Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Sandwich Can Kill You

The world is a strange place. When life is grim, tense-- and dangerous, one response is often humor. AND another response is to laugh and then profit from a circumstance. This story in the heart of Hezbollah territory caught my attention.

Lebanese feast on 'buns and guns' in Hezbollah fiefdom"
Behind a barricade of sandbags, Ali devours a "Magnum 357" as his friend Hussein tucks into a giant "B52". Welcome to "Buns and Guns" restaurant in the heartland of south Beirut controlled by Lebanon's Shiite militant movement Hezbollah. Lebanon's political crisis, Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006 and worsening tensions have become a source of inspiration for a restaurant in a country marked by violence.

A sandwich can kill you," reads a slogan on the wall of Buns and Guns, where the decor evokes a barracks decorated with a veritable cache of weaponry -- in plastic -and photos of Israel's main battle tank, the Markava. An "offensive" menu, which includes "chicken camouflage", "Dragunov (sniper rifle) steak" and roast "M16", is offered to clients who need little explanation of the military terms.

The servings are huge and that could kill you, good though they are," says Youssef Ibrahim, the 27-year-old owner of the restaurant. "I wanted to offer a new concept of a restaurant, and the tense situation in Lebanon was partly what inspired me."
I am not a fan of theme restaurants ever, mostly because such a restaurant rarely has good food. But life is getting too strange when instead of a Hard Rock Burger we end up with "Chicken Camouflage". My first reaction is kind of a sick, sinking feeling-- which is not the normal reaction I have to food as you all know. But there is also something noble about being able to laugh in the face of terrorism. Something strong about not being afraid of the violence that is an every day part of so many lives in the middle east.