I’ve had the loveliest couple of days….out of the kitchen. We’ve become quite friendly with both the Lebanese couple that live just beneath us and the American/Indian couple two floors down. Often the six of us meet up for dinner at one of our apartments, often inviting others to join our little club for the evening, and luckily the food is always excellent! Last night Fadwa out-did herself with a delicately poached whole side of salmon, orange couscous, lovely roast fennel. Fadwa has also become my little black book guide for everything Lebanese. She’s introduced me to a local dairy, a florist, several foodie friends, a pilates studio, a fishmonger….you ask for it, she knows the best source. We couldn’t have gotten luckier with our building situation!
Today, I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the little suburbs just north of Beirut. Apparently during the war, many Beirutis left the city and moved there because it was further from the front line action. Many never returned to their homes. Up this way there are many hidden treasures according to a woman I met at the dinner last night, but the most intriguing sounding one was Bread Butiq – a sourdough bread bakery. Since my oven here won’t get hot enough for me to bake my own sourdough like I did in Amman, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect loaf. Ralph, the owner/baker has answered my hopes! We bought a regular plain sourdough, a green olive and sundried tomato sourdough, and a brioche made with sourdough. All sampled so far have been excellent.
Next it was on to Lobster Society for lunch. It’s essentially a lobster roll restaurant (sort of a new concept here in Beirut), but the real story is finding a fresh meat lobster roll on a homemade brioche bun with a decent salad and good fries for under $20 in this city. They have a big name chef consulting on the food for the first few months (I personally would get rid of any slaw in the actual roll and keep it lobster-only), but so far so good. It’s a pleasant spot with a communal table and I can picture it on a sunny, hot Saturday pulling in the cool crowd of locals.
It’s back into the kitchen for me tomorrow as I teach the private dim sum class I mentioned earlier this week. The ingredients are all in my fridge, recipes typed up, star anise ice cream prepped in the freezer. Wish me luck…I’ll take pictures!