• American Cheese,  Middle East,  Restaurant Reviews,  Travel

    Just in Queso You Need It

    I had planned to review a new cheese I procured last week, but it seems that life and lethargy intervened. This morning I had to undergo a draining battery of tests required for my immigration status in this country. When I say I had to, I mean myself and 150 of my closest colleagues. Then I voluntarily drove to a place called the Industrial Area, which is also known as the seventh ring of hell, to pay a visit to my mechanic. The thing is, you don’t so much own a Jaguar, rather you live uneasily with it, like a bad, cheating boyfriend. You know the one, he spends all…

  • American Cheese,  Cheese,  Middle East,  Restaurant Reviews,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  wine

    I’m Nacho Friend

    There comes a time, in every girl’s life, when she must go to places that polite people don’t talk about at dinner parties. In Doha, one of those places is Paloma. The blurb says “where Texas meets Mexico”. It’s more like “Where Drunk People Meet More Drunk People”. Before 8pm, it’s a somewhat decent Tex Mex Restaurant. After then, when the hotpants-wearing Columbian band takes the stage, it becomes something different. I was there to celebrate a friend’s birthday and perversely because I had never been. And because we also had a coupon. The menu stretches the full gamut of tacos, enchiladas and some good looking fajitas. Spotting the opportunity…

  • British,  Cheese,  Middle East,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Date With Destiny

    One of the interesting things about living in the Middle East is that literally there is never a dull moment. Last week, Doha alone saw the President of France and the US Secretary of State visit. Then there was the opening of the Taliban (you read right) office. These guys are such bad neighbors. Not a single invite to tea and it has been a week. More exciting has been something that regardless of your background, you may only witness once in a lifetime. That is, the abdication of a ruler. It happened recently in The Netherlands, and now, just yesterday, it happened in Qatar. Qatar’s Emir to Transfer Power…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Sweet Cheeses – When Cheese Meets Dessert

    The French have a phrase – savoire vivre – which basically means living a good life while staying elegant and smart. In my mind, the Lebanese are the embodiment of this. They manage to live a good life, look remarkable at the same time as dealing with the chaos that regularly breaks out around them. Their food is also an illustration of this – elegantly complex. While many words have been written about the wonders of Lebanese mezze and other savory dishes, this country has also given the world some pretty extraordinary desserts. I was given a fabulous surprise by the boys who run Al Balad Qatar on Monday. They…

  • Cheese,  Goat Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Are You Going My Whey?

    I thought I had exhausted the repertoire of Cheeses of the Middle East. That is until I came across Baladi cheese. Baladi is a soft, white cheese originated in the Middle East. It is known Jibneh Khadra or Jibnah Baladi in Arabic. In local language, Baladi means local cheese made from a flock of “baladi” goats. Alternatively, it is also called ‘cheese of the mountains’ because it is made in high mountains all over Lebanon by the local shepherds. Since Baladi is made from unpasteurized mixture of goat, cow and sheep’s milk, it has to be consumed within three days. The cheese appears similar to Akawie, but it has more…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel

    Shanklish for the Memories

    My affection for the Middle East is well know, after all, I have lived here for most of my thirties and now my forties. I have a special affection for Lebanon. Perhaps the only country where, at 11pm, a nice, quiet restaurant will turn into a full blown nightclub. I asked a Lebanese friend about this once. He was blunt. “You know the history of Lebanon. On any given day we could be invaded, attacked or whatever. So why not party?” Words to live by I say. Their food, or food from the Levantine region is some of the most complex and interesting in the world. Drawing from the Middle…

  • Cheese,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Travel,  Uncategorized,  White Cheese

    Labne…labne my cheese addiction…

    Sitting in my fridge, nestled next to the Mint Slices, are a lovely wedge of Machego and a ceramic pot full of stinky Stilton. I had all intentions of tasting them and blogging about their fabulosity this past week and a bit, but life and a bout of the flu got in the way. They will remain in the fridge for another few days as today I have decided to write about a cheese that changed my idea of what a cheese actually was. And this post is also a tribute to a little country that is close to my heart and again finds itself on the precipice of chaos.…