Places, Places, Travel 4 comments on 20 Things About Paris

20 Things About Paris

It’s definitely summer and getaways are fast approaching. Everyone’s making plans on where to go and which country to visit. There are obviously countless places to see and different kinds of trips to make (road trips, backpacking trips, island relaxation, or lovely Tuscany), so I thought I would start by summing up 20 things about Paris for those of you who are Euro-tripping this summer. You can check 20 things about London here, Rome here and Istanbul here. And of course, stay tuned for more. To find all the places I mention, I suggest you use the Google Maps app for addresses and for you to know your way by foot, metro, bus, or car.

paris | breadonbutter

1) The French Bistrots – A good steak, veau or fondue can be found in the typical French bistrots all around Paris. My favorites are: Boucherie Rouliere, Chez Fernand, La Petite Cour, Le St. Séverin and Chez André for a good bouillabaisse.

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2) Place Saint Michel – Head there for an early drink outside before continuing to dinner.

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3) Tour Eiffel and Champs de Mars – No matter how many times you’ve been to Paris, you must visit our beloved Dame de Fer once. If the weather is nice, a fun picnic on the champs de mars would be a perfect lunch idea.

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4) Carette and Angelina – I love Carette on a rainy day for a large macaron and black coffee. The place is ideal for a nice conversation in a cozy place. For an excellent and dense hot chocolate, head to Angelina. I even spotted their products on sale at the airport!

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5) Places for a fast and healthy lunch – For a fast but healthy lunch in the center of Paris, I fell in love with Boco (an organic place where you can eat your healthy meal without any guilt – I’ll be posting about it next week) and Twenty Peas (where your food is also measured and put in a box).

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6) La Fayette Gourmet – Enter every foodie’s heaven when you step foot in La Fayette Gourmet.

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7) Éclair de Genie – If you’re a fan of the famous éclair, do not miss this charming little place with dozens of eclairs of all possible tastes. Heavenly!

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8) Montmartre – One of my favorite places on earth, Montmartre is like stepping into happiness. It takes a while to get there (especially that we went there walking!) but it’s so worth it. The place is filled with people and great food. Make sure you pick any restaurant and sit outside while you enjoy a nice glass of wine with a plate of moules frittes, boeuf bourgignon, or coq au vin. You can also grab a Merguez baguette as an appetizer 😉

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9) Montparnasse – Known as an artistic neighbourhood, Montparnasse reminds me of my parents who used to live there for years. It has lots of waffle and crepe places to try. Make sure you try the Aligot (mashed potatoes and garlic) and the meat at Le Plomb du Cantal.

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10) Au p’tit grec – talking about crepes, this little Greek-owned place at Rue Mouffetard should not be missed!

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11) The Maille store – this place is paradise for all food and cooking lovers. It is only dedicated to the Maille mustard brand and is filled with mustard pots everywhere. You even get to taste all of them with mini grissinis to decide which ones to take back home.

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12) Le Pont des Arts – On this bridge that crosses the river Seine, lovers have taken the habit to attach love locks (padlocks) with their first name on them, then throwing the key into the Seine as a romantic and eternal love gesture.

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13) The Marais neighborhood – A historic district in Paris, it was long aristocratic before it became a popular and active commercial area. The architecture is fascinating and you can even spot Victor Hugo’s ancient house! Take a walk around the neighborhood and pass by Fleux’, a concept design store we fell in love with, and Pouchkine for French-Russian inspired patisserie. You won’t regret a bite!

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14) Colette Paris – This is for Design trends lovers. You must all have heard of Colette and the product selection (from fashion to tech and culture products).

15) Le jardin des tuileries – The ideal place to relax after a long walk in the city is le jardin des tuileries. Grab a hot chocolate and a chair and open your book for an hour of pure relaxation.

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16) The Louvre – A must-see at least once in a lifetime. I’m sure we were all identically disappointed by the size of the Mona Lisa though.

17) Pastavino – I know we’re in Paris, but this lovely Italian place was so lovely I have to recommend it. European cities are made to try different cuisines anyway, so if you have time, do try this magical Italian restaurant located on the top of an Italian delicatessen shop.

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18) Asian food – We tried La Muraille de Jade for a nice Bobun and Mme Shawn for a thai lunch.

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19) Markets – You can ask around the neighborhood you’re staying in for markets and their opening days. You’ll find anything from cheese to choucroute and aligot.

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20) Notre-Dame de Paris – Breathtaking and touching, you must visit it if only for the sake of Quasimodo.

21) Extra bonus: Breakfasts! You can choose between a simple baguette with butter and coffee or juice, and eggs and croissant. Have it all is my advice 🙂

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And voila! Anything you might want to add? I’d love to hear!

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Places, Places 0 comments on 10 Top Italian Restaurants in Beirut

10 Top Italian Restaurants in Beirut

Every culture has its own way of interpreting one dish. They all add their twists and spices, making it particular to their tastes and habits. Restaurants too have to gratify the palate of the people they are serving. One thing I’ve noticed about Italian restaurants in Beirut is that they add crème fraîche to a lot of their pasta sauces. Almost all Italian people I’ve met are quickly revolted by the act of adding cream to pasta sauces. They also consider the use of a spoon to roll your spaghetti as a disgrace. But here in Beirut, it is considered to be the proper practice of eating Italian food. Where did these habits come from you ask? From restaurants, of course. Who started it?  I think it’s a chicken and egg type of story.

But it’s safe to say that the way the Lebanese have adapted Italian food has somewhat strayed away from the original cuisine. So because we can’t go to Rome everyday (check out 20 Things about Rome), we’ve been on a quest for ‘real’ Italian restaurants in Beirut.

My judgment of ‘what makes a restaurant Italian’ is personal but of credible experience. I’ve been to Italy a lot, read about their food, talked to people and been in their kitchens, cooked a carbonara and more with them, and visited their restaurants accompanied by locals.

In my mind, the ones that serve the famous spritz or bellini have the knowledge, the ones that serve dishes cooked with fresh ingredients have the quality, and the ones that present the place and the dish well have the honesty and authenticity.

There are many criteria that can lead you to judge a restaurant as being typically Italian and accordingly, I’ve ranked the top 10 I’ve tried in Beirut, keeping in mind that all of their menus contain dishes adapted to the taste of the Lebanese audience (hospitality rules oblige).

#1 Harry’s Bar

harry's bar | breadonbutter

 

Harry’s Bar is my recent favorite. It is THE place to fine-dine, enjoy great wine and beautiful dishes. The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The sommelier recommends excellent wine and the service is the most professional I’ve seen in a while. When it comes to the food, you won’t regret one bite of it. Apart from being exceptionally tasty, every dish is carefully crafted and full of colors. The presentation clearly reflects their recent Michelin Star touch. Don’t hesitate to go there for a nice, romantic dinner or even for a business lunch, where you’ll find a set menu for the circumstance. Make sure to try their Fleur de Courgettes with ricotta cheese, beef carpaccio, beetroot risotto and panna cotta. An unforgettable Italian experience in the heart of Beirut.

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#2 Totò Cucina Italiana

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from Zomato

When walking into Totò, you’re struck by the simple yet uplifting décor. The way they managed to give an identity to the place while keeping the original charm of this old house is admirable. Waiters and staff are not only nice and helpful in your choice of dishes, but they also have a sense of humor. Their seafood risotto is one that I won’t forget. I also love their pizzas and their Totò Express concept upstairs for a more relaxed dinner experience or for takeaway and pizza night at home.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from paperblog.com

#3 Marinella

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

Every time I visit Rome, I go to my favorite place (Vicolo 88) for an absolutely delicious Spaghetti al Vongole. In my mission to find it in Beirut, it’s at Marinella that I discovered one very close to the taste I never forget. The interior is refreshing and the changing menu gives you the certainty that their ingredients are freshly picked. The presentation of their dishes is lovely and the waiters are friendly and professional.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

#4 La Traviata

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

La Traviata doesn’t serve pizza but they sure make it up by serving the freshest pasta dishes in town. If I’m looking for a place to have a calm, relaxing lunch or dinner with a good dish of traditional pasta, this is the place I think of. They also have generous service, offering bites and nibbles before your order comes through, and great knowledge about Italian wine. Oh, and no ketchup allowed! Their carbonara, tiramisu and most importantly their tortellini al cioccolato are a must-try.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

#5 Cucina – Downtown

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo by fromagesandfridays.com

The best thing about Cucina is its location. Located in the most modern and trendy part of Beirut, it’s a good place for hip lunches in the sun and dinners. The staff is welcoming and friendly. Their appetizers and risottos are a good choice followed by pain perdu for dessert, which is worth a try. I’m heading there for a friend’s birthday tonight to enjoy a nice setting for this special occasion rather than the relatively average food.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo by zomato reviewer

#6 Al Dente Restaurante – Hotel Albergo

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from whereleb.com

Al Dente’s risottos are a must-try as well as their desserts. This hidden place gives a feel of authentic old Italy mixed with a refined character. Their appetizers include the famous Melanzane gratinate alla Parmigiana and Mozzarella di Buffala which is one of my favorite mozzarellas. It’s an excellent place for a special occasion.

#7 Dottore L’antica Pizzeria

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter

Dottore is the type of place where you go for comfort food and good wine. Burrowed in one of Hamra’s inner streets, it’s the perfect place to spend a cozy night with a few friends. All you need is their wooden-oven baked pizzas, the spinach crepe and really good Italian wine that the staff will perfectly recommend, and you’re set for a great night.

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#8 Mario e Mario

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

Nestled in one of the inside streets of Mar Mikhael, Mario e Mario offers a very special menu. Get ready to taste dishes you haven’t before, as this fine-dining Italian knows how to use fresh ingredients and transform them into a beautiful and innovative dish. The place is charming and romantic and the table is set with special little touches. I also love the use of fresh ingredients in all of their dishes. You’ll also be very happy with their famous olive oil and bread served before your main order.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

#9 La Posta

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

If you’re planning on booking a night out at La Posta, make sure you ask to be seated outside. The staff shows gusto for Italian food, and their pizza is not too thick or too thin. Their portions are generous but you can be sure you’ll get a refined presentation. Go for a seafood linguine with a nice wine or head there for Saturday brunch with friends or family.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

#10 L’Osteria

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

If you’ve been to Italy, you must be familiar with the Aperitivo concept. L’Osteria is one of the rare Italians in Beirut that master the Spritz and its accompaniments. Their dishes are also appetizing and typically Italian. You can head there around 7 pm for a fresh Spritz and a cheese/cold cuts platter. They also serve homey dishes that will satisfy your tasty Italian food cravings.

Harry's Bar Beirut | Breadonbutter
Photo from their facebook page

Any Italian place to add to the list?

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Places, Travel 2 comments on Take A Hike – A Day in the Kadisha Valley

Take A Hike – A Day in the Kadisha Valley

When it comes to exercise, the farther I can get from a gym, the better. I prefer the type of exercise where you don’t really feel you’re having it and count the minutes until it is considered enough. So let’s say that whenever I can, I consider nature to be my gym. Hikes are one of my favorite things to do on a weekend or even on a trip. I’ve also noticed it kind of restarts my brain and gives me more energy to think and start my week afresh. Not to go into too many details, I highly recommend a good hike to reduce your anxiety and stress, to boost your immunity, to give you energy, to make you more productive and help you concentrate.

kadisha valley

In Lebanon, we are spoiled with beautiful places to hike, and they’re all two hours away or less from Beirut. We spent the last two weekends hiking so today I’m sharing one of those days in the Kadisha Valley for inspiration.

The Kadisha Valley, located in Bcharre (click here for the map), is full of important Lebanese history (you can read more about it here). It was my second time hiking there and we spent approximately 6 hours walking down the valley and up again, passing by the Qannoubine monastery. Since it’s the end of winter and the snow is melting, it’s the best time to hike there as you get to see waterfalls and enjoy the perfect weather for hiking. The greenery is also impressive and striking.

kadisha valley

After a long tiring but fun hike, we headed to one of the most popular restaurants in the region, situated in Ehden, called Fardaous (meaning ‘paradise’ 🙂 ). The food was delicious – my opinion here being biased because of extreme hunger 😉 and the view was just perfect.

Here are some photos of the hike for you to get inspired.

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Don’t forget to stock up on snacks for energy as well as water to keep hydrated and to protect your muscles from cramps that can last days. Our favorite snacks when we go hiking are raw nuts, dried fruits, bananas and coconut bars. Jean has developed the pattern of having a Snickers before the hike, because you’re not you when you’re hungry 😉

Also, if you want to learn more about the region and get a guide who knows all the hiking ways well, you can contact a great guy called Jhonny Bou Ghosn on this number: +961 (3) 290 571

Who here is a fan of hiking? And where do you go? I’d love to know!

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and don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips #breadonbutter

Places, Places 2 comments on Onno: The Inspiring Story and The Great People Behind It

Onno: The Inspiring Story and The Great People Behind It

Two years ago, along with a group of friends, we came up with a tradition. Since not one of us is really into Valentine’s Day and the buzz around it, we decided to have dinner together on the 14th of February. Our first dinner was Armenian and delicious and the habit took off from there. It’s been two Valentine Armenian dinners. The very last one was at Onno. The initial plan was to head to the original one in Bourj Hammoud. But we then heard a new branch had opened its doors in Badaro so we booked our 20 (s)eaters’ table for the 14th of February. We now swear by this great and homey Armenian Bistrot.

onno | breadonbutter

When I approached the managing team over at Onno to chat with them and Karnigue Nigolian (the original person behind it), they happily accepted. So today, I bring you their story and a small glimpse of the atmosphere and the characters behind this cozy and welcoming place.

I first sat with Saadi Hamady and was later joined by Karnigue (both owners of ONNO).

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Karnigue Nigolian (left) and Saadi Hamady (right)

Saadi first told me about his relationship with food. How he started in the food and beverage industry in the States in 1988, dealing with various domains such as dry food, groceries, delis, coffee shops, restaurants, and even airline catering. Then, like any Lebanese at heart, Saadi came back to Lebanon after spending 29 years in the States and opened up the very first fusion-cosmopolitan food places in Beirut called Cello. He quickly expanded his restaurant openings and other businesses related to the tourism industry.

His new baby is ONNO. The story is actually one of those coincidences (if they do exist) we love to hear about. Saadi’s plan for an evening out was to go fine-dine with friends somewhere upscale. But he wasn’t convinced that was the atmosphere he wanted and begged them to take him somewhere more relaxed with a proper glass of Arak. His friends, without hesitation, decided to take him to ONNO, this cozy little homey place in Bourj Hammoud where a nice glass of Arak was guaranteed. Right then and there, Saadi fell in love with the food and Karnigue’s personality, who made you eat as he pleases. He then absolutely wanted to take ONNO in his hands and expand it like it should be. Karnigue had been approached by many and had humbly refused. But Saadi managed to convince him. “I didn’t come as an investor who wanted to take. I came and told him we would work together hand in hand. We think alike a lot. Sometimes I think about something and then he comes and says it to me!” Saadi.

So a joint-venture was established and ONNO is now quickly expanding. They are open in Badaro and will be open in Hamra in June.

The Badaro branch was a great success for the ONNO team. They saw a great feedback from people who loved the food and the place.

Onno succeeded to attract the mass clientele, which was the biggest challenge. You can see people in their 60s and 70s but also in their 20s. This was basically the idea of opening up a bistro. It serves only one purpose: good food. “In our bistro, they only come to eat, not for the drinks or music, just the food.”

onno | breadonbutter

For Saadi, it’s simple. It’s all due to their Bistro’s atmosphere, philosophy and values behind their work.

The values they follow are quite natural. According to Saadi, in all businesses and in anything we do, if there is no honesty about what you do, what you serve and give your clients, there is no success. To him, ethics are the most important thing in business. “We pick our ingredients, we have no shortcuts. The cost doesn’t matter because in the long-term, you are the winner”. “My value is my honesty.”

“I believe you are what u eat and food to me is very dear to my heart, I’ve been doing this for a long time so have good customer service, good products and value for money and then the people will come to you. It’s that simple.”

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One very important thing Saadi mentioned was the importance of the authenticity in the dishes one serves at his place.

“When I started working in Lebanon, I saw that if, let’s say we go out to eat penne arrabiatta, we notice the same taste in all of Lebanon even though it’s not a real arrabiatta. So people start thinking it is the real taste because not everyone knows the real taste. They all taste the same because it’s all the same ingredients. So this is where we said: let’s give them the real taste, the authentic taste and then let them decide if they like it or not. Give it as it is and let them decide. Every time you give something authentic, it will be liked.”

onno | breadonbutter

Karnigue came to sit with us at this point. His first sentence was: “It was a dream. It was a dream to open a restaurant one day and make food for everyone.”

He went on saying he hadn’t learnt cooking in any school or institution, that his school was his home when he was younger, his mom and his grandma. But the most essential school of all is experience and love for food. Everything he learnt was from testing with his clients in his small homey restaurant in Bourj Hammoud.

“He sometimes surprises you with a dish you didn’t even order!” Saadi

onno | breadonbutter

When asked why he chose ONNO, Saadi had a clear answer: “Because it’s one of the tastiest restaurants I’ve ever visited in my life and I’ve tasted a lot, everywhere. I remember the first bite I had there. This is why I chose ONNO, but also because you see something good, you want people to try it. It’s too bad if they don’t. ONNO has to be known. And I now have a belly donut.”

For Karnigue, the most important thing is to see the customer happy. “They’re happy, I’m happy. There was a couple outside just now, I said hello and gave them the menu. He asked if I was Onno, I asked how he knew, he said I speak differently. Always talk to the people.”

Onno is indeed a story. It is a story of partnership, chance and good authentic food that is just waiting to be shared with the world.

The menu is a work of 20-25 years of experience, trial and error. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must!

onno | breadonbutter

 

Click here to watch a short video about Onno and to get an idea of the warm atmosphere and the people behind it. 🙂

Have you been to Onno? We’d love to know your thoughts!

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Places, Travel 0 comments on Places: Meet the Chefs at Prune Beirut

Places: Meet the Chefs at Prune Beirut

I constantly hear about Prune Bistro from friends and family. Their feedback is always positive but I’d never had the chance to try it until yesterday. Sarah, SerVme‘s co-founder, called me to join her for lunch at Prune where an event called Meet the Chefs is being held every Tuesday of the month. Yesterday was Chef Karim Bibi’s turn to cook at Prune. I was happy to hear I’d be trying out his food as I had the chance to take a class with Karim last summer at Kitchen Lab for a friend’s bachelor party.

Karim Bibi’s story is inspiring. After working for more than 10 years in the Advertising and Marketing industry, the Chef decided to change careers and switch to the culinary sector. He thus moved to New York City and studied at the International Culinary Center. His philosophy is simple: passion for cooking and love for great ingredients.

Our lunch experience yesterday was warm and inviting. The atmosphere of the restaurant screamed of joie de vivre and conviviality. A glass of wine and tasty food kept coming at us. Here’s the entire menu:

Appetizers

Oven Broiled Prawns with lemon zest breadcrumbs

prune beirut | breadonbutter

Seared Mushroom Caps

prune beirut | breadonbutter

Mains

Poached Monkfish with saffron risotto

prune beirut | breadonbutter

Grilled Tri-tip with brandy sauce and winter vegetables

prune beirut | breadonbutter

Desserts

Chocolate Decadence Cake

prune beirut | breadonbutter

Strawberry Shortcake

prune beirut | breadonbutter

The Wine I had was a Red Caprice D’Antoine, Vallée du Rhone 2011. Sarah had the White Chai de bordes, Blanc Bordeaux 2012.

What I loved the most about this experience is that we got to keep the menu booklet which contained all of the recipes! I will be trying that chocolate decadent cake really soon and sharing it with you. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe. The trick I think is in the chocolate Karim used, and I was intrigued by the use of sour cream. Let me know if you try it before me.

Chocolate Decadence Cake by Karim Bibi

Ingredients (for 6 persons)

For the Cake

  • 120 g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 220 g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 g sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 75 g Dutch cocoa
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder

For the Ganache

  • 200 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300 ml thickened cream

How to make it

  1. Make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until melted and combined. Divide the ganache between 2 bowls. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate one bowl and leave the second bowl at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 16 degrees celsius.
  3. Make the cake: Place butter and sugar in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Sift over with cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then whisk until smooth. Divide the batter between 2 pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let them cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the ganache from the fridge and stir until smooth, then spread over the top of one cake. Top it with the second cake and pour over the room temperature ganache.
  5. Serve!

In partnership with SerVme

servme breadonbutter partnership | breadonbutter

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Places 12 comments on The Top 5 Coffee Shops to Work in Beirut

The Top 5 Coffee Shops to Work in Beirut

We live in a world where freelancing is becoming the trend, where bloggers are increasing and where meetings take place in trendy places instead of a standard office. Coffee shops are thus the place to be. A few days ago, I got a message from a friend asking us where he could go sit and work calmly with fast wifi and a nice cup of coffee. That’s when it dawned on me that I only knew about 2 places – the ones I visit all the time. But there surely had to be others. So I kept digging in my head and came up with those 5 places I think are the top to go work in.

Breadonbutter’s Top 5 Coffee shops to work in Beirut

Urbanista – Gemmayzé

coffee shops | breadonbutter
Photo taken from their website

The interior of the place is already enough to make you productive and creative. It’s really a coffee shop/library where you can spend the day working, eating and meeting people.

L’Appartement Beirut – Sioufi, Ashrafieh

coffee shops | breadonbutter
Photo taken from the Daily Star

This is a calmer place to work for days when you really have to concentrate. This charming appartment turned coffee shop/drinks/art showcasing place is welcoming and warmly decorated.

Dar Bistrot and Books – Clémenceau, Hamra

coffee shops | breadonbutter
Photo taken by tripadvisor.com

I like to go work at Dar on mornings just because of their excellent breakfast. If the weather is not too hot, their garden can be used as your inspirational place. Book lovers, prepare to rejoice.

Balima – Saifi Village

coffee shops | breadonbutter
photo taken by zomato.com

A quiet place in the midst of the city, surrounded by painting-like architecture will sure spruce up your creativity. A nice tea pot and your laptop will suffice.

Papercup – Mar Mikhael

coffee shops | breadonbutter

 

Papercup has no wifi but you can take it as good news and go there to quietly work offline, surrounded by books. Order a latte and a piece of their daily cake and you’re all set! You can read all about the place on this link.

 Where do you work? Any additional recommendation? 

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Places, Travel 0 comments on Places: Sant’Eustachio Caffè in Rome

Places: Sant’Eustachio Caffè in Rome

Back in Rome last August (click here for more details), we fell in love with this place my sister had recommended (here). On the day we stumbled upon Sant’Eustachio Caffé, we weren’t really looking for it, but just the sight of it made us feel like we had reached an oasis in the middle of the August heat. Once we’d taken a seat on one of the tables outside, we quickly learnt the difference of price between being served outside or just having a quick coffee inside, standing at the coffee bar. We opted for a seat, 1 cold coffee for me, one fresh Kampari/Orange for Jean and both of our captivating books. I can still feel the charm and pleasantness of it all 🙂

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

Sant’Eustachio Caffé is located in the heart of Rome, just minutes away from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, facing the actual Basilica named for the martyr of Saint Eustace. We went there twice while we were there for a nice coffee a l’italiana. When you enter to order, you learn the charming story of this place.

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

Sant’Eusatchio has been successful and crowded since 1938. Kissinger and many other international famous people have visited it. I say Kissinger because the owners are so proud of his visit that they hung the newspaper story about it on the wall and on their website (you can see the picture below).

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

Sant’Eustachio is not merely a Coffee shop, but also a Roaster. Brothers Raimondo and Roberto Ricci began running the Caffè in 1999 to continue the family tradition of selecting coffee varieties and offering a range of product prepared with a legendary secret blend. Their priority is only one: ensure consistent quality. The Sant’Eustachio coffee blend is made with the best Arabica beans. The raw coffee is slowly roasted over wood.

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

You can of course sit down for a nice cup of coffee but you can also purchase it and make it at home.

All the coffee varieties, roasted, washed and selected, are top quality. The freshness and the high quality of the product guarantee an ever fresh fragrance and a quintessential aroma which cannot be found in the coffees of large-scale retail trade.

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

Of course, the place is now more touristic and more expensive than typical Italian coffee places, but in my opinion, at least one visit there would be a nice addition to your trip.

Another great thing about Sant’Eustachio Caffé is their Buon Caffé initiative

The Buon Caffé Program is an initiative by Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè. The Program consists in donating the extra proceeds from the sale of the traditional Sant’Eustachio Blend to COOPFAM, the Brazilian Fairtrade certified co-op from which Sant’Eustachio  buys coffee. The protagonist of this initiative is the consumer who, through a traceability procedure, can actually control the use of the proceeds.

sant'eustachio | breadonbutter

Have you been to Rome? Any other places to recommend?

Places, Things To Do, Travel, Weekend 0 comments on Where to Cozy Up By The Fireplace This Winter

Where to Cozy Up By The Fireplace This Winter

Unlike last winter, this one promises to be cold and rainy. Unsurprisingly,  everyone seems happy about it. After all, we needed the water and we all miss going skiing on weekends and splurging on Fondue dinners at night in front of a cool fireplace. Over the years, we have explored a lot of cozy places with nice chimneys. So to give you ideas on what to do and where to go this winter, here’s a first list of some of the best fireplaces in town.

Lola – Bikfaya – Lebanon

Located in the heart of the mountains, Lola is a warm restaurant with a magnificent view that opens its doors in summer and winter. For spicy lovers, I strongly suggest their special spicy fondue. You won’t regret it!

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Byblos Sur Mer – Jbeil – Lebanon

This cozy hotel holds a special place in my heart as that’s where we got married a year ago. With a view over the great Byblos port, they also offer a comfy place to sit and relax by the chimney. Grab a book, order a nice hot cocoa and read the day away.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

La Maison de la Forêt – Bkassine – Lebanon

Ideal for a weekend away in summer and winter, La Maison de la Forêt is the perfect hideaway. Snuggle with family around their fireplace and enjoy Tawlet Bkassine’s food.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

La Gargote – Broumana – Lebanon

One of the rare authentic bistrots in the country, La Gargote‘s atmosphere has always stayed true to itself. Head there for a nice Soupe à l’Oignon and enjoy the crackles of the chimney wood in the background.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Ristorante La Traviata – Gemmayze – Lebanon

For the ultimate urban winter experience, you must try La Traviata‘s grilled chestnuts! The best thing about it all is that you get to sit outside with your coat still on, sipping wine and eating bits of parmesan cheese. It’ll be up and running by Monday so hurry up and book a table.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Pierre and Friends – Batroun – Lebanon

If you just can’t get away from the sea for long, Pierre and Friends‘ fireplace is the place to be.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Shangrilla – Laqlouq – Lebanon

For a quiet weekend with board and card games, head to Shangrilla Hotel in Laqlouq and relax by the fireplace. They also just launched their fondue and raclette menu so you’re in for a nice treat.

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

Fireplaces | Breadonbutter

I hope you enjoyed the list and I’d love to know your feedback if you try any of the places! Any other fireplaces suggestions?

Click HERE to follow our foodie and travel journey on INSTAGRAM

Places, Things To Do, Travel 1 comment on Dinner at Vicolo 88 Rome

Dinner at Vicolo 88 Rome

Giovanni De Luca, is a person I have known for exactly 9 years. You can therefore imagine I know him quite well, especially that we were born on exactly the same day. As a fellow Leo, I can safely say that he is determined. Having an Italian father and a Lebanese mother, he had the opportunity a few years ago to go live and do business in Rome, his city of origin. And there he went, determined to make it happen. A few years later, I’m sitting in Vicolo 88 – Garden, amazed by what he has accomplished.

While we were in Rome 2 weeks ago, we went to Vicolo88 twice (the garden, that is – because there are two Vicolo 88: one in the center in Via Dell’Orso, more of a Bistrot; and one in EUR, in the outskirts of the city, which is more for the summer and the good weather and is outdoor with a garden and fabulous Italian music).

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Once you arrive at Vicolo88 – Garden (Viale America, 18 – 00144 – Eur – Roma – Tel +39 06 87728001), you immediately feel good, relaxed and ready for a really nice and cool evening. A Spritz is a must upon your arrival (it’s literally one of the best Spritz I have ever tasted), followed by (hold on tight) potato peels, fried and sprinkled with pecorino cheese! Yes. Believe it my friends.

What followed was an array of beautiful and tasty dishes that make me want to go back and eat up. I’ll let your eyes savor them for now – until you’re sitting there yourselves!

Starters:

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Spritz
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Potato skin and Pecorino Cheese
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Fried Zucchini
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Pizza topped with cheese, anchovies and zucchini flowers
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The fluffiest Foccacia – a flavorsome Tuna Tartare – a fresh Squid Carpaccio

Mains:

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The famous Spaghetti al Vongole
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Cheese and Frutti di Mare Pasta

And last but not least, dessert!

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Chocolate Moelleux

Breadonbutter Guests, Guest Writers and Interviews, Places, Things To Do 1 comment on Papercup Store: Behind The Scenes

Papercup Store: Behind The Scenes

Having lived abroad, watched movies and traveled loads of times, one always looks for things he learnt to love. As Lebanon is not an easy country and you spend your time longing for things you saw abroad that don’t exist in your own country, it’s a delight to find a hidden space that could possibly be “it”.

So when I contacted Rania and she agreed to chat about cakes, coffee, travel and books, I immediately jumped at the chance. Who could ask for better, right?

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Papercup (www.papercupstore.com) is a bookstore located in Mar Mikhael, in Madrid Street (parallel to the mainroad). You can check their website for a detailed map. They also serve coffee and cake over there for a “coffee-infused book therapy” as they state agreeably.

Rania is Papercup Store’s owner. She has a publishing background, has worked in New York, is a reader and a traveler and also a new mom! And here’s a summary of our conversation.

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Why a place like this and in this location?

I was living in the Mar Mikhael neighbourhood in 2005 and loved it. I saw that what was missing was a library and decided to go ahead with the project. I found a notebook I had 12 years ago in New York. That’s when I realized I was already thinking about the idea then because the whole plan for the place was in this notebook! I wanted to create a place where I’d personally like to hang out on a Saturday.

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Why design, travel and art as a focus for books?

I worked in publishing abroad and then moved back to Lebanon 11 years ago and worked in distribution. I saw that there was something missing in the choice of books and noticed that people around me saw this gap as well. The gap was in things less mainstream and commercial. So this completed the idea of the bookstore.  I saw there was actually a market for it.

papercup-books

How do you decide which cake you’re going to offer on a specific day? Where do you get the recipe? Do you bake it yourself?

It’s my sister who bakes the cakes. She’s actually the chef and owner of Frosty Palace (facing papercup, one of the best burgers and milkshakes ever). She basically decides which cake to bake. I just let her know we need a cake and she happily bakes it! There’s only 1 cake because it’s a tiny space and the point is a bookstore with a tiny coffee shop.

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Where do you find the cool things and books you sell?

I just do really a lot of research, spend my time looking for these kinds of things because I like them and because I’m curious. I used to choose things alone but I now have a small team that helps me choose as well. We show each other everything we like ranging from books to cards to maps, etc…

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Who are your clients?

There’s no specific client profile. Clients are mainly teachers, parents, artists, amateurs in art, design and photography.

How do you market yourself? 

I don’t advertise. There’s no budget for that. My cousin is an architect and she did the whole place. At the time, there were a lot of available spaces in Mar Mikhael. I didn’t want the main road, I preferred the store to be a hidden gem, not too commercial.

For the opening, we sent out 400 private invitations and since it’s a small country and everyone knows everyone, word of mouth played its role to perfection. We also got a lot of international press.

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Are you a cook? A traveler?

I love to cook but now I have no time. I used to host a lot of dinners however and try a lot of new stuff in the kitchen. I used to travel a lot but now I just had a child so there is a change in lifestyle happening. When I travel, I really travel with passion.

papercup-10Favorite book?

I have no favorite book but I can say the type of books I like the most are novels. I don’t sell novels, however, only once a year, we offer a guest table of summer reads. Every year, someone different (a guest) creates the table. The approach is basically that they make a list of their books with a written synopsis of why they chose the book and why people should read it and the table is displayed for a month. This year, Holly was the guest. She worked in publishing in New York, she’s a papercup customer and a big reader. She also reviews books and she’s a huge fiction reader.

Favorite cake?

My favorite cake is my mom’s carrot cake. It’s just the best carrot cake ever. It has been my birthday cake since the age of 16.

Favorite country?

I can’t say I have a favorite country but there are some cities I absolutely love: London, Stockholm, New York, Portland, Seattle, Melbourne. I also love the Pacific North West, calmer than cities.

Any advice for the young ambitious people of Lebanon?

Try to discover the world and leave the nest for a while. A company can easily be opened abroad as well and it can be managed better than here as you won’t have to worry about the basics. In Lebanon, if you want to survive, you have to create your own bubble but then again that’s not necessarily healthy.

Rania just recently gave birth to a baby boy. She’s discovering motherhood and the moms’ world. Kind of like re-discovering herself. Thanks for this lovely chat! 🙂

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Anyone here a Papercup customer?

You can also follow them on Facebook (click here) and instagram (@papercupstore).

Parties & Happenings, Places, Things To Do 0 comments on DUNKIN’ DONUTS unveils special Ramadan treats

DUNKIN’ DONUTS unveils special Ramadan treats

In everyday life, we all get very busy. We run around trying to accomplish an infinite amount of things, trying to be part of everything, following those guidelines we read in articles everyday (“10 habits of people who follow their dreams” or “5 things naturally fit people do differently”, etc…), and aspiring to be perfect. It sure is fun and exciting. But comes a moment when you just need to breathe. Sure, you can go on vacation, you can plan getaways, but what if you just want to catch your breath for like 10 minutes a day? Some of you do that by smoking a cigarette outside, some surf the internet, but some others find comfort in their favorite brands. Or more specifically, their favorite food or coffee brands. Those gigantic chains have made it a habit to touch their customers by personalizing everything. So when I got the news yesterday that Dunkin’ Donuts Middle East was serving up specially designed star and crescent-shaped donuts to mark the holy month of Ramadan, I thought this was really great! These special donuts are available across all Dunkin’ Donuts outlets in the UAE.

 

Dunkin-Donuts--Ramadan-resized

Your favorite brands just never stop reminding you what life is really about: people you love, marvelous places to explore and rich experiences! They’re our breathers, our wake up call to CARPE DIEM.

Beginning with a single restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts, the Dunkin’ Donuts story has been one of epic success. Over the years the international quick serve giant, part of the Dunkin’ Brands Group headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts, has captured the loyalty of a worldwide following and is today present in over 33 countries and operates nearly 11,000 restaurants worldwide. It has established itself as a favourite among the discerning clientele in the UAE with a decade of beginning operations in the Emirates. Today the company has 74 outlets all across the UAE, serving up a delectable blend of donuts, delicious hot and iced coffee, hot and iced lattes, cappuccinos, coolatta slush drinks, munchkins and other baked goods and beverages.