On a hot, steamy Saturday in October, T. and I ventured to Fes for winter clothes. Joined by the valiant Gh., a friend from Rabat, we met at the Jnane Sbile gardens…
And quickly left them to find food, as T. was about to fall over. We entered Restaurant La Noria, a shady spot filled with chairs dyed in Fruchtzwerg yogurt container colors.
While Gh. and I compared the New York and Wisconsin state fairs, T. devoured her omelet and slightly bitter orange juice.
After Gh. described the fattest pig in the world, featured at the New York fair a few years ago, we decided to explore Fes’s medina. We entered the souk through a maze of neighborhood streets scented with lavender and cooking meat. Kids on bikes and on foot barreled past us while old bread dried in wall alcoves, waiting to be picked up and milled into new food.
Two small, curly-haired children, no older than six, drummed on tissue boxes. Young boys carried dough to bakers in cloth-shaped pans. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” diffused from a nearby hanut (bodega) and a three-wheeled motorcycle carted past.
Gh., T. and I soon grew hungry again. At Gh.’s suggestion, we visited the nearby La Mezzanine restaurant. With its narrow stairs and small rooms, the place feels like a cozy home. Seating is spread among the ground and first floors and roof.
The fashionable British woman running the restaurant has decorated the rooms with Asian and sub-Saharan masks, bronze lights, red Moroccan poufs, white metal European bar stools and grey marble tables.
Even the silverware is stylish.
The place seems to be a mecca for foreigners. An Eastern European sitting next to me wore blue and grey striped socks and a shirt proclaiming “Siberian Fast Food” – you know, the one with the mammoth chasing a stick figure human.
I ordered citronnade and briouates. The drink was pleasant, and less sour than at other places.My briouates with Roquefort and noix were perfect: the restaurant achieved a great balance between the sharp, salty cheese filling and sweet jam.
Gh.’s briouates with viande hachée enlevée were also flipping amazing. The spice of the pepper was warming and unexpected.
After discussing new Moroccan laws and microfinance in Morocco (yes, USAID friends, I’m applying what you taught me), T. and I said bye to Gh. and returned to the medina to coat shop… and that’s when things got cray, you guys.