Not many people know this, but Fresh Levant Bistro actually started as a food blog of mine. I started it as a way to organize my recipes and thoughts, to share old family recipes and my own new creations.
I began blogging in 2009 right after I had just had my second child. Life was busy, but I was yearning for something to do just for me, to keep me thinking and creative. In the midst of a busy schedule, I hadn’t realized that my health was deteriorating by the day. After many visits, tests and scans, no doctor was able to tell me what was wrong. But I knew something was wrong. There was no reason why I should feel like I was dying slowly. It was only a neighbor’s recommendation that I found the right doctor.
Although I had always eaten healthy, made from scratch food, mostly organic, and never believed in the use of artificial anything in my food, I was told that I had to stop everything I’m eating. My first appointment with the new doctor was 4.5 hours long. I left exhausted, shocked, and confused, yet I was happy that I finally had a diagnosis.
My food became reduced down to a list of about fifteen ingredients and my world was flipped upside down. It took me a couple of weeks to figure things out. I had to reinvent everything and re-evaluate everything I knew. Today the ingredient list is expanding and my health has improved drastically.
My recipes on the blog had been a reflection of my upbringing. I grew up around food and people in the kitchen. My family lived in several different countries around the Mediterranean and every summer, we would spend it back in our village in the Lebanese mountains. Of the many lasting memories during those times, were the times spent watching my mother and aunts cook together, bake fresh breads or desserts, and during the late summer, waking up to the sounds and aromas of preparing/making mounéh items – all things harvested that are sun-dried, cooked, canned, pickled and jammed to stock up for the winter months.
But a blog was not enough. My own personal experience with my health had taught me that. It was hard enough to survive without a diagnosis, but there was no reason why it should be difficult for someone with any type of dietary ailment to not be treated to quality foods and quality meals dining out.
With that in mind, Fresh Levant Bistro the restaurant was born. Fresh Levant Bistro is a space where the food and guests are treated the same: with respect, with dignity, and with honor. We work our hardest to identify the best of the organic ingredients we use and to make sure that every meal is a joy. We also work to cater to people who are focused on the foods they consume, marking the menu items with notes regarding what is vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, and more. And if it’s not marked, it’s always a discussion I and my staff are happy to have.
Today, still living away from my hometown, I find that cooking the food of my childhood keeps me connected even from afar. My restaurant is my showcase for these time-tested recipes and other new creations. I take my inspiration from fresh, local, ingredients, my Lebanese culture, the Levant region in general and various travels around the world.
Fresh Levant Bistro is a place where everyone, whether they come with allergies and an awareness of what they can and cannot eat, or if they’re simply looking for a delicious meal, it is a place where everyone can find exactly what they’re looking for.