Al Falamanki Brunch

Food

Sodeco, Beirut, Lebanon. On a Saturday Noon, you can not miss the crowd around Al Falamanki Restaurant.

We have decided to celebrate my birthday by going out to a Lebanese brunch. And Al Falamanki was the destination. After parking the car, and entering the warmed up terrace, the delicious smell hits you and right away, you realize that it was a good choice.

The moment you step into the indoor space, the retro mood invades you. The walls are filled with Tarabeesh, Oud, Tawlet Zaher and all kind of authentic Lebanese gadgets.
But also a lot of small black and white with wooden frames are scattered here and there. A Closer examination led me to some pictures of Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, and other American stars.
At first, I thought they were out of the concept. BUT!! WHAT DOES AL FALAMANKI MEAN??

Well, Al Falamanki is not a nickname. It is a name. Khalil Al Falamanki was a boxer who later on became a bodyguard, has traveled to the U.S and met many stars like Alfred Hitchcock and Grace Kelly 😉

 

Now, to the food. The open buffet includes a variety of Lebanese delicacies. Of course, no Lebanese brunch without Labneh, Shankleesh, White cheese, some vegetables, and olives.

Then, come in the warm dishes: Hummus Balila, Foul Mdammas, Fatteh. The more you walk in, the warmer the food: Saj bites always warm and ready to be served, as well as eggs on the barbecue – or as we say the “Manaal”.  Prepared to order, you can choose between sunny side up; eggs with kawarma, or even a nice shakshuka[eggs with diced onions and fine tomatoes].

 

 

The service was amazing, the staff is great. We were served by Ahmad who helped us on the buffet as well as on the table. In the plate, you 20170128_125225can see a small variety from the buffet. Everything has been mentioned above except the Pink and Orange dollops. Beetroot and Carrot Hummus were the Lebanese twist within this authentic Lebanese assortment. Not too
overpowering, the flavor was good. To be fair, you could clearly taste the beetroot but the carrot was a bit difficult to taste. Maybe all this was for the color? All the dishes tasted great, with the feeling of homemade preparation. I have to admit that the beans [Foul] had a weird aftertaste, but the Fatteh took me to another world. That warm yogurt lying over fried bread and boiled chickpeas just tantalized my taste buds until I got to the table.

 

 

Last but not least, how can you end such a feast without dessert?!  Halawa, butter, jams, and marmalade were present. what I chose to show you is the amazing fruit assortment of orange, pomegranate, apple and juices including lemonade and Jallab.

 

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Mr. Falamnki, nice meeting you on this special occasion. I can not wait to try the experience again but maybe next time for a regular meal, just for a change.

A trip to fishers’ market

Food

 

Well, that was quite a year! Do not blame me for the late posting, but I have already warned you.

Anyways…A new year, a new post, a new adventure. I started my comeback with a trip to the fishers’ market. Located in Beirut’s port- Karantina, the market is a big hall, with a large number of fishermen, each with a small “kiosk” and a few polyester boxes displaying today’s catch on layers of crushed ice.

I have to admit, the market exceeded my expectations. The floor was clean, no major smell was noticeable, and the vendors were very friendly. As soon as you cross the entrance, the shouting starts. Every fisherman promotes the fish he is displaying. A small chit-chat and you can find out where the fish is from. Some are local and some are freshly imported from Turkey. Naturally, a closer look and examination should be made, as some may not be as fresh as claimed.

Small tips to know if the fish is fresh:

1- The eyes.

The eyes are number 1 to inspect. Clear eyes, with no cloudiness or blue glaze, are what you should be looking for.

2- The gills.

The gills ( in the back of the head) should be deep red. The fader the color, the older the fish. Of course, grey gills are a no-no.

3- The flesh.

Don’t be afraid to touch the fish. The flesh should bounce back when you press it. If the fingers sink in and the flesh does not come back to its place, then the fish is not fresh.

4- The smell.

Perhaps this is THE most important element on the list. The fish should not smell “fishy”. It should smell like the ocean, or salty water to be precise


 

After our fish passed the freshness test, we asked one of the workers to clean and “fillet” one of them. The knife used may not have been as sharp as it should have, but the guy knew what he was doing. He kept the scales on so that the skin keeps its strength, and started removing the guts. Then, he glided the blade along the backbone from one side to the other. Last, but not least, he removed the skin. Of course, he gave us the fillet in one clean bag, and in another, the head and the bones, so that we use the latter to make some amazing fish broth. And that is it! A good start and a new discovery. This will not be my last visit, and I hope the hygiene stays the same for as long as possible.

 

 

Al Mokhtar restaurant – مطعم المختار

Food

In the heart of south Lebanon, lies a famously known restaurant called Al Mokhtar.

Al Mokhtar is literally translated to “The chosen one” in the Lebanese system, he is a person that the villagers choose to keep track of the population -somehow, a mayor -. This wise man traditionally with the famous Tarboosh and pomegranate stick, is the typical Lebanese figure to whom one should look up to and resemble.

Even if that description is about a man, Al Mokhtar Restaurant fits these words. I had the pleasure to meet Ramy, A Mokhtar’s manager, and the owner’s son. A young man, with a fresh spirit, down to earth and of course a foodie. He made sure to let me know that all the ingredients used in the making of Al Mokhtar menu are fresh and homegrown on the farm near the restaurant.

The tour starts with the many spaces available for one to choose the mood he wishes his meal to be served in. Every corner is filled with a small antique detail along with the green scenery which is a must in every Lebanese garden.

lebanese-mezza

Every Lebanese feast has to debut with the traditional Mezza. From goat cheese to stuffed eggplants -no need to remind you that all the above are homemade in the Mokhtar garden- all the Lebanese small and endless plates are somehow your “amuse gueule” before the main dish makes it to the feast.

cherry-kaftaNow, to the specialité – Cherry Kafta- An amazing terracotta pan arrives at the table. Before you can see what’s inside, a sweet smell hits you. And then, a sizzling red glaze embracing some Kafta meat will make you want to dig in and experience that sweet and savory combination.

lebanese-sweetscoffee

Of course, no Lebanese feast ends without pleasing your sweet tooth. Al Mokhtar offers various jams and marmalades. From Bitter orange to dates and even Jujuba these homemade treats may surprise you with a few almonds or walnuts. YUM!

Last but not least, the Turkish coffee will be waiting for your palette to be cleansed. The cardamom aftertaste makes all the difference and kick starts the digestion process – much needed-.

 

From farm to plate, Al Mokhtar restaurant makes sure all ingredients are handpicked and fresh. All plates are cooked with love and by the traditional recipes which makes it the ultimate southern experience.

Foodie On a Mission

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Hello there, internet world.

Here starts my journey (not my first) in the world of blogging. I have to admit, the previous ones were many, but none of them lasted for more than a couple of days…

A little backstory to set everyone on the right track. My passion for food started since day 1 of my life. Growing up at school, erasers were my favorite ingredient: I could practice my chopping skills using sharpener blades; shape eraser dust into pizza with toppings and bake it into the drawer of my desk… As I grew older, I discovered that food, became more than just an interest. It became a passion, and every occasion was a reason to put food on the table (or well… to eat)

Foodie On a Mission is my way of celebrating food Pride, and a way to express my passion towards food, that itself, creates in me and in many other people so many feelings. That soothing sound you hear while butter is slowly melting in the pan. That excitement you have when bacon is sizzling, or that satisfaction when the last piece of meat helps you lick the last drop of sauce.

 

My mission? Maybe is to find the best chef in my hometown,discover new tastes from around the world, or maybe to capture the small moments that could only be created when around food. It could be as simple as celebrating food, everyday, everywhere.

Let the Mission Begin!

Foodie on a Mission

Celebrating Lebanese food, and how else can I celebrate than by dedicating my first photo to Grandma, or as we say, “Teta” rolling the famous vine leaves (Warak Aarish)