A friend mentioned it in passing--that there was a lovely old house somewhere in Zarif where, once a week, war widows serve lunch. Through nearly obsessive googling, I learned that the widows are in a skills training program run by Dar al Aytam, a local charity. The program's goal is to enable war widows to achieve financial independence and support their families. I learned that the house where lunch is served is also home to a boutique filled with hand-crafted items also made by widows.
Eventually, I googled my way into the name of this place: Ashghalouna; the English spelling of the word that means "our work" in Arabic. I later learned that the organization's promotional materials use the French spelling: Achghalouna. Google turned up a one review and then another and a phone number. I was on the right track, but I still needed directions or a map showing me how to find their location. Relying on over-the-phone descriptions can range from frustrating to futile and I admit I didn't even try.
It was about that time that my friend got back to me about lunch. She organized a group of 10 of us to go together. Friday, we all went and it was wonderful. Here's some of what was included in the buffet that day:
I highly recommend it. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was serene and comfortable. And now I know how to get there! I've tagged this post and the photos in it with the exact location of Ashghalouna's boutique and lunch location.
Lunch was served shortly before 2pm and includes a selection of beverages and desserts. You definitely have to reserve well in advance, so be sure to call ahead. They appeared to be fully booked the day I was there and I'm sure that's typical.
Finally, a brief recap:
Phone: +961 (0)1 366 758
What: Lunch (and don't forget to check out the boutique too)
When: Fridays at 1:30
Cost: $30 per person