Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Visit to Marrakesh

Well ok, so it was just the restaurant in Portland. It was almost as good as a trip to a foreign country.

Tom and I celebrated our 43rd (yes we are almost that old) wedding anniversary last month on the 14th. I had missed posting about it until Mom asked the other day how we had enjoyed the dinner, hoping that it wasn't disappointing.

It was fantastic. I can't wait until we can go again.

We have previously had some exposure to cuisines of the near East so we knew etiquette such as "only eat with your right hand" and "use three fingers: two indicates pride and four shows greed and gluttony."  We aren't completely uncouth, though we made a bit of a strategic error in not having reservations, beneficial even mid-week.  Next time we will do it properly.

When you first walk in, the decor is so startling almost knocks you flat.  Fabric, rugs, vibrant colors everywhere you turn.  Seating is on banquette benches and on low round cushions at beautifully inlaid tables.

Having not visited the restaurant before, we had difficulty deciding what to order for the entrees of our five-course dinner.  Jamie and Catherine were celebrating with us to make up a foursome, so we chose the Royale Feast Dinner, available for four or more.

After a ceremonial hand-washing, first came an excellent lentil soup.  Second was a "salad" of pureed eggplant/carrot with fresh vegetables.  But that has nearly been blown out of my mind by the third course:

B'stilla Royale

What culinary geniuses came up with a sweet appetizer including the most delicate phyllo encrusted with powdered sugar and encasing a scrabled-egg and almond mixture.  This has to rank among the best things I have ever put in my mouth!

Just to look at it you have no idea what goodness awaits inside.

The feast gave us five entrees for the four of us, which we passed around and around the table.  We partook of:

Tagine of Chicken Lemon and Olives - Braised chicken served with preserved lemon sauce and olives.

Tagine of Chicken Honey and Prunes - Served with light honey sauce, almonds, prunes, and sesame seeds.

Tagine of Lamb with Eggplant -  - Braised lamb in ginger, saffron &garlic sauce with fried eggplant.

Brochette Marrakesh - Grilled, marinated tenderloin of leg of lamb served with Basmati rice.

And the special of the day, another Tangine of Chicken, this one with apricots and almonds.  To die for.

As I write, I have another window open to google and I find recipes for many of these tangines, including the special.  Yes, there are.

And finally desert, mint tea, and a belly dancer.

She could move parts of her body that I didn't even know there were muscles to control.  At least I'm pretty sure that I don't have them.

Tom paid her to dance with Jamie.  So worth it.

And we all went home with our hands smelling of rose water.  And with dinner for the next night.