March 12, 2015

My Morocco, Part 3: Places & Plates

I could talk about Morocco forever, but I'm going to control myself and make this blog my last entry. I was able to enjoy Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat during my four days there.

Are you ready for all of the photos?!


You already know how I feel about the nightlife scene in Casa. We spent a lot of time walking through the Habous market area, both during the day and evening, and it always smelled like a wonderful mix of barbecue, fruits, spices, olives, and animals. John knew all the foods for me to try: cactus fruit, walnuts, sugar cane juice, snails with their faces, avocados without seeds, nougat, and flavored chick peas.

At night, we went back to the Habous and had incredibly tasty dromedary "burgers." A lot of food is served family-style, so these burgers were really two huge plates of meat cut into strips, ready to be shared by our party of five. The burger meat comes with huge bread rolls to be torn apart and used to pick up the meat, a plate of tomatoes and onions, and bowls of classic Moroccan seasonings of sea salt, red pepper, and cumin.

On another day, we ate at the fish market, and had lemon drenched oysters, octopus, bass, and another delicious fish with excellent teeth. That same evening, we ate at the fishing port at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that only has two items on the menu: fish soup and a shrimp omelette.

I don't know very much besides this about what I ate. I just kept saying, "Yes," and "Okay," and everything tasted great. I don't really consider myself to have a "strong stomach," but Moroccan food and I thankfully agreed the entire time.

We ate at two other impressive places: Rick's Cafe and Cafe Maure. You may recall Rick's Cafe as "the place to be" in the classic film Casablanca. John had created a party of 8 between groups of friends, and the waiters all knew who "Monsieur Glass" was the whole night because they put us upstairs in the private dining room! The food was very good, indeed, and the piano tune of "As Time Goes By" was played quite often.

Cafe Maure is THE brunch place in Casablanca. It cost a total of 15 euros for an entire entourage of breads, pancakes, crepes, sauces, fruits, and vegetables...that fed both of us to the point where there was still food leftover. Definitely the best affordable brunch I've ever had; the best, but most expensive, brunch still goes to Angelina's.

I only took a few food pictures. Most of the time, we were in groups of people, and I didn't bring my iPhone because I didn't want to be distracted from the present. It was a really fun and authentic way to enjoy my experience in Casablanca even more by basically hanging out in John's life for a weekend.


I will never forget what I read on somebody's blog before I left: "Old Fez is a bowl."

Words to live by. Also, don't go to Fez on a Friday, unless you are like me and enjoy the emptiness of closed souks and didn't need to go to the tanneries.

But the Fez bowl: I knew if I was going downhill, I was still working my way to the center. As soon as I turned uphill, I was making my way out of the medina. I was lost most of the time, but I at least knew which direction I was heading! It also helps a lot to look up and catch signs that direct you to landmarks like the blue gate, some squares, museums, and so forth.

You know those plastic maze games with the little silver ball that you have to roll around walls to try to get to the end of the maze?

That's exactly how I felt in Fez. Except instead of seeing the maze as a whole, I was the little silver ball, with the walls of the maze stretching high above me. If the Fez medina wasn't a bowl, I might still be lost in there somewhere.

Cafe Clock was my savior, giving me time to relax on the riad rooftop terrace, soaking in the beautiful views, and enjoying the craziest tapas plate I've ever tried (and finished) and some incredible chocolate cheesecake. They also offer all kinds of cool cooking and cultural classes in both Fez and Marrakech, so check out their website in advance.


The only thing to say is that Rabat was my favorite place in Morocco. I could have wandered the bright blue and white village above the sea for days. Every turned corner was another beautiful sight. Take the photo tour!

I'm very thankful that Morocco was my first African destination. I know people consider Morocco to be much more European than African. All I have to say to that is: tant mieux. It worked in my favor.

For the complete "My Morocco" series...
Visit Morocco! (Under Certain Conditions)
Part 1: Les Petits Taxis
Part 2: Breaking Beats