Café du Livre, Marrakech

Café du Livre is a bookstore/restaurant that specializes in international food and is often visited by ex-pats and book lovers. Located outside of the medina in the French colonial area of Marrakech, it is hidden away around a corner and is a quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Here you can eat a meal, peruse their bookshelves, and take advantage of their wifi.

Café du Livre

Café du Livre

water and bread

water and bread

I had a Brasserie Lipp salad – arugula (rocket), lettuce, beets, walnuts and hardboiled eggs, with an olive oil dressing and garlic bread.

Brasserie Lipp salad

Brasserie Lipp salad

I can’t remember precisely but I think this was a club sandwich.

sandwich and fries

sandwich and fries

Shared appetizers with crusty bread – hummus, baba ganoush, and I think the last was a tapenade.

appetizers

appetizers

Café du Livre
44, rue Tarik Ibn Ziad
Marrakech
www.cafedulivre.com

mrkt (market)

A took a stroll down Jasper Avenue the other day, and decided to stop at a brand new café (and apparently wine bar) called mrkt (a.k.a. market).

mrkt - exterior

mrkt - exterior

With food from the folks at Soul Soup, it’s located in a newly renovated space above the Red Star Pub. Mrkt is currently only open for lunch, but will be open for dinner soon. They post their menu on a board outside (notice the change from “cold” to “hot” on the sign), and inside the restaurant on a giant chalkboard painted against the back wall.

promo sign

promo sign

The space is long – and this feeling is emphasized by the long banquet table, lights and wood panelling. Two skylights over by the cash register give the space some needed sunlight at the far end of the room. I did like the space, but I have to admit that the panelling and the trees made me feel a bit like I was in a cabin… or an Ikea store.

mrkt - interior

mrkt - interior

They provide vegetable, fish and meat soup choices like Soul Soup does, as well as a selection of sandwiches. Soups and the specials change daily, while the sandwiches change less often. You can eat in or order take out. They also offer a number of drinks, or you can help yourself to a free water from the cooler on the bar.

the menu

the menu

I went for the soup and sandwich deal, which is priced at $13. My choices were the Trinidadian crab and corn soup with mango and the spicy tomato braised beef with pesto and caramelized onions sandwich.

mrkt soup and sandwich

mrkt soup and sandwich

The soup was a mix of a bunch of different flavours – peppery and not “fishy” at all, sweet from the corn and carrots, and a mix of sour and sweet from the pieces of mango.

mrkt sandwich

mrkt sandwich

The sandwich was great also, but very messy to eat. The beef was extremely tender and permeated with the flavour of tomatoes, and I also liked that the tomatoes weren’t acidic at all. It was almost like trying to eat a bowl of stew, but in sandwich form. The inside of the bun was soaked in the braising liquid and the crust of the bun held together very well. My fingers were a mess after eating.

All in all, mrkt made a very good first impression on me. I can’t wait to try more of their lunch offerings and sample their dinners! The soup and sandwich are a little too pricey to fit into my budget for too many regular visits, but I can definitely see myself popping in here once in a while for some interesting food choices.

mrkt
10534 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

Mrkt on Urbanspoon

Pret A Manger, London

There are a couple of different sandwich chains that are scattered all over London. I visited one called Pret A Manger for a quick bite to eat before heading over to the Royal Academy of Arts for their Real Van Gogh exhibit (which was one of the best special exhibits that I’ve seen in a long time, by the way).

Pret A Manger

Pret A Manger

It was really, really busy inside. And yes, they sell porridge for breakfast! I found the sign interesting but I never did try it for myself.

sandwich cooler

sandwich cooler

Pret serves a number of different sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, pastries, coffee, tea, etc. The line up was pretty long for the hot food but I grabbed a quick, ready-made sandwich instead. I had a plethora of options to choose from. Posh cheddar and pickle? Pole and line caught tuna? Crayfish and rocket (a.k.a. arugula)?

Baguette and drink

Baguette and drink

After much thought (and while sneaking photos of the sandwich cooler), I finally settled on the  Topside of Beef and Rocket on an Artisan Baguette as well as a Vanilla Bean and Honey Yoghurt drink. The baguette was filled with slices of medium-rare beef, English mustard, red onion, and peppery rocket. The yogurt drink (or should I spell it yoghurt) was made of yogurt, apple juice, honey and vanilla. You could even see vanilla bean flecks throughout the drink. Everything in the meal was fresh, preservative-free, and delicious.

And bonus, I even managed to snag a table once I paid for my meal!

Pret A Manger
Various locations throughout the UK, Hong Kong, and a few in the USA
www.pret.com

P.S. As I left I noticed the building across the street – Fortnum & Mason, a high-end grocery store, tea shop and department store that was founded in 1707. I didn’t have time go in and explore though, so unfortunately I only got a shot of the outside.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason