****East Village: Il Buco, East Village: Caracas Arepa Bar, Soho/Nolita: Torrisi
****Soho: Despana, Soho/Nolita: Cafe Gitane. Soho/Nolita: Raoul's
****LES/Chinatown: Cheeky, LES/Chinatown: Meatball Shop, LES/Chinatown: Kuma Inn, Chelsea/Gramercy: Maialino, Gramercy: Casa Mono/Bar Jamon, Gramercy: Ilili, Gramercy: Pure Food and Wine, Chelsea: Txikito
****Midtown West: The Breslin, Midtown West: Szechuan Gourmet, Upper West Side: Burger Joint, Upper West Side: Telepan, Upper East Side: Naya, Upper East Side: Sasabune, Brooklyn Heights: Henry Public, Bocca Luppo, Brooklyn/Dumbo: Vinegar Hill House, Brooklyn/Fort Greene: Walter's
****Brooklyn/Park Slope: Purbird, Brooklyn/Park Slope: Zuzu Ramen, Brooklyn/Williamsburg: Maison Premiere Brooklyn/Bay Ridge: Karam, Brooklyn/Sunset Park: Tacos Matamoros



Book Description

Where is home? What does "home" mean, anyway? And is there an answer to the age old question, "Can you go home again?" 

I grew up in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, and in 1981--when the violence was closing in around our neighborhood--my family picked up and moved to Houston, Texas. I was in elementary school at the time, and even though I was falling asleep to the sound of bombs every night, I never wanted to leave.

Fast-forward to my 20s and 30s: Now living and working as a food and travel writer in New York, I couldn't let go of the urge to move back to Lebanon and see what would happen. Yes, the country was still a political hellhole—not exactly at war, hardly at peace. But after all these years, I still missed living along the Mediterranean shore, and craved the zaa'tar bread from the old bakeries in our Beirut neighborhood. More than anything, I missed the sense of belonging to a place—deeply rooted, viscerally at home.

But was Beirut still home? Had it changed too dramatically since I'd left? Had I changed too much to pick up my life there again?

I finally got up the nerve to pack my bags and move back. So what happened in Beirut? My return played out in a way I could never have imagined when I hopped into the cab to JFK. Jasmine and Fire tells the story of what it was like to try and go home again—to a city as thrilling, wildly unpredictable, messy, and heartbreakingly gorgeous as Beirut. Click here for a brief excerpt (published on the travel site Fathom) from a chapter of Jasmine and Fire in which I'm walking around Beirut again, trying to reconnect.

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