I hate to break it to you, folks, but we’re nearing the
shelf life of summer very rapidly. In fact, we’ve got just a week to go before
autumn descends upon us, with its fresh, brisk air; colorful foliage; and
shorter days. Question is, will you mourn the end of the sunny season? Those hot,
stuffy days that only an ice-cold lemonade can take the edge off of? The early
morning dawn and late evening dusk that plunges the sun into the glistening
waters of the Mediterranean? Those lazy Sunday afternoons where the mezza feast
knows no end?
What will you miss most? Let’s survey our options.
Rooftops. In the past several years, we’ve seen a surge in the number of rooftops transformed into sunset hangouts, music venues, dance floors, and cocktail bars. They’re ubiquitous in Beirut. The rule is pretty much thus: if the building boasts a roof, it’s perfectly suited to become an F&B destination. That’s essentially every building! And we Beirutis are all the luckier for it. Recline in a comfy lounge sofa, sip on a chilled sangria, and behold the sun make its calculated descent into the sea. A warm summer breeze usually accompanies these electric nights, which can stretch happily into the first signs of dawn.
What’s summer without a refreshing ice cream cone after a long day on the beach
under the beating sun? Almost every family has a tradition of stopping by an
ice cream bar on their way home from a pool resort to cool off. And haven’t you
noticed that in the summertime, almost every mini market acquires an outdoor
freezer where all sorts of cones, sticks, and cups are kept? Patisseries like
Sea Sweet even erect a dedicated ice cream stand outside their shops to cater
to the increased footfall. Don’t pass up the chance to enjoy a “booza mchakal,”
or multi-flavored ice cream, before summer’s demise.
Rosé wine. Rosé revs up each summer, and for good reason: typically enjoyed chilled, it’s an ideal hot weather drink and more versatile for food pairings than most whites, compatible with a broad spectrum of dishes. In other words, it fits the poolside lunch motif perfectly. Nearly every winery in Lebanon produces rosé, but if you want something unique, step up to the sparklers. In fact, rosé champagnes can’t be outdone when it comes to a time-honored beverage choice to elevate the summer experience. They don’t call it bubbly for nothing, right?
Fresh fruit. For those cautiously watching their figures during the summer months, fresh fruit is a huge lifesaver for both providing necessary hydration and nourishing the body at minimal caloric intake. Technical jargon aside, how many of you like watermelon? Or cantaloupe? How about grapes? Or plums? Sour plums? Peaches? Nay, nectarines? Jujube? The summer season is heralded for its cornucopia of excellent produce. You could readily substitute a meal each day with a varied fruit platter, that’s how diverse your pickings are! Come winter, it’ll be back to oranges and bananas.
Sunday Fun-day. In Lebanon, we all know that the best day for a road-trip is Sunday. If you manage to escape your home before the beach rush, you can zip away on the highway unperturbed by stop and go traffic. No wonder the Harley Owners Group (HOG) can be intercepted every Sunday making their way to some remote destination in pursuit of some pedal-to-metal action. Who didn’t trek out to Tyr this summer to visit Lebanon’s cleanest beaches? How about a drive to the Cedars to inhale the cleaner, cooler air? Surely, you visited Byblos for the iconic summer festival and al fresco dining. Time to bid it all farewell, au revoir, and à la prochaine!
Danielle was born into a Lebanese household in Southern California. Growing up, she constantly found herself living between two realities: outwardly, she was an American girl who loved swinging on the monkey bars and reading The Baby-Sitters Club. Inwardly, she was Lebanese, speaking Arabic at home and forbidden from attending sleepover parties.
With age comes awareness and self-confidence, and Danielle learned to embrace these differences. She accepted that she'd forever be suspended between two worlds, and that she'd be like a tapestry, one culture woven into the other. As she grew older and worldlier, Danielle promised herself she would one day settle in Lebanon.
And here she is. Three college degrees and a few consulting gigs later, she is now in her parents’ homeland, working in strategy management, fleshing out her blog Beirutista, and contributing to Bitfood. Danielle gets her hair coiffed several times a week, like any proper Lebanese girl, and she loves the traditional mezze. But she still prefers peanut butter to Nutella. And her American accent is unmistakable.