9 Places to Visit in Lebanon

Lebanon is a beautiful country in the Middle East, bursting with history, great food, and great culture.  It being a classic traveler’s destination, how can you decide where to go and what to see?  Since planning a trip can be quite the task, Go Eat Give has named the nine must see cities in Lebanon for your touring pleasure:

1. Beirut

This capital city of Lebanon is nicknamed “The Paris of the Middle East,” and is bustling with things to do. Along with great shopping and beautiful scenery, Beirut has a rich cultural history to explore. There are many museums and sacred religious sites there, such as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George, the National Museum of Beirut, and the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.


2. Baalbek

Baalbek is located on the western end of Lebanon and is home to some of the most well preserved Roman ruins known to mankind.   The city dates back over 9,000 years and was previously known by the name of “Heliopolis,” or The City of the Sun, during the period of the Roman rule. Jupiter, Venus, and Bacchus are all believed to have been worshipped at the Baalbek temples.


3. Jeita Grotto

Located in the center of the Nahr al-Kalb valley in Jeita, Lebanon, the Jeita Grotto is an amazing sight. The interconnected limestone caves, which can only be accessed by boat, span around nine kilometers in length. To make the grotto even more intriguing—it was a finalist to become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Lebanese journalists and photographers tour the Jeita Grotto by boat during a media day to campaign for the selection of the Jeitta Grotto as one of the seven natural wonders of the world

4. Sidon

This is a Lebanese town that is filled with old history and remarkable sight seeing.   Located on the western coast of the country, it was one of the most important Phonecian cities and is now known as an active fishing town. Sidon is home to the largest Lebanese flag and also the Old Souk, a famous marketplace.

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5. Tyre

Tyre is another city in Lebanon that contains very interesting ruins and historic sites. One main attraction here is the Roman Hippodrome—an ancient stadium for chariot and horse racing! The Tyre Coast Nature Reserve is also the largest sandy beach in the country.

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6. Beit ed-Dine

Beit ed-Dine is a town famous for its’ magnificent Beiteddine Palace (shown below). This one-of-a-kind palace was built in 1788 and hosts the annual Beiteddine Festival and Beiteddine Palace Museum. Interestingly enough, after Lebanon’s independence in 1943 the palace was officially renamed the “People’s Palace” since it had been created by the people’s hard work and will.


7. Faraya

Lebanon is known for it’s interesting climate, and this town is the perfect example why. Above this village lies the Mzaar Resort, which is a ski resort. The resort is only about 20 miles away from Beirut, meaning you could experience warm weather and winter all in the same day!

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8. The Cedars of God

Cedar trees are sacred and known to have covered Mount Lebanon in the past, but The Cedars of God is one of the last forests left in the country. This was caused by persistent deforestation by Lebanon’s ancestors, such as for shipbuilding and construction. The snowy area has great hiking and beautiful views.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 11.28.24 PM9. Deir el-Qamar

The name of this Lebanese village can be translated from Arabic into the “Monastery of the Moon.” It’s home to many important religious sites such as Saydet El Talle and the Mount of the Cross. This village is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Qooqqut with unforgettable dining

What crosses your mind when your tour is called “Qooqqut with unforgettable dining?” Certainly not orange overalls, open air high speed boats, and battling trade winds in search of a lone restaurant located 50 kilometers away from civilization! Apparently, this is what I had signed up for during my recent visit to Nuuk, Greenland.

We met at the harbor of this world’s northernmost capital city, and noticed parked sail boats, water taxis, even a small cruise ship at the dock. But my guide pointed to our ride for the evening – a 7 passenger open raft with a motor attached to the back. Given the windy cool Arctic temperatures we were about to be faced with, overalls were mandatory, to be worn on top of the layers of sweaters and parkas I was already laden with. John, our Danish tour guide, warned me that it will be cold “like riding on a motorcycle at zero degree Celsius for two hours.” That’s why I look like a baby Polar Bear in this picture!

overalls for boat trip

We started off slow as we left the city and sped soon enough reaching 50km/ hour in the little boat. At first, I enjoyed the scenery – we had a beautiful view of Nuuk’s colorful homes, the statues of Hans Egede, and backdrop of a few new buildings against rocky hills. We whiz passed emerald blue floating glaciers, and within 10 minutes had reached very secluded areas. There was nothing but open waters, mountains and ice as far as I could see. After that, it was cold, wet, windy and bumpy for a VERY long time. John, our guide, explained to the passengers that this is how the Vikings traveled to dinner and the areas we were traveling through were Viking territories. I’m not sure what kind of restaurants the Vikings favored.

blue ice glacier

The second phase of our experience was fishing for entree. We stopped near a mountain where the water was deep enough to fish for cod and redfish. Line hooks were pulled down and everyone caught something. The catch was just pulled into the boat and stored for the chef who was going to cook us dinner that night.

catching redfish in Greenland

Another 20 minutes ride to the island of Qooqqut. It was a very scenic small village surrounded by hills, some green shrubs and lush backgrounds. The water was calm here and reminded me of Scottish Highland or South New Zealand.

Qooqqut arrival

The lone Qooqqut Nuan restaurant is run by husband (Greenlandic chef) and Thai wife. They also have a restaurant in Nuuk (at the harbor) and use to work at another one on the island that burned down.

Qooqqut Nuan restaurant.

The restaurant serves upscale Thai food using local ingredients. Wine/ beer was reasonably charged $10 per drink, and dinner was included in our tour. I ordered the Fish Dinner which had a huge platter with many interesting creations – red curry with shrimp, cod with spinach, redfish with sweet and spicy hong kong style sauce, and redfish with mildly spicy red curry. It came with a big bowl of salad (rare in this part of the world) and steamed rice. I also tasted Penang reindeer, a Greenlandic Thai fusion, with gamy chewy sliced pieces of meat that were probably hunted on the island, cooked with sliced onions, red and green bell peppers. The flavor were divine and unfathomable how someone could run such an upscale kitchen in the middle of nowhere. For dessert, I opted for European style crepe pancakes with ice cream and fresh fruit (watermelon and orange).

Greenlandic shrimp with salad

fish platter

Penang reindeer

During the delicious dinner, John informed us that in case we can’t make it back, there were hostel rooms behind the restaurants that were pretty nice to spend the night at. He also kept some sleeping bags on the boat, just in case we ended up on another uninhabited island. His tours generally ended around 10pm, but with the midnight sun this was not a problem. Now that it was end of August, and it was already past 10,  and getting dark, but we still had an hour to go.

Its a pity that we weren’t able to enjoy the jaw-dropping natural beauty, the secluded surroundings of the lone restaurant, instead headed right back into the dark waters. An afternoon hiking around Qooqqut, soaking in its fresh air and relaxing with its views, would have been a good addition to the itinerary.

The ride back was not as bumpy, but felt much colder because of the darkness and slight rain. The memory of a fabulous dinner was rapidly overtaken by my head and neck pain and a frosty nose. It was 11pm when we returned to the harbor. The city looked dead. John called us a cab to take us back to Hansina’s Guest House.

I would definitely take this tour again, but during the day, in a covered boat, and spend some more time on the island.

Touring Greenland offers Qooqqut with unforgettable dining tour for DKK 895 ($179) per person, which includes 2 hours of sailing, some time for fishing, and a two-course dinner. Drinks are not included. Warning: if you have prior neck or back injury, you may not want to take the bumpy ride.

Discover Ligurian Cuisine: Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo

People amidst a small busy port coming and going, sipping apéritifs, meeting friends, and betrothed in fast paced conversation set the picturesque views of the shoreline in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. Locals and visitors alike go into the chic boutiques, watch the yachts dock at the marina near the heart of the city, while others deliberate where they are going to eat. Asking, “where is a good place to eat?” is very much a part of the average vacation experience. No doubt, visitor after visitor is given directions to Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo, across from the marina in Santa Margherita Ligure. What the natives know is that the tourists will be thrilled with whatever Chef Salvatore is cooking up.

view of Santa Margarita

Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo also referred to as Da Alfredo, is managed by the chef, Signor Salvatore and his wife Adelina. Salvatore, the embodiment of our American treasure, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, welcomes guests with an enthusiastic spirit and smiling hospitality. Chef Salvatore’s English is limited, but his over the top facial expressions, dramatic hand gestures, and lively games of point and look are enough to fill in the blanks in any conversation.  So like having a holiday meal in the home of your favorite loving cousin, the Da Alfredo atmosphere is very much an extension of the endearing personality of Chef Salvatore.

chef ristorante da alfredo

For a unique point of view, ask for a table near a window, facing the kitchen, or on the outside patio. Seating at a table near a window allows diners to stay in touch with the vibes of the outdoors where a parade might go by, or get a view of the port and the beautiful blue water of the Gulf of Tiguillo. Some fortunate guests seated facing the open kitchen enjoy watching Chef Salvatore and his team deboning fish that was live only moments earlier, preparing handmade pasta, ladling fresh sauces, and carefully plating meals. The aromas of each dish carried by a waiter causes diners’ eyes and nostrils to follow it to the table where it is eagerly anticipated.

Salvatore and his team prepare authentic Ligurian cuisine procured from locally grown produce and the open waters of the gulf. The menu is divided into Antipasti salads, Primi pastas, Secondi seafood, meat selections, and Le Pizze. Plates with large prawns that glisten in herb infused white wine sauce accompanied by capers leave the onlooker inhaling to catch the aroma. International options such as sirloin steak and Schnitzel are available for patrons with taste buds that want to be reminded of home.

Da Alfredo's PrawnsOverwhelmed by the tempting choices, I couldn’t make up my mind as to what to order, but Fabio, my waiter said, “If you like pasta and you eat meat, I suggest you go with the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” The two suggestions just seemed too rich for a cool spring evening, so I told him, “I will keep looking and think about it.” However, Fabio was adamant. When he came to take my order, a question was never posed. He simply looked towards me and said, “So for you, the gnocchi with pesto and the smothered steak with capers.” That was it. To my surprise, I could have eaten endless plates of them both, especially the pesto and gnocchi. It was the fluffiest-lightest gnocchi I had ever had the pleasure of biting into. I kept thinking, “If I eat all of this, I will not feel well tomorrow.” The only feeling I had the next day was the pleasure of a wonderful memory. Moral of this story is, if the waiter or chef gives you a strong recommendation, go with it.

Da Alfredo Gnocchi

Very often I skip dessert, but I was in a quaint ristorante on the Italian Riviera, I smiled to myself and said, “La Dolce Vita,” meaning live the good life. The dessert list read, apple pie, fruit salad, Italian gelato, panna cotta, tiramisu. My decision was clear, authentic tiramisu for me, please. The texture was much creamier and richer than any I had previously experienced. The ladyfingers played more of a supporting role as compared to the bold predominant feature it plays as in the American dessert. The small portion was more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and enough to give me a new expectation for future tiramisu.  I paired this moment of good life with a sample of prosecco and campari.

Da Alfredo's TiramisuPlan your dream trip to dine at Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo where Signor Salvatore and his staff are always cooking up the best of Italian and International cuisine. Then while you are in the magnificent city of Santa Margherita Ligure, ask the locals, “What sites do you recommend I see?”

Ristorante Pizzeria Da Alfredo

~ By Kaylah Burks, an athlete, who enjoys traveling the world while staying health conscious.  Follow her on Instagram @jadenlie

Florence restaurant guide

You can find some of the best pizza, lasagna, ravioli, and gelato in the world in the heart of Tuscany in Florence, Italy. The Italian food you find here is obviously very different from the Americanized Italian version found elsewhere. Only the freshest, often locally sourced organic ingredients are used in preparation, and most recipes are very simple yet satisfying. Continue reading “Florence restaurant guide”

Celebrate your BODY in Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe is aptly known for high spiritual energy that stems from its unique landscapes and Native American history. It is home to a number of spas, yoga and meditation centers, spiritual healers and alternative medicine practitioners. While the choices are endless, many locals pick BODY of Santa Fe as their daily destination for a complete inner and outer retreat. Continue reading “Celebrate your BODY in Santa Fe”

Dining in Knox-Vegas

Southern Tennessee is known for down right authentic southern food – biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, BBQ and fried chicken. That is very true to an extent. You will see no shortage of Pancake Houses while driving around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. In fact, even the lodges and stores are named after pancakes!

But Knoxville, TN is a college town and the restaurants cater to artistic and athletic students and young professionals. While you can still find the traditional favorites in the city, there is also a good offering of sushi, Thai, Italian and other ethnic cuisines.

I start the day with breakfast at Pete’s Coffee Shop, a family-owned and operated downtown Knoxville landmark for 25 years.  Situated in a diner style setting, Pete’s seemed to have entertained many local celebrities, whose photos you will find on their wall of fame. Pete’s serves hearty breakfasts at reasonable prices, six days a week, beginning at 6:30 a.m. For under $5, you can get scrambled eggs, homemade biscuit and coffee.

For lunch, you have two options – sit by the river or listen to live music. Located on Neyland Drive on Knoxville’s historic waterfront, Calhoun’s On The River has been serving some of the best BBQ in town since 1988. Get a beer and sit at the outside deck where you can get a panoramic view of the Tennessee River. After lunch, stroll along the river to Volunteer Landing. This is also a good spot to go to after a game, hike or fun day of enjoying outdoors.

Only at the Knoxville Visitor Center on S. Gay Street, you can enjoy free live musical performance, broadcast live on historic WDVX radio 6 days a week. The Blue Plate Special features local, regional and national music acts from 12-1pm. You can grab a sandwich at the Coop Cafe (located inside the visitor center) known for the chicken salad sandwiches and watch the show while eating lunch.

For dinner, head over to Market Square, the hub of shopping, dining and entertainment in downtown Knoxville. Make reservations at Cafe 4, a casual restaurant featuring traditional southern comfort food with a twist. They serve hearty portions of flat-breads, crab cake sliders, fried fish, shrimp n grits, etc.

For an after dinner treat, walk around the corner to Coffee & Chocolate where you can enjoy scrumptious desserts, tea, coffee and yes of course, handmade chocolates! Chocolate covered Oreo, pretzels,  cashews, peanut butter cups, pecan turtles – the chocolates are bought from The Chocolate Factory located nearby.  You will want to take a box home.

Knoxville City Guide

Crista Cuccaro, a law student at the University of Tennessee put together this very handy and comprehensive guide for visitors to Knoxville, TN. She shared it with me after learning about my visit to the area. I hope it helps you in planning your trip as well. If you enjoy it, please Tweet to Crista @cmc_bumblebee and show your appreciation!


The Tomato Head. 12 Market Square

This is one of my favorite restaurants in town. They have creative sandwiches, pizzas, and burritos, all made with fresh and often locally sourced ingredients. This place gets very busy during weekday lunch and weekend evenings, but the food is worth the wait!

just ripe. 513 Union Ave.

This worker-owned co-op just recently opened and is close to Market Square. This shop offers delicious food to order and groceries. just ripe is flanked by Union Ave. Books, one of the few independently owned bookstores in Knoxville, and by Reruns, a swanky clothing consignment shop.

Old City Java. 109 S. Central Ave.

Also located in the Old City, this coffee shop serves Counter Culture coffee, which I absolutely LOVE, but I can’t justify buying whole bags of it on a student’s budget. They have free wi-fi and there’s always interesting art on the walls.


Knox Public House. 212 W. Magnolia Ave.

This is a new, hip bar located on the outskirts of downtown. I really love this bar because it’s non-smoking, it does not have a television, and it does not have live music. Although that might sound boring, it makes for a cozy atmosphere where you can have a conversation instead of shouting over music. They also have excellent housemade infused vodkas, such as ginger-cardamom and lavender.

The Bistro. 807 South Gay St.

Also a smoke-free bar, I love the low ceilings and dim light of this restaurant. They frequently have live jazz music in the evening. This old establishment is right next to the Bijou, one of Knoxville’s downtown historic theaters. We have seen lots of great acts at The Bijou, including The Avett Brothers, Abigail Washburn, and Sufjan Stevens.

Sassy Ann’s. 820 N. Fourth Ave.

This bar is in an old Victorian house in the Fourth and Gill neighborhood, about a mile north of downtown. To summarize the atmosphere, it feels like being in a ship. The bar is funky and the location of many dance parties.

Preservation Pub Rooftop. 28 Market Square

I don’t care much for the Preservation Pub bar downstairs—it’s smoky and loud, but the two upper floors are more enjoyable. They recently opened their rooftop bar, which is one of Knoxville’s only rooftop bars.


Three Rivers Market. Currently at 937 N. Broadway, soon to open at 1100 N Central Street.

This is Tennessee’s only food cooperative. We buy most of groceries here. You don’t have to be a member to shop at it. They focus on supplying natural and organic foods from local farms. It’s like a Whole Foods or Earthfare, but independent and community-owned. They have one of the best herbs and spices sections I have ever seen.

Market Square Farmers’ Market.

Every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, from May to November, a growing and vibrant farmers’ market opens on Market Square. There are lots of vendors, selling produce, prepared foods, crafts, and plants. I really enjoy Cruze Farm, a vendor who owns a dairy farm in Knoxville—they sell fluffy buttermilk biscuits and homemade ice cream.

Downtown Wine and Spirits. 407 South Gay Street


If you’re looking for unusual and well-curated spirits, this is the place. This shop sells standard fare, such as vodka and wine, but they also sell harder to find whiskeys and liquors. Another note about liquor in TN—you cannot buy wine in the grocery store, which surprised me when I moved here from NC. In fact, you can’t buy anything at the liquor store besides liquor. They are not even allowed to sell corkscrews!

Museums and Art

First Friday Art Walk.

The name speaks for itself. On the first Friday of every month, the art galleries downtown and in the surrounding area open up to the public. You can usually catch some live music and free snacks along the way. Most of my favorite art galleries are on the 100 Block of Gay Street, which is the side furthest from the Tennessee River.

Knoxville Museum of Art. 1050 World’s Fair Park

The museum is modest in size, but they have acquired grants so that admission is usually free. Recently, the Museum has acquired some phenomenal art exhibits, including Ai Weiwei, an activist who had been imprisoned by the Chinese government until recently.  Check their website for current exhibits.

Yee-Haw Industries. 413 S. Gay Street


The UT Art Department has a well-known printmaking program and Yee-Haw is a group of our local printmakers. They sell some great art at their store. If you catch the owner Kevin Bradley on a good day, you might even get a personal tour.  When you go, look up at the ceiling, or else you will miss some neat prints.

East Tennessee History Museum. 601 South Gay Street

This Museum opened a few years ago and chronicles the history of East Tennessee. It’s a large space and particularly interesting if you like Southern history. Plus, it’s free on Sundays!

Sunsphere. It’s that big shiny globe.

Have you gone up into this thing? There is an observation deck, from which you can see the entire city and get a great view of the mountains. There used to be bar up in the ‘Sphere, but it closed. Rumor has it that there is another bar opening soon.


WDVX Blue Plate Special. 301 South Gay Street

This is a free, live music concert that is hosted EVERY weekday at the Knoxville Visitors’ Center on the corner of Gay St. and Summit Hill Ave. The bands are usually bluegrass, so you can get a good dose of Appalachia.

Central St. Books. 842 N. Central Street

Another one of Knoxville’s independently owned bookstores, this shop has more used books than Union Ave. Books. The owner has a great collection of books and the store is in an up and coming area of Knoxville, next to a bakery and a yoga studio.

Magpies. 846 N. Central Street

Do you like cupcakes? Everyone loves cupcakes and I especially love these cupcakes. Magpies is located right next to Central St. Books. Their motto is “all butter, all the time.” Mmm.

Smokies Baseball. 3540 Line Drive in Kodak


This is the AA farm team of the Chicago Cubs. The trek to Kodak is about 25 minutes from downtown Knoxville. The stadium is small, but they serve ice cream in miniature baseball helmets. What’s better than that!? If you go, I speak from personal experience when I say that the iPhone’s GPS maps the route incorrectly.

Knoxville Ice Bears. 500 Howard Baker Jr Ave.


The first game of the season is in October. The Bears’ ice hockey games are at the Civic Coliseum, which is just on the other side of downtown.

Downtown West Regal 8 Cinema. 1640 Down Town West Blvd.


This theatre is located in West Knoxville and shows the art and independent films that come through Knoxville. They also serve beer!

Morelock Music. 411 S. Gay Street

Matt Morelock used to work for WDVX and left to open up this music store in downtown Knoxville. At his shop, Morelock sells instruments such as banjos and  guitars—I even saw a cajón for sale recently. The shop offers instructional lessons and often has live music on weekend nights.

Nostalgia. 5214 Homberg Drive


Although my fiancée may disagree that antique shopping is a form of entertainment, this store has been continuously voted as Knoxville’s best antique store and I agree! It’s a big space with lots of booths. I usually find something I can’t live without. Also nearby: Loopville (Knoxville’s best yarn/knitting shop), Jerry’s Art-a-Rama (art supplies), Goodwill (my favorite thrift shop in town), and Nama (pricey, but tasty sushi)

Outdoor Fun

UT Gardens. This is a small garden on Neyland Drive, but they have a lot packed into it. You might want to visit on a cloudy day, since there’s not a lot of shade. If you enjoy trees and the like, you may also want to check out the Knoxville Botanical Gardens, located in East Knoxville.

Ijams Nature Center. 2915 Island Home Avenue

Ijams Nature Center is a 275-acre wildlife sanctuary and environmental learning center in South Knoxville. The Center is split into two parts—one side runs along the river and the other follows trails along an old quarry. We usually go running along the greenways here. Ijams has recently started renting canoes and kayaks for use in the quarry.



There are over 40 miles of greenways in Knoxville, throughout the city. The trails are well maintained and well trafficked. You can check online for the greenway closest to you.

River Sports Outfitters. 2918 Sutherland Avenue

There are several outdoors stores in Knoxville, but I like this one the best. They have a huge amount of gear and staff that really seem to use the gear. Plus, they have a climbing wall as part of their Sutherland Ave. location.


International Biscuit Festival (late May)

Bacon Fest (September 16-17, 2011)

Rossini Festival (Early April)

Boomsday (Labor Day—one of the biggest fireworks shows in the South)

Kuumba Fest (June—celebrating Knoxville’s African American artists)

Hola Festival (Sept. 24, 2011—the festival is part of Hispanic Heritage Month)

Big Ears Festival (2012 date TBA—a diverse music festival in downtown Knoxville, organized by AC Entertainment, which also helped form Bonnaroo)

Photo credits Sucheta Rawal


11 courses at No. 246

From the owner of JCT Kitchen, comes a new restaurant in the heart of downtown Decatur, No. 246. In less than six weeks of it’s opening, Chef Drew Belline has worked his magic here, creating one of the most inspiring Italian menu’s in town!

While the restaurant boasts a casual elegance, yet cozy ambiance, the food itself is nothing less than 5 stars.  Each night, the restaurant takes reservations for four guests to dine at the Chef’s Counter. With informal bar stools overlooking the kitchen, the guests are in for a total surprise. They put themselves in the very capable hands of Belline, allowing him to prepare an impromptu multiple-course menu. He does note any dietary restrictions at the beginning of the dinner and checks in frequently for feedback.

This was my first time eating at No. 246 and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even so, I was very excited about the front row seating overlooking the kitchen, watching the crew as they sauteed, grilled and plated. It reminded me of watching one of those kitchen shows on TV, only the people on this show were very peaceful, cooperative and did not talk much (let alone yell at each other).

The food was a treat for the eyes, mouth and spirit. Each dish had an intricate blend of flavors so you never got bored after a few bites. Needless to say, there were multiple contrasting flavors in every dish to which words can’t do full justice.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect at No. 246 is the quality of it’s ingredients. Artisan Meat is bought from Pine Street Market, cheese sourced from small organic farms and the honey…well, the chef turned out to be a bee keeper as well. He brought out a live honey comb and scooped off fresh honey from it, which he poured over an aged Pawlet and topped off with toasted nuts. Yum!

The whole Branzino (a Mediterranean Seabass) served with shaved fennel and pesto was also an eye-catcher. The chef presented it in the pan and then processed it onto individual plates with perfection.

Brisket with smashed potatoes turned a not-a-meat lover (me) into one! A top cut cooked with pork fat simply melted into the mouth. The beef was well seasoned and I actually like the idea of keeping the potatoes whole and hearty, rather than whipping and mashing them with heavy cream.

Other highlights included an African squash soup with almond and sage, rabbit terrine with plum preserves (made fresh daily), and Guanciale pork scented carbonara tossed with corkscrew pasta.  Individual toasts served five different ways (house made lemony ricotta topped with preserved mild mushrooms being my favorite) are also reflective of Belline’s creative style where he blends sweet, pungent and salty flavors.

The grand finale to a heavenly meal was an olive oil-almond cake with plum extract and sweet cream. A dense home-made cake with the delicate moist richness coming from the olive oil. It did not look like much but was good enough for me to finish the entire plate as my 11th course!

No. 246

129 E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur

Phone (678) 399-8246


Neighborhood fundraiser for Japan

The connection between people knows no geographic or cultural boundaries. An Indian couple, Durrain and Navaz Porbandarwala organized a fundraiser for victims of the Japan earthquake, in their neighborhood in Kennesaw, Georgia. Durrain, who is a cooking instructor, prepared a scrumptious dinner with the help of her neighbors. They put out flyers, invited friends and held the event at their subdivision Clubhouse on a Saturday evening.  

50 people attended and over $800 was raised. All proceeds will go to American Red Cross towards Japan relief fund.

It is impressive to see how people come together for a greater cause. It’s a small drop in the bucket but we all have to do our part in order to make an impact in this world. Imagine if each neighborhood around the world was to organize a similar dinner fundraiser, how much aid we would generate for the unfortunate Tsunami victims. Even if you are unable to make a financial contribution, do take out a few minutes to send your prayers and loving thoughts to these families.

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A break at the Krepesz Café

Krepesz Café is a charming little café located in the eclectic Kensington market in Toronto. Whether you want to grab a bite before setting out for a shopping spree or take a coffee break during your finds, this Hungarian themed coffee shop will not disappoint you.

The interior feels like a lounge with interesting murals, cozy chairs as well as tables for larger groups. There is also some seating outside for when the Canadian weather is cooperative.

I was pleasantly surprised by the artfulness in the presentation. Each cup of latte we ordered had a different design created on top. It made the coffee-drinking experience very pleasant.

For the very first time, I had a Chimney Cake. The menu said “Chimney Cake is a Hungarian sweet pastry. It’s made with yeast-raised dough rolled on a wooden cylinder and baked in a rotisserie oven. Sugar caramelizes on the outside creating a sweet, crispy crust, but inside it stays soft!” To me, it was a simple sugary dough cake that paired well with afternoon tea or coffee. You can watch a video of how they make it.

The crepe menu also looked intriguing. They had savory (chicken paprika, spinach and feta) and sweet (apple cinnamon, walnut apricot jam) amongst others. Next time you are in the area, make sure you give Krepesz Café a definite try for breakfast, lunch or coffee.

More on where to dine in Toronto