Bags, Shoes ‘n’ Baba Ghanoush!

June 24, 2010

There’s lots o’ stuff I wanna cram into this post, so here goes…

First, today’s Arab-American Heritage Day at City Hall. Sponsored by the NYC Council Speaker Hon. Christine Quinn et al, it marks “a celebration of the rich heritage of the Arab Community and the contributions of community members to this great city.” Honorees include Sarab Al-Jijakli, co-founder of NAAP-NY, with which I recently launched a networking group for folks who work in education. (If you’d be interested in joining this group, please let me know!)

Also, what does baba ghanoush have to do with bags and shoes? Nothing, but I just had to give a plug to Karam’s Middle East Bakery & Restaurant and their version of this delicious dip! On a recent weekend Upstate with loved ones, I finally got to sample some yummy treats from this place I’d heard about for months and it was well worth the wait 😉 Oh, and the pita bread we scooped it all up with? To die fo-ah! In addition to their Web site, Karam’s also has a Facebook page 😉

Now, moving on to “les accessoires,” did you know that the world’s oldest known leather shoe is in Armenia? As mentioned in a previous post, a good number of Armenians are in the jewlery biz–and the same goes for shoes, so this discovery makes perfect sense!

And finally, it’s “in the bag” with designer Dareen Hakim. There will be a trunk show event showcasing her handbags at Henri Bendel (712 5th Avenue @ 56th Street, 2nd Floor) this weekend: Friday – Sunday, June 25-27, from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Check it out!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,



Noor Theatre launches in NYC and 6/11 Benefit for Hybrid Theatre Works

June 9, 2010

Noor Theatre, part of its mission being “dedicated to supporting, developing and presenting the work of theatre artists of Middle Eastern descent,” recently launched in NYC–here’s a link to their Web site to learn more:

And in other “Theatre” news, there will be a benefit dinner for Hybrid Theatre Works on Friday, June 11 at Byblos Restaurant. Click on this link ( to buy tickets. According to the organization, “Proceeds will benefit the 2010 Hybrid Theatre Works summer workshops for youth and refugee populations in Amman, Jordan and Cairo, Egypt. Hybrid Theatre Works takes peace and diplomacy beyond recognizing and respecting other cultures to direct engagement with the community to teach, through theatre and cultural diplomacy, important life skills such as confidence, communication, tolerance, proactive thinking, collaboration and team building.”

Given these theatres’ admirable missions, let’s show our support for the arts by checking ‘em out and, if you do, feel free to share your thoughts here!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Noor Theatre logo courtesy of

(Hybrid Theatre Works logo courtesy of

May is the month for Lebanese culture in NYC!

May 11, 2010

Lebanon (le Liban, en français) is center stage this month at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater ’til Saturday, 5/15 with its series “The Calm After the Storm: Making Sense of Lebanon’s Civil War” as well as at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) all month long during the 3rd edition of its “World Nomads” series.

There are lots of interesting things to be discovered so check ’em out and, if you do, feel free to share your experiences at!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Scene from “The Kite” courtesy of

(FIAF’s World Nomads Lebanon design courtesy of

7th Annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, May 5-9

April 15, 2010

It feels like just yesterday was the 6th Annual one… In any case, next month it’s back for the 7th year in a row: The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, Wednesday, 5/5 through Sunday, 5/9 under the theme “Arabs in Wonderland”–here’s the promotional poster:

As always, there’ll be standup, sketch comedy and film shorts as well–here’s a link to the page about the sketch comedy nights and all the info you’ll need about getting tix, the location, etc.: As in past years, the show’s bound to sell out so the sooner you get yer tix, the better 😉

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Poster courtesy of

Blingin’, Singin’ and Springin’…

March 23, 2010

I recently attended a panel of three Armenian jewelers, which was hosted by the Zohrab Center and the Armenian Network of New York. Being of Armenian descent on my dad’s side, I wasn’t surprised that our culture’s reputation for survival as well as our knack for entrepreneurship and sales were mentioned at points during the discussion–to learn more about how Armenians have come to represent a good number of jewelers and industry leaders in the Middle East and beyond, check out “Three Executives from AJA East Coast USA” on the homepage of the Armenian Jewelers Association.  

Another recent discovery is DJ Khaled and his latest single “All I Do Is Win,” featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg and T-Pain. Right when I heard his name I thought, “Sounds like a rapper of Middle Eastern descent, how cool is that?” Sure enough with further research (Courtesy of Wikipedia) I found out he’s of Palestinian descent, more specifically, and quite accomplished in the industry and music genre. If you haven’t already heard the single, do give a listen…

As for spring, it’s officially sprung! Hope y’all got to enjoy it over the weekend and that the same weather comes back sooner than later 😉

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(AJA logo courtesy of

(Photo of DJ Khaled courtesy of

Ilili, Part Deux!

February 13, 2010

As you may recall, one of my resolutions for 2010 was to eat at Ilili. Well, I took care of that recently 😉 Mark, a server there, had come across my blog thanks to a trusty Google Alert he’d set for “Ilili” and posted a comment and the rest is history–and quite a tasty one at that!

Ordering from the “Lunch a la Carte” menu, I started with the Baba Ghannouj (Delish!) then moved on to what I’d been waiting a long time to have again: Kibbeh Naya (Absolutely heavenly!). That was more than enough to fill me up but, as always, I saved room for some dessert and coffee, the dessert being Actha (OMG, so satisfying!). I must say, the textures and flavors and scents of all the menu items were impeccable as was the service, so that leaves me only once choice–to go back again, bien sur!

In the meantime, you should know that starting on Monday, February 15 will be the last week of Ilili’s “A Taste of Lebanon’s Wine Country,” and this time around they’ll be featuring complimentary tastings of wine from Chateau Ksara. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed 😉

‘Til the next time, Happy Valentine’s Day weekend and Chinese New Year!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Photo courtesy of

A passion for fashion…

January 7, 2010

In case you didn’t know, the Lebanese have a reputation for being way into beauty and fashion–and they sure do live up to it! Thanks to my friend Rosana for sharing this fun and inspiring news clip about the latest talent to come out of the Middle East’s fashion capital, Beirut. Of course, I automatically recalled the privilege I had of interviewing designer Elie Saab at his atelier about five years ago, so here’s a copy of that (just click on the image to zoom in):

Hope you enjoy!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Clip courtesy of

(Interview with Elie Saab originally published in Aramica, in both English and Arabic)

WARNING: Do not read this on an empty stomach!

December 29, 2009

Hope everyone’s Christmas holiday weekend was grand! As for this here blogger, I feel fortunate to have had quite a lovely one as well as experiences to celebrate and be grateful for over the past year, and am looking forward to the New Year ahead!

I was recently Skyping with some relatives and media contacts in Beirut, and was just so happy to hear their voices and feel as if they weren’t that far away or in a different time zone (i.e., seven hours ahead). And just a few days later, I came across this article/restaurant review–and made the mistake of reading it in a state of hunger. Recalling some of the amazing meals I’d had in Beirut some months ago (Not necessarily at these restaurants, plus homecookin’ is always better ;-)), I couldn’t help but crave the “mezze” delicacies! I have yet to dine at Ilili, which is here in NYC; however, it’s one of my resolutions for 2010 and I know just what I’m gonna order: Kibbeh Naya, which is basically the Lebanese version of steak tartare. Can’t wait!

“Til then, enjoy what’s left of 2009 and hope your 2010’s filled with all things delicious–food and otherwise 🙂

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Photo courtesy of

Happy Independence Day to Lebanon and a Museum Grows in Armenia!

November 19, 2009

Although the date of Lebanon’s independence is actually November 22, the Consulate General of Lebanon in NYC will be celebrating it today, 66 years later. It’s a good thing that the event will go on as it has been cancelled in years past due to unfortunate circumstances overseas.

In other Middle/Near Eastern news, a very special someone brought my attention to this article about the Cafesjian Center for the Arts opening in Armenia. Hopefully, it will improve conditions for the country and its citizens. I haven’t been to Armenia–yet. However, I hope to someday have the opportunity to do so and will certainly be checking it out!

With Thanksgiving a week from today, I’m especially grateful for all the blessings in my life 🙂 Wishing you and yours a happy one in advance!

Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(Lebanese flag courtesy of

(Photo of Cafesjian Center for the Arts courtesy of

Musical notes…

October 20, 2009

Want to read the latest news about Armenian music? Then check out my friend Daniele Sahr’s posts on The Fund for Armenian Relief’s (FAR) blog!


Also, thanks to my friend Mike for the tip on the World Music Institute’s presentation of Bassam Saba and the New York Arabic Orchestra at Symphony Space this Friday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m.

NY ARabic Orches





Tabouli wishes and fattouche dreams,


(FAR logo courtesy of

(Photo of The New York Arabic Orchestra courtesy of