Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech

Sheep’s head, anise flavoured snails and cinnamon are three things that immediately flood my memory when I think about Djemaa el Fna and Marrakech.

Djemaa el Fna is the main square in Marrakech’s medina quarter. Bustling and filled with merchants and performers all day and night, this area inspired the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity UNESCO project, where they identify cultural history such as music and performances, rather than physical buildings and places.

Djemaa el Fna in the daytime

Djemaa el Fna in the daytime

During the day, stalls sell orange juice, dates and nuts. Performers wander around with poor Barbary apes on chains and snake charmers try to lure in tourists.

another shot of Djemaa el Fna in the daytime

another shot of Djemaa el Fna in the daytime

There are a number of cafés facing the square.

doughnut seller and cafe

doughnut seller and cafe

merchants

merchants

snake charmers

snake charmers

And then, before sunset, the snakes move out and the food carts start moving in.

food carts

food carts

To me, this is when Djemaa el Fna really comes alive. At night the square is filled with food stalls, hungry people, singers, drummers, dancers, storytellers, women doing tattoos with some dubious henna and people selling traditional medicines.

nuts and dried fruits

nuts and dried fruits

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Fun Friday

Brilliant, brilliant video on how to be a celebrity chef (and how to boil an egg).

Urban Diner, Edmonton

A friend and I popped over to the Urban Diner for brunch on the weekend. The brunch menu isn’t large, but I’ve always found the food to be delicious.

I normally do not eat eggs benedict. Generally, I find hollandaise sauces to be too creamy and too rich. The first time I had brunch here, I had a craving for eggs benedict for some odd reason and fell in love with the Urban Diner’s version.

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

They give you just enough hollandaise to cover the eggs, but not so much that it drowns everything. The sauce itself is slightly tangy, which allows the taste to cut through some of the creaminess. The ham is sliced thinly enough that you can cut it with a butter knife, but thick enough so that there is plenty to chew. The eggs can be ordered soft, medium or hard; I prefer a soft or medium so that the yolk can soak into the bread. And instead of an English muffin, the eggs are served on a slice of French bread. This dish also comes with a very tasty side of diner potatoes fried with leeks.

My dining companion ordered two eggs with sourdough toast, jam (that I suspect is home-made but did not get a confirmation of this), sausages and diner potatoes.

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

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