What It’s Like Nearing 30 & Fighting Against Your Body.

While other 30-year-olds are worried about their wedding ceremony, kids’ college tuitions and even relationship revival trips, I, for a change, am worried about my latest doctor’s appointment.

When today’s 30-year-olds were growing up, they constantly heard that the age of someone’s beauty & health ended at 30. It was the end of entertainment and happiness. But the stereotypes have changed and now we understand that 30 years old is a great age! Well, guess that isn’t the case for everyone.

Screen Shot 2020-01-10 at 9.35.17 AM

See, hitting 30 for me was all about career growth. Never have I thought I’d be prepping for it while being diagnosed with food intolerances.

After my recent general check at the doctor’s, I was told I am heavily intolerant to gluten and lactose. What the actual fuck? was my first reaction. Do you mean I’m off bread, pasta, cheese, labneh and so on? Fuck lactose-free and gluten-free foods. Those didn’t even cross my mind for a split second when I heard the news.

It seems to me that my gut decided to have an early party and do all sorts of drugs (prescriptions) before I near 30. With gluten intolerance, my body’s digestive system can’t tolerate any form of the protein gluten. If consumed, my body fights against it with inflammation, causing digestive issues like fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gassiness. And guess what else? Fat storage. This seems reasonable, especially having hit 130kgs once upon a time in the past (almost) 30 years I spent on planet earth.

Thankfully I’m way far from that bodyweight now. And unlike some allergies, food intolerances aren’t life-threatening. However, they can be very problematic for those affected.

Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common and seem to be on the rise. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 20% of the world’s population may have a food intolerance. When it comes to lactose, it is estimated that 65% of the world’s population has trouble digesting it.

Such intolerances are managed by following strict gluten/lactose-free diets. And when I say strict, I mean it. No cheat days. For some people, even just eating food that has been cooked or prepared alongside bread or other gluten-heavy foods can cause a reaction. So adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle means you’ll need to learn how to cook (and eat) a little differently.

Anyway everyone, chill. Take a deep breath. The main thing is that at 30, your body makes the rules. You don’t. It even makes you take cooking courses to satisfy its needs, instead of changing diapers at 3 A.M.

For more stories: Fb. Hit me up for topic preferences: serge@espressopatronum.net or hi@sergetrad.com.


“LOne of the most profound and powerful films about mental illness I can recall seeing. The way it depicted childhood trauma leading to mental illness, psychosis and psychopathy in adulthood was disturbing and visceral.

More disturbing though, were the statements it made about how we treat and view mental illness as a culture. I think generally, most of society would like to believe that monsters are born- their pathology predetermined. It makes it easier to look away, to avoid feeling responsible, to act like the mess is someone else’s problem to address. At least until that monster shoots up a school or a concert, and then we feel entitled to be outraged? The truth is, many monsters are made, shaped by years of trauma, neglect, and lack of access to both mental health care and empathy. And still, despite years of suffering failed attempts, they still long for human connection, until one day they finally snap. The system, and society, didn’t just fail Arthur; it failed his mom. “Joker” was 40 years in the making, and what we witness in this film is the result of prolonged, unresolved generational trauma.

Even among my colleagues, I have sadly heard disheartening descriptions of how Joker’s incessant (and INVOLUNTARY) laughter throughout the film was “annoying” or “bothersome” while being fully aware that it is as a result of traumatic brain injuries suffered during childhood abuse (see Pseudobulbar Affect). The laughter I heard in the audience during several very emotionally painful scenes, further speaks to the pervasive ignorance that still hangs over our culture regarding mental illness. During a particular scene after a violent act is captured on live TV, the camera pans back to show a cluster of TV screens covering the footage, interspersed with commercials for Rolling Rock, and Energizer, and Corn Flakes. This is the atmosphere we live in- a 24 hour news cycle where a disturbing mental illness-related tragedy can’t stay in a spotlight for 5 seconds because it has become the norm. Anyone who left the theater feeling like they just watched a disappointing comic book movie completely missed the mark.

We should do better. We can do better.

✌🏼 #mentalhealthawareness

Can Lebanon outlive our immigration?

I can’t adequately articulate the impact of the past three years and the effect they have had in my life. Aside from the fulfilling experience of living in a country as beautiful as its culture, I have to say that the most beautiful bit has been the people I’ve met.

Today, I’ve decided to move back to Lebanon.

One Way Ticket

The rusty, old-fashioned, fuck-all-people-mentality Lebanon. A country so “open-minded” and “liberal” yet at the same time so outdated and with nothing to give back.

You put your heart and hard-earned cash into a nation ruled by hungry thieves who could collectively feed Africa if they want to.

But let me tell you something you haven’t heard before, away from all the #LiveLove fantasies: Lebanon’s potential isn’t born in the womb of our parliament and an economic miracle won’t come from a beautifully directed ad campaign. It all comes from the firm believers, young entrepreneurs, concept creators, movers and shakers, and trilingual well-traveled youth like you and I.

They say Lebanon has potential. “If they legalize smokeables,” “if they give us metros and trains,” and so on and so forth … but to what end?

The 20-somethings are the ones who hold the weight of a paralyzed country on their backs. Just like the global youth are revolutionizing the world when it comes to the environment, gun violence, and corrupt governments, Lebanese youth with the same power and drive can make something out of their country with the help of nothing but their imagination.

So can Lebanon outlive our immigration?

Follow me for more travel, food, Harry Potter stories & more on: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net.


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Chef Vladimir Mukhin (#15 in the World’s 50 Best)

What Mukhin calls a “concrete jungle” is now home to his newest creation and passion, Crab Market. Dubai has always been his dream city, and how better to treat your loved one that to give it everything you’ve got?

Dubbed “the vanguard of young Russian culinary talents”, Mukhin owns one of the best restaurants in the world, White Rabbit (#15 in the World’s 50 Best), and was most recently the subject of a one-hour episode of the 2017 series of Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

We had an exclusive sit down with the award-winning star.

Chef Vladimir Mukhin (White Rabbit & Crab Market)
Chef Vladimir Mukhin (White Rabbit & Crab Market)

A big fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, the Russian chef sure knows how to spoil his own taste buds as he finds comfort – and at times, inspiration – in shawarma, hummus, baba gannoush, and all sorts of mezze. “It’s holy,” he says. He speaks of traditional Levantine food as if they’re his own, firmly believing they should remain untouched, un-modernized.

He isn’t one to go all fancy, mixing foreign ingredients like truffle and Asian components just to look extravagant, as he says many other Middle Eastern restaurants are venturing into, to eventually fail.

© Crab Market DXB - 2018
© Crab Market – 2018
© Crab Market DXB - 2018
© Crab Market – 2018

He likes his ingredients local and fresh, and most importantly, homogeneously married together. After purchasing and running seven farms back in Russia, his home country, Mukhin advises all Dubai restaurateurs to “grow their own produce.”

And to keep it all fresh, he’s aiming at dubbing Crab Market a “seasonal” restaurant, with Russian Kamchatka Crab and sea urchins, amongst many others.

© Crab Market – 2018

Not a first-time visitor to Dubai, Mukhin is proving his expertise in the local markets is quite brilliant. “You have to go at 5 A.M. [to local markets] before all the good things are sold,” he says as he explains how he got fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables just a couple of hours ago.

“I really like mezze as a style of dining,” he adds, while mentioning how hummus is “the closest food inspiration to Crab Market’s dishes.”

© Crab Market – 2018

With a menu based on goods from the deep blue, you are sure to experience all sort of seafood dishes “just like you’re eating Middle Eastern mezze.” It’s that simple.

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net.  

20 of NYC’s Fast-Food Giants

In a nation where not all burgers are created equal, Espresso Patronum decided to find out where animal style continues to reign supreme, particularly in the big apple: NYC.


In-N-Out Burger has once again topped Market Force’s annual customer survey of the nation’s top quick-service restaurants; a beloved California-based burger joint, earning a 76% rating in customer loyalty. That’s higher than any restaurant in any category, even though the chain is famously limited to only the West Coast.


It’s a redemption of sorts for In-N-Out, which added its first new menu in 15 years earlier this year. While In-N-Out Burger won the Market Force survey last year, Five Guys bested it in a separate Harris Poll last year. Chick Fil-A came in second in the overall rankings, with 73% customer loyalty. Other big winners included Raising Cane’s, which specializes in fried chicken.

Missing from the customer loyalty survey were the biggest national chains: McDonald’s and Subway. The 2 chains were completely left behind in favor of regional favorites.

Consumer Reports asked its subscribers what fast-food restaurant had, in their opinion, the tastiest food. A trend soon emerged where the biggest fast-food restaurants ranked the lowest in customer preference. For example, KFC was voted last for chicken, Taco Bell was the least liked for burritos and, sorry Jared, but Subway’s sandwiches were only beat by Au Bon Pain as least favorite among the American public.

As for McDonald’s? Americans are seriously not “lovin’ it.” “McDonald’s own customers ranked its burgers significantly worse than those of 20 competitors, including Hardee’s, Shake Shack and Wendy’s. No other house specialty scored as low,” Consumer Reports noted, as reported by NBC.

Here are the winners in some of the top food categories, in alphabetical order:

  1. Burger King 1200x-11-e1466675698479.jpg
  2. Chick-Fil-A CFA-Sauce.jpg
  3. Chipotle Mexican Grill 48200183-15277840564061399_origin.jpg
  4. Cinnabon cinnabon1.jpg
  5. Cold Stone Creamery cold-stone-creamery.jpg
  6. Dunkin’ Donuts '.jpg
  7. Five Guys dedf512d1afb037fe1c816dea70b4841d69494950a87518b7726d79fddedaec9.jpg
  8. The Halal Guys 29571207_1877157452309109_4509108115938541807_n.0.jpg
  9. Hardee’s burger.jpg
  10. In-N-Out Burger
  11. Johnny Rockets johnnyrockets.jpg
  12. KFC kfc-now-has-a-food-truck-48139-2.jpg
  13. Krispy Kreme gettyimages-540031879-1.jpg
  14. McDonald’s fl-bz-mcdonalds-ubereats-40-piece-chicken-mcnuggets-super-bowl-deal-20170131.jpg
  15. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers 9eb751def41dfbc0856f37c56a7f98d1.jpg
  16. Shake Shack Shake_Shack2.0.jpg
  17. Starbucks
  18. Subway11.jpeg
  19. Taco BellInternational-Hero.jpg
  20. Wendy’sFREEWENDYSNUGGEST0417_01.jpg

Although America may be dubbed the “Fast Food Nation,” recent reports show that New Yorkers are more concerned with the quality of food than the convenience of the location. Despite how the world views the U.S, Americans & New Yorkers in particular actually want to eat good quality food.

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

#SLYTHERINPRIDE: The Magical Weight-Shredding Potion


Well, you could just start with this.

#SlytherinPride is my secret cleansing potion, to wash off all the holidays’ calorie excess… Wanna get on it? Check how you can do it below.


This recipe was perfected with Bosch MES4000GB Juicer, now available during the Dubai Shopping Festival.

Follow me for more Harry Potter updates, travel stories, food discoveries & weird recipes: FbInstagram & Twitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net.

My Weight Loss Journey: Episode 1

It’s been a minute since I stepped foot in a gym. I’ve taken the decision to relocate back to Beirut back in January, and April marked my last month in Dubai. Back then I was committed to indoor cycling, practically since October… The changes weren’t drastic, but yet again, depression, living alone, not having the time or energy to cook properly played a major part against me achieving my goal.

My goal which was not only to lose weight, but to tone. Finally, tone. I’ve been through this weight loss journey since the age of 21… Hustling, battling against it. Every. Single. Day.

On September 2012 I started dropping from 130Kgs (almost 290pounds) to 80Kgs. The diet was harsh but fast. But harsh. It was just what I needed for a confidence boost to go through my most critical “what-the-fuck-is-going-on-in-my-life” years. The twenties.

I had to graduate, get a real job, dress like a fucking “cool” guy. You know… Nothing out of the norms. I’ve never been anything but “normal” anyway.

It happened. I dropped those 50kgs. I looked fine. Fine enough to walk straight, look up and pretend like I have everything figured out. LOL! LOL at the fact that I thought this would last. Of course it didn’t. I moved to Dubai, and this is when weight gain caught back on track, like it never fucking left.

Anyway, this is not a novel, nor a depressed adult’s diary. I’m just laying down the thoughts that lead me to take F45 Challenge. It’s been a week. And MAAAAAAAAN do I feel good.

F45 Challenge is an 8-week fat loss program, designed to give life-changing results.

Phase 1, designed for 2 weeks goes like this:

The first phase of the 8-week Challenge focuses on bringing your diet back to basics. Here, you remove gluten, refined sugar, high fructose fruits, and temporarily, red meat, dairy and caffeine.


Meals are packed with lean white meat, fish and plant-based proteins, fibrous vegetables, and gluten-free grains. But since my diet was previously high in caffeine, I was feeling fatigued all through these first two weeks as my body needed to adapt to its elimination, as well as the calorie deficit. On the upside, half-way through this phase I started noticing exciting changes as my body responded to the increase in high-intensity physical activity from the 6-times-a-week F45 sessions coupled with the challenge meal plans.


The supportive F45 team has also assembled a pool of nutrition experts to develop the meal plans and recipes provided in this ecosystem to help lazy fucks like me achieve their goals. Which is what I’m currently on: 5 meals a day, 3 mains and 2 snacks.

The goal is to lose 15 kilos of fat and gain 4 kilos of muscles. A lengthy journey, but hell to the yes doable.

This was episode 1 of 4, see you next week for episode 2.

Follow me for more: FbInstagramTwitter. Hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

Does the world need another book about Italian food?

These emails between Anthony Bourdain and Matt Goulding show how Tony felt about telling the story of Italy, its food and the people who make them—and how the world actually needed that “extra” book about Italian food.


Dear Tony,

I’m in a tough spot. Of all the people I know, I’m guessing you’re the one who will best appreciate my predicament. I write to you from Savigno, just outside Bologna, a town surrounded by sweet pignoletto vines and truffle-studded forests. Today is Easter, a day of liberation for the Italians, and splayed before me are the bones of half a dozen courses: ragù streaks, gnawed lamb ribs, pistachio dust. My blood runs with a mix of rendered pork fat and bitter spirits, six months in the underbelly of Italy’s food world hitting me down to the marrow. But it’s not my lipid profile I worry about; it’s the table full of grandmas and couples and new friends around me. Let me explain.

When I first left New York in 2010 in search of a new start, I set my coordinates for Emilia Romagna. There I would find a hilltop town, not unlike Savigno, powered by egg-rich pastas and slow-simmered sauces and single women with a penchant for lost Americans. Only a stopover in Barcelona and a fateful cerveza with a young Catalan I now call my wife kept me from my al dente destiny.

Granted, my vision was far from original. Most of the world dreams of Italy—of the pinup landscape porn, the cumulus clouds of cappuccino foam, the meals that stretch on like radioactive sunsets. It was those same dreams that drove me back here, that have me itching to capture this magic on the page. But lately, I’ve been having nightmares about Italy. Nightmares about what the Italians will think about another foreigner’s take on their traditions.

Nightmares about getting it wrong—about mistaking parmesan for pecorino, pancetta for guanciale, spaghettini for spaghettoni. I don’t mean nightmares in the figurative sense; I mean nightmares in the cold-sweat-and-sleepless-nights sense.

Nobody takes food more seriously than the Italians. I’ve seen family feuds break out over pasta shapes and grape varietals. No doubt you’ve been caught in the crossfire before. But these aren’t the petty beefs of food snobs—these cut to the core of what it means to be Italian. More than anywhere else in the world, food carries the full weight of Italy’s heritage: the pains and joys of its history, the depth of its ingenuity. Politicians are corrupt, democracy is fragile, borders are porous, but la cucina italiana is eternal.

At the end of the day, these are the people I want to surround myself with—the type that won’t hesitate to spit in my vino if I ask for parmesan with my spaghetti alle vongole. But they are also the ones I fear I will inevitably disappoint.

Does the world need another book about Italian food?

Am I walking into a trap?



Dear Matt,

The path you have chosen is indeed fraught with peril. The overwhelming instinct of ItaloPhiles like you and I is to romanticize, over sentimentalize and generally follow the well-worn tradition of soft-edged food porn when writing about Italy.

What is charming to us is often a frustration and even an affliction to Italians. The same political and cultural paralysis that keeps this beautiful collection of city states “real” also traps its citizens in a reality that often approaches the tragically surreal.

But one can be forgiven, I hope, for finding great joy, even epiphany in a bowl of pasta vongole (though not with cheese), a bottle of rustic wine, the simple things that seem the birthright of the average Italian.

Careening through Rome, late at night in a taxi, half-swacked on negronis, listening to Mina, remains magic. To lay eyes on a bowl of cacio e pepe, a plate of trippa, agnolotti, urchins in season, porchetta… that’s some powerful shit.

The mysteries of Italian parking, slang, law enforcement, hand gestures, dress, family relationships, superstitions, dialectal differences, slang, physical contact are unknowable yet enticing in that unknowability.

I’m still trying to figure it all out. It sounds like you are, too.



Ciao Tony,

I will leave the mysteries of law enforcement and hand gestures to the locals, though I’ve been on the receiving end of both throughout my time here. But I have been trying to solve a few mysteries of the kitchen, namely what makes Italian food so damn delicious.

A wise man in Kyoto once told me: Western cuisine is about addition; Japanese cuisine is about subtraction. But I think he overlooked a kinship between Japanese and Italian cooking—both built around exquisite product, both guided by a type of magical math best described as addition by subtraction: 3- 1 = 4.

And like Japanese cuisine, Italian food is driven by a set of rules and beliefs established over hundreds if not thousands of years, and embraced by a citizenry that largely rejects the notion of people fucking with their food. But Italian cuisine is not a statue in a museum; it’s not some intractable monument to the past. It lives and breathes and bleeds like any good culture does.

I thought I could come here, eat a ton of tagliatelle, soak my bones in vino, and pay gentle tribute to the traditions of this wondrous place. I thought I would write a book about nonna, but everywhere I turn, I find granddaughters and grandsons writing the next chapter in their family history: three young brothers in Puglia expanding the essence of mozzarella and burrata in a deeply conservative culinary corner of Italy; a father-daughter team in the Piedmont who cast off the yoke of Barolo’s staid history to produce some of the most poetic and controversial wines in the world; a class of next-generation pizzaioli in Naples wood-firing a path to a new understanding of the planet’s most popular food.

In the end, it’s not a book about grandmas and their sacred family recipes (though they have a few delicious cameos); it’s a book about a wave of cooks, farmers, bakers, shepherds, young and old, trying to negotiate the weight of the past with the possibilities of the future.

I know how you feel about Italian cuisine. I know you don’t want some young hotshot turning pasta carbonara into performance art. You don’t want your cappuccino with condescension.

I’m with you. But after a few hundred meals here, I’m starting to see just how important this chapter is in the story of Italian cuisine, and I think it might make a worthy addition to this little series we have working.

What do you think?




My response to you–and this sort of improvisation, innovation, expansion on traditional Italian regional specialties is entirely emotional—is a blind, unthinking, instinctive hostility. I hate it. I hate the thought. I am a curmudgeon when it comes to all things Italian.

I do not doubt—in fact I know and have experienced—delicious new takes on pizza, even that beloved carbonara. It is possible. It is, I guess, only right, that new generations of Italian chefs are flexing their creative minds and their skills in the interest of moving things forward.

But I hate the idea in a way that only a non-Italian, newly besotted with an overly romantic view of that country can be. Italians complain that their country doesn’t work, that it is stuck, mired in the corruption and incompetence and antiquated attitudes of another time—that nothing ever changes. Which is exactly what I love in so many ways about the country. That state of paralysis. If it worked, it would change. And I don’t want it to change.

I go to a place in Rome every time I’m there. And there’s another place in Turin. The waiters are the same as they were twenty years ago. The owner who buzzes you in the locked door is the same. The menu is tiny (when there is one) and that never changes either. Simple. Unpretentious. Handmade pastas, a few simple sauces. Polpette. Constant. A true friend.

To me, after 30 years of cooking, of garnishing, of torturing and manipulating food into being pretty enough or “interesting” enough to sell to an ever fickle dining public, another two decades of experiencing every type of culinary genius or frippery, there is deep, deep satisfaction and joy in food made with enough confidence and love to take three or four good ingredients, cook them right, and dump them unceremoniously on a plate. Better yet if the cook feels good enough about the food to serve it with a rough, not particularly good local wine.

That makes me happy.

You are right, there is something almost Japanese about Italian food at its best. But Italian food is much, much more emotional. One should experience it like a child, never like a critic, never analytically.

I am hopelessly compromised on this issue.

It is personal for me.

I cannot be trusted.

But I am right.

Still, if you ignore my advice and write this book anyway, I’ll read it. If it’s good, I might even publish it.

Good luck,

Follow me for more travel, food, Harry Potter stories & more on: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net.


Instagram: Beyond Work | Interview with Communicate Levant

There’s more to life than work. For Serge Trad, digital communication manager at Addmind Hospitality Group, life is also being a digital artist, an engaged Instagramer and a huge Potterhead.


When did you start on Instagram and why?

I’ve started using Instagram at the very beginning of 2013. It was still a beautiful time when social media was just a silly pastime. Today, Instagram makes 30% of my days, and I have to say it’s a bittersweet feeling.

What’s your preferred post? Your worst one?

After I started the grid canvas design, I archived my personal posts off the channel. Which really left me with no “worst” posts. I take almost a week before I create a new canvas. So, I try to make the viewer’s experience enjoyable, by telling a story in each part of the 6-grid layout.

How much time do you spend on Instagram daily?

It’s sad to say but after introducing “your activity”, I noticed I’m on there for three hours a day. To be fair, I’m a communication manager. I do have to stay up-to-date. I also manage brands online and have some of the best creative inspo on Instagram while having my morning coffee.


If you weren’t on Instagram, how would you indulge in your passion?

I’d definitely read and scan through arts/advertising magazines and publications more. I’ve been driven by arts and the creative world ever since I was a child… I am fascinated by the change and tremendous effect that virtual advertising is creating.

What’s the best feedback you got on your posts?

Many people have sent my profile as a reference to their clients and texted me later about it to tell me their clients loved it.

I’m always happy to inspire and I spend my days on Instagram trying to find people to inspire me. Instagram is a public platform, and the content we post is waived as public once we sign those terms & conditions. So don’t be greedy and pass your creativity on.


Have you ever thought about making this a full-time job?

It kind of is. At the moment, I am managing the communication of WHITE Dubai (currently the only club in the Middle East & North Africa to be ranked amongst the world’s best clubs in DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs), Drai’s Dubai (a Vegas import) and some of the biggest house festivals/event pop-ups in the MENA region, the likes of EL ROW and ANTS.

Harry Potter: what kind of Potterhead are you?

I’m what they call a “Magic is real” fan. The type who is still low-key waiting by the mailbox for their Hogwarts letter to arrive. My passion expressed itself and paid its dues three years ago when I launched my blog Espresso Patronum (a play on “Expecto Patronum” from the series) which I didn’t know would be a viral hit in Beirut, and eventually was verified on Facebook two years later.

Which house are you in?

I’m a proud Slytherin.

Which film/book do you prefer?

A true Potterhead would never judge based on the films, but I’m gonna give a creative input here. From the books, it’s definitely “The Prisoner of Azkaban”. It’s the best read, a great life lesson where readers learn that no one is exactly what they seem on the surface. When it comes to the movies, my favorite will be “The Half Blood Prince”. This was such an emotional rollercoaster. We lost Dumbledore, we saw Harry fall in love, which eases us into the Hogwarts battle.


If you collect Harry Potter items, which is your favorite and why?

I am a savage collector. Friends and family actually never gift me anything else. I’ve spent close to all my savings when I was 22 to travel to London (alone) and visit the Warner Bros studios. It was only then when my collection actually blossomed. Wands, clothes, scarfs, books, notebooks, pens, flyers, posters…  You name it! My favorite will always be the wands collection. It’s made of real wood, hand-crafted and life-like. If we were in a better world, they would actually cast spells.

What do you say to people who DON’T like Harry Potter?

Is there actually someone who doesn’t? I refuse to believe it. I’ve made it a mission to “convert” people who don’t. You know, we call them muggles. But once they get to taste what the wizarding world of JK Rowling beholds, they wish they knew about it since the early 2000s.

Interviewed by Nathalie Bontems for Communicate Levant.

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

GAUCHO: Steak-World Royalty

The Dubai branch of Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho is tucked away in DIFC in a beautiful unflustered spot. Inside, everything is pristine.

This prestigious UK brand serves an exceptional quality of beef, excels at infusing traditional Argentinian style with cutting edge South American influences, in a stunning atmosphere for an ideal timeout amidst the frenzy of city life.


Swiftly after arriving and being seated, “Zola” (probably the finest and most attentive waiter I’ve met in Dubai) arrives with a wooden board topped with slabs of uncooked ‘display’ steak, and delivers a podcast-worthy description of the different Argentinian cuts on offer.


The steaks were dazzling: The Ancho Ribeye was flavoursome, delicately marbled throughout for superb, full-bodied flavor with the meat juices flowing readily over the plate at the press of a fork. The Churrasco De Lomo, meanwhile, was enviably tender, heavenly slathered in quantities of garlic and olive oil.

22. Iftar menu - ancho steakchurrasco de chorizo(spiral cut of sirloin) a la carte

One of my favorite steak sides on that night had to be the Humita Sateña. Gaucho puts their own unique twist on this classic dish, serving it in a corn husk with sweetcorn and mozzarella.


Desserts, too, were outstanding; with the highlight being the Banana and Coconut Mess, garnished with a splodge of sticky meringues, was sweet and decadent.

With waiters like Zola frequently swooping in to top up wine and unmatched experience; Gaucho’s still and will forever be steak-world royalty.

To book your lunch, dinner or private function at Gaucho: +971 4 422 7898. Gate Village Building 5, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, UAE.

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 


Will This Be Beirut’s First Michelin-Starred Restaurant?

Finding somewhere decent to eat in Beirut has always been a bit like figuring out what to wear on an English summer’s day: trickier than you might think.

Despite an abundance of posh hotel joints and big-name chain brands, there just aren’t that many unfailingly good restaurants in the Lebanese capital. Luckily, CLAP comes in as an exception. Sure, there are facets that feel customary, but Addmind Hospitality’s newest baby still blows most of the home-grown competition out of the water.

Japanese gastronomy is at the forefront of this concept. Branding was designed to complement, not compete, with the lush interiors, which are dominated by wood and stone, with a large Robata counter giving off smoke and clatter against a soundtrack of lounge-y beats.


Food highlights include Wagyu Beef Tataki, the slivers of dazzlingly fresh fuchsia-pink meat, placed over a canvas of Tozasu dressing in caramel-colored tones. Another delight is the Sea Bass Hoba, a Josper-oven-grilled fish, garnished with a light mint salsa.


Nothing here is too much trouble. Plates are carefully placed – and replaced – throughout the meal, the table is kept scrupulously clean at all time, and everything is done with a smile.

So will CLAP become Beirut’s first Michelin-starred restaurant? Either-way, if you’re in town for a show, this is the best place to go.


CLAP Contemporary Japanese Restaurant and Lounge is located on the rooftop of one of the most iconic buildings in Beirut, the An-Nahar building, in Downtown Beirut.

Open every day, from 12pm till 4pm and 8pm till 3am | For reservations: +961 70 633888

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

Gordon Ramsay’s Twitter Version of Hell’s Kitchen: Roasting Edition

Gordon Ramsay: famous for his Hell’s Kitchen TV show and fiery comebacks that could roast you well-done. This chef is as brilliant at cooking as he is at trolling.

People of the internet have taken a liking to Ramsay ever since he graced us with his existence, and are constantly interested in his opinion towards the meals they prepare.


He’s been focused on his TV shows as of late, which means he’s taken a break from roasting anyone’s failed attempt at cooking; However, he infamously burnt anyone and everyone who would tag him in hideous photos of meals in the past.

And here is a list of some of the burns from which you could draw inspiration.

Well, he’s blunt about his opinion, that’s for sure!

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.45.41 AM.png

Could you blame him for this comment? Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.46.15 AM.png

We hope they got to the hospital on timeScreen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.46.49 AM.png

RUN! Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.47.17 AM.png

Not sure the cat would even get close to this plate Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.47.52 AM.png

Is that a lasagna you would eat? Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.48.19 AM.png

Right to the point “WTF is that?” Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.48.46 AM.png

Yum, looks like cholesterol Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.49.17 AM.png

Future husband? Get him a cooking book maybe Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.50.18 AM.png

Looking for ice to apply to this sick burn Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.50.46 AM.png

A one-word burn Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.51.45 AM.png

Poor mate Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.52.39 AM.png

“Second hand profiteroles” Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.53.07 AM.png

Maybe love is stronger than the stomach Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 1.14.13 PM.png

Stop torturing your pets! Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 1.14.52 PM.png

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

KYO: Where Subtle Japanese Food Wins Supreme

The days of suffering through boring, hearty and outdated rounds of maki are over, thanks to the recent influx of terrific Japanese creations, introduced by the country’s newly self-elected Karate kids, Dar Al Diyafah.

Their latest signature, KYO, has already elevated the luxurious Asian cuisine, bringing an A-game of stellar Japanese rolls and fresh raw fish delicacies to the UAE coasts (or actually just Palm Jumeirah’s).

At KYO, appetizers offer the complexity of entrees, namely warm Gyozas, fresh selections of finely sliced sashimi and one of the finest ceviches I’ve ever had.

Beyond the raw, the chef has skills on the grill, forging on with dishes like the Black Cod & fresh octopus and scallops.

The dessert assortments including the chocolate fondant, meringues and tropically infused ice creams also make an appearance, and they’re all robust and satisfying.

But ultimately this is a place where subtle food wins.

KYO | The Pointe, The Palm Jumeirah.

Reservations on: +971 (04) 557 5182

Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net.