Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Au Coeur du Liban in Metz, France

My day today was unforgettable! And in a really good way. It started with me receiving my positive letter from the company I recently tried to apply to. After successfully passing the exams and interviews, I am told to wait for my next letter where I will be told the dates of the training. Yay for me. It's excellent news. I doubt it will hard for me to turn it down now. In the afternoon, I brought SO to my sister's house. My niece, MO, will be taking care of her for the week or two. We're not taking a family vacation trip this year, so this is a great alternative for SO. She loves to swim and since they have a big swimming pool, I'm sure she will be super happy. The house is also in the middle of their farm, with the animals around. For us, we felt like eating out tonight and celebrating. Dad wanted to treat us and he wanted to try the Lebanese restaurant I found online. I read so many positive reviews, so we were going in with really high expectations. Which isn't always a good thing, but I won't keep you in suspense. We were floored by the delicious food! I guess, here's goes another positive review.

Choosing our food was an easy task. We wanted to try everything, which in turn was a hard task to do!
We did the next best thing.
Dad ordered a Mezze du Sultan (27 Euros) - an assortment of hot and cold starters and a grilled viand.
MR ordered a Mezze (18 Euros) - an assortment of hot and cold starters.
I got a Mchakal Grillade (21 Euros) - a trio of grilled meat (chicken, lamb, and ground beef and lamb).
MR and I shared our orders.

The place cried Lebanese all over the place. Starting with this interesting wall art......

....and this Cedre / Cedar Tree. It was Dad who noticed it first and mentioned how symbolic it was for it to be there. If you look at the flag of Lebanon, the green Cedar Tree is right in the middle. The Cedar tree symbolizes immortality and steadiness.

Then our food finally arrived.

Each plates of Mezze is equivalent to 2 orders (price too!), but was good for at least 3-4 persons.

Hors D'Oeuvre Frois / Cold Starters

Mjadara - Puree of lentilles / Puree of lentils

Taboule Libanais - Melange de persil et de tomates assaisonne de citron et de l'huile d'olive
Lebanese Taboule - Mixture of parsley and tomatoes seasoned with lemon and olive oil

Homous - Puree de pois chiches a la creme de sesame
Homous - Puree of chickpeas with sesame paste

Nowwww, why can't my homemade Homous taste like this?! I absolutely loved it! 

*Not in photo is the Moutabal, which is a caviar of eggplant with sesame paste. The chef wanted to also prepare us Labne Bil Toum, Lebanese white cheese with garlic and mint, but he ran out of the Lebanese white cheese. What a shame because I would have loved to try it!

We were given Pita Bread. I liked to tear a piece, use it as a spoon to scoop the food, and enjoyed eating with my fingers! :)

Hors D'Oeuvre Chauds / Hot Starters

My plate of hot Lebanese starters goodies. One of each.

Above -
Fatayer - Chaussons aux epinards / Savory pastry of spinach

Below -
Sfiha - Tartelettes a la viande hachee marine / tarts with marinated ground beef


Left -
Arayes - Pain libanais grille farci a la viande hachee marine / grilled Lebanese bread stuffed with marinated ground beef

Right -
Falafel - boulettes de pois chiches et feves a la coriandre avec sa sauce tarator / balls of chickpeas and beans with coriander with a sauce tarator


Falafel. This was the best thing ever! I've heard so much of this delicious Lebanese treat in Paris. I was the most excited to try this for the first time and I was not disappointed! It was moist and flavorful. Never would I have guessed that chickpeas and beans could result to this. I'm glad I don't have to travel all the way to Paris to try this!

Jweneh Djej - Ailes de poulet grillees et marinees a l'ail et a la coriandre / grilled chicken wings marinated in garlic and coriander.

Our grilled meats arrived next.

The Mchakal - trio of grilled meats (chicken, lamb, and ground beef and lamb) served with bulgur and side salad.

This was alright. A little dry though, a dipping sauce would have been appreciated. I loved the garlic yogurt sauce served in the restaurant, Persian Palate, in Cebu. The ground beef and lamb skewer is a good alternative to beef skewers when the meat can be tough at times.

Like the previous orders, MR and I shared the dessert too. At this point, I felt like exploding in my pants.

Backlawa (6 Euros) - Assortiment de feuilettes aux pignons de pins, amandes, et pistaches / assortment of puff pastry with pine nuts, almonds, and pistachios.

I don't know how it normally is, but I found it too oily to truly appreciate its taste.

And to end the night (and help with digesting the food) -

The Libanais / Lebanese Tea (2 Euros)

Dinner was not cheap. We paid 93 Euros in total. But we paid for good food, which we truly enjoyed. I know Dad was really happy to finally eat the kind of cuisine he really loves. He has complained a few times that we eat in too many Asian restaurants. LOL.

The service was impeccable. The lady was competent and friendly. The bathroom was tiptop clean. No smell at all, good lightning, with running water, soap, and tissue. I don't often use bathrooms outside my house, so a clean bathroom is always highly appreciated in my books.

Two things I would have to comment negatively about though is that towards the end of the night it was getting really hot and stuffy in our area. The man at the table beside ours felt it too. I guess the heat of the kitchen radiated in our corner of the room. Thankfully, we were able to keep the front door open to let fresh air in. Second was the parking. If you find a spot in the street where the restaurant is located, then you're lucky. Otherwise, you'll have to do what we did and park farther away and walk a few minutes. I guess it's like this in all big cities, but it might be a bit tough for tourists or people who don't really know the area.

Overall, it was truly an enjoyable meal, one that I anticipate to make on my list of the best meals of the year.

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