Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anthony isn't the only American chef who has been to Beirut...

Here he is, again, 4 years later, in Beirut.

The last time that Mr. Bourdain was in Beirut, he spent the show inside of a hotel as the city and airport was bombed, back in 2006. 

My family and I went to Lebanon, the home of my wife's family, early this year in January and also last year in December.  What a place!  Let me re-hash some things about Lebanon. 
 First of all, everyone was friendly.  I look like an American or least I do not look like any Mediterranean person.  I did not hear a single harsh word, either in Arabic or English, directed against me.  My wife's cousin took me out with him to just run to the small food store down the street and we practiced buying things and speaking some Arabic and just being nice to the locals.  They were extremely patient with us and didn't complain at all.  One of the men who was behind the register even helped count out the change to us, so I could help understand the money system a bit better. I remember going into a small shop and the employee heard us speaking English.  He asked us, "are you American?"  We said "yes". And then he followed up with a question that I never thought I would hear; "Are country doesn't look like what your country says it is, does it?"  He was correct too.  Lebanon, from what we saw, is like a whole world in one country.  They have sandy beeches, thick forests, stone mountains and plains to grow food and grains on.  They have large cities and tiny towns and it is all in one country.  It would be as if someone took America and shrunk it down to a miniature size.  The best thing someone said to me was "Welcome to Lebanon."  You don't see that on the news.  Here in America, every news station portrays Lebanon as a desert country where bombs are constantly going off and the city if in ruins and Americans are killed on site.  Not true in Lebanon. 

Next up, service.  There has only been one other place in the world, where I have been in a restaurant and has someone shadowing me, in a good way, and taking care of my every need at a restaurant.  In Lebanon, whether it is a nice place in Beirut with executive chefs, or a small roadside kitchen outside in the mountains, the food and service has been incredible.  The picture above, by the way is the dessert table.  Besides providing us with enough food to sink the Titanic, they were regularly taking away trash, dirty dishes and the like out of our way.  Then, when we could eat no more, they moved us to this table and asked us to eat dessert.  The American dollar was worth way more than the Lebanese pound and I don't recall the value of our meal in US dollars, but it was joke worthy.  That much food, for such a small price.

If I think of something else, I will post it on here.  My wife often talks about living in Lebanon and while it would be and was a culture shock, it could be fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment