Beirut and an Unfortunate Realization

I was contemplating this week’s Foodie Friday post the other day as I wasted time on the internet. I knew that Todd and I were going to go out for dinner on our anniversary, and I figured I’d just take photos of whichever restaurant we ended up going to. Then, I accidentally stumbled across a bunch of websites criticizing the trend of hipsters taking photos of their meals (such as here and here). Somehow, it never occurred to me that taking pictures of what you eat is an obnoxious trend – I love seeing photos of food, and I couldn’t be a hipster if I tried. I comforted myself by saying “don’t worry, self. This is for a blog post.” Then the realization hit me: taking photos of food for a blog is taking the trend to a whole new level. Not only do you engage in the obnoxious behaviour of photographing your food, you then go on to write about your narcissistic consumption experience. Hmmm.

I contemplated this for awhile, but it made me hungry. So I grabbed T-bone and went to Beirut, a Lebanese restaurant in the Thong Lo area. Nothing that a little a lot of garlic can’t solve. Soon, my fears had passed, and I was ready to once again take low quality, low resolution photos of food. Sorry, hipster haters.

Our meal started off with an assortment of vegetables and dips that were basically pure garlic cloaked in fat. So good.

Vegetable platter

Clockwise from left: tahini (sesame seed paste), labneh (garlic and cheese), jalapeno puree

Choosing our entrees was extremely difficult. I have a bit of a Lebanese food fetish, and Lebanese restaurants are few and far between in Bangkok. There were so many options, and I just knew that I would make the wrong choice and live with gastric regret. Fortunately, the restaurant had platter options – meals that include four different choices. And fortunately, I knew that I could coerce my husband into sharing with me (“It’s our anniversary, darling. You should celebrate our love by sharing all your food with me.”).

After much careful deliberation, I went with the following platter:

Clockwise from top left: Tabouleh (parsley/couscous/tomato/garlic salad), hummus, stuffed vine leaves, chicken shawarma

While Todd went with these treats:

Chicken shawarma, meat sambosa (meat pastry), tabouleh, mouhammara (nut/tomato/garlic/bread crumb dip)

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The platter with Todd in the background to give you an idea of its size

I was feeling intense fear at the thought that I would miss out on an important taste experience, so we also ordered this:

Cheese sambosa (deep-fried cheese pastry)

Maybe it’s because I hadn’t eaten Lebanese food in such a long time, but our meals tasted amazing. Pure garlic deliciousness. I was basically comatose with food joy. I could hardly speak, which didn’t necessarily make for the most riveting dinner conversation, but it was worth it. We waddled out a few hours later, and we fully intend to visit Beirut again.

What do you think? Are people who take photos of food obnoxious?

My Life Lately: Editing and Eating

I was about to write another post about eating, but I realized that this blog has been a little too calorific lately. I mean, I love reading about food as much as the next person, but it’s not a good thing when words on a screen make you want to go on a cleanse. I’ll try to tone it down in the future, but to be frank, my recent life has involved a lot of food, a lot of editing, a lot of subbing, and not a whole lot else – hence the over-abundance of gastronomy. I’ve been doing some work for a women’s magazine – writing, editing, etc. – and several of the articles have involved restaurant reviews. The next issue is about to go to the printers, so life has been a little crazy lately. I go from this:

Calamari with truffle

to this:

My “A is for Angry” Birds shirt helps me destroy writers’ hopes and dreams.

to this:

This is a candid photo: subbing for lower school sports day is quite possibly the most heroic thing I’ve ever done in my life. 

Certain basic life details – such as grocery shopping – have fallen by the wayside, so when we do end up eating at home, it’s pretty sad. This morning, we had essentially no breakfast foods in the house. No bread, no cereal, no oatmeal, no eggs, no fruit. Fortunately, T “MacGyver” Bone whipped up a tasty treat: flour and water, stirred together and fried in a pan. Eaten with butter. I now understand the difference between “full” and “satiated.”

Butter. And flour. And water.

Eaten with maple syrup and a side of sugar.

It’s a life. And after the magazine is printed, I promise you’ll see more of the blistering pursuit of intellectualism that you’ve come to expect from this blog. Or at least a little variety.

Foodie Friday: Big Tree Restaurant

Today’s Foodie Friday post focuses on a hidden but simultaneously not-so-hidden gem: I am referring to the restaurant located on the grounds of our apartment building. If you drove past on the main road, the massive walls that the apartment owners have erected totally obscure it from view, but if you’re a resident of the apartment, you can basically spit on it from your balcony.

It is nestled amidst a veritable forest of Big Trees.

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Perfectly situated for an afternoon at the pool!

And from a more flattering angle.

The restaurant is the brain child of my l’il buddy, the Lovely Lip.
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(Dear Lovely Lip: please do not hurt me for posting the photo of you trying on the cupcake skirt)

She loves home decor and entrepreneurial adventures, and she has made the restaurant a darling getaway for hungry teachers, football geeks (who inexplicably want to get up at all hours to watch college ball) and a random assortment of neighbourhood workers. It opened several weeks ago, and since that time, it has been luring us and our neighbours with the promise of food at our very doorstep. I mean, some days, it is just a little too difficult to walk the 10 metres to the street.

And an additional 10 meters to the pork noodle place.

The restaurant serves a variety of Western and Thai food. It clearly understands its main audience – teachers can get yer basic heart-attack-on-a-plate Western foods, move on to coconut milk and Pad Thai, and then abruptly switch to green salad and chicken when they start feeling the guilt.

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Nope. Not feeling guilty yet.

I’m not naming names, but a few of the teachers have become permanent fixtures.

And it’s Cute Patriotic Texas Beth for the win!

Todd and I usually visit several times per week. Even though I basically know the menu by heart, it takes me forever to make up my mind. Thankfully, Lip and her waiters do not subscribe to the hover school.

Just the Looking Cute and Perky school

They do, however, enjoy taking pictures of their customers eating. Such as this gem that showed up on their website. I’m sure it’s helped increase their sales.

The sad part is that I wasn’t even trying to pose for this one.

Although my arteries may disagree, I am pleased to have a convenient venue in which to eat tasty food and inflict my abominable Thai on unsuspecting waiters.