Recently in Middle East category:

Mansoura

One of the appeals of Brooklyn is the rich ethnic mix of cultures, cuisines, and traditions, that is somewhat of a microcosm of America. Many of our grandparents, including mine, arrived on Ellis Island and assimilated to life in America in New York City. And it still remains a lively, if sometimes uncomfortable, mix of upscale, downscale, rich, poor, happy, angry, frustrated, and content. But everybody’s gotta…

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One thing you learn quickly if you travel to, or somehow explore otherwise, the various cuisines of the Middle East, is that every country, and seemingly…every single person, has their own idea of what za’atar is. And they’re very (very) attached to it. So much so that a chef in a restaurant in Jerusalem rolled up his sleeve to show me a tattoo of what…

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Lebanon

The Middle East is a pretty fascinating place, and on this visit – as well as others – I am constantly surprised by what I experience there. Although we often see snippets of it, our images of the region are often associated with news reports when something happens out of the ordinary. Glimpses of people going about everyday life aren’t especially easy to come by…

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It’s too bad that so many people are only familiar with Middle Eastern pastries that aren’t so well made. If you sample them far from where they originate, often they’re made with old or stale nuts, they’ve sat around too long in plastic packages, or the cheeses aren’t exactly fresh. While it’s true that some of them can be a bit sticky-sweet for Western tastes,…

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(Just a note: This post contains a somewhat graphic image of meat being prepared which some folks might not wish to view. For that reason, I’ve placed it after the jump and near the end of the post so you don’t have to see it. If images like that are challenging to you, I recommend that you don’t scroll further and perhaps that you not…

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Lebanese Meze

The Lebanese are real “snackers”, a point brought home by Mazen Hajjar, the owner of 961, Lebanon’s first (and only) craft brewery that told me if I went into someone’s home in Lebanon and they offered a drink – but no bowl of nuts or seeds, “You should go…just get up and leave immediately.” Fortunately I never had to, because true to his word, each…

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Since a number of people have been asking, whenever I ask the bakers who are making flatbreads in Lebanon, specifically what their formula is for they breads they are rolling out (or tossing), I’ll get the same, vague response; “Flour and water..oh, and a little olive oil.” And that’s it, as they continue with their busywork. While I suspect if I pressed them further, they…

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Pull up at roadside stand. Be happy you’re with people who speak Arabic.

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Unbelievably, I was able to fit in not just two breakfasts, but two lunches on my first full day in Beirut. After za’atar croissants and puffy khobz, we headed off to Ichkhanian, to watch the bakers rolling out and baking L’ahm b’ajeen.

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