Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sunny September

   It is true that we reached the end of September, yet the weather is still humid and hot, except the some showers that have fallen during the last few days. Still, walking around at AUB from the OSB Business lower Campus to the upper campus (a 10 minute walk) is avoidable when you don’t have class up there. Besides that, and I even think that you realized, I have improved on my professional procrastinating skills. And this is regardless of the loads of study that needs to be done before I give time to update you guys! I should try to manage my time better because the way it is right now makes me very unhappy!

   I was wearing a Current Elliot black faded denim, H&M T shirt, my new black platforms Superga, YSL sunglasses, and finally my Fendi tote!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekly Fashion News (16/09-22/09)

   According to Cool Brands list, Chanel is officially ranking first as the coolest fashion brand and 13th among all others! Apple topped the chart, car brand Aston Martin took the second place, while Rolex came third and Nike fourth, Glastonbury reached number five.


   Did royal baby Prince George even had to speak a word to top the 1000 Power list? Nope. The three-month-old baby came before his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, at number seven, and father, Prince William, who ranked joint-11th with Prince Harry. The queen ranks at 16.

   LVMH has acquired a stake in British footwear label Nicholas Kirkwood. Exact figures of the sale have not yet been released.

   Christian Lacroix unveils his debut collection for Petit Bateau and the Paris Opera.

   Kate Moss is staring in a short film for Stuart Weitzman for the brand's autumn/winter 2013 campaign. I LOVE!

   Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle (who is now investing on the restoration of the Colosseum) and Giogio Armani are picking on each other about investment ideas. After Della Valle has urged Armani to help support the restoration of Italian historic sites, he replied, ““I restored Villa Necchi years ago for 3 billion lire with my own money, not that of shareholders — do you understand?” said Armani, pointing to the fact that the Colosseum is being restored with the help of the Tod’s Group, which is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. With a touch of irony, Tod’s has held presentations at the early 20th century Villa Necchi and its museum for years.

   Gianni Versace’s famous Miami mansion was sold to VM South Beach LLC for $41.5 million. Donald Trump was outbid by just $500,000. According to Vogue, Gianni Versace bought the mansion in 1992 for less than $3 million (£1.88 million), and spent $33 million (£21.2 million) on its renovation. The original asking price for the house was $125 million (£80.3 million), before the price was lowered to $75 million (£49 million). Bidding at the auction started at $25 million (£15.7 million).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shake Shack in Lebanon!

   Damn I feel so stupid for not trying out the shakes during my first visit at Shake Shack, after it opened recently in City Center mall, Hazmieh!—it’s really been a few minutes I’m staring at the shakes and custards’ Google images. Next time, next time. When I heard Shake Shack opened, I thought that it was at Uruguay Street. Last time I went there, to Collins more specifically, I saw a place just at the front reserved for work in progress with a hanging poster written on it Shake Shack. That’s how I first knew about Shake Shack’s existence.

   Last Thursday, I went there with two other friends. We stood in the fast-moving queue, we ordered with the cash registers wearing their best smiles, we got a buzzer, we sat and we waited for a couple of minutes. We got ourselves the mustard and ketchup filled in small recipients and the mayonnaise in sachets. The sauces were Heinz I think, I could tell. Some waiters were here to help around—I was confused, is it a self-service or not? Some reviews seemed to brag about how nice the waiters were, the nicest ever and all that but honestly, I will tell you to wait a full month and see how the smiles will stretch down into bored and tired faces—though I hope not. The strength of a good customer care is not just about the first impression they give but it’s about keeping it up and even improving on that, so time will actually tell.

   I had the Shack burger, double patty, (17,000 L.L.) and decided to get two fries for myself with cheese and without (8,000 and 5,000 L.L) and a small refill coke (3,000 L.L.; the large one costs 6,000 L.L.). With the view I had to the kitchen, I saw the fries boxes so small! Even, I saw something I was very depreciative of: What I saw is the guy that was in charge of giving off the orders on the assembly line REMOVE some fries from the tray because APPARENTLY there was too many? A bit from every basket and he could make up a new one already! Not too nice, right? My eyes hated to see that.

Sneak-peek into the kitchen, behind the cash registers.

   What’s inside my burger: a double medium-cooked angus beef patty with two cheddar slices on top of each, topped with a beautiful green lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. From the instant I bit into the burger, I definitely said it’s much better than McDonald’s or Burger King. The taste of the patty and the blend with the cheddar cheese makes it perfectly soft. The fries are overrated; I would prefer them to be more deep-fried because I felt like eating diet French fries in a fast-food restaurant. Likewise, the cheese fries are a bit bland and I advise you to get the regular ones instead. At a first glance, I thought the burger looked small compared to the bigger-sized buns everywhere else but in fact, I was barely able to finish it.

Notice how they did not cut the full bun. Very practical.

    The biggest drawback of Shake Shack is the way you are offered to clean your hands afterwards. To my knowledge, everyone eats with his own hands; it’s a fast-food after all. They gave us some tissue paper, not enough; we had to get up several times to get some. In addition, they don’t have wet wipes or hand sanitizer, at worse, in sachets. We left the table to go to the hand gel box to clean our hands that is placed on the trash can, where we threw what’s left on the tray. A way of doing like the Americans, I thought; I can imagine the way they have perceived it, a clearly mechanical designed self-service—order, eat, throw, wash. In addition to that, there is no toilet at Shake Shack but ideally, they have rented the closest space in front of the toilets in City Center.

   It’s a Lebanese society and Lebanese like to be pampered but if you want to have the happy waiters wandering around the tables, then it’s not really a self-service anymore. Consequently, Shake Shack needs to add changes. Therefore, I suggest for Shake Shack to add the availability of tissue paper on all tables above all and then I suggest the option of hand sanitizer in sachets. Because when you are there to eat their burger for a fraction of an hour it’s not very practical for the customer to get up every other minute to get ketchup/mustard/mayo or tissue paper or hand sanitizer.

   As I could have said here and there, Shake Shack is actually designed in a way to fulfill orders in a very orderly and organized manner. The room space for sitting is vast and there is outdoor seating as well. The design is very true to the spirit of a fast-food restaurant, yet more modern and dashing.

   Considering the more elevated prices at Shake Shack, is the differential cost worth the taste? It’s really a matter of opinion. For me it is partly and it is more than that. I believe that the incremental cost hides an added value contributing to the maintenance and quality control of the food, the kitchen hygiene, and the highly efficient and performing assembly line which is superior to the ones I have seen before. The price is well deserved.

   All in all, I would definitely pay Shake Shack another visit—to try the shakes and custards at least.

For more info about Shake Shack, visit their webpage!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fashion Weekly News (09/09-15/09)

   Nicole Kidman was knocked over by a cyclist yesterday as she returned to her hotel after attending the Calvin Klein show. It has been said that the actress intends to press charges against the cyclist - said to be Carl Wu, a paparazzo who was rushing to take a picture of her.

   Chanel Iman names the brands identified for racist acts, that she feels are failing to use "models of colour" often enough in their shows and campaigns. Céline, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Victoria Beckham and Marc by Marc Jacobs were all identified as failing in her eyes.

   Marc by Marc Jacobs has apologised and withdrawn from sale a T-shirt that bears a graphic that closely resembles a neo-Nazi band's album cover by the name of boots and braces. Department store Nordstom has withdrawn the T-shirt, although it is still available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

   Harrods' security director, Gregory Faulkener, uncovered a phishing scam which has cost more than £1 million.

   Have a look at Manolo’s Blahnik very first debut at London Fashion Week!

   Rumors say that JW Anderson might be joining LVMH. Anderson's trajectory has much in common with Christopher Kane's, who has been recently acquired by another fashion conglomerate, Kering (formerly PPR).

   Neiman Marcus has been sold for the largest proposition ever made yet in the luxury department store sector, for a value of $6 billion to a group spearheaded by Ares Management and a Canadian pension plan.

   Christian Lacroix has teamed up with French favourite Petit Bateau as well as the Paris Opera to create a capsule collection of four pieces for women and two for children. The collection will be available starting December 6.

   Alexa Chung unveils her projects of writing “an image-heavy autobiography” and not a memoir as she insists. The book, titled “It”, is comprised of Chung's music, style, inspirations, and boys. She says, “It's almost a stream of consciousness about several topics so it was fun to write. I composed it all in emails to my editor, because I don't have Microsoft Word.”

Friday, September 13, 2013

Super Homemade Italian Burger

   If we can agree, this may be considered as an Italian version of a burger because the recipe I have adapted from “Larousse, Pates riz et Cie” uses Spaghetti inspired meatballs and Polenta (cornmeal based) fries, the polenta which originates from Italy.

   When I started to read the new recipe book I got recently, I got the idea of matching the meatballs and polenta fries into a new revolutionary burger.

   This recipe yields for 6 burgers, and we’re all 6 at home—including the housekeeper. They all rated this recipe for an above 10 mark over 10. By the way, I’m very credible! You will not regret trying out this recipe!


The Polenta Fries
250g of Polenta
1 L of water
100g of Feta cheese
1 tsp of Marjoram
1 tsp of Rosemary
Sunflower oil for frying
Salt, Fleur de Sel, and ground pepper

The Meat Love
400g of ground beef
400g of ground lamb
100g of ground bacon (The butcher couldn’t do it for me so I grinded them instead in the blender)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
12.5 cl of red wine
1 tsp of table salt
Ground pepper (x3)
1 tsp of hamburger spices
1 cup of tomato puree (Italian Passata)
4 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

The Burger Mayo Sauce
4 full tbsp of light Mayonnaise
1 tsp of Garlic puree
1 full tbsp of Grain Mustard
2 tbsp of Lemon juice

The other additions to the burger
6 white plain buns
6 slices of Light Swiss cheese
Salad Leaves

Cookware and Cutlery:
Baking Mould
Sharp knife


The Polenta Fries
Boil the water in a saucepan over a strong heat than pour over the polenta sachet and whisk thoroughly until mixture becomes homogeneous.

Turn the heat to low and allow the polenta to thicken for 2 to 3 minutes.
Smash the feta cheese with a fork and add it with the herbs than the salt and mix well.

Place a transfer or grease paper polenta to baking dish, spreading evenly with a dampened rubber spatula. Chill, uncovered, until set, about an hour.

Meanwhile, we’re going to prepare the meat.

The Meat Love
Preheat the oven at 180ºC (Thermostat 6)
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, the bacon and the garlic and make it back for 5 to 10 minutes while mixing frequently until the mixture becomes damp.

Pour the wine and bring to boil. After that, Set the fire at low heat and cook for 3 minutes till complete evaporation of liquid.

Add the mixture to the meats, the beef and the lamb, and mix well.
Sprinkle the salt, the pepper, and the spices. Mix again.

Butter the mould that you are going to use for baking the meatballs.
Form big fat meatballs and tamp them down by hand. Put them on the mould while keeping enough space between every one of them.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil at medium heat then pour in the Passata with the Worcestershire sauce and bring to boil for about 10 minutes.
Pour the tomato puree sauce on top of the meatballs evenly. Cover the baking mould with foil paper and put in oven for 40 minutes.

You can have a break of 5 minutes before carrying onto the next step.

The Polenta Fries
Unmold the polenta by lifting the grease paper. Even the edges with a knife and cut it into finger-sized sticks.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, like you do for the French fries, at high heat.
Drop the polenta by ten and allow cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes with supervision.
Transfer the polenta fries on an absorbing paper and season heavily with fleur de sel.

Prepare the other additions to the burger
NB: When the 45 minutes have elapsed, take off the mould from the oven.
Wash the salad leaves and dry out.
Combine the ingredients of the mayo sauce together and mix until homogeneous.

Setting up the burger
Open cut the bun.
Rub on both sides some mayo sauce.
Start by mounting the burger; first put the Swiss cheese then top it with the meat, a few polenta fries, and the salad leaf.

Now devour and savor until last bite!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer, Please Don't Go!

   It’s the first Sunday after I go back to college and the weather is still really hot and I still want to be in bikini at the beach. That Sunday my family and I went to have lunch at Babel Baher in Amchit—yes the one I wrote a review about it riight here. This time, I loved the food even more because we actually ordered what we want, so we were served with choice and quantity—you can also choose the restaurant’s formula to serve you a complete meal (mezze, fish, and dessert included) for about $50 per person. Plenty shrimp and calamari plates came to the table like the pouring rain—YUM. Not to mention the fish, it was served all raw, fried, and baked. But let’s not talk about the dessert, because you all know what happens there. We sat on the terrace, enjoyed the sea view and snapped pictures as well!

   I was wearing a Philip Lim 3.1 Dalmatian printed and check dress, Chanel earrings, and DKNY black leather heels; I was holding my mom’s Chanel grey caviar shopping bag (stolen with approvalJ).