Happy Passover! Happy Easter! Happy Eating!

Almost a year since I went to Lebanon, I am feeling nostalgic. My first full day in Beirut was Easter Sunday, in a year when the Orthodox and Western Easters fell on the same day. As I toured the city that day, I got a glimpse of the Beirut Synagogue, but was not allowed to get close or photograph it, because it is near some secure sites.

Anyway, the history of the Lebanese Jews has been on my mind since before then. And this week, during Passover and Easter, I am thinking of them, again. And what do I find but a Lebanese Jewish cook in Brooklyn. I will try to visit her kitchen, someday.

Here is a blurb about her from "The New York Times."

February 15, 2012
DINER'S JOURNAL; Food Stuff: Kosher Foods, for Cooks And Noncooks

A bountiful array of glatt kosher prepared foods, traditional and innovative, is the star attraction at Prime Butcher Baker, an elaborate new market created by Joey Allaham, who owns the Manhattan kosher restaurants Prime Grill, Prime KO and Solo. But there is also plenty for those who prefer to do the cooking.

At the entrance of the Upper East Side shop, which opens on Wednesday, is a temperature- and humidity-controlled glass case for aging steaks like rib-eyes. Beyond are a bakery and counters for fish, groceries and meat, including kosher wagyu and organic beef. Lining one wall are freezers filled with Lebanese stuffed vine leaves, flatbreads, kibbe and meat pies, along with soups, quiches, knishes, kugel, ready-to-cook sliders with various seasonings, and scores of other dishes.

Souad Nigri, a Lebanese caterer, prepares the Middle Eastern specialties; her stuffed onions and other vegetables are not to be missed. All the baked goods, including cookies, pastries, tarts and cakes, are pareve. The cheesecakes are made with tofu.

Prime Butcher Baker, 1572 Second Avenue (81st Street); (212) 616-1502 . Open Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.



And, so as to reflect properly my eclectic upbringing, here is a short video about Beiruti Christian celebrations of Easter. It is produced by Press TV, the Iranian government's media outlet.