Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food / Wine and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being Positive is Contagious - Introducing Mamnoon

Despite every single negative event that is happening in Lebanon and in the region (Syria especially), I simply refuse to fall (however you want to interpret this).

Happy thoughts... voila! The best revenge of all, as I finish up writing my recipes for my consultancy project in the USA for next month (June). My book writings have led me to these good people (ex Microsoft employee and his CEO wife both originally from Syria / Lebanon) who are going to open a restaurant in Seattle, Washington. I am the official menu planner (love how that sounds). It's a very enriching experience. I am taking part in the birth of a special project that is very significant to this particular time in my life and theirs (and to happenings of world events). Exactly 27 years ago (when I was 15 years old, my son's age now, don't do the math), my father opened a Lebanese restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I worked hand in hand with my whole family for three years at Kebabs and Things. Today, again life is sending me back to the USA (to the extreme other side) to introduce Middle Eastern cuisine to Americans. I'm really delighted to go through this experience once more, many years later. The name of the restaurant is called Mamnoon, meaning to be thankful. I'm thankful!

So I'm packing the family and myself and heading to Seattle to live the Mamnoon experience...
more to come later on this USA / Lebanese food adventure.

Want to know more about Mamnoon? Here is a glimpse... published in the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.

Barbara "La Boulangere Bio" "Helwe El Hayet"

Celine Hachem is another inspirational woman that I met lately on my culinary journey. She is a business woman turned bread maker. She has gone to great efforts to make a bread free from any chemically harmful ingredients—the result organic and wholesome bread. Quite impressive. The tiny bakery is so cute and charming reflecting the owner's character and personality. Celine's life has changed considerably since she opened the bakery. Her work now is a source of energy perpetuating positive vibes all around her. I highly recommend a stop at her bakery (both for the bread and for a quick chat with the owner). Sahteyn!

Barbara With Emm Sherif "Helwe El Hayet"

This is how a passion becomes a reality! Mireille Hayeck is a true inspiration to me and to many.  In the TV segment she states, "one must follow one's passion —that is the true factor to success!" How true, and so many just don't get it! (perhaps next life!) I've had the occasion to dine at her restaurant twice now and I can really say that it's close to a "food orgy", if you know what I mean! The menu is planned daily with many plates coming and going throughout the dinning experience. It's really like going on a food adventure while sitting on a table (not any table, may I add). Mireille has put her heart and soul in every single detail of the dinning experience at Emm Sherif —the name says it all. She is also owner and manager of two other restaurants: La Parilla (Argentinian steak house) and Yasmina (Indian fusion). We are proud of this woman! May she inspire many more in our country to become successful restaurant entrepreneurs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Walid & Maysoon's Article in Mashallah News

This is an article about Walid and Maysoom of Coara, whom I really love. They are a wonderful family from the Shouf. I've included a profile of them in my book Mouneh. Here is another glimpse. Enjoy! 
+ I liked this new news platform called Mashallah, check it out! http://mashallahnews.com/?p=3024 

My Philosophy in Life

Things (circumstances) change all the time in our lives. That is what makes it so exciting. With age, maturity, and experience (which I am earning, slowly but surely) you can understand life better. I understood this concept not so long ago and now I am at peace. I wanted to share this with all of you, it might rub off and make you feel better too. The key is perseverance and belief in oneself. The rest follows. Also, the most important factor is to consider others around you leaving good vibes, positive attitude and making a difference (no matter how small or big).

I will be sharing my journey with you, one step at a time.

Thyme Travels - An Article in Saudi Aramco World

This is a special article written by a special lady, Alia Yunis and photographed by a wonderful photographer, Tor Eigeland - one of many pioneers in his field, like my dad. So please take the time to read this article because it's really worth it! + It deals with one of my favorite subjects, zaatar!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An Inspiring Photo Found...

I found this photo on pinterest ... So inspiring! Wanted to share it. This is family, security, love—seasonal foods packaged for later use with great care. This was probably made by a pretty amazing person —the food I mean!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Do you Speak English? A Book by Wayne Parry

Wayne Parry is a polyglot who has traveled the world in search of himself, the people around him, and the acquisition of languages. There is a segment of Wayne and Barbara in Lebanon. The story reads of how we met and what we lived through together, all in the Lebanese chapter. Can't wait to read it! I'm so proud to be part of this adventure.

Good luck my friend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


When one falls, one must pick oneself up again!
So hard ...

"Each day I live I want to be, a day to give... The best of me.
I'm only one, but not alone. My finest day, Is yet unknown.
I broke my heart, for every gain. To taste the sweet, oh I face the pain.
I rise and fall, yet through it all... This much remains."
"When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away"
Whitney Houston

Thank God for inspiration
Trying hard!

A friend of mine kindly responded to my call, this is what she had to say:

"Solid success stands on top of the mountain of failures that’s built only by a person who doesn’t understand the meaning of give up."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Opening of Tawlet in Amiq - Wetland of the Bekaa Valley

A new exciting culinary venture in Lebanon. I will attend this opening and post photos.

Tawlet Ammiq is seated in an eco-friendly green building
Tawlet Ammiq is a high environmental performance building, with a high thermal performance building envelope, naturally assisted cooling, lighting at minimum cost and solar water heating. It uses 80% less energy to operate than a conventional construction. All waste (mostly organic) is sorted and recycled. Waste is reduced by sourcing unpacked products or using reusable containers. 

Tawlet Ammiq is a development project in Lebanon’s most fertile land, the Bekaa valley, in a vision to protect natural and cultural heritage,to celebrate food and traditions that unite communities and support small-scale farmers and producers and the culture of sustainable agriculture.

Tawlet Ammiq is about:

·   A producers’ buffet on weekends, where ladies/cooks from the region to share the best of their land and traditions.      

  • Café service on week days
  • Private functions, events, and conference facilities (upon booking)
  • Cooking classes and “wines of the Bekaa” appreciation sessions (upon booking)
  •  DekenetAmmiq, for a selection of regional mouneh,hand crafts and environmental publications
  •  info-corner for the region’s environmental and eco-touristic activities
  •  “Wines of the Bekaa” boutique and events
  • Production kitchen for local producers.
  • At a later stage, bed & breakfast facilities, an agricultural development center a research center, a farmers’ market will be developed.

Tawlet Ammiq is seated in an Eco-friendly green building
Tawlet Ammiq is a high environmental performance building, with a high thermal performance building envelope, naturally assisted cooling, lighting at minimum cost and solar water heating. It uses 80% less energy to operate than a conventional construction. All waste (mostly organic) is sorted and recycled. Waste is reduced by sourcing unpacked products or using reusable containers.

Shouf Biosphere Reserve / Ammiq Wetland
 The Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2005; within, is the Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve (the largest in Lebanon) and Ammiq Wetland (Ramsar Site).
The Ammiq Wetland (100 hectares) isthe last significant wetland in Lebanon,a remnant of extensive marshes andlakes that once covered parts of the Bekaa Valley. This natural spot remains an important staging a winter area for migratory water birds en route between Europe and Africa.

The outdoor activities:
Possible activities are walking, hiking, bird watching, biking, snow shoeing, donkey back riding, honey collection, rope games, educational games and green classes for students.

For more information 05- 350 250 / 150 or 76/751410

Read the brochure for detailed information
The invitation card!

Ammiq old village – West Bekaa – Lebanon
(Ammiq is on the eastern slopes of Mount-Lebanon, halfway between Chtaura and Kefraya, overlooking the Bekaa valley)
Tel 03 004 481