My girls and I were tired of our usual restaurants on the Al-Andalus Strip, so we decided to try something different.First, meet my girls: J.J., age 2, loves knives, ketchup, friendly waiters and food from anybody’s plate except hers. Lili, age 5, loves mango juice and thinks Fuddrucker’s is the ultimate in gourmet dining.
Using the mango juice for inspiration, I decided to go to Goodies, a Lebanese delicatessen in Coral Mall. We entered via the mall entrance. Lili by my side eyeing the chocolates next to the checkout, and JJ asleep in her stroller, suddenly I remembered the way things worked around here.
Families sit upstairs. No elevator. No menus. You select your food from downstairs.
Despite the seeming predicament, the atmosphere managed to lift my spirits. The bright, open layout. The variety of colors in the fresh fruit and vegetable stands. The friendly service, the coffee bar, the rows of carefully prepared pastries…
Since Goodies is a restaurant based on the original delicatessen in Verdun, Beirut, typical sit-down dining would spoil the deli experience. The term Delicatessen comes from the German language, meaning “delicacies” or “fine foods” and a shop selling these foods is often called a deli. Goodies brings back memories of not only vacations in Beirut, but also of the delis in New York. So a few thousand stairs and two silly sisters cannot stand in my way! (Okay, it’s not a thousand stairs, but with kids, a stroller and abaya, it sure seems that way!)
So with a sense of nostalgia and serious appetite, I walked around the large glass display of foods that Goodies has to offer. With traditional Arabian dishes as well as an array of international favorites, it was a tough decision.
After choosing a mix of grilled lamb, beef, and chicken, cheese sambousa, hummus, and Fettucini Alfredo with mushrooms, a waiter offered to help carry the stroller upstairs. By the time we reached the top, JJ was already awake and ready to sit in the high chair.
We ordered our drinks, Mango Juice, Mango Juice!! repeated Lili, plus orange juice and mint lemonade, all in plastic cups with covers to avoid any disasters.
The food arrived promptly and in large portions.
The fettucine alfredo was as creamy as it should be. The cheese sambousa was neither too salty nor too plain, and pregnant with cheese. The hummus was hummus, nothing to write home about. It wasn’t bad, but I’ve had better. The mixed grill was a winner with the girls (bite-size finger food), and while I can think of one or two other places with a better mixed grill, it was better than good.
There was a delay with the hummus, and confusion over the meaning of a teaspoon, but eventually both arrived with a friendly demeanor. Overall, my girls and I had a great meal for a great price and I can’t wait till Ramadan to try their Iftar.Read more