Monday, October 12, 2015

Take Me To Marrakech

Photo courtesy Taste of Marrakech


     A birthday bash is in order, my husband said. Whee!!! I said, as I sat pondering the pros and cons of getting older with wisdom and grace. Where to go? Someplace fancy, one of the resort restaurants? No huge crowds today please. Maybe that gorgeous new restaurant on the hill with spectacular views to the red rocks? Let's consider the budget. How about that interesting new little place down in Village of Oak Creek somewhere...Taste of Marrakech  ( Let's go there, I said. Since moving to Sedona we've tried to embrace living at wisdom's edge, enjoying the simple life and ferreting out people, places and things that reflect a more mindful and measured way of life. Dining out at a restaurant promising tasty bites, tapas style, organic, clean, fresh... voila! It's the perfect place for us to celebrate. Husband signals thumbs up and we're on our way.

This way to heaven

 Found It  
      We headed out for Bell Rock Plaza, husband thinks that's where it is. Hidden away almost, on the side, Aha!  there it was...we spied a blackboard sitting in the parking lot, pointing the way to A Taste of Marrakech, saucy but seriously fresh and fun  Moroccan-inspired, organic street food. Totally my idea of what food should be...healthy, beautiful, enticing and satisfying. This is living and if I can't fly to Morocco this year, here's the next best thing.

Dee Doe, Lucas Sena, Brian Wright
Happy Trio
      Walked in the door, found a tiny little place with a good feel...tables and umbrellas on the patio and inside, four tables with a couple more spots against the wall with chairs (apparently biz is so good they've had to expand already). Very New York. We grabbed one of the larger tables, checked out Marrakech partner/chef Brian Wright, said hi to owner Lucas Sena and his charming daughter as they strolled through the premises, and then here came Dee Doe, a silver haired angel of a waitperson. That's her real name. She is a dog sitter on the side. Bet those dogs love her. She's cheerful and motherly and told us to look at the blackboard menu and she'd be right back. So we looked. Mighty tasty looking fare today.

Just for today.....yum
Tapas & Bites
         After a little back and forth, we settled on fresh green salad with salmon and street tacos with
 lamb, bison and chicken. A little
Salmon salad...fresh!
 eggplant salad on the side. Just water today and holding on for a dessert later. Making this birthday last a long time, may stretch it out for more than a day and come back tomorrow for dessert.
Street tacos: Bison, Lamb, Chicken

 Inspiring Tale
Many happy returns....
       Got it, said Dee as she took our order, back in a flash. While we waited, I got up to read what looked like some kind of letter hanging on the wall. Hmmmm. Owner Lucas Sena had written the story of how Taste of Marrakech came to be. He said his little girl had been ill and they discovered that when they ate fresh,organic and clean, his daughter's health improved dramatically. On top of that, his wife had visited Morocco and been enchanted with the food choices there. In time, one thing had led to another and Sena decided they would open a restaurant dedicated to what Sena calls international cuisine with a Moroccan inspiration. Well, I thought, wisdom's edge is where you find it.
You should get the best....

Amazing Chef
          The restaurant opened about six months ago with partner/chef Brian Wright on board. I chatted briefly with this charming culinary artist and  learned Brian had operated a restaurant in Chicago and like almost everyone who moves here to Sedona, he has a story about starting life anew, finding his way in the wilds and red rock country of northern Arizona. I liked his easy friendliness, those people from Chicago have such great Midwestern charm. We discussed birthdays and he noted  several of his family members had birthdays today. And John Lennon. In honor of which, Beatles music poured from loudspeakers overhead. Loved this, certified Boomer and erstwhile hippie that I am. One of these days when I have time I'm going to go back and visit this merry chef to him more about how a nice boy from Chicago came....well, you know.

 Fresh Prince
      After we finished the birthday lunch I asked Lucas if that story he'd written  up on the wall
"Mel sent us....."
was true. Of course, he said, you don't make stuff like that up. I like him. Seems real, down to earth. The kind of guy who will tell you if the onions they use are bought fresh and prepped or whether they get them already cut. But you don't have to ask, he doesn't buy them already cut. "Fresh!" he almost shouts when I tell him I like the place and the food a lot. Fresh...clean...I'd say these folks have made it to wisdom's edge and I'm going to be coming back here soon. Tell your friends Mel sent you.