June 26, 2017

Milou: Having Fun from Paris to Beirut in Business Class

I look nice, fresh and sexy, I'm white and clean, I'm fun and always smiley... I'm probably the world's most famous dog bringing smiles and happiness to people for the last couple decades. I've been to the moon and back, discovered the planet's most unlikely places, went to Tibet, traveled over the Atlantic and even experienced planes when few people have to. I am Milou, the snowy dog. Living the beautiful life I dream of, I've been hidden in suitcases and pockets but never had the chance and pleasure to take the route from Paris to Beirut onboard Lebanon's local carrier... on this beautiful hot afternoon, I'm traveling back to the land of the cedars, a bone in my mouth and ready to have fun up in the air...

I woke up at 8 in Paris, enjoyed a flaky croissant and a rich piece of cheese getting ready to leave to the airport. It was eleven when I reached the terminal, checked in my bags and walked through customs. Everyone was smiling, happy to see me... I felt something moving under my feet, jumped on the laptop, a blue box... it's a conveyor belt... a long black tunnel, I was scared, didn't understand what was happening... I x-rayed my self by mistake!


In terminal E concourse L, a wide choice of shops are at your fingertips. Bags, chocolates and spirits but I was hungry! Guy Martin, the famous starred chef has opened a luxurious fast food corner called MiYou. Spotting a colorful sandwich, I grabbed the baguette of boiled eggs, mayonnaise, tomatoes and anchovies. A chewy baguette with very salty anchovies, I'm not sure this is something humans would even like! The chocolate eclair on another hand, and despite it being displayed for a long morning is really amazing. A thick crunchy chocolate sheet lays on top of it to decorate it, a soft dough stuffed with dark chocolate cream and no sweetness to spoil this upscale creation.


Run Milou run... doors were closing and I was still enjoying my time. I like it how they sell M&M's in big bags at airports; I felt like bathing in one! Happiness is a choice... fun is found in the simplest of things, you just have to see it! I opened a bag of bonbons on a table and ran around them jumping on yellows without touching the red one.


After boarding you are proposed a glass of champagne or a cup of juice. Champagne it is! Champagne is fun when the bubbles tickle the extremities of your tongue! I laid down and relaxed for take-off... but someone was dancing on the screen! Security guidelines they say, have to be watched again and again like a thousand times before every take off. No one was even looking at the screen but I was, I felt transported around the beautiful parts of Lebanon, from Baalbeck to Rawche, Jeita and the cedars, it was a mise-en-bouche of what to expect upon arrival.


I felt good up in the air. The business class is wide and relaxing, seats are good for sleeping or watching a movie. A seventeen inch screen, an electricity plug, noise reduction headphones, a pillow and soft cover. I was so excited to try the food!

On today's menu smoked salmon and foie gras as Hors-D'Oeuvre. Pané fried rump of veal, chicken fricassé with roasted sea bass filet as mains. A cheese selection followed by Truffon chocolate dessert and sorbet. I'm going to leave my bone aside and have the veal!


Let me tell you a funny story; The hostess on service was surely passing by a rough day... She didn't even smile for a second, walking around I felt her heavy and desperate breathing. Serving the cabin with drinks and nuts I asked: "you are clearly sad but why are you that sad..." while jumping on my feet... she immediately smiled so widely that I felt bad. She had a nice smile, big and white teeth. "Tell me, what's your story she asks". I'm Milou, I'm happy and enjoying life. I'm traveling today and enjoying every minute of it. "I'm sorry if I appeared sad she answered, it has become a routine job and sometimes I forget to smile. I'm going to do the effort!". Yes! She was smiling, she was happy again and I was too. On this flight to Beirut, I was happily "Spreading happiness". 

White wine from Karam winery, my favorite Lebanese white is called "Cloud 9", premium nuts by Castania and a Perrier. It was time to start a movie; Hidden Figures is one movie everyone must watch.


Foie gras, two big and thick chunks served with mango and ginger chutney and decorated with purslane and red berries. Loved the foie gras quality, the tenderness of the brioche and its light sweetness as well as the chutney that's not like any I've had before. My teeth plunged into something soft and rich at the same time... these teeth are made to eat meat! Fine dining quality. Smoked salmon is fatty and hard textured exactly the way I like it. It is served with a citrus salad. I really loved the starter and was not expecting it to be that good; good French quality.


The veal is average and overcooked and this coming from a dog... but the fish is amazing. Roasted sea bass filet with tomato caper sauce served with linguini and slices of zucchini. Never expected to enjoy food on a plane next to a very tender and moist filet of fish. Loved it! It seems good coming from Paris is fine quality!

Lunch ended on sweet notes. Licked that red cup... tomatoes? I just tried tomato sorbet for the first time, a mouthwatering lemon sorbet, a selection of cheese and a one-of-a-kind chocolate cake few pastries in town know how to bake. Dark chocolate mousse embracing a heart of soft meringue on a bed of crunchy chocolate; bravo is the least that can be said.


Back to the tomato sorbet; tomatoes are fruits so why not create a sorbet out of ten. Lightly sweet, beautifully textured with a faded taste of tomato. I won't crave it but I liked it." 

A lunch is never complete without a freshly brewed espresso! Enjoyed the meal and continued the movie.


Even though my seat didn't move for some reason, I didn't mind. Enjoyed the movie so much that two hours passed like a minute. We were approaching and Beirut was just behind the horizon. A refreshing hot towel to clean my extremities, two dates to keep my mouth in action while we land.  It was an interesting experience that I personally enjoyed and my neighbors as well.


Getting out of the airport is an amazing ritual where one feels like a king. I never felt so important in my entire life! Hundreds of people gather to welcome travelers. I call it the red carpet... 


Happy to be in Beirut... follow me as I discover the country's beautiful gems and tasty restaurant experiences. Milou is living summer in Lebanon!





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