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23 March 2010


The extent of my experience with Moroccan food has been Moroccan Chicken Wraps at the Valsetz dining hall at Western Oregon University. They were ok. Lots of curry and raisins.

But this! Oh, I shall never eat Valsetz' Moroccan Chicken Wraps again!

My dad, my aunt, and I waited around for the restaurant Marrakesh to open. When it did, we entered a very, very dimly lit place. We were greeted by a short, friendly man wearing a tall red cap, and asked whether we would like to sit on the floor, or on the couch. We chose the floor. There were only short, beautifully inlaid tables, surrounded by colorful little mushroom seats stitched of leather, with the option of loud paisley couches against the walls. It's not a good idea to wear a short skirt, if you so wish to sit on a mushroom seat!

The walls were all carpeted, with beautiful patterns of red and blue, which contrasted magnificently with the couches. Looking up, draperies billowed from the ceiling. The only things I'm pretty sure have nothing to do with Morocco were the strings of miniature Christmas lights that scrambled along the walls.He brought us menus, and three white terrycloth towels. There's only one price for everything (unless you have 4+ people in your party). You choose a unique entree, and the rest is up to Marrakesh. I chose Tagine of Chicken Honey and Prunes.
Our waiter took our orders, then brought out a large, ornate copper pot and pitcher. He instructed us to hold our hands over the kettle, to wash them, as he poured warm water from the pitcher. Aha! That, my friends, are what the towels are for!
Our first course was lentil soup, which was brought in small blue bowls, without spoons. It was delectably spicy.

Our second course, which came with fresh squares of bread, was the salad. It was a diced cucumber, tomato, cilantro and spices, surrounding a scoop of beans. The bread was our silverware.The third course was by far the most interesting bit of the meal. Called B'stilla Royale, it was a round pastry of phyllo dough, stuffed with chicken, scrambled eggs, raisins, dates, and myriad Eastern spices. The top was dusted with powdered sugar, and criss-crossed with cinnamon. It was hard to decide to mess it up, just to eat it! But I'm glad we did. The way the phyllo dough crackles under your fingers is of the utmost satisfaction a person can have. Seeing your dad make a complete slobby mess of his side of the table with powdered sugar is also pretty satisfying.

Finally, our entrees arrived. Still no silverware, people! Isn't it great? I could eat an entire vat of Tagine of Chicken Honey and Prunes. The chicken was slathered with a mass of sticky, sweet prune sauce, and peppered with almonds. All manners in La La Land with the silverware, I dipped and double dipped and slurped as much prune sauce on my chicken as I could. I also had some of my aunt's lamb, and took a photo of Dad's Tagine Chicken Apricot.
The waiter brought out the pitcher again, and we rinsed our hands a second time. Then he brought out the final course: milk pudding with almonds on top. As amusing as it would be to tell you that we ate this, too, with our hands, I cannot. We did indeed have spoons for this last portion!
Marrakesh is a great restaurant. Completely different from anywhere I have been before, and well-worth the time and money!

3 people or less: 18.5 (your choice of entree, 5 course meal with soup, salad, b'stilla royale, and dessert))
4+ people: 20 (with daily specials)
8+ people: 30 (with a huge hunk of lamb - call three days in advance!)


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