Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Fun Day Trip at Chateau Kefraya

The best way to enjoy your country is to visit it like a tourist. Lebanon has many villages and destinations that we can explore during the weekend to break the routine. Our latest one was to Chateau Kefraya, about an hour drive away from Beirut, where we found ourselves in the middle of nature with mountains on our right side and vineyards surrounding us.
 Our day started with a free wine tour: we witnessed the procedure of the production of the wine from A to Z, the massive machines used and the caves where all the barrels are stored. A wine tasting session followed the educational tour and we got to try a variety of their wine.
Fun was also included in this trip since there is an option to ride a really cool truck that tours around the vineyards and stops in a historical spot. We explored some Roman ruins and saw the beautiful grapes.
To top the experience, Chateau Kefraya organzies an international buffet every Sunday in their gorgerous restaurant. The buffet offers a variety of dishes from salads, to main platters and desserts, with open wine and soft drinks for 55$ per person.
We started with the salad section that included 8 different salads including tabbouleh and fattoush, and of course the Lebanese star mezza items; the hommos and moutabbal batenjen.We were first tempted to try the Beef Peanut salad with its colorful appetizing presentation. It was very delicious thanks to its tasty peanut butter sauce and succulent beef slices. 
•The Rocca Parmesan salad was very light and yet full of flavors. The rocket leaves were very fresh and it had a generous amount of parmesan shaves, fresh mushrooms and walnuts. Its balsamic sauce was very balanced.
•The Shrimp Quinoa salad was the "vitamin loaded" dish thanks to its healthy ingredients: boiled shrimps, white quinoa, rocket leaves and of course the lemon oil dressing.
•And finally we tried the Chicken Caesar salad and it was up to the expectations as it contained the typical ingredients but to make it healthier while giving a crunchy taste, they used green peas instead of the croutons.
We didn't want to get full from the salads because the main platters were already calling us, but when salmon is involved we can't but have a bite. In the middle of the salad buffet, stood gloriously 2 big platters of fresh marinated salmon. We tried some slices with the capers and we fell in love.
Time for the main platters; Château Kefraya wanted to fulfill everyone's desires so they prepared beef, chicken and fish, served with either rice, cooked vegetables or potato purée.
•We adored the steak as it was succulent, juicy and very well marinated. The sauce was very consistent and full of flavors. We had it with a portion of creamy potato purée.
•Our second love was the Chicken Paprika cooked in a creamy paprika sauce that was mildly spicy and finger licking good. We ate the chicken with a cup of rice.
There is always place for desserts even when we are full from savory food and especially that the dessert buffet at Château Kefraya was tempting us in an incredible way.
We drooled when we saw the divine tiramisu, the chocolate pie, the meghli, the chocolate mousse and the cheesecake.
We really can't say what was our favorite because whenever we tried a new dessert we confirmed that it was the best. So we ended up eating all of them and now as we are writing this review we regret not eating more and more.

After our royal lunch, we took a walk towards the beautiful castle on top of the hill; the residence of Michel De Boustros, founder of Château Kefraya. From the top we could overlook the beautiful vineyard fields and we left the domaine filled with positive vibes and delicious food. It was a memorable day!

The buffet is for 55$ per person
The tour and wine tasting are for free
The train ride is for 10.000 L.L.
Location: Route Koub Elias, Kefraya
Phone Number:+ 961 8 645 333/444

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wednesday Nights by the Beach at Eddésands Hotel & Wellness Resort​

Beirut Nightlife can get a little bit annoying during summer with the humidity, the heat and the traffic so activities outside the city are highly attractive. Thankfully, Eddé Sands are organizing "Pieds dans L'eau" buffet, every Wednesday night, an outside the box event where you get to spend the night on the sand by the beach with beautiful melodies in the background.
The evening started with a variety of bruschetta topped with brie cheese, labneh with pesto and parma ham along with your favorite cocktails and nuts. 
Then came the buffet with a variety of salads and BBQ.
There were around 6 types of salads such from the grilled veggies to the blue cheese and walnuts, the Mexican chicken salad, the mixed green with eggplant and many more. The ingredients were extremely fresh and the presentation of the salads was amazing. Our favorites were the Mexican Chicken thanks to its juicy chicken slices, cheddar cheese and spicy tasty sauce, and the blue cheese with its beautifully cut iceberg lettuce and consistent sauce.

The BBQ consisted of hotdogs, mini burgers, chicken breast and steak. The chicken breast and steak were perfectly grilled, the meat was succulent and they were very well marinated. We loved them. We couldn't but try the hotdog and the mini burger and they were impressive as well.

The dessert section included melon and watermelon plus an ice cream freezer serving 6 flavors: strawberry, ashta, vanilla, coffee and lemon.

We enjoyed our quick getaway to Edde Sands where we got to dine in in a casual fun way out of the ordinary.

Location: Jbeil, Lebanon
Price: 36$ excluding drinks
Phone Number: 961-9-546666

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Fun Casual Dinner at Centrico in Badaro

We are very familiar with the Italian, American, Japanese and French cuisines but it is not really the case with the Spanish one. Beirut lacks Andalusian restaurants and Centrico a cool resto pub in Badaro decided to fill the gap. It's located outside the badaro gates behind Mc Donalds and next to Alb Yasou3 Church where you can easily find a parking spot without the annoyance of valet parking. Besides a wide variety of cocktails, their menu has something for everyone; tapas, salads, delicious sandwiches, main platters and desserts.
We started with 
•The Turkey Croquetas were very tasty. They consisted of cheese with Turkey all in a crunchy bread coating. A special dip came along with the platter. 
•The Chicken Quesadillas were literally the BEST we ever had! They were served in a special flower like tart dough instead of the tortilla bread that we know. Each divine flower was filled with chicken slices cooked in an exceptional sauce with cheese vegetables and a jalapeño slice on top. They were an explosion of taste. We highly recommend them. Ps: they were a bit spicy. 
•The Provoletta Cheese Melt with Bread is the Spanish way of the cheese fondue. It was phenomenal! The dip was simply orgasmic served on a candle with a basket of toasted bread. 
•The Patatas Bravas at Centrico are the healthier version of the traditional patatas bravas as they are served baked. They consist of small potatoes baked with a yummy special sauce.
•Finally, the Salmon Roll were fresh but the apple inside should be replaced with another kind of fruit. But anyway thumbs up for the creativity in trying to combine new ingredients to traditional food.
We then passed to the salad and we couldn't but try Centrico's specialty which is the Centrico Salad. It consisted of a bed of mix greens with roasted walnuts, pomegranate, endives, Parma ham slices, mango slices and cherry tomatoes all in a raspberry vinegar dressing. The ingredients were extremely fresh and they gave the perfect mix. The sweetness added by the mango plus the sweet and tangy sauce made the salad very enjoyable.
As main platter we had the Centrico Chicken Sandwich because the waiter advised us to have as it's a star item on their menu. It consisted of 3 slices of pain de campagne filled with grilled chicken breast, Parma ham, Emmental, wild rocca, scrambled eggs, fresh tomato with a mayo mustard sauce. It tasted like the club sandwich but the positive thing about it was the right amount of sauces that made it moist while keeping the crispiness of the borders of the bread slices. The chicken slices were succulent and the ingredients were fresh. It is a must try.
For Dessert we had the Crêpe Nutella. We loved the homemade taste of its dough. It was generously filled with Nutella and served with strawberries. What a lovely sweet way to end our Spanish night.
We were very impressed by the food at Centrico and how delicious it was. You can party at Centrico without having to stress about traffic, finding a parking spot or having a bad meal. Plus they offer 50% discount on all their drinks menu during their happy hour from 5 to 8.
Location: Badaro Trade Center, Alam Street, Badaro, Beirut
Phone: 01 393699
Rating: 8/10
Price Range: 25$