Saturday, September 15, 2012

Morocco: Eats

Ah, yes. What the heck did we eat over there?!

I wish I could tell you we got our daily fruit and vegetable seems the idea of salad was foreign.


But, the local dishes we ate were fantastic. The cuisine focused on meat for the most part. Tagine to be exact. No matter where you went, you could find tagine on the menu. The name tagine comes from the pot the meal is cooked in. Seasoned meat, oil, garlic, and vegetables are placed within a heavy clay bakeware and slow cooked until the meat is extremely tender.

Our very first meal in Morocco was lamb tagine. And it was delicious. After being picked up at the airport, our driver stopped at a local restaurant outside the city limits of Marrakech so that we could grab a bite to eat. He ordered for us thankfully, and before we knew it, we were eating one of our best meals during the trip.

 Glass bottle soda is the most refreshing by far. Gulped this bad boy down.

Voila. Lamb Tagine.

This tajine had plenty of onions, peppers, and prunes. The meat was incredibly tender. It seemed so indulgent to be eating such a flavorful meal, with lamb, for lunch. But boy did we enjoy it!

Our first meal at the resort. Ugh we were so full from our lamb tagine earlier that day. We decided to split a meal, and attempt to get our fill of veggies. Couscous with seven vegetable. Don't ask me which seven...

We travel allll the way to Africa and this is the beer they have?! Geesh. Only J would find Budweiser. Real story - they ran out of the local beer we ordered and brought us this. Of all beers, they bring us J's favorite American brew.

A little breakfast grub. Breakfast was by far the hardest meal for me. There was a daily buffet. But the prepared foods consisted of what I woud consider lunch or dinner - hot soup, roasted vegetables, chicken and mushrooms in a cream sauce, meat, cheese, olives, etc.

They always had croissants, some fruit, yogurt. So I ate way more than my fair share of croissants during our vacation. In fact, I want one now. J was more daring and tried the brunch items. 

 My one, non Moroccan meal I caved and ordered one night. Sole stuffed with shrimp and sautéed VEGETABLES (wahoo) on the side. 

Our stay at the resort included a Moroccan cooking class. We made Moroccan salad, chicken tagine, and oranges with cinnamon. I would forget to photograph the main meal.... But yes this is the appetizer and dessert. And YES we made those tomato roses! Expect more of those at my dinner parties. I'm so fancy.

After our fancy resort Moroccan food, it was off to Marrakech! Oh myyy....the fresh squeezed orange juice was to die for. And for less than 50 cents a glass, we hit up these food stalls often. So refreshing in the 100 degree plus weather.

You couldn't walk five feet without seeing a table selling these fruits. And people eating them on the spot. Any clue what they are??? scroll down..

Prickly pear! And let me tell you, it was delicious!! Though this photo of J makes you think otherwise ha. We were taken off guard with this tasting. We hired a personal guide our first day in Marrakech, which was a GREAT decision. We learned sooo much about the history, the people, the religion, etc. And he took us to areas of the city we would not have visited otherwise. And he had us taste things, like prickly pear from a street vendor, that I would have never had the courage to try on my own.

And we tried fresh figs. Our guide was buying some to take home and talked the vendor into letting us try some. I love figs. But let me tell you, fresh Moroccan figs were AMAZING. So sweet and fresh. 

We were able to try both the white and black figs. I preferred the white ones, a little fresher/sweeter tasting to me. J didn't have a real preference. I'm not sure I've ever seen white figs in the states before though... I am now on the lookout. Let me know if you see them!

Just like the plaza was filled with orange juice stalls during the day, it came alive with food stalls at night. Rows of food vendors, yelling at you to eat at their food, and serving the exact same thing as everyone else. ha. So we gave it a try.

No surprise there, we were each given a loaf of bread to eat before even eating. We were so tired from walking around all day with our guide, hot from the heat, and probably a little dehydrated. The idea of salty, spicy meat and potatoes was just not what I wanted at the time.

So we stuck to veggie kebobs, olives, Moroccan salad, and calamari. The seating was long benches, J sitting across from me, locals sitting on both sides. So I decided to put my camara away once food was served.

And lastly, our Riad provided breakfast daily. The bowl front and center was for coffee. We had no idea what to do the first morning. Until we realized nothing was coming out that we'd need the bowl for, aaand we had no coffee mugs. Welp, coffee bowl it is then! The three mini bowls in the center housed butter, honey, and a fig jam. For the mound of bread they brought us. That we ate. Yikes. We did make sure to drink the OJ they brought us. 

During the trip I was telling J that I cannot think of another time in my life that I drank orange juice 7 days straight. I was just not an OJ kid. Give me cran or apple juice any day and I was content. But the orange juice over there was so unbelievably fresh. No tanginess. 


Oh Madrid. How I missed thee! We made our way around Plaza Mayor and Sol, hitting up a pub here or there. Best part about getting drinks in Madrid? The tapas!

Mmm, Spanish red wine. Remember the Spanish wine tasting J gave me for christmas?

Ahh, cafe con leche. We really enjoyed cafe au laits this trip, every morning. I am now obsessed. I'll be ordering mistos at Starbucks and cafe au laits everywhere else this fall for sure.

And lastly, what is a trip to Madrid without ham (jamon)?! Wow, I didn't realize how much I missed it. Yes, we were total tourists and went to the Museo del Jamon (Ham Museum) for bocadillo de jamon y queso (Serrano ham and Manchego Cheese sandwiches) to-go. And brought them to the airport with us! #bestdecisionever

And I made J take a picture of me with the first jamon y queso I grabbed before even getting to Morocco. What? It's been 6 years! I was a little excited...

So that's that. Yes, we probably gained 10 pounds. But we loved eating the local cuisine. Hmm where to next? :)

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