Friday, April 20, 2007

A Taste Of Morocco

In the late 1970s I spent a couple of very happy years in Casablanca, Morocco. My eldest son Ben was born there, with me 600 miles away in Oujda, in the far north. It was a hair raising trip back, I can tell you. I was working for Procter & Gamble and lived in Oasis, an area where we were the only foreigners. Since that time I’ve loved Moroccan food, and particularly what is virtually the national dish tajine. I love the spices (cumin always), the tabbouleh, the hummus, the aubergine and the flat bread and I love the way fantastic regional variations of tajine have evolved throughout Morocco. Now of course this intensely local food is being embraced by the rest of the world and you can experience it in most major world cities. Chez Es Saada was a great Moroccan experience in NY (it has now sadly closed) but Pasha in London continues to capture the rose petals and the romance. In Paris the view from Le Ziryab on the rooftop of Jean Nouvel’s beautiful Arab World Institute is spectacular and I can tell you the quail bastila is a delight. While you are in Paris don’t miss out on the mysteriously named bar, Andy Wahloo. Wahloo means “nothing” – or “I don’t have anything” - in Arabic and it’s a name that suggests the exact opposite of what this bar offers. It’s a fantastic place with great Moroccan pop art, terrific Arabic music, ice cold Casablanca beer and chilled Moroccan rosé.

2 comments:

kempton said...

Great entry. Mind you, this bedtime reading has made me want to grab some Moroccan Food right way. (smile)

- Kempton

P.S.Thinking about it, if I were in HK, I actually could run down and grab some nice food (ok, may not be Moroccan but there will be some place with good food open at this late hour).

Mike on the Bike said...

In 1974 I went for 3 weeks to Morocco. i was a tad younger and the trip started with my first visit to Paris. My Ancestral land of origin ( I am 1/2 French Canadian) I slept my first night on a bench near the Notre Dame. probably the only street guy with a Doctorate :) My friend and I had a great time. Mostly sleeping on the ground , we were "camping" . I loved my stay. almost biblical sites, wonderful food and a sort of "Hippy" travel time :)
Sadly i contracted Malaria near Tangiers at what was perhaps the most expensive site we stayed at , club Afrique. A sort of club Med...
The malaria didn't show up till 10 days later when i was back in Canada on an Army base ( I was in the Royal Canadian Dental Corps). When one thinks about it, a quick thinking Md was my lotto.
And the good fortune continued. I had met Mila about 3 months before my trip. She wanted to come with us to Morocco. But i said no...I was given an unceremonial "Get lost" When I was admitted to the base hospital I called her, she was teaching english on the base...She came over immediately..and this summer we celebrate our 31st anniversary. so I tell the kis ..never be mean to mosquitos..one was responsible for your being here :)

Michael Pilon
Ottawa