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Review – Beirut… Tarik el Jdideh

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Last weekend I watched the comedy play “Beirut… Tarik el Jdideh” by Lebanese poet Yehia Jaber, and it’s by far one of the funniest plays I’ve watched.

Unlike other comedy plays, Tarik el Jdideh doesn’t make fun or disrespect the inhabitants of that area but rather uses black comedy to tell their stories since the beginning of the 20th century till today, while shedding light on the sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia.

Throughout two hours, actor Ziad Itani (who performs alone by the way) gets you to know the people of Tarik el Jdideh by portraying their weddings, celebrations, funerals, and eid rituals, in addition to telling about real events that took place such as some incidents that happened during the Lebanese civil war and when the Syrians came later on. A significant part of the play also describes the clashes that used to happen between Al Ansar fans and those of Al Nejmeh and how it all started.

Tarik el Jdideh is highly recommended not just for being super entertaining, but also for the strong message it delivers at the end.

It’s currently showing at Metro Al Madina and will last till the end of March as their events schedule show. Tickets are for 25,000L.L and you may reserve by calling 76-309363.

Below are some short parts of the play as well as interviews with its writer Yehia Jaber and actor Ziad Itani by Now Lebanon.

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Ka3eb 3aleh كعب عالي

ka3eb 3aleh

I’ve been hearing a lot about Ka3eb 3aleh by Jacques Maroun so I decided to go watch it with a group of friends last night.

Starring Talal el Jurdi, Ammar Chalak, Rita Hayek, and Nisrine Abi Samra, the play is an adaptation of “Spike Heels” by Theresa Rebeck, and explores sexual harassment, misplaced love, and the possibility of a four sided love triangle.

I personally loved the performance of all four actors especially Ammar Chalak. And the the change from one scene to another or from one mood to another felt so smooth.

The play is by the way restricted for people over 18 years old due to some scenes being a bit sexual in addition to Rita Hayek showing in a hot pants and bra sometimes (looking extremely hot!), still nothing seemed vulgar which shows how talented the actors are. And that’s something we’d all love to see in other Lebanese plays and movies I guess!

Ka3eb 3aleh will be be showing tomorrow and next week for the last 5 shows in Monot theater, so if you want to watch it you better reserve as soon as possible through Virgin Ticketing Box Office.

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Shake Shack now open at Beirut City Centre

shake shack 1

I’ve been waiting for Shake Shack to open at Beirut City Centre for so long now and it finally did today. The place is fairly spacious with glass barrier around the kitchen so you can see where all the magic happens, and the staff is quite friendly and welcoming.

I ordered a signle ShackBurger (American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce) and was glad to experience the same great flavor I once had in Shake Shack Dubai.

shake shack 2

Once you get your order you can’t but notice that their burgers are kind of small, but as soon as you finish your meal you will realize you actually got the right portion due to the fatty beefy meat which will make you feel full (or almost full depending on how big is your apetite!).

shake shack 3 shake shack 4

However, and despite being really really good, I felt like their prices are a little bit high. For example, you pay 11,000L.L for a single ShackBurger, and an additional 10,000L.L for regular fries and Pepsi. But then again, they follow the same pricing scheme almost everywhere. Still, this certainly wont stop me from totally recommending it. Do go try it and treat your taste buds to some great burgers!

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Roadster diner’s new burger – Route 66

So I went to Roadster diner on Friday to try out their new Route 66 burger and totally loved it!

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Basically the first thing you’ll notice is how thick the new patty is compared to their other burgers (even thicker than the diner-mites’ 220g patties), as well as the new potato dippers that no other diner serves I guess.

You will learn why the Route 66 stands out among the other burgers as soon as you have your first bite. The patty being cooked to medium is so juicy and goes well with the cheddar cheese while at the same time not being overshadowed by the other ingredients. Moreover, and despite being served with a thick patty, the best thing about the Route 66 has to be that it holds well together and the ingredients don’t easily escape out of the bun.

The potato dippers on the other hand tasted pretty good as well and I hope Roadster will be offering the option of serving them with the other burgers as well.

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There’s only one thing I wish the waiters would do though, which is to tell clients beforehand that the patty will be cooked to medium since some pregnant women might have a problem with that. I also wish the potato dippers portion was bigger because one can never have enough of those!

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Onno Restaurant – Bourj Hammoud

Onno Bourj Hammoud (8)

Back when I posted about Varouj, several people recommended that I go try Onno, another Armenian restaurant in Bourj Hammoud, and I totally regret not doing so until lately as I found it really fantastic!

The restaurant is located right underneath the bridge that connects Achrafieh to Dekweneh facing Life Center, and it is quite small and cozy with a few tables that fit around 20 people I guess. So don’t go there expecting something fancy, as the focus there is the food, which is cooked by the family who owns the place.

Onno Bourj Hammoud (1) Onno Bourj Hammoud (2) Onno Bourj Hammoud (3)

We ordered the following: Basterma with quail egg, two pieces of soubereg, cherry kebab, batata harra, mouhammara, soujouk, and two soft drinks.

Onno Bourj Hammoud (4) Onno Bourj Hammoud (6) Onno Bourj Hammoud (5)

The portions were pretty generous and tasted quite good as well, I especially loved the cherry kebab and basterma since it was the first time for me to try it with quail eggs. And the best part had to be the bill, which came at 55,000 L.L for everything we ordered,which is less than half what you would pay at other places like Mayrig or Mayas, for much more authentic Armenian food in my opinion.

Onno Bourj Hammoud (7)

Needless to say, Onno is totally recommended, and I’m planning to go again soon to try the other stuff they have like manti, quails, and frog legs. Check below what Alain Bourdain had to say about it in his travel and food show No Reservations back in 2011.

Update:

For those who are interested, Onno’s phone number is 03 801 476.

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Fatburger at Beirut City Centre

fatburger sign

Fatburger is the new burger joint in town and was among the places I’ve been waiting for to open at Beirut City Centre since I enjoyed trying it in Dubai last year.

Their menu is quite simple as they offer burgers, hot dogs, and chicken strips along with some other side items.

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Ordering is quite fun by the way since the cashier relays back everything to the rest of the team and they all end up shouting whatever you have ordered. Anyway, I ordered a single Fatburger and it tasted good as everything in it was fresh but I felt the patty was a bit overcooked.

Price-wise, Fatburger serves single, double, triple, and quad patty burger, at 9,500L.L, 12,500L.L, 15,500L.L, and 19,500L.L respectively, plus an additional 6,500L.L to make a meal.

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The Hangout Gemmayze

Hangout Gemmayze

After blogging about their competition last week, The Hangout were kind enough to invite for a dinner two days ago.

The first thing you’ll notice when entering the place, is that unlike what its name tells, The Hangout is more of a fine dining restaurant than a place to really hangout at with your friends. It’s nicely decorated, spacious with indoor and outdoor areas unlike most of the places in the neighborhood, and the staff is quite friendly and welcoming.

We sampled the following items from their menu:

  • Onion soup (11,000 L.L)
  • Foie Gras (26,000 L.L)
  • Chicken rolls (13,000 L.L)
  • Pan fried mushroom with halloum (13,000 L.L)
  • Charcoal grilled sojok (14,000 L.L)
  • Beef Stroganoff (27,000 L.L)
  • The Hangout gourmet burger (24,000 L.L)
  • Fondant au chocolat (12,000 L.L)
  • Pain perdu (13,000 L.L)

The Hangout Gemmayze (1) The Hangout Gemmayze (2) The Hangout Gemmayze (3)

Given that The Hangout is still operating in soft opening stage, I found the food to be quite good. I totally loved the Foie gras, the chicken rolls, the fried mushroom, the grilled sojok, and their gourmet burger. I also overheard at an adjacent table that the salad bar is pretty good too. The other items were good as well, but I thought they could be improved a bit.

The Hangout Gemmayze (4) The Hangout Gemmayze (5) The Hangout Gemmayze (6)

For example, I would have preferred the onion soup to be a little thicker, and the beef stroganoff meat a bit tender. The desserts on the other hand need to be re-worked, and don’t get me wrong, they’re seriously not bad, but I personally believe a great dessert can turn an average meal into a memorable event, and that’s what one would expect from a place like The Hangout.

The Hangout Gemmayze (7) The Hangout Gemmayze (8) The Hangout Gemmayze (9)

Anyway, the overall experience was very pleasant, and the restaurant’s atmosphere alone can set you in a good mood even if you just went there for some drinks or wine at the bar. It’s definitely worth a try.

The Hangout Gemmayze (10) The Hangout Gemmayze (11)

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eezmeez.com

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For those who don’t know about it yet, eezmeez.com is a Lebanese online t-shirt store offering cool and sarcastic designs. I got to try them earlier this month and was quite happy with the t-shirt I got.

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My main concerns when it comes to buying clothing items online is how good the fabric will be, and if I’ll get my size correctly, but fortunately eezmeez got these two covered.

The overall ordering process was quite smooth and easy. Regarding the size, I had absolutely no difficulty choosing the right one thanks to their T-shirt size guide which specifies the dimensions of each size they have. And when I got the t-shirt, it turned out of a really superior quality.

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The t-shirts prices start at $20 for kids and $24 for adults (for both men and women), which I believe is fair given their original designs, plus an additional $4 delivery charge if you’re in Beirut and the surroundings, or a bit more depending on how far from Beirut is your location, and it’ll take up to 7 days for your t-shirt to get delivered.

Make sure to check their collection if you would like to order one of their t-shirts. I personally got the jongar one in the above photo, which along with the other designs make a cool gift idea in my opinion.

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Hotdog & Beyond

Hotdog and beyond (7)

Earlier last week I was invited to the opening of Hotdog & Beyond‘s new branch in Hamra. For those of you who don’t know about it yet, Hotdog & Beyond is a new restaurant that opened back in August 2012 at Le Mall Dbayeh, obviously specialized in serving frankfurters as well as burgers. They opened second branch in Hamra just last week, and I was informed a third branch is set to open in Zalka sometime soon.

When I first heard about it, I personally thought Hotdog & Beyond’s items will be close to what we’re used to eat at places like Charlie’s or Freddy’s, but I was wrong, Hotdog & Beyond offers a totally different taste and experience.

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The restaurant interior is catchy and makes you feel like you’re walking into one of New York’s small restaurants. Seats are comfy, and there’s enough space between the tables. And what grabs your attention at first is probably the complimentary bucket of peanuts offered to you before making your order.

Hotdog and beyond (1) Hotdog and beyond (2)

Hotdog & Beyond’s menu has around 20 selections of frankfurters ranging between 9,750L.L and 16,000L.L, along with 10 selections of burgers starting 13,000L.L and up to 18,750L.L. The owners were generous enough and served us an item from each category including the appetizers and desserts!

Hotdog and beyond (3) Hotdog and beyond (4)

The appetizers are mainly platters of fries with different topping on them. We tried the Four Cheese Fries and Con Carne Fries, I personally preferred the latter which has spicy minced meat (tastes a bit like Soujouk) with cheddar cheese on top.

For the hotdog, I decided to try their signature sandwich, the HD&B, wich is made of fried hotdog, red pepper, mushrooms, onions, 4cheese & pesto mayo sauce. To my surprise, the hotdog was cut into pieces, unlike the other varieties that had the hotdog in one piece. Anyway, the sandwich tasted really good and seriously different than any other frankfurter I had elsewhere. Every bite I had was full of taste, and the bread was just perfect, fresh and soft.

As for the burger, I tried what I usually order at other places, the Swiss Mushroom Burger, which was mouthwatering and great as well! It can easily make Hotdog & Beyond one of the restaurant you will be considering when you want to have a good burger.

Hotdog and beyond (5) Hotdog and beyond (6)

Finally, and although I was full, the owners still insisted that I try 2 selections of their desserts, the strawberry cheescake, and a waffle with chocolate sauce, Nestle condensed milk, and scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Both tasted good too, but I personally would have preffered the soft waffle to be crispier on the outside.

My overall experience was great, and I’m not saying that just because I got invited, but because Hotdog & Beyond are really bringing something new to town, and therefore it is totally recommended. Moreover, if they succeed at maintaining their good taste and service, I believe they will be serious competitors to big names in the market, especially that their prices are quite affordable when compared to other diners in Beirut.

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The french onion soup at Duo

duo abc

French onion soup is one of the upsides of winter for me. Most restaurants here serve it in regular soup bowls along with croutons, while few other serve it in bread bowl after scooping out the inside of it, and one of these restaurants is Duo (Downtown, Verdun, ABC Ashrafieh, and ABC Dbayeh).

I recently had Duo’s onion soup and found it pretty good. It was thick enough to my taste with the right amount of cheese on top of it, and the portion is relatively big and completely fulfilling. Totally recommended even though it’s a bit overpriced at 15,500L.L but worth the money.

Duo by the way is also quite famous for their rich salad bar priced at 22,000L.L.

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