By day, a stall just down the street from my riad (hotel) in Marrakesh was perpetually busy. Not with customers, but with workers grinding beef, putting together sausages and butchering away. It was interesting to watch, but didn’t exactly whet my appetite. Yet, when I returned later that night I found the place bustling with locals jockeying for some food. At this point I knew whatever it was had to be mine.
What’s chwarma? Some might say it’s simply how you spell schwarma in Morocco. At least that’s what I thought when we stopped at Cafe Restaurant L’Etoile in the Djemaa Al Fnaa (Big Square) of Marrakesh’s Medina. We kind of stopped there on a whim considering every other place we had been to was a success so far, and I proceeded to order a Chwarma Sandwich with a side of frites.
While wandering the streets of the Gueliz part of Marrakesh in search of the Majorelle Gardens, we found ourselves in what appeared to be an upscale neighborhood far different from anything we had seen thus far. There was a McDonald’s, but more importantly there was a nice French Cafe called 16 Cafe that we decided to make our lunch spot.
In a quest for some of the best food down the street from our riad (hotel), we made our way to Dar Mimoun on Riad Zitoun Lakdim in the Medina. But don’t try to find the street sign because they basically don’t exist in Marrakesh. Just know that it’s there, somewhere. And inside is a veritable palace of space with some delicious-looking food.
When we first arrived in Marrakesh, we were in need of a snack. And while many of the restaurants in the Medina’s Djemaa Al Fnaa (also known as the Big Square), had the word “snack” in their names, we set our sights on Restaurant Chez Chegrouni. The menu was filled with what you might expect from a Moroccan restaurant: couscous and tajine (or tagine depending on the part of the menu).
Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls National Park has one restaurant. It’s called Rainforest Restaurant in reference to the incredible rainforest across the Zambezi river from the falls that only exists because of the mists of the falls. In truth, it should be called a mist-forest, but that is neither here nor there. What is there is a little restaurant with a decent variety of options. Well, sort of.
Sometimes you travel somewhere and despite every fiber of your being, you realize you simply have to be a tourist. And I don’t mean going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower was built, and people came. No, I’m talking about places that exist for the sole purpose of attracting tourists. In Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, one of these places is the Boma.
Airport food is typically pretty terrible. There is a distinct lack of creativity and the prices are often ridiculous. So it was with a great sadness that we realized we would be stuck in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport over dinner. But the airport gods were looking favorably upon us on this day, as they guided us to KEG & Aviator. KEG is a pub chain in South Africa and each one has a cutesy name reminiscent of its location, hence the aviator thing.
Have you ever accidentally swallowed a fly and been told it’s good protein? Well, it’s true and flies aren’t alone in the bug world as a good source of protein. And in some places the bugs are eaten deliberately. I’ve seen scorpions and tarantulas eaten in China, heard about eating silkworms in Korea and now have my own bug-eating experience in Zimbabwe.
Although they border each other and both speak English, South Africa and Zimbabwe couldn’t be more different. Granted, my only basis for comparison are Cape Town and the town of Victoria Falls, but you know, they seemed pretty different. Essentially, Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe are poor. Like dirt poor. As in, so poor that their own currency has no value and they use American dollars instead. So with all this poverty, we were surprised to find a tapas restaurant called Lola’s in the middle of Victoria Falls.