2007 Sancerre “Les Romains” (light, fresh and crisp – you can get it at Aziz), served with a bowl of parmesan cheese cubes – a pleasant surprise! We had that with our Club Sandwiches…. What?! Club Sandwiches? Well… their Lounge menu was (yawn) booooring. I mean, if I had a room and wanted room service I could live with it, but puhleez just a bit of creativity here…  I mean, the usual continental menu you can get at any regular hotel?!!  Hmmm, shoo… Stormy Weather? tsk tsk!

As expected, it was overpriced, by hey, it IS the Four Seasons after all. Thanks M for treating me – the company was great!

Now, just to be fair, I will check out their other restaurants (one day) and keep y’all posted.

kan ya makan fi….

May 19, 2010

Kayan!  Two self made brothers and to top it off, it didn’t even get to their head! Generous and always greeting you with a smile or a kiss over the bar! No sophistication here, but damn their cocktails are good. They also have a cocktail of the day (and its fresh fruit, a la Pacifico).

I do enjoy their Dry Martinis (Vodka or Gin, up to you). Last night I was craving a Campari Soda (with a dash of lemon juice to give it a kick) – refreshing after a long day at work. If you’re hungry and dont care what you eat, they have sandwiches and salads… nothing to write home about, but it does the job.

Comfy down to earth atmosphere. I don’t know why they bother w/ music over the hum of people’s conversations, but hey… their call.

Oh, and Happy Hour is from 5 – 8pm!!! That’s pretty ecstatically happy!

For reservations: 01-563611 or 03-899213

gettin’ down and dirty…

May 15, 2010

A German making Spaghetti Bolognese… now that’s what I call a globalizational mess! And it was ‘nicht schlecht’! Since it was the ‘Deutche leute’ we had Lebo wine that night: Chateau Kefraya 2006. Not bad (very tannic if you’re into that) but dont you hate it when the cork’s too soft and it breaks right at the end? I swear to Bob it wasn’t my fault… so I decanted it and used a strainer to make sure no cork bits seeped through.

Last night was left overs. Gettin’ down with a bottle of Pessac-Léognan 2006 from Latour-Martillac… another winner from Vintage in Saifi. I just love how these wines change in character with time. Let it breath! This bottle is full bodied and oaky, strong deep red fruit.

In case you’re curious, apéritif both times was G&T’s again… always with a lemon slice, however, first time added some fresh mint and the second time with rosemary! yep, that’s what I said, “rosemary” – make sure you give it a little grind at the beginning to release the aroma.

So how come…

May 11, 2010

…the only good meal I’ve had these days was homemade? Cubed chicken breast (sprinkled in rosemary, sauteed in butter & olive oil) with carrots, tomatoes, dried mango, garlic and coconut milk…. improvised and delicious! Or maybe it was just the company that made it so…

Did I mention the bottle of Marchesi di Barolo ‘s Gavi 2008 – a white Italian wine we had with lunch? Very light yellowish-green color with slight apple/flowery aroma…. Purrrfect match! (make sure its really chilled) – ‘Vintage’ in Saifi Village takes the credit for that one.

Last night it was Pacifico. I have to say, kudos to those guys. Around for about 14 yrs and still consistent in quality, service, and ambience. Excellent cocktails, always getting creative and using seasonal fruit. I had a great Gin Fizz – but they have a few new cocktails using basil, sage, ginger, or rosemary that you gotta try. These guys know what they’re doing. Always a pleasure being there. If you’re at the bar and want to share a bite, but not stuff yourself, the Fajitas are fun.

Para las reservaciones en Pacifico (Monot St.): 01-204446; Open daily; Happy Hour 7 – 8:30pm