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!

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