Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blogger “Une Libanaise à Paris” à Beirut

   It was a pleasure meeting again Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco, founder and author behind the blog Une Libanaise a Paris (ULAP, for short) during her short stay in Beirut last weekend. Readers, friends, and family gathered at Le Gray hotel in Beirut to meet her at Indigo on the Roof, Le Gray’s posh rooftop terrace with an infinity pool. The event was curated by Le Gray, of course, The Agenda Beirut, and Swarovski.
During the evening, Samar answered questions and told her story for the ones who did not know more about her personal life, (I have written a previous post about it here). She spoke about her background and her encounter with Karl Lagerfeld and the interview that followed. Yet, what interested me the most was the fashion blogger’s previous career in journalism in economy and politics topics and her previous job at France 24 TV station. I was wondering what has happened to that… so I asked her and she said, “My blog has taken up much of my time—and there I was thinking, please don’t say you stopped—but I still do, I write for An-Nahar—**relief**. 

  Lately, I was noticing bloggers are just like advertising banners and it’s awful. I would never want to put all my efforts and hard work just to be a show-off banner. It’s not enough, personally, I need to contribute in something and give true value. I have a passion for fashion and food but I have higher aspirations. You don’t have to be an airhead to be a blogger.  

   For this occasion, I was wearing a Sinequanone denim dress, Ash leather fringed chunky heels, Saint Laurent Paris leather fringed bag, and Swarovski necklace. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

“El Pimpi” and a Passion for Cooking


   One of the main points of Faraya’s exhibition at le Jardin du Mzaar was Farid Kahale’s sandwiches stand, El Pimpi. For instance, if I had lost my friends, I would just head to El Pimpi’s stand. Although this is not really the reason why I’m talking about El Pimpi, it does surely promise a bustling mini crowd on his future food truck or stand.
   The first reason why I’m talking about El Pimpi is the passion Farid has for cooking. Like all girls go broke shopping for Christmas, Farid would rather shop for 9 Kg of Jamón ibérico (pronounced as “Khamone”) from Barcelona and take over the role of his mom to cook for the Christmas Eve dinner. Jamón ibérico, also known as “Iberian Ham”, is in fact a type of cured ham mostly produced in Spain and it is prevalent in some Portuguese dishes; it was also voted the best ham in the world and it is expensive.

Farid slicing a big smoked Bacon block

Farid spreading some mustard with the bacon jam

   Although El Pimpi may make you think of the word “pimp” on a first impression, Farid has named it this way after an experience in Malaga, a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol. He was going with his friend to a restaurant that is “El Pimpi”, renowned and famous there, when he met the somehow old man behind the restaurant mingling between every table. He was coming forward to his table in a macho yet friendly stance. Farid offered him to drink from his own glass of red wine and they ended up spending the night together drinking from many kinds of alcoholic beverages the owner housed in his restaurant and telling shaggy-dog stories. Apparently, the old man stuttered words in Spanish while Farid could not really understand having recently begun to speak the language; his friend sit aside to laugh at both of his companions. The evening ended late night with encouraging words Farid would keep repeating on, the old man said, “I’ll be El Pimpi in Malaga, and you be “El Pimpi” in Lebanon when you come back”.

This story has nurtured the dream of Farid for starting out his project and led him to launch his first mini kitchen in the garden of “Les Jardins du Mzaar” in Faraya’s exhibitions.

   El Pimpi sandwiches at Faraya were quite tasteful and generous. I also made an interesting discovery with the bacon jam. I’m a moderate fan of bacon—for health purpose—but this savory consistent and crispy spread had a more intense flavor you cannot pass on. Due to his network in the food industry, Farid is also able to procure himself the best smoked salmon for his salmon toasts. Farid has also decided to color his nachos chips for a more fun appetizers with a reaaallly good guacamole! His food is generous and his prices are great. I would love to see him someplace near the nightlife in Beirut! Yalla! (As we say in Lebanon)
Hmmm... I can see the melted cheddar with the bacon jam!