Monday, July 31, 2006

Beirut Confidential

This is a great article on the madness in Lebanon and Israel by rock star chef and "Kitchen Confidential" author Anthony Bourdain. He was there to do a tv special on, what else, the cuisine of the newly resurgent country. But like everything else in the region, it's fucked now. His documentation of the the war's outbreak makes for a unique take on the affair. And incidentally, the main pic for the article is from none other than the intrepid Stephanie Sinclair.

From the article (link follows):
Everything had begun so beautifully. Our fixer, Lena, was bursting with enthusiasm when she met us at the airport. After months of preproduction, finally we were here! Finally, the American television crew had arrived -- to show the world how beautiful her country was, how lovingly restored, how hip and forward thinking in the years since the bloody civil war. On the first day of filming, we'd had a sensational early lunch of hummus, kibbe, stewed lamb and yogurt at Le Chef, a local, family-style joint in a charming neighborhood. The customers at the tables around us in the tiny, worn-looking dining area chattered away in Arabic, French and English. Stomachs full, my crew and I headed over to Martyr's Square and the Rafik Hariri memorial; a few blocks away, our fixer and friends pointing out old scars and new construction, trying to explain how much Beirut and Lebanon had changed since the man's death in 2005. They spoke effusively of the calm, the peace, the relative tolerance that had followed the galvanizing effects of Hariri's assassination.

Read "Watching Beirut Die."
*Update - Read an email Q&A with Bourdain at the Washington Post.

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