I love how the…

February 6, 2011

Électricité du Liban dude comes to collect money when the electricity’s out!! Are these guys serious?! He actually climbed the stairs all the way up to Madame Mrad’s apartment to give her the bill! She didn’t open the door.

I also love how people who know diddly about wine end up opening wine bars! Don’t you? Deedee headed to Cru in Hamra, the second wine bar to open in Leboland, and owned by a ‘sweet’ couple who have yet to learn a lot about the wine bar business. Didn’t I tell you people that sweet just ain’t enough?! You leave me no choice and I have no mercy.

With the wonderful variety of world wine choices out there, Deedee was distressed to see a menu made up mainly of French wines. She did, however, like that they chose small local wineries for their Lebo wine selection. They actually don’t have Ksara and Kefraya on the menu, which is a refreshing change. But guys, please, “lovely and nice” may be used to describe Deedee but they’re certainly not wine descriptions, especially not in a wine bar! Baadein, how about you consider writing about the body of the wine?

While waiting for Tamatim, Deedee felt like a glass of bubbly but was outraged by the LBP 54,000 they charged for a glass of Moët & Chandon. We’re not at the Four Season here. I mean if you want to sell the stuff, you’ve got to reconsider your pricing… OR just offer a cheaper champagne by the glass!  (‘Walaw’ moment: Deedee had to teach them how to pronounce Moët… Yaani, either take it off your menu or learn how to say it).

So Deedee decided to go for a glass of Miolo Cuvée Traditional Brut, a sparkling wine from Brazil. This Chardonnay & Pinot Noir blend is produced by the champenoise method and only in exceptional years. A straw yellow color with butter and honey aroma, it has fine bubbles and is creamy on the palate with a burst of fruit and a refreshing finish. A great discovery, reasonable price-quality ratio, and Deedee’s first Brazilian bubbly. You can find it at the Joël Robuchon wine store in the new old Souks of Solidere.

When Tamatim arrived, she asked the barman what wine he would recommend… “Killo tayyeeeb”… huh? “arrib á-t-tayyeeeb”?! “Lakan áteeni kés máa sahin hummos w awarma, iza bitreed,” is almost what she said to him.

We ordered a bottle of Château Tour Seran 2003, Médoc. This French wine is a full bodied and tannic bordeaux made from a blend of 65% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon & Franc, and Petit Verdot. The nose on this dark ruby red is roquefort and damp earth, the palate is dark berries, black current and chocolate with a smooth velvety finish. Also from Joël Robuchon.

To nibble we had the Spinach Artichoke Dip, which was actually good but too bad about the bread they serve it with. We also ordered and looked horrifically at the Wild Mushroom Bruschetta… what in Bob’s name was that thing they served us?? I’ll spare you… and them for that matter. Just pass on that order, is all Deedee’s gotta say.

To alleviate the trauma from their minds, Deedee and Tamatim headed around the corner to Dany’s for some champagne therapy. Nothing that a few bottles of their Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne couldn’t cure. This pale yellow blend has soft bubbles and is not too acidic, with a touch of toast and honey. The palate is citrus, red berries and nuts… or were we just nuts?

It was a blast hanging out widju Tamatim!


Start spreadin’ the news…

November 28, 2010

… cuz Deedee just ‘touched-down’ in the Big Apple. (It’s football season, I couldn’t help myself!)

Upon arrival at Penn Station, I headed straight to the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to meet up with CL. We went up to the 3rd floor and landed at the Bouchon Café. Deedee wanted to nibble on something, so we ordered the Rillettes aux Deux Saumons made with fresh steamed & smoked salmon, served with toasted crôutons, and to die for. We had a couple of Ommegang Abbey Ales to go with that. That dark amber ale had a dried fruit and spice flavor that was just perfect in the cold weather and married with the Salmon Rillette, which I confess we devoured instantaneously.

Later that evening, Deedee met up with JA at their usual spot: OTTO. A nice change from the summer menu, their updated menu had delicious winter vegetable dishes waiting for us to choose from. “Me, me, me” cried the Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Beets & Saba. So we picked both. Then we moved on to a Cured Fresh Bacon and Red Cabbage salad and for pasta we had the Rigatoni with Spicy Cauliflower which had chili flakes, garlic and pecorino cheese. The sommelier picked out an elegant but young full bodied oaky dark red wine from Tuscany: Il Gentile di Casanova 2005. The palate has smoky, balsamic tannins with dark cherries and plum. A fine well rounded finish.

A great start for round one of my food orgy in the city.

More later…

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

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