Yislamli hal…

June 28, 2010

 … Jammal!

I have to admit this is one of the most beautiful settings by the beach. It was a long kept secret, but has -in the last few years –  been discovered. If you have a boat, you can drive/sail there and ‘Popeye’ will pick you up in his dingy. You can eat and swim… they’ll even put tables in the water for you!

The food is your usual mezza but with additional Jammal treats, including: a pickled cabbage roll, Octopus provencial (yaani, cooked in olive oil, coriander, garlic and lemon),  huge potato wedges, and potatoes provencial, to name a few. Their seafood can be grilled, fried, or oven baked – your call.  The quality of food has improved tremendously (though still pricey, but at least price-quality ratio’s a bit closer now).

Joe’s been running this place for over 15 years, fluctuating in quality over the years, but yesterday was a real treat. His son, Mickey, and daughter are now helping daddy out and they’re doing a great job. Mickey is running the new bar downstairs and making great cocktails, including this Peach Daiquiri is the perfect refresher upon arrival!    

He told me he’s got a few other cocktails up his sleeve, but I didn’t try them. I like that he’s into perfecting the art of the cocktail. Kudos to you, Mickey! Otherwise, you can have beer (they actually have a variety), local wine or arak.

Oh, and did I mention that you get mouth watering Batteekh on the house at the end? What a culmination!

Happy Birthday T, or: “O tanjō-bi omedetō gozai masu”, as they say in Japanese 😉

So close, yet so far away… Jammal is located on the old road to the north, before you get to Batroun. It’s open daily. For reservations: 06-74 00 95


Sitting on top…

June 26, 2010

… at the roof  in Albergo Hotel (Ashrafieh, Rue Abdel Wahab el Inglisi) with T. Haven t been there in a while, and you know what? Though you can’t see much of the view if you’re sitting down, it’s a real pleasant atmosphere. Great to hang out in the afternoon and get away from the horrendous traffic in the city.

The service is a little slow but good. We had Dry Vodka Martinis. They do a good job on the little suckers! I adore that you get your Martini in your own personal mini shaker. Ain’t that just darrrlin’!!

Price quality (at least for the drinks) they get a B+.

For reservations: 01-33 97 97


Could it be? Possibly? Perhaps? Maybe?

June 22, 2010

a decent meal in Leboland? And decent service, too? La’ mish ma’oul!! I almost fainted right there at Le Gray – Beirut, but I decided to spare W and M the embarrassment.

We started off at the Cigar Lounge. Both W & M had a Martini Rosso – which came with an orange slice (garnish!) and I had a Campari Soda. When the waiter arrived, I couldn’t believe my eyes… he brought the Soda on the side, and I didn’t even have to ask him!!! Bravo!! I wanted to give him a standing ovation.

Then we walked over to check out the pool area… WOW! I want to swim in that pool (naked ;-))! I’ll definitely go back to have a drink at the Pool Lounge one afternoon.

We decided to check out Indigo on the Roof restaurant. We saw the menu and immediately decided to stay for dinner. What a wonderful idea that was! The service was impeccable and the food delicious… This gang is actually trained!!

Rosé was the mood at dusk. I ordered the Coeur de Grin 2008, Domaine Ott, but they were out, so we went for the cheaper version, the Moncigale, Côte de Provence 2008. The nose is strawberry and red cherries; the palate I got berries and citrus, W got licorice and Halle Berry!

The bread comes with olive oil… nice. Tangy and citrusy, this oil was very similar to an olive oil from the Hermel that a friend and her husband make. So I ask the server, and it turns out its an organic olive oil from Akkar!!! Zejd. I have to find out where I can get this stuff – will keep you posted.

I’m enjoying my seared scallops (nice big ones, on a bed of mashed potatoes garnished with a few chive straws) listening to the jazz in the background and having a conversa… what? what? I can’t hear you!? I can’t hear anything! It’s an orchestra of braying muezzins. Does R2D2 really have to be this loud???

When the boys quieted down, we got our second course. Turns out we all ordered the Filet, which is aged for 18 days, and melts in your mouth. I had mine with sautéed mushrooms (a combination of portobello, shitake, and Oyster) and the three mustards (grain, English, and dijon); W had his with the grilled veggies and Bernaise sauce; and M took it straight up with mashed potatoes. 

Out of respect for the filet, I asked for a glass of red wine. The sommelier came over to recommend a few. I decided on the Chateau D’Archambeau Grave 2003. I took one whiff of that and told the boys they had to try it. We decided to go for the whole bottle. Tannic, metallic and earthy nose, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, the palate was velvety with deep dark berries and plum. As it breathed, the body took shape and rested at a comfortable medium to full. Exquisite!

For dessert: we shared the Lemon Tart with a scoop of Mascarponi ice cream… there was something orgasmic about that ending and perfectly refreshing after the meal.

 

Mabrouk Ammo Gray, you’ve taken Leboland a step further. Cant wait to try the rest of the place (i.e. Bar ThreeSixty).

For reservations: 01-971-111 or email: reservations@legray.com

 


You know when something’s so good…

June 20, 2010

…you feel unsatiated after you’ve had it? THAT’s how I’m feeling right now. You want more but your craving just never gets satisfied.

I had that with a bottle of Marchesi di Barolo‘s Gavi 2008, again (from Vintage in Saifi Village). It’s a beautiful Italian white wine; the color is light greenish yellow and the nose and palate are: “apple” as MC accurately put it, with a touch of apricot and grapefruit, I added. A full body in your mouth and goes down easy with or without food.

The Grub: chicken stir fry (carrots, broccoli, cabbage, fresh coriander, garlic and ginger tossed in a mix of olive and sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds) and steamed rice on the side (garnish with coriander). Simple, just the right flavors to go with that bottle of Gavi.


I hardly ever…

June 16, 2010

… take my lunch break outside work, but if they were all as scrumptious as today’s lunch break was, I’d be doin’ it every day!!

Grabbed Lahmé b ‘ajeen from the Armenian Bakery in Zkak el Blat, Ichkhanian – the best Lahmé b ‘ajeen in town (6 Armenian mix and 6 Aleppo mix) and wash it down with Laban Ayran. They also make a delicious su boereg (an Armenian cheese mille-feuille type dish – savory). To order call: 01-375178


So, who’s Oscar and how wild is he?

June 16, 2010

Went to this new bar that opened up in Hamra (opposite Danny’s) called Oscar Wilde. Not sure how people come up with names for their bars, I mean, I wonder if they’ve even read any of Oscar Wilde’s work.

A new bar so the staff is a little confused (did I ever mention training before?). Beer wise, they only serve Almaza and Corona, and for a bar named after an Irish writer you’d think they’d have beer on draft…. Nope!

Before that, we were at Regusto in Hamra Plaza (01-752571). The decor is nothing to write home about but you gotta love that place: cheap, generous and down to earth. I usually have draft beer (Heineken) and order their Labné with it. BUT you know what’s really good if you’re hungry is their Manté (an Armenian dish that’s similar to the Lebanese Shish Barak, but a million times better).

Monday I had lunch with L at Gruen in Gefinor Center, Hamra… For Bob’s sake how do you pronounce that? The way its spelled, I’d say its the color green in German (when you write it without an umlaut), and guess what? I’m right! It’s named after a Viennese architect (Viktor Grünbaum) who moved to the States, hence the name and spelling change (Victor Gruen).

Gruen’s decor is minimalist(ish) and elegant – both indoors and outdoors), the food is creative and actually consistent in quality, they have delicious ice cream (Oslo). Unfortunately, the quality of the service has fluctuated. There’s one server who I find excellent, but he wasnt there that day. Gruen ladies, train your boys.

L and I both had the Chinese Salad (me with chicken, L with shrimp), fresh combo of shreded veggies with an asian sauce. They also have these fun Rolls (using Mar’ouk bread) that are nice to share when you’re a table of 4 or more. We drowned that with two glasses of Ksara Blanc de Blanc… I wish they had more choices for their open wine.

Gruen is open for Lunch and Dinner Monday – Saturday and for Brunch on Sunday. For reservations: 01-737344


If you’ve got….

June 13, 2010

…mental indigestion, try Pimm’s with 7Up, add slices of lemon & orange (squeeze shway in there too) and a sprig of mint. Refreshing and… well, may help with the indigestion.