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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

"Adonis? More like bloody Hades !": a tale of a meal in a Lebanese restaurant in Nice

 I was hankering for some Baklava when my BF asked me where I fancied having lunch, last weekend in Nice. I suggested "ADONIS" as we were heading in the direction of the Old town and the Cours Saleya. We had eaten there before and the service wasn't great nor was my suggestion Du jour but I did remember that the desert menu was copious and filled with the sticky,sweet goodies Lebanese desserts are all about and just perfect with a fresh pot of mint tea. And did I mention my hankering?...
There were a few people eating on the terrace,enough to indicate that it was busy but upon looking indoors where there was no one, not enough to indicate that they were overwhelmed. We chose to sit indoors(hesitation from waiter and first scowl of the day from the manager) for the a/c and to get away from the hustle and bustle created by the " Marriage a Minute" festivities happening in front of the restaurant, at the town hall. Lunch and a show was perfect but from a distance.
Not so much as a welcoming smile from manager as we sat down and were handed the menus. I had noticed how surly he was the first time we ate there and  had hoped that he would have gotten over it whatever it was by now...Apparently not. My BF decided on the chicken shawarma platter and I wanted something "light" (if that isn't an oxymoron when Lebanese food is concerned!) so that I could have dessert. I saw "the vegetarian dish" liking all the suggestions there except for the falafel. I never eat the falafel on these dishes and thought why waste a falafel when I could have say...a sambousek (meat or cheese filled samosa)? I asked the waiter and he replied that he would need to check with "Le chef". There was I thinking he would consult the chef in the kitchen when lo and behold the manager came flying at me like a bat out of the eaves:
"What is the problem? What is it you want?"
"I don't like felafel...I simply would like to know whether you could replace it..."I replied surprised at his outburst.
"The restaurant is full, we are very busy...we can't waste time changing things on pre pared dishes! What dish did you ask for, vegetarian? What dish??"the man was pent up anger in rubber soled shoes.
"Stop!" I exclaimed. "Fine! You don't have to say another word..." A simple "yes" or "no" would have sufficed.
Smarting, he walked off. I was boiling with anger....we could have left, but I hate to make a scene and frankly was too hungry to move...yes,yes...I know.
He came back to take down our order, trying for polite and mild mannered but failing..." Do I have to explain Bamieh (Okra) to you...or are you familiar with it?" My cold blooded look had him check his attitude.... I was giving him the cold shoulder frozen and double dipped in dry ice treatment...and it seemed to work.
The food was good, my Okra was sublime with just the right amount of coriander and garlic, the labne (thick yoghurt to be served with a trickle of olive oil and finger licking good..)was perfect to scoop up with the hot pitta pockets and the meat sambouseks...yummy. My BF was in food heaven  with his shawarma platter as well as a dish of "Soujouk"(little lamb sausages in a heavenly tomato sauce)and as long as the "chef" stayed away from us...all went swimmingly.
After we finished and my BF went to the restroom, the manager ventured over to remove the empty plates and try his hand at small talk. One word : Useless .
We did have our baklava and ate it too, along with a portion of freshly made "Ishta": little blini like pancakes with a cheesy, chewy interior all drenched in thick syrup that makes your teeth scream and your stomach cry out for more.
We paid and left, thankfully service is included in France otherwise he wouldn't have gotten a red cent as a tip from us.
The food is good,the service is terrible: the manager needs to check his irritability at the door and deal with the scowl....Check TripAdvisor...I wasn't the only one to complain about the weird service at this otherwise delightful restaurant.
Will I return? Definitely NOT...
.....who needs a stomach upset before even getting to the food.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fawlty Phone Lines...?

I picked up the phone today to call my favourite little Italian restaurant "Da Laura" in Cannes to book a table. It is incredibly popular and if you don't reserve you will be disappointed.
"Buongiorno ,Da Laura...can I help you?"
"I would like to book a table please.."
"For lunch or dinner?"
Funny I thought,they have never been open for dinner:
"Are you open for dinner now?"
"No, just asking."
"Right, well I want to book a table for two..."
"What name?"
"What time?"
"12.30 please."
"And the name..."
I pressed my mouth closer to the mouth piece:
"And what time?..."
"Right 12.20"
"And what name..."
"MANUEL? Is that you?...."

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Anthropology 101

One doesn't need a pith helmet, a shovel nor sponsorship to be able to enjoy the many splendors at the Anthropology store on Regents street... just a healthy dose of curiosity and time. The ample space once occupied by Wedgewood, has now been transformed into an edgy,viby boutique.  As soon as you step into its welcoming arms....you will feel like Dorothy stepping into OZ..... a long way from home.
 The two shopping emporiums opened in London (one on Regent street and the other replacing Antiquarius on Kings road)are far more edgier and visually appealing than their counterparts in NYC. The decor and light,the structure and layout is such that you seem to be in a museum one minute, a boutique the next and a work of art throughout. The need is to buy , but also to gawk and stare at everything.

The changing rooms are like studio apartments ; they are  clean and spacious havens that look more like the insides of a large walk in closet than those tight coffin like boxes with curtains that stick to your bum like static giving the impression that you are inside wrestling with an alligator when all you are really trying to do doing is put on a pair of trousers. And don't get me started on the dust bunnies....Gap currently holds a gold medal for those.
 The staff are extremely pleasant ,many of them are americans with an easy smile and a helpful nature.
I love the skylight in the Regent street branch and the "hanging gardens of Babylon"... if Babylon is in London's Regent street. You are lulled into serenity and insighted to buy almost immediately... you can't help yourself: a little something for yourself,your kitchen...a gift that you end up keeping .

 I came away with  a chequered shirt as well as a delightful stack of colourful measuring cups that are too beautiful to be used for something as basic as that.My sister came up with a much better option: to use them for various snacks at "wine o'clock ", or "beer o'clock" or if you must..."whisky o'clock".

With all the american brands arriving on our shores where will the fun be in shopping Stateside? 
 You can't walk passed Cecconi's in Savile row without your senses being assaulted by the citrusy signature scent wafting over from the nearby "Abercrombie and Fitch" . As you approach the store you are wallowing in both the scent and the enormous bags from the shoppers stumbling out into the daylight. "Banana Republic"  is now on Kings road as well as Regent street with this season's look  focusing on"Mad Men"....if Mad Men is based in the Yorshire dales and not on Madison Ave. I frankly wasn't impressed with this season's collection ; I saw creased dresses hanging on listless hangers and a colour combination that would make Nora Batty cringe .... I simply couldn't conjure up an image of Betty Draper, let alone Joan Harris sporting any of these garments on show. Disappointed.
 Moving on....
"Coach" will be opening it's doors soon and the fabulous Reed Krakoff (chief designer at Coach who has his own fabulous collection)bags I so coveted when in New York  are now available at Harvey Nichols and on net-a- porter....hmmmm
  "Kate Spade" has opened 2 shops, one in Covent garden and the other on Sloane square,yes the darling of the Upper Eastside has defected .How will it compare with the likes of the very British and very in demand Anya Hindmarch ? Fashion is like a lunch with a very large italian family...there is enough for every one and something for all tastes.
Buon Apetito.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


 Look at this beauty : directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud , filmed in the Galeries des Glaces at the Chateau de Versailles and music by Gossip.
Keep your eyes open for some guest appearences....
Enjoy....it will help you forget the whole Galliano debacle.
Timeless, beautiful Dior.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger ft. Christina Aguilera

 For all you lovers of Maroon 5 out there: Pre order their new album " Hands All Over"...so you can "Move like Jagger" all over your living room.
Such a feel good song...join me and lets LET LOOSE!
NB: I almost got pulled over by the police on the highway as I was " Moving like Jagger" while driving...Hey! if it feels good....Worrysome part was , I had had a couple of glasses of champagne and wine... looks like I was also " Drinking Like Winehouse".

Friday, 2 September 2011

" Say You , Say.... Ravioli ": a love story part 2.

For all those who read my posting “Say you, Say me...” back in Oct.2010, you will be familiar with the characters: the ballsy B looking for love and her hopelessly romantic “starter boyfriend” X. For all those who don’t...you have some scrolling to do or simply click on this to catch up:

So B thought long and hard over the situation with X and she decided to give things a chance. She kept her mouth closed and her ears open trying to figure this tall lanky guy, with a penchant for “cheesy and queasy”, out. What she did know was that he was visibly besotted with her and had no qualms in showing it. But love had played tricks on her in the past, she was now prepared to outwit it before she falls into its trap.But they had to step it up a notch now, another night in listening to bloody Lionel Ritchie and she would have to break X’s heart as well as his stereo. His romantic overtures were too Barbara Cartland for her taste and yet he still hadn’t taken her out for a slap up meal. Could X’s reticence be an oversight on his behalf or was he simply a tight wad? She shuddered at the memory of a past paramour who would bring a teabag of his favourite green tea with him whenever he spent the night as well as a packet of biscuits.There was never a second teabag, nor a second packet of biscuits. After several nights of this ritual, B had to ask:
“Tell me something, what is up with the one teabag?”
“Oh, I love a cup of green tea before going to bed” was his reply.
“And ...you just think of bringing the one?” said B dripping with sarcasm. “How about bringing the entire box? And maybe...I don’t know, leave it here?”
“Well... I didn’t know whether you liked green tea...” was his response.
 Hers was to send him packing.

The Foire de Nice, a yearly event and culinary treat for all self respecting foodie on the Cote D’Azur, was in full swing that weekend and B suggested to X that they drive to Nice to check it out.
So there they were amongst the many stands and stalls of mouth watering treats and B’s stomach started to rumble to a steady beat....take me out for lunch,take me out for lunch.But the loved up X remained stoically oblivious to the wild card she had dealt him: would he pass the test or tighten his wad?
“So what do you want to do now?” he happily asked, rose tinted glasses firmly in place.
“I’m hungry and would like to get something to eat!” she responded, slightly riled now that he still hadn’t picked up on the natural flow to this date: food, wine and then if he is lucky...some passionate dessert back at his flat with their companion Lionel Ritchie .Then again, at this point all she could imagine him possibly singing was: “Hello?... Is it meat you’re looking for?....”Grrrr
“Oh! Why didn’t you say something? Come with me...”he grabbed her hand and headed for a stall that made and sold fresh ravioli. B faint with hunger but determined to stand her ground, spotted a smattering of tables and chairs beside the stall and thought to herself: “Ok... he is making an effort here, although this isn’t quite what I wanted... it is kind of cute.”
X bought a portion of ravioli and turned to B triumphant. He then proceeded to turn his back on the stand, the tables , the inviting chairs and everything he holds dear...the lightning was about to crack.
“Isn’t this fun?” he declared with unbridled glee as he forked a piece of ravioli and thrust it at her gaping mouth: “A bite for you and a bite for me...”
B delirious with hunger and disappointment let rip: “Are you f**# kidding me? Are you seriously planning on spoon feeding me bits of ravioli while we stand here in the middle of all these people? What comes after that... Paddy cake?”
A now frightened X stood stoke still, fork in mid air, eyes agog, his blood rapidly draining from his face: “But... you said you were hungry! “he replied in his defence.
“Yessss ...as in take me to a restaurant ! Would that be too much to ask...or doesn’t your wallet stretch that far?”
“But I thought that this would be romantic....”insisted a stunned X with a face like a slapped arse.

X looks back on this day fondly now: “Boy! You looked scary...like an electrified brillo pad!”
Moral of the story: Never look a gift horse in the mouth...and if its mouth is open...it obviously needs to be fed.

They have moved on and moved in together since then....except for Lionel, of course. He can now be seen on television making fun of his own tunes in the ad for Walkers crisps....thankfully it isn’t on French TV.