Ya heik sufra ya bala…

December 20, 2010

…ma badda haki, atyab shi el-Libnéné… wil Armané kamein.

Deedee’s friend AL is visiting from Béreez (yaani, Paris) and a Leboland virgin. Sooooo, after dropping off the bags at Madame Mrad’s, they headed to Seza, a cute new Armenian restaurant in Mar Mikhael, (baad mafra’ el Tawlet, take the first right and walk up the street – it’s at the end of the block ál yameen). Deedee’s already been there with K & Bobba and enjoyed it. The food is good bas the service is a little off. Yaani, puhleez train your staff. They’re soooo sweet, but that’s not enough in the restaurant business.

Some of Deedee’s favorite dishes are: the red beet salad; the Itch – Armenian tabboulé; the raw meat and lentil kufta (like kibbé); the tomato salad; Su beoreg (a savory cheese mille feuille made with filo pastry); Muhammara (ground walnuts, red pepper and pomegranate molasses); Manti; Meatballs with sour cherries (a must). To drink, I prefer Arak and I pretty much recommend it, because they don’t have much of a wine list, and they neither know their wines nor how to serve them… sorry guys… stick to what you know… or train your staff!

Overall I like the feel of the place and the food isn’t bad. Seza Bistro Arménian is on Patriarch Arida Street, Mar Mikhael. For reservations: 01-570711 (closed Mondays).

The next day we toured Batroun and Byblos. You can never see enough sunsets, and I love how the color of the sun changes with every season. We sat down to watch the pale yellow planet sinking at Bab el Mina in the old port in Jbeil while sipping on a bottle of Chateau Musar Cuvée Réservée Blanc, a white made with 100% Obeidé grapes, an indigenous Lebo grape variety, light golden color, dry, light and not too acidic (which our whites tend to be). The palate is nuts, herbs and green apple, ending with lemon zest. Nothing to right home about but potable when considering the price-quality ratio on their wine list.

We ordered the Fish Kibbé, Tajin, Aubergine Salad (not wow), Calamari Provencial (soft and juicy, nice), and Batata Harra (a little too oily). Overall it’s mostly the ambience about this place that does it for me. Bab el Mina Seafood Restaurant, Byblos. For reservations: 09-540475.

Saturday we had brunch with Cha & Z at Tawlet Souk el Tayeb. Deedee’s third time since she’s been back, so yes it IS one of my favorites. Authentic, consistent quality, an intriguing variety, and service isn’t bad either… considering you’re serving yourself most of the time, as Z noted. For the brunch buffet they offer Fatteh, Foul, Eggs with Awarma (cured beef) or sumak, kibbé nayyé (raw meat with cracked wheat – burghol) yay shoo taybé, a variety of salads, mtabbal batinjén (aubergine mash), Lahmé b’ájeen, Chicken Wings à la Provencial, Grilled Meat, cheese and labné… to name a few! Think that’s enough for you? Then késs (or more) árak… dessert (if you still have room for it) w finjén ahwé at the end. Fun, highly recommended, w sahtein.

Later we headed to Tamatim’s new apartment with a bottle of Ruinard that AL had brought with her. Claiming to be the oldest house of champagne, this bottle of bubbly, straw yellow color, fine bubbles and a palate of pink grapefruit and vanilla. Later, off to Beirut Art Center for a silent auction fundraiser. They were serving Louis Roederer Champagne, which Deedee has been looking to try. Deedeelirious! All I gotta say is: Don’t Drink and Bid!

Next day, after a stroll through the ruins of Baalbeck, Deedee and AL drove to Hamra for a couple of beers and a manti at Regusto, in the Hamra Square Center. Later they dropped by Dany’s for a G&T and staggered back to Madame Mrad’s to crash.

Merci pour ta visite, ya AL, mbasatna. À bientôt!

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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