Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Soft Opening of Monte Cassino, Tabarja



Last Friday I was invited to the soft opening of Monte Cassino, a 5 Stars Boutique Hotel in Tabarja that is a short walk from Casino Du Liban, to sleep in with fellow bloggers, among them Najib from Blog Baladi and Dana from Ivy Says—Mia, a close friend joined  me as well. The night triggered a lot of enthusiasm because it was the eve of the start of Jounieh Festival (I'm going tonight to the ZAZ concert), that we know launches with a beautiful celebration of fireworks all along the Jounieh bay around 11pm. The shore would be enlightened with launch boats and bigger yachts—and that is the time of the year when I can brag about Jounieh being my hometown. 
I was very surprised to see my room when Mia and I checked in. Besides the shower near the toilet that has a phone BTW, we had a Jacuzzi in the room set in front of a long glass window behind which we can see all of Jounieh bay—priceless. I had a hardworking week, and that was definitely my reward sent from the seven heavens! 


Like usual, we were late to check in so we rushed to the tulip lounge where all the bloggers and VIP were awaiting us for a seated dinner. Right before the fireworks, our taste buds sparkled on their proposed formula. We were served a beef Carpaccio, hummus with fried shrimps and mini brown toast, and a green salad as starters. Mia and I shared the choice of two main dishes: the Salmon orange with basmati rice and Beef with a gratin Dauphinois (a feuilleté of potatoes). The Salmon tasted tender and moist in my mouth—it was baked just the right amount till it was cooked through. Because I am a fan of salmon tartare, salmon maki, and Thai sweet and sour, the combination of salmon with orange and basmati was really not what I had expected. If you ask me, I would pick the steak instead with the gratin Dauphinois, which I thought was a smart and more refined substitute to the otherwise potato puree. We also shared between four, two delightful desserts: Chocolate folded in a crepe and Pain Perdu—They were so good that we were literally, technically, verbally, and physically fighting for the last bite. Although the desserts served left me in love and I haven't seen the restaurant menu for the typical booking days, I would expect to see there something more worthy of a 5 stars hotel, meaning sweet bites that are more refined and less common to find in restaurants.
Overall, the food came as an exceedingly gratifying surprise, and I loved every bit of it.

 [If you read the brackets yesterday night and you want to know, I had a great time!]

Then we all rushed to the rooftop to assist to the undeniably most beautiful fireworks in Lebanon all-year-round—the incredible scenery lasted for at least 15 minutes. After that, the party followed with good music and it was then much easier for the bloggers to get along, socialize, and enjoy their night.



I was wearing a yellow backless Versace for H&M dress

Part of the bloggers


 



 When all the bloggers moved to their rooms and I finally got to mine, I turned on the TV to a good surprise.The TV reads " Welcome Abi Khalil" (my name).
The hotel is very secure; not anyone can get in the floors where there is the rooms. You actually have to swipe in your room card to allow the elevator to access your room's floor.

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