June 9, 2013

From cabbages to tagines

The welcome sign as you arrive at Cabbagetown, Carlton & Parliament streets
We finally got ourselves over to Cabbagetown this past Saturday. The local BIA claims Cabbagetown is home to one of the largest continuous Victorian housing areas in North America. We didn't wander too far off Parliament so we'll have to go back when there is a festival. You could see that the side streets are covered in lovely tree canopies and dotted with grand old homes. It all reminded us both of Kingston's lovely and historic Sydenham Ward.

We had actually hoped to go for a meal at celebrated Butter Chicken Factory but, alas,  it does not open until 5 pm on Saturdays and it was only 3:30, so we decided to head back into downtown to see what we could find.

Arriving in the St. Lawrence Market district, we ended up walking through Woofstock, which claims it is North America's largest festival for dogs. I have never seen so many dogs nor so many designer doggie clothing, food, services, consultants, etc. It was quite the spectacle. Apparently something like 300,000 people will wander through the festival, most along with their best furry friends. Wow!

We decided to treat ourselves to an early dinner at Cafe Moroc, which is the front part of the Sultan's Tent. The design of the cafe is absolutely gorgeous and based on Rick's Cafe in the film Casablanca (1942), whereas the back portion is a luxurious series of Berber tents harkening back to another era, featuring belly dancers. For appetizers we shared Seafood Briouats (seafood wrapped in phyllo pastry and baked) and B'stilla (amazing chicken pie with almonds) and for mains we had the Chicken Marakesh and Braised Lamb Feast. Never being able to resist dessert, Mark had Brule Royale, a creme brulee topped with pistachios.

We loved our meal at Cafe Morac and can't wait to go back and enjoy the dinner and show at the Sultan's Tent with some friends. I frequently cook Moroccan cuisine, usually once a week, and Mark is especially fond of a lamb dish I make with dried apricots and prunes that takes a few hours to properly cook.  The whole experience made me want to book a trip to Morocco. Perhaps we'll one day join the Moroccan Sketchbook experience just outside Marakesh, run by an OCAD grad named Elizabeth Hutchinson. Just maybe...

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