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

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The Garage Burger Bar & Grill, Edmonton

For years I’ve heard that the Garage Burger Bar & Grill has some of the best burgers in town, but it was always one of those places that I meant to go to but hadn’t gotten around to a visit. The restaurant is called Garage for a reason – it’s located in a converted garage and is very simply decorated. Some may even say it looks a like a well used greasy spoon.

The sweet potato fries were tempting. And so were the many burgers listed in the menu. But then a chalkboard special caught my eye and instead I ordered the bison burger and french fry special.

bison burger and french fries

bison burger and french fries

The fries were cooked perfectly – crispy on the outside and thick. The burger had a generous amount of great tasting condiments and veggies. The cheese was nicely melted. I didn’t love it though. The bison patty was well done, dry and rather thin. The condiments and veggies overwhelmed the taste of the cheese. I admit I was a little disappointed. Bison is leaner than beef, and needs to be cooked more rare and/or add fat to the cooking process. That being said, I would be willing to go back, if only to try one of the beef burgers instead. Service was quick and attentive.

The Garage Burger Bar & Grill

The Garage Burger Bar & Grill

Garage Burger Bar & Grill
10242-106 Street, Edmonton
www.freewebs.com/garageburger

The Garage Burger Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro, Calgary

This post is about an October 2008 visit to Calgary.

I needed a restaurant on or near Stephen Avenue for a dinner with friends. A few years ago I went to Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro for dinner and throughly enjoyed myself, so I decided it was time for a return visit. The decor of the restaurant is contemporary with lots of brick; a perfect place for the young professionals in the area to unwind after a hard day at work. Not to say that you have to dress up to eat here – there were quite a few people in sports jerseys and jeans, grabbing a meal before a football game.

Some of us ended up ordering some of the same dishes, so there are actually only three photos. I also have to apologize for the blurriness of the photos; it was pretty dark in there and after taking numerous photos I gave in to my hunger instead of my need for perfect photos.

One dish ordered was the Mussels & Frites with vine ripened tomato, garlic, white wine, parsley & caper broth. The mussels were large, fresh and perfectly cooked. The accompanying broth had a strong tomato base that complimented the mussels very well. The fries were served with an addicting lemon aioli and Parmesan shavings on top.

mussels

mussels

frites

frites

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Captain Scott’s Fish and Chips, Edmonton (and finding good gouda)

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

I think one of the most unknown eateries in Edmonton must be Captain Scott’s Fish and Chips. Every time you talk to someone about fish and chips, they talk about places like Back Home or Brits, but hardly ever have I heard anyone mention Captain Scott’s.

Hidden in a strip mall next to the Circle Square building in the west end, the place is unassuming and even a little old. The decor inside is a strange mishmash of 80’s nautical style (complete with a fake giant swordfish on the wall) and a grandmother’s flowered living room. I’ve been coming here since the late 1980s or early 1990s, but they’ve apparently been around since 1963. The current owners are an Asian family but they’ve kept the same menu and serve English-style fish and chips, mushy peas, fried oysters, etc. Choose your fish from haddock, salmon, halibut or cod. They even have an all-you-can-eat special on Tuesdays, for those who want to cram their stomachs full of fish and chips.

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Fay’s Diner, Highway 2

When you think of road food, you think of diners and truck stops; places that serve greasy burgers and filling, but fattening food.

On Alberta’s Highway 2, driving north between Camrose and Edmonton, is a little place called Fay’s Diner. Inside is a bar-style counter with stools, a mismatched kitchen, and a large cooler selling Foothills Creamery ice cream.

I had actually stopped there for a potty break at the official facilities next door, and decided to pop in for a quick snack.

A quick look at the menu convinced me to go for some fries and gravy. My fries were decent, but I would have preferred them to be crispier. The gravy threw me back to the kind that I ate back in high school, so I was happy there. So much so that I ate them the way everyone in my high school did; loaded with gravy, ketchup, pepper and salt. (I usually don’t bother with the salt as I find most fries have more than enough salt for me.) It looks like a huge mess, but it’s delish.

Another patron ordered a cheese burger and it looked pretty decent; plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

The real appeal of the place wasn’t the food though. It was the atmosphere. Slightly grumpy servers/cooks, well-used counter tops, TV blaring in the corner, and photos/autographs of singers, politicians and local TV newscasters on one wall completed the authentic aged diner chic. No Johnny Rockets mini-jukeboxes or brand new formica tables to be found here. The only thing that would have completed the experience would have been super fantastic road food that I could rave about. Ah well, I guess you can’t have everything.

Fays Diner, exterior

Fay's Diner, side exterior

Fays Diner, front exterior

Fay's Diner, front exterior

Pre-gravy fries

Pre-gravy fries