Sunday, July 21, 2013

The House of Fatteh

I recently had the opportunity to visit a great new restaurant in the southern part of Beirut, House of Fatteh.

The name says it all -in Arabic and English

I love a great bean restaurant, and this is a great bean restaurant.  First, and most importantly, it is very clean.  I've eaten beans in some dives and I hate risking gastroenteritis for a good meal.  Now I no longer have to do that!  I can get my sense of adventure from the menu, which has dozens of bean dish choices.

The service was great.  The staff was friendly and courteous, they knew the menu, and they didn't rush me.  In fact, they brought me tea to drink while I was pondering the menu, and some cardamom and cinnamon to chew on as well.

Nice.  These are classy beans.

I decided that since I was at the House of Fatteh, I'd go ahead and order what may be my favorite food in the world, fatteh bilaban.  The service was fast and before I could say "Hey, where's my food?" it was on the table.

Oh, yeah.

The taste was just as good as the presentation.  One of the things I really like about House of Fatteh is that they manage to combine the experience of a real, authentic bean house with a very upscale and modern setting.  It's beans served the way we all wish they could be served.  This place screams "business lunch."

Give a client this and he will buy anything.

Did I mention that the portions are large?  Sometimes it's difficult to judge the scale in a photo, so I have placed my full, distended belly in the shot to give you an idea of how much food I ate.  This meal whipped me, I could not eat all of it.

This reminds me of a scene from Monty Python...

This leads me to my only complaint about House of Fatteh.  Their takeout service does not take customers out to their cars after they have eaten too much to move.  Those guys in the kitchen look strong enough that I think 3 or 4 of them could have managed to get me into my minivan.  I did manage to make it out on my own after some effort.

The meals are also priced right.  Most of the menu is in the $5-$8 range which makes it a perfect place to take your kids or your buddies.  If your wife is a cheap date, take her here!  In the interest of full disclosure, the owner is a friend of mine, who knows how to operate a really great bean house.  Drop by the House of Fatteh and you will not be disappointed.

Jesr Sfeir, In front of Hachem Gaz Station, Beirut, Lebanon

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Formula for a Successful Apology

You've done it.  You've totally screwed up and now you need to apologize, and the words are tumbling around in your head as you try to construct the appropriate apology.  Fear not!  As one who has screwed up countless times, I have far too much practice in apologies, and can offer you advice based on my vast experience.

You are soooo busted.

A proper apology contains three elements.  It is important to include all three, and a very good idea not to go beyond them -regret, confession, repentance.  Here is the framework for an appropriate apology:

"I'm sorry I did that.  I screwed up.  I won't do it again."

If in doubt you can use that exactly as written in almost any situation.  Memorize it.  Use it.

Let's examine the three components:

"I'm sorry" -This is the entry level apology, and we teach our children to say it, while scuffing their foot around to let us know that they really don't mean it.  People want to hear our regret, at a minimum, but this is really not enough.  Are you sorry you did it, or just sorry you got caught?  Are you sorry I'm so difficult to please?  At it's best, "I'm sorry" should also specify the offense - "I'm sorry I forgot your birthday."  Failure to specify leads to confusion and an apology must be crystal clear.

Or, it can mean that your ego is so huge you can't admit fault.

"I screwed up." -Admit it's your fault.  So often people follow "I'm sorry" with an excuse for why it was really OK, or not really their fault.  "I'm sorry I hit you, but your words were making me angry."  That is not an apology, it is blame-shifting.  Admit your own fault without blaming anyone else.  "I'm sorry we had that fight.  I have to listen better."  Failure to accept blame turns the apology into a cloaked accusation.

"I won't do it again." -Show your maturity.  If the action was worthy of an apology, it should not be repeated.  This step is necessary to heal the relationship.  The other person needs to know that s/he should not expect this behavior again.  "I won't go out without telling you any more."  Failure to repent leaves guards up and prevents a complete healing of the wound.

What men really mean by "I won't do it again."

You may be tempted to add to these elements.  Don't.  An apology should be short, sincere, complete, and simple.  Turning it into a story is likely to make things worse.  It will become filled with excuses, blame shifting, and denial.

"I'm sorry I did that.  I screwed up.  I won't do it again."  You can apply this formula to many situations:

"I'm sorry I didn't clean up the dirty dishes.  I should have been more considerate.  I won't forget them again."

"I apologize for eating your lunch from the office refrigerator.  I should have ordered delivery.  I won't eat your food again."

"I'm sorry for posting that embarrassing picture of you on Facebook.  I should have respected your privacy.  I won't post anything else without your permission."

A real pro at work here.

Now, go forth and apologize well.