Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eat well; Spend little ~ Ifrane

What would you expect to pay for a three-course home-cooked meal out? 8$? 10$? 15$? 20$ How about the equivalent of 3$!

On Monday, the kids and I met Jeff downtown to take care of an issue at the bank. I had thought that the matter would take a few minutes and so I left the apartment unequipped with snacks for the kids. Unfortunately, minutes turned into an hour and before you know it the kids were hungry and I was left wondering what to feed them. There were few options to pick from in the vicinity where we were, unless we wanted to leave the establishment smelling like cigarette smoke, or overpaying for a less-than-average tasting pizza. We decided to see if we could find a cab that would drive all four of us together; apparently there is a rule that a taxi can only take three passengers at one time, although many drivers decide to break that rule as they see fit. Luckily we found one that agreed to cab us all back to the compound where an apartment turned restaurant was located.

We had heard about the Faculty Club as soon as we arrived in Ifrane. However, we had always preferred to dine at the snack bars and faculty restaurant on campus rather than eat at the one down the street. For one, we were never sure about its hours of operation, it was a hassle to juggle the bus schedule with office hours and work requirements and finally I had always wanted to get away from the monotony of my immediate surroundings. Lately, however, and considering the weather, proximity and a desire to try new things have been prompting us to seek pleasures close by. We thus marked our first visit to the Faculty Club which left us hungry for more (no pun intended!)!

We were greeted by the owner of the place, who also serves as the waiter, the cashier and the bus boy. All the tables were beautifully set with red tablecloth, cloth and disposable napkins, water glasses, forks, spoons, and knives; missing were the disposable place mats and kids coloring mats, this was a fancy affair. A water bottle refilled from the tap sat in the center of the table and around it stood upholstered chairs on one side and comfortable cushiony couches complete with throw pillows on the other; there were no high chairs or boosters for the little ones. A television broadcasting the news in Arabic filled the air along with the voices of other diners speaking in Korean, English, Darija and French.

Once seated the food was immediately served; missing were the six-page colored coded, finely described, attractively photographed menus. The ladies in the back cook whatever is fresh that day over an open gas flame in a huge pot and serve it hot and aromatic. There is no prep work, no reheating, no waiting for orders to be issued for food to be cooked. Everything is ready and served on a first-come first-served basis; just like at grandma's house. A hearty soup, or salad, followed by the main course, then fruits and yogurt. Finally a steaming hot glass of Moroccan mint tea with so much sugar it puts sodas to shame to wash it all down. Moroccan bread is laid out alongside the food with which to clean off the plates. The menu is fixed and so is the price: meat one price, chicken another. That is all the choice you get in the matter, and that is all the choice you need!

we had split pea soup, and
beef, bone-in tagine with preserved lemons, green olives, and potatoes.

Oh! I forgot to mention: no tip was necessary, or expected!

No comments:

Post a Comment