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
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
I can’t remember precisely but I think this was a club sandwich.
sandwich and fries
Shared appetizers with crusty bread – hummus, baba ganoush, and I think the last was a tapenade.
Café du Livre
44, rue Tarik Ibn Ziad
Later in the week we made a last minute decision to pick up some lunch at another “fancy” chef-owned burger place, BLT Burger located in the Mirage. This decision wasn’t fueled by a burger craving, but more as a way to erase (or at least make me feel better) about my not-so-hot experience over at the Burger Bar.
The “BLT” in the name stands for “Bistro Laurent Tourondel.” The atmosphere is modern and yet retro at the same time; each table had an old fashioned diner-style, and the servers were dressed in a casual uniform of BLT branded t-shirts with sayings on the back like “Tip waiters not cows.” Instead of hiding the cook-top, they treated the overhead vent as a display piece and have the cook-top surrounded by bar-style seating. (I didn’t take a photo but you can see the decor over here.)
We were seated right away because the restaurant, while busy, was quite large. They play their music very loud (probably to drown out the casino noises!), and our server was cheery and helpful.
BLT Burger placemat
This time, I was absolutely determined to have meat.
BLT’s burgers are a mix of Black Angus sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket.They have a number of add-on toppings like portobello mushrooms, fried eggs, and homemade chili, as well as a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic milkshakes.
I decided on the “Shaft’s Blue,” which was a grilled 7 oz patty served with Shaft’s Blue Vein Cheese, balsamic caramelized onion and mushrooms, with a big pickle on the side. And I ordered it cooked medium – which is something you can’t get at restaurants here.
Sweet potato fried and Shaft's Blue burger
For Chinese New Year, there are a number of traditional foods that you are supposed to eat to ensure prosperity, good fortune and wealth for the coming year. These include items such as fish, oranges and chicken.
This is the first year I have volunteered to contribute to the meal, and I decided to test two recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop‘s Land of Plenty, a Sichuanese cook book. The first was a lettuce dish; the Cantonese word for lettuce sounds close to “rising luck and fortune.”
I couldn’t find my sesame seeds… and I was lazy and dumped everything into a bowl, then went ahead and mixed the sauce and lettuce. Tasted fine, but made for a lousy photo! A really, really lousy photo. This would be a good dish for someone who loves the taste of sesame. I found it a little rich for my taste however, and would probably use less sauce on my lettuce if I made it again. The second recipe will be in my next post.
Lettuce in sesame sauce