Friday, December 22, 2006

Pizza Pitza Cafe-Restaurant, Hay Al-andalus Location

Located on the busy bustling Gargaresh- Hay Alandalus main drag, inside the newly opened Al-Wahat shopping little mall. Kind of hidden in the back ground but not to the eyes at first, with a nice balcony that looks over the entrance of the main gate of the little shopping mall. you have to walk to the right take the stairs up one floor (first floor), following the blue sign that reads RESTAURANT. The place does not have a phone yet, so walk-ins are welcome.

Friendly, comfortable and have good ambiance, also nicely decorated with easy colors all over the place. Although tables are very close, you can have a certain level of privacy if you come early for dinner.
I did fall in love with the chicken Shawerma and Chicken Chich Taouk( as per the menu), the chicken is marinated in a mild exotic spice combo with sweet tangy taste to them, soft, melting almost and easy on the palate. Make sure they put no HARRISA* in your food, it just ruins the whole experience.

Their menu consists of Pizza, Fast food such as fried chicken fried calamari, a variety of Mediterranean Salads and Pasta, Sandwiches of beef and chicken, fried shrimp and of course the ever present Tuna.
Canned drinks are available. Libyan style coffee, cappuccino and tea are also recommended. Tables can be joined if you come with a bigger group.
Prices range between 2.00 and 15.00 Libyan Dinar, depending on what you order, not too bad hey :-).
Have a nice night out. Enjoy and welcome to Libya

*Harrisa is a red pepper paste popular in north Africa used as an appetizer, it is different than the Harrisa Dessert that is native to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon Area.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Cafe Ba BA Reeba-Chicago IL

We are in Chicago this weekend, will continue with Tripoli once we are back.
I will be featuring a place for the travelers to Illinois, specifically Chicago.
Ask any single person in Chicago and surrounding areas, they will sure know Cafe Ba Ba Reeba.
It is best to go there as a group, it is fun plus you get to share and taste more of the 40 plus Tapas they have on their menu.
Hot and cold appetizers are practically what you will have at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba.
Here are some of my picks:-
Roast eggplant salad with goat cheese, highly recommended. Mushroom empanada, porcini alioli; zesty.
Sea food, would be fresh squid and shrimp. Couscous with scallops, raisins is also a treat added a fried calamari you will be in paradise.
For beef lovers, beef skewers would be a choice unavoidable, for chicken lovers I would recommend chicken salad with curry; delicious.
Paella is another hot dish to have, made with shrimp and lobster, it is worth the waiting time (average is 25 to 35 minutes)

Ba Ba Reeba is a busy place bustling with young people, an average wait for seating could go all the way up to 45 minutes on a Friday night, you can also go to the back bar where you can get food served if you do not want to wait, no chance for that if you are with a large group. On week days you can pick the patio where seating is immediate.

The cafe has many bars and rooms with an open kitchen centered where certain foods are cooked and garlic and sausage are hanged visibly. A back cozy bar acts as a great waiting area, and a front patio where it is fresh in spring and summer.
Dishes range between $3 to $35
Enjoy shy town
2024 N Halsted St (Cross Street: Armitage Avenue)Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 935-5000

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sfenz Of Gurji (Libyan Doughnut)

This is an ancient tradition, originally done by the Jews of North Africa in general. I have found a link that might be helpful in introducing this tradition:

The Place I am featuring this month, is a small place that sells sweets all year round.
No name for the place is available, I will do my best in describing it to you.
In Ramadan they start making SFENZ, as it is called in Libya. It is served after 10 pm every day during the month of Ramadan :
I am told that this is the best place where you can get the best Sfenz in Tripoli.
The place looks like a dive. Located on the same main street pass Tripoli Collage, it is about 250 meters before the over bridge to Hay-ALandalus and the circle(beneath the bridge) that leads to the highway exit in the area of Gurji.
Making and serving:
They make the Sfenz with one egg, two eggs and you can add cheese if you would like. I recommend that you ask for it to go, else, you can eat on the sidewalk where they have arranged one big table, if you like eating your doughnut while standing.
If you decide to eat there, make sure you bring your drink with you since no drinks are available.
Sfenz is large in diameter and greasy, it does taste good with all considerations.
It is a great experience considering the history of the Sfenz, it will for sure give you a taste of the past times.
Enjoy and Welcome to Libya

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not Just A Fish:- Izzeddeen's Place

Drive east starting from downtown or the Green Arena towards one of the biggest air bases in Africa, which used to host The American air base Wheelus ( corrected, thanks to Chatalaine), now MAYTEEGA, the road is relatively new while the road is called TAREEQ AL-SHAT, there are no addresses or address system in Tripoli, the best way to get to where I will be featuring here is to park your car pointing east right in front of the external gates of Mayteega airport (Buraq Airways sign) and zero your odometer, once you do that drive east along the coast of the Mediterranean where you can enjoy the nice water front view, after 10 KM not more not less you will see a series of hutches on the north side of the road all you need to do is make a U turn and park along the road and next to the last hutch.

Decorated with palm tree leaves and trunks as seats and tables with dirt ground sprayed with water to prevent dust from rising, a small kitchen and a pool far a bit from the seating area you will be welcomed to Izzeddeen's place.
A young fellow in his early twenties with a hidden smile on his face would be Izzeddeen your host, he will chat abit then ask you about what is it that you would like to have for the day, then offer you to go with him where he keeps his stash of the day and show you the fish.

I choose sword fish and my companion choose to go with what is called BURY in Libya (Mediterranean grey mullet), a skinny fish with a relatively meety and less fatty body content. As we waited, Izzeddeen cleaned the catch and gave them to the grill, the dressing of the fish could be smelled from the distance and it sure made our stomachs growling, we were asked if we wanted to have the fish there or to go since they do pack your food if you would like it to go, we decided to have it to go.
The dish comes with a salad and a serving of a hot sauce, the kind that will raise your body tempreture to a degree that the heat of Tripoli weather will be felt like a midwestren december windchill, I must addmit I have never had such a dressing or spices in my life no where in the world.
The next best part of this experience for sure was the bill, Izzeddeen decided that we were two very nice people and our bill for eight Mediterranean grey mullet type fish, achunk of sowrd fish and salads were 18 Libyan Dinars (around 14.00 U.S dollars).
It was such a treat to be there and visit with Izzeddeen and enjoy his cooking and recepie.
Enjoy and Welcome to Libya

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Al-Nayrouz Deliciousos Pizza

Thin crust verses thick crust, tomato sauce verses plain, olives, anchovies, green olives, tuna, sun dried tomatoes, mushroom, are just a few ingredients that you can ask for on your pizza in this busy place on Tripoli down town's edge area, a large dining area that is a host to a service bar/counter which is hospitable to the ones who prefer to eat on a high stool, you can also choose to eat on the balcony room ( a small room over looking the street) or in a loft like area, in which I have noticed that Libyan females prefer due to it's isolation where they eat and chat freely.
The most important aspect of the Pizza at Al-Nayrouz is the dough, it was professionally prepared, then comes the cheese and the sauce, this is one of the few places that you can actually get real mozzarella cheese suitable for pizza.
The place is usually busy by 7 pm where you will see Libyans and non Libyans doing the ritual of eating a juicy and delicious Pizza A Libiano.
Now I am going to work on how to get you there O.K:
Going WEST ON Al-Naser Street:
To get there you need to take Al-Naser street, keep right while passing by the cemetery(it is on the right hand side going west) of Seydi Munayder, take the ramp then turn right, after 100 meters would be Al-Nayrouz, you can park your car across the street as there is a plenty of parking.
Going EAST On Al-Naser Street:
Turn to the left after passing the Libyan broadcasting Company building towards the right take the ramp to the traffic lights ( it is a green area with a cafe on your left hand side) turn towards the far left as the first left is a one way street 90 meters after turning is where Al-Nayrouz is.

Good Pizza.
Ambiance ( could be better).
Good prices for the buy.
Spotless clean place.
O.K. service

Enjoy and Welcome to Libya
P.S: Al-Naser street is the street parallel to Omar al -Mukhtar St. going south wards

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Honey, Nut Baryush on Mizaran street

This is a sweet encounter with the famous Croissant, I have seen it filled with many things inside but not with the ingredients I have tasted in this place, it is the old good croissant, kind of over baked and less fluffy, filled with Honey and ground Nuts, it is warmed in an oven prior to the filling and served with a generous portion whip of butter and a splash of rice powder on top.
For people with a sweet tooth, this place would be a frequent stop, it is located on the corner of Mizaran St, and High T (Haiti )* St. It should be on the northern corner of Mizaran west on High T (Haiti)* where it ends, I tried to get the name of the place but to no avail, there is no sign non what so ever, but that’s how things are here, No Name places are common.
The product is called "BARYUSH" in the local slang which means exactly "Croissant".
As for the shakes (blended with milk and ice), they have three types;
-Nuts with milk and banana,
-Strawberries, Banana, and milk,
-Banana shake
The combination of the two is an energy power house of some sort so be prepared for the after math.
Enjoy and welcome to Libya

Word History: The words croissant and crescent illustrate double borrowings, each coming into English from a different form of the same French word. In Latin the word cr scere, “to grow,” when applied to the moon meant “to wax,” as in the phrase l na cr sc ns, “waxing moon.” Old French croissant, the equivalent of Latin cr sc ns, came to mean “the time during which the moon waxes,” “the crescent-shaped figure of the moon in its first and last quarters,” and “a crescent-shaped object.” In Middle English, which adopted croissant in its Anglo-Norman form cressaunt, the first instance of our English word, recorded in a document dated 1399-1400, meant “a crescent-shaped ornament.” Crescent, the Modern English descendant of Middle English cressaunt, owes its second c to Latin cr scere. Croissant is not an English development but rather a borrowing of the Modern French descendant of Old French croissant. It is first recorded in English in 1899. French croissant was used to translate German Hِrnchen, the name given by the Viennese to this pastry, which was first baked in 1689 to commemorate the raising of the siege of Vienna by the Turks, whose symbol was the crescent.

*Credit to Trabilsia for correction, check the comments section.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bar Al Hufra

This one is suppose to be one of the HOTTEST and interesting experience you will have in Tripoli,

The place is located on Bin-Assure street while hitting eastwards (east of Qadisiyah square) on the south side of the street next to a Quranic school or a mosque, the entry to the famous place almost looks as if you are entering a basement or a dangeon of some sort, the place is a small room with a fridge that is filled with soda pop* and a counter stuffed with baguette bread, the owner is a man in his sixties, proud and full of history, you can ask questions about almost any thing and he will drag the conversation right and left and to the corners as well. O.K. here's what you are going to have there:
A Tuna Fish sandwich, that's all he serves!!!
A sandwich that will test your taste buds to the extreme, filled with Tuna and (Harissa)HOT pepper sauce. The hot pepper is mixed with coriander and some other spices, I guess that's where the secret lays as usuall: in the sauce.
Libyans are fond of their Tuna fish sandwiches, it is equal to the juicy burger that Americans love at home. The experience is made better by finishing the first sandwich real quick and starting the second, make sure you visit the tuna sandwich bar with a slightly filled tummy other wise the experience can be ruined later since it is really HOT, the taste is worth it though.
Enjoy and welcome to Libya
*Regional Note: Generic terms for carbonated soft drinks vary widely in the United States. Probably the two most common words competing for precedence are soda, used in the northeast United States as well as St. Louis and vicinity, and pop, used from the Midwest westward. In the South any soft drink, regardless of flavor or brand name, is referred to as a Coke, cold drink, or just plain drink. Speakers in Boston and its environs have a term of their own: tonic. Such a variety of regional equivalents is unusual for a product for which advertising is so aggressive and universal; usually advertising has the effect of squeezing out regional variants. On the other hand, there are so many types and flavors of soft drinks that perhaps no single generic word has ever emerged to challenge the regionalisms.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Al-Marsa Tripoli-Libya

Fish on the Mediterranean
It is for sure a place for fish lovers, located on the Mediterranean, east of the harbour on shore drive (Tareeq Alshat) About 3 minutes west of Mayteega airport (Used to be an American airbase in the 60's). The first impression is kind of "what am I doing here" but once you indulge in the experience, it is all good, here's how it works:

-Park your car on the road or by entering the market (road is not paved so be careful).
-Browse the fish market and ask about prices before you decide to settle on one or two kinds of fish.
-Browse restaurants before deciding on where to eat, once you decide take one of their hosts with you so you purchase the fish (trust your host).
-When buying, make sure you ask if the fish is not a farm fish.
-The fish will be cleaned and delivered on your host's request to the kitchen of your restaurant of choice.
-I recommend that you eat your fish cooked non grilled style, this way you get to taste the chef's spices and abilities, trust me you will not regret it, you can always catch on grilled fish.
-Appetizers are great way to indulge in the experience make sure you have them plentifully.
-I recommend a sodapop that is hard to come by in north America, it is called Bitter Soda, red in color & the localy made one is the best.
-Do not have your tea in the same restaurant you had your meal in, walk out side towards the gate and on the right hand side as climbing the hill out to the main road, there will be this old man who actually sells tea in disposable cups he will make your night, better yet, the cup will be also filled with fresh nuts.

Smooth walk to the car while sipping your tea and a Mediterranean breeze will enhance the flavor of all
Precautions: - Thursdays are extremely busy it might be wise to avoid all together or come early ( 8pm ), locals eat out late so coming early will get you a better peak on the catch of the day as well.
Enjoy and welcome to Libya