Tag Archives: Morocco

The Kasbah Chronicles: SPRING 2022 has SPRUNG (finally)

The Kasbah  Chronicles

APRIL 2022

On the trail to aptly-named Inspiration Wash

Borrego Springs, Southern California’s desert

Musings

Links of interest en français and in English

COME AND SAY HI!
Couscous de la Mimouna demonstration
Sunday, APRIL 24, 2-4PM
La Jolla  (CA) JCC

Museums are open too!
California Center for the Arts
La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art
The Getty (LA)
Academy of Motion Pictures (LA)

A Shout out to Fellow Authors

Kitty is always culling from my private collection of cookbooks

BITTER SWEET: a wartime journal and heirloom recipes from occupied France is at the designer’s.
I will soon flash around the cover for all to view! Stay tuned!

Musings:

Easter and Passover have come and gone, and Ramadan is in full swing. April is indeed a busy month.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit an intermittent one. Travelers are flocking to airports in droves, planes are full, and concert venues back to pre-pandemic pandemonium. I am suffering from whiplash with on-again, off-again COVID restrictions. Good news? Maybe! But wait! The pandemic is not over yet. Don’t throw your stash of masks away. You may need them again. After learning that three of my relatives in Europe recently caught COVID even though they were vaccinated and boosted, I am waiting for the Fall to cross the Atlantic.

I drew the curtains this morning onto another lovely day in San Diego County. Sunshine and blue skies are such a jarring disconnect with the news of the world. My young persimmon tree greeted me like a friend offering me a bouquet—in this case, a burst of shiny green leaves. And each morning, I pick passion fruit. My Easter egg hunt consisted of finding a purple, egg-shaped fruit, amidst the accumulated dead leaves.

RECIPE:
How to dry one of my favorite herbs:
TARRAGON (Estragon)
NON! NON! https://tastecooking.com/a-requiem-for-tarragon IMPOSSIBLE!!
“It’s the storied herb championed by Thomas Jefferson, Julia Child, and The Silver Palate.”
It also happens to be one of my favorite herbs (along with cilantro) and a French herb par excellence. Have you tried a pinch of dried and crushed tarragon leaves in  scrambled eggs? Since our dry micro climate is not  well-suited to this fragrant herb, I have to purchase jars of dried tarragon that has long lost its fragrance and flavor. Until I learned of a way to dry my herbs in the microwave. Much to my surprise, the dried herb retains all its flavor.

How to dry your own tarragon (or other herbs):
1.Strip the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems
2.Lay the leaves flat in between two paper towels.
3.Microwave for 50 seconds on high. Pat the leaves dry (they will give off moisture).
4.Place the leaves in between two new dry paper towels and repeat the process. Two drying sessions should be enough. If not, repeat the process for 40 or 50 seconds. At this point, the leaves should be as dry as paper, yet still fragrant. I simply crush them in between my fingers and store them in a spice jar. Voila!

Now add some to your French-style scrambled eggs. You will not regret it!

La Mimouna cooking demonstration:
Mimouna: a Post-Passover Moroccan Celebration
Kitty will team up with Debbie Kornberg of You Tube channel’s Spice It up with DEB! and owner of Spice and Leaf spice company, for La Mimouna celebration at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in La Jolla CA.
https://www.lfjcc.org/cjc/mimouna.aspx
Celebrating Jewish Moroccan Food, Culture and Traditions
Sunday, April 24 2022
from 1-4PM
$18
JCC Members: $15
Children 12 and under: Free

” A trademark of Mimouna, the evening begins with people traveling from home to home visiting with family and friends in what is affectionately named in Morocco “The Tour”. During these visits, groups of people -some of whom are familiar to one another and some of whom strangers- eat, drink, and celebrate into the wee hours of the night. The next day is filled with incredible hospitality. . .”
Stop by and Sample this special couscous dish flavored with orange blossom water and topped with toasted almonds from my book The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco (co-authored with Danielle Mamane). 

Overheard: Chuckle:
I love to eavesdrop on fellow walkers:
“What! You have  a restraining order against him? You want me to hire him for my restaurant?” overheard in Oceanside Harbor, March 5, 2022

A staycation of sorts:
San Diego’s back country never ceases to amaze:
8:30AM: Swim in the pacific;
9:30AM: Drive through farm country and vineyards
10:15AM:  Drive through the mountains
11:15 AM: Slide down onto the hot, dry expanse of Borrego Springs, San Diego’s pre-Sahara Plain?
What other county in the US can boast such diversity? (But we do have a water shortage.)
This is why I love the Moroccan desert: for its caravans of dromedaries.This one took me around the dunes of Merzouga, Morocco.

Museums are open too!
Have you seen the NEW MINGEI in Balboa Park? Do it soon!

California Center for the Arts
https://artcenter.org/museum
Campus Creatives featuring San Diego’s Fine Arts faculty. Until May 26, 2022. At The California Center for the Arts (where I will resume being a docent, post COVID). The museum NEEDS DOCENTS and USHERS for the THEATRE.

I found this to be a most moving piece:

 

La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art
https://mcasd.orghttps://artcenter.org/museum/
Niki Niki everywhere Niki de St Phalle, and I find it ASTOUNDING that so many art lovers along the coast who are fans of Niki’s work, do not head to ESCONDIDO to view one of her MASTERWORKS: Queen Califia’s Magic Circle.
Call the Escondido Center for the Arts to make an appointment to visit this amazing piece of public art. NOW!
https://www.escondido.org/queen-califias-magical-circle

Academy of Motion Pictures (LA)
https://www.academymuseum.org/en/
A newly opened destination in LA, next door to the LACMA. From The Wizard of Oz’s red slippers to E.T.  on the cusp of calling home.
This will become a must, like LACMA–
Lots of digging going on smack in the heart of LA to uncover ancient beasts.

https://www.getty.edu
And look who greeted me! My FAVORITE SCULPTOR: Alberto Giacometti

Local discoveries to satisfy your hunger pangs:

A new way to shop for prepared food: https://www.everytable.com

Every Table is located next to the FEDEX/KINKO store on Hacienda Drive in Vista, a stone’s throw from the law courts.This new addition to the grab and go food business in Vista is an unusual one, the first to open in our neck of the woods. Every Table is a result of a Shark’s investment (I am a SUPER FAN of Shark Tank!)

Prepared food (and tasty one at that) packed and set out on shelves for you to grab and go. Or, to eat in. The meals are prepared daily in a central kitchen, and what remains after business hours is distributed among local charities “That way, we always have fresh food on that day,” explained the young and enthusiastic hostess. I sampled a very good coconut curry, a veggie wrap, and a salad that was fresh and crisp.

From their website: ” At Everytable, we believe nutritious food is a human right. Every aspect of our business was designed to make fresh, delicious food available to everyone, every table. Our central Los Angeles kitchen allows us to chef-prepare meals efficiently and price them according to what each community can afford. Then we’ll bring the ready-to-eat meals to you — at home, work, school, or on the go.”

A vegan restaurant in Vista, CA:
https://www.saboravidacafeanddeli.com
What a find! An intimate as yet almost “undiscovered” VEGAN deli tucked away in a strip mall across from the Kaiser Permanente medical Building on 735 Sycamore Avenue in Vista. Owner/chef Veronica Cabrera’s dream Sabor a Vida (Taste of Life) deli is the new “in” vegan space to sample her signature vegan avocado toast: two generous slices of multigrain bread thickly slathered in mashed avocado, fresh corn, and beans, and tierra, a spinach, chickpea tuna, tomato, and toasted almond creation, that had my husband yearning for more.
Veronica and her husband Mario turned vegan about 8 years ago. Since then, Veronica has created an extensive vegan menu of sandwiches, wraps, vida and sabor bowls, burritos of hash browns and just eggs, and vegan pastries, among other mouth-watering items. Teas, lattes, fruit smoothies and other delights await. Their daughter Natalie, is a charming hostess adept at explaining anything vegan on the menu.

New opening hours for Sand and Straw family farm in Vista CA:
http://www.sandnstraw.com
New Farm Stand Hours:
Tuesdays & Fridays 1pm-5pm. Community Farm Stand days will be Tuesday and Friday afternoons, in order to provide more space for Saturday events on The Farm. Right now, we’ve got oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, tangerines, lemons and limes, in addition to produce. We’ve started planting tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and the Spring and Summer crops.

The Golden Door Country Store, 314 Deer Springs Road in San Marcos (CA) carries fruits and vegetables from the Golden Door’s fabled vegetable gardens and orchards, as well as Golden Door beauty and wellness product. Watch this space for a cooking class with yours truly this summer!
https://goldendoor.com/a-way-of-life/country-store/

News of interest:
Status of the French language: Quel dommage!
https://france-amerique.com/en/is-the-french-language-disappearing-in-canada/

https://france-amerique.com/avenir-du-francais-passe-par-sa-creolisation/?
View the English translation on the same site.

What is La Francophonie? Who are “francophone” authors? Those who are preserving the French language in the US and elsewhere in French-speaking countries around the world. There may be more French-speakers and writers around the world than in la Métropole!  They are the ones saving the French language.
“A lire vos programmes, on constate une montée en puissance des auteurs dits francophones, non issus de France métropolitaine. La vitalité de la littérature française passerait elle désormais par l’Afrique, les Antilles et le Canada ? Ce terme de francophonie vous paraît-il adéquat ?
Par un renversement de l’histoire, ce sont les auteurs dits francophones et les langues créoles qui vont peut-être sauver le français aux Etats-Unis ! Le mot « francophonie » reste ambigu car il distingue les locuteurs du français de métropole de tous les autres, qu’ils soient d’Haïti, du Québec, du Viêt Nam, de Roumanie ou du Sénégal.
..”

Need a hard copy of A Biblical Feast (now out of print!)
Contact: Not of This World Icons
www.notofthisworldiconsandbooks.com and
https://notofthisworldiconsandbooks.com/search?q=A+Biblical+feast
A handful of copies of A Biblical Feast available from this surprising bookstore store in Santa Rosa, CA which specializes in icons and books.
Our Orthodox Christian website offers over 2000 different books, icons, crosses, icon eggs, lacquer boxes and other items from various parts of the Orthodox world. Open hours are: (Monday – Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm). We are located at 553 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, California, 95401. We do not ship outside of the United States.

New books from my colleagues and friends:
http://kathidiamant.com/ author of the critically acclaimed Kafka’s Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant
and now  her new book: The Heart of the Zoo
https://shopzoo.com/products/heart-of-the-zoo-how-san-diego-zoo-director-chuck-bieler-earned-his-stripes
“This book tells the extraordinary story of how Chuck Bieler “earned his stripes” at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. With inside stories and humorous details, it captures his tireless efforts to help create an international conservation organization where all wildlife thrives.”

Dressing Modern Like Our Mothers: Dress, Identity, and Cultural Praxis in Oromia  (Ethiopia)
https://www.amazon.com/Dressing-Modern-Like-Our-Mothers/dp/1569027803
Author Peri M. Klem (Ph.D. Art History, Emory University) is professor of Art History at California State University, Northridge, UCLA Consortium Editor of African Arts Journal and Past President, Arts Council of the African Studies Association.

Culinary expert and travel host George Geary, a longtime colleague, has come out with a new book:A fun way to learn about California’s fabled food joints
https://www.georgegeary.com/blog

Kitty is parting with:

The Vegetarian Table: North Africa by Kitty Morse.
New, hard cover. $25.00 (signed to you, and plus $5 shipping in US only)

Rezepte aus der Kasbah:
New. Hard cover. German edition: $30.00
(signed to you, plus $5 shipping in US only)

Fuddalat al Khiwan, Les délices de la Table et le meilleur des mets ecrit entre 1238 et 1266 par Ibn Razin el Tujibi (Arab scholar) French Reprint of an ancient Arabic cookbook. Purchased in Casablanca.
Brand new: USD40.00 plus $5 shipping in the US only.

For designers, book collectors, ceramicist, artists, or architects: rare books in English from my father’s estate,
They two books weigh close to 14  pounds. PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS:

USD1200 for the pair plus shipping.

·       Traditional Islamic Craft in Moroccan Architecture. Two volumes Hardcover – 1980 by Andre Paccard

·       Publisher: Editions Atelier 74 1980 (1980)

·       ASIN: B00S9ZF81Y

·       TWO volume set. Tome 1 and 2. Excellent condition. Some jacket and shelf wear.

·       English edition with appendices.

The most complete documentation on Moroccan arts, calligraphy and decoration. Hundreds of color illustrations. These are extremely rare and unusual books by one of Morocco’s most famous architects. Each volume contains templates for traditional tiles and Moroccan handicrafts in stone, wood, metal, water and light. These are slightly used but in excellent condition. All tile templates are in pristine condition.
Weight: close to fourteen pounds for both volumes.
Shipped media mail in the US. International buyers pls contact me for shipping rate.
From GoodReads:
“Deux volumes fort in-4 pleine toile de l’éditeur sous jaquettes illustrées en couleurs, 516 + 508 pages, plus de 12000 illustrations en couleurs. Bibliographie, glossaire.
Ouvrage fondamental offrant la documentation la plus complète jamais réunie sur l’art décoratif marocain.
I. Introduction, habitations, lieux de prières, les tracés régulateurs, la calligraphie, la terre.
II. La pierre, le gebs, le bois, le métal, l’eau et la lumière, appendices.

Onwards!
Bon Appetit and Bismillah!

The last Kasbah Chronicles of the decade: CUBA-December 2019 (a little late)

The Kasbah Chronicles (short version)
Entering its 12th year
Entre dans sa douzième année
the last one of the DECADE
MAY YOU LIVE THE NEXT TEN YEARS IN PEACE AND GOOD HEALTH
QUE LES DIX PROCHAINES ANNEES VOUS APPORTENT PAIX ET BONNE SANTE

Mieux vaut tard que jamais
Better late than never

Thank you for still reading my musings after all these years.
So much to do and see! So little time!

IN CUBA
You can RENT A FANTASIA
 
With or without a cigar!

Cookin’ in Havana in a great Italian restaurant. Pizza sampling! The crust is so thin and crispy as to resemble a crackers. These guys know pizza!

 

 with new friends. Hola amigos!

Why do I keep writing The Kasbah Chronicles?

What started as a press release has turned into a selfish pleasure: writing
I love to share information on food and travel and whatever else catches my fancy.
So, I thank you for your feedback: my favorite part!

Pourquoi continuer à publier The Kasbah Chronicles?
Ce qui a commencé comme communiqué de presse s’est mué en plaisir égoiste : écrire. Je suis une accro de cuisine et de voyages et j’aime partager mes découvertes. Donc, chers lecteurs, je vous remercie de m’encourager à continuer.

For that and more, I am fortunate and thankful:
What a year for me: Space Camp in Huntsville, AL, playing at being an astronaut; co-leading a tour to Morocco for Adventures by the Book and taking a memorable dromedary ride at my favorite destination, the Moroccan Sahara; binging on tapas at Barcelona’s famed La Boqueria public market; downing oysters and drinking cava (champagne) at an oyster farm in the middle of the Bay of l’Ampolla (Catalonia); exploring California’s Highway 395 gateway to Death Valley in the Eastern Sierras (now under several feet of snow).
 

2019 fut une année mémorable:

-Jouer à l’astronaute au Space Camp à Huntsville, Alabama (où s’entrainent les vrais astronautes)

-Accompagner un voyage au Maroc, avec randonnée à dos de chameau dans les dunes de Merzouga
-Me farcir de tapas au marché de La Boqueria à Barcelone
-Manger des huitres et boire du cava (champagne) dans le parc à huitres de l’Ampolla
-Explorer la route historique en Californie, la route 395 qui mène à la Vallée de la Mort

 
And in December 2019:  to cap it all off:
Et en décembre: CUBA

My latest adventure took me to CUBA. My travel companion was my friend Susan McBeth, founder of Adventures by the Book. (https://adventuresbythebook.com/events)   

Biggest surprise: US citizens can go to Cuba as individual travelers.It’s the US’s best kept secret: We purchased our Cuban visas at JFK’s Jet Blue counter, along with our boarding pass and flew to Havana on Jetblue. Carlos (more on our trip in the next issue) “driver/guide” par excellence, was waiting for us at the airport in Havana. All thanks to Karin of Espiritutravel.com

Cooking class in Trinidad: our instructor:

and of course, more sampling

yucca, plantains, ropa vieja and more Cuban classics. Too much food!

To cap it all: A day on an eco farm- member of SLOW FOOD…They make award winning own salami and cheese.

Mon dernier voyage, voici quelques semaines, m’a menée à CUBA—île interdite (soit disant) aux citoyens des Etats-Unis. Surprise : une amie et moi avons simplement obtenu nos visas au comptoir de Jet Blue à l’aéroport de Kennedy, avec nos cartes d’embarquement. Et Carlos, notre guide cubain par excellence, nous attendait à La Havane. Je donnerai plus de détails dans les prochaines Chroniques.

 No, I don’t smoke, but I just had to roll my own cigar! A hoot!

 

Cubans are eager to meet Americans—The embargo has practically put an end to tourism from the United States (though the island is very popular with Europeans and Canadians). Imagine: just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
 Street Food: CUBANO with shredded roasted pork..

Trinidad, Cuba, museum entrance
Cette porte me rappelle la porte d’entrée de Dar Zitoun, notre riad au Maroc
This blue door with Moorish influence reminds me of our front door at Dar Zitoun
 
AND MORE OUTSTANDING NEWS:
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued, primé
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued is an award-winner

What a lovely surprise to wake up to this e-mail on December 1, 2019
From M. Edouard Cointreau, founder, World Cookbook Awards:

“Le riad au bord de l´oued  is the Winner for Morocco in the Gourmand World Awards in the category “Translation” .

Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued est gagnant en traduction (MAROC) du Gourmand World Awards, établi par M. Edouard Cointreau.

“You now qualify to compete for Best in the World 2020  with winners from other countries in the same category. This year a total of 225 countries participated in the competition. You can see  the complete list of winners 2020 on www.cookbookfair.com

The following link will give you a General Presentation of the Gourmand Awards, including our Gourmand World Summit 2019 at UNESCO, the International Village of Gastronomy in front of the Eiffel Tower.” (Parisiens, vous pourrez vous rendre au Village de la Gastronomie devant la Tour Eiffel, l’été prochain,

En attendant: Merci d’écrire un commentaire sur la page  Amazon.com ou sur Facebook
Thank you for writing a review on Amazon.com:
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued available as an ebook on Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+
for a 40 page preview . Vous pourrez lire un extrait de 40 pages.
 
Please like Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued on its facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued
Visitez ma page facebook pour Le Riad. Cliquez LIKE!

Et si le coeur vous en dit:
Dar Zitoun Riad: notre riad à Azemmour est toujours à vendre
Our riad for sale in Azemmour. Please continue to help me spread the word.
Merci!
 Si vous avez une petite minute, allez voir le site sur Facebook et faites suivre,….
  https://www.facebook.com/Dar-Zitoun-Riad-571764203267186
 Merci à tous

Bonne Année
Bonne Santé
 
Bismillah
And
Bon Appétit !

Le Riad au Bord de l’oued: winner (translation) Gourmand World awards

What a lovely surprise to wake up to this message on December 1, 2019

Le riad au bord de l´oued  is the Winner for Morocco in the Gourmand World Awards in the category B12 Translation .

You now qualify to compete for Best in the World 2020  with winners from other countries in the same category. This year a total of 225 countries participated in the competition. You can see  the complete list of winners 2020 on www.cookbookfair.com

The following link will give you a General Presentation of the Gourmand Awards, including our Gourmand World Summit 2019 at UNESCO, the International Village of Gastronomy in front of the Eiffel Tower, and the  awards ceremony in Macao. last  July

https://www.cookbookfair.com/images/pdf/Gourmand_Awards_General_Presentation_2019_11.pdf

Your book will be in the events next year. . .”
Congratulations and best wishes for 2020

Edouard Cointreau
President

Onwards!

Please like the Facebook page or the Amazon.com listing. Every little thumbs up helps, I am told!

https://www.facebook.com/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued-110970043646415

Visit Le Riad page on this website.

Merci!

 

The Kasbah Chronicles: November 2019: Musings on Le Riad au Bord de ‘lOued on Amazon.com, Tapas, and Manzanar

MUSINGS

Enfin! Version française. . .
Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued
en livre electronique sur Amazon.com
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+
Lisez 40 pages

Visitez ma page Facebook pour en lire un extrait
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued
ou

in English
https://www.amazon.com/Mint-Tea-Minarets-Moroccan-Memories
How I met Jacques Chirac
J’ai rencontré M. Chirac aux J.O. de Los Angeles

Barcelona’s tapas heaven La Boqueria
L’Ampolla’s oysters…
Les huîtres de l’Ampolla.. à déguster

California’s Historic highway 395
US395: Route historique de Californie
Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp

A new neighbor: A Family Farm
Nouveaux voisins: une ferme…

Les touristes francais sont partout!
Un bistro français sur la route de Death Valley

News of Morocco and beyond
Links of interest in English and en français:

Homage à Jacques Chirac:
https://france-amerique.com/fr/on-the-road-to-the-elysee-jacques-chirac-in-america/?ct=t(France-Amerique-newsletter-28-june-2018_COPY_01)

I got to shake the hand of this noted head of state during the summer of 1984 when I was hired as an interpreter/escort for the French Olympic team at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to work for the French Olympic Committee in the Olympic Village at USC. That glimpse into the world of athletics made me appreciate the dedication of young men and women from all over the world, whose sole goal was to stand on the podium and represent their country. . As a thank you for my help, the French team allowed me to march in the closing ceremonies, and provided me with the  French Olympic Uniform. What a thrill! When the flying saucer bearing Lionel Ritchie landed a few feet from where I stood, I was already on another planet with excitement! His hit “All Night Long” rang out over the stadium and into the night as we danced around the “flying saucer.”

J’ai rencontré M. Chirac aux J.O. de Los Angeles en 1984 quand il est venu saluer les athlètes français Je leur servais d’interprète. Ils m’ont invitée à participer à la cérémonie de clôture…mémorable.. lorsque qu’une soucoupe volante a atteri devant nous, avec, comme “pilote” Lionel Ritchie qui chantait “All Night Long.”  Avec tous les J.O., il se passe un festival artistique international. J’ai eu la chance de travailler avec Ariane Mnouchkine du Théatre du Soleil qui donnait une de ses premières représentations aux Etats Unis..Nous avons parcouru tout Los Angeles pour trouver des kilomètres de soie naturelle pour leur toile de fond. J’ai hérité de bouteilles de vin olympique.

Few realize that along with the Olympic games comes a gathering of artists, actors, musicians, from around the globe. In 1984, that meant more than 400 performances by 145 theater, dance and music companies, representing every continent and 18 countries. That year I discovered the  Theatre du Soleil, a French kabuki theater company who needed hundreds of yards of pure silk for their backdrop. The French team left me with cases of their very own Olympic wine (they were the only ones to bring their own crémant label (champagne). I still have stacks of stationery bearing the COQ SPORTIF logo!

After escorting members of the media around LA, and watching them at “work”, I decided to pursue writing as a career. 1984 was a turning point.
Apres avoir servi d’interprète aux membres de la presse internationale, j’ai décidé de me lancer dans le journalisme. Et voilà comment tout a commencé pour moi.

Speaking of the Olympics, I have a collection of French pins, all bearing the COQ SPORTIF logo.
Does anyone know of a collector interested in French Olympic pins?.
E-Mail me for details if you are interested.

Je voudrais vendre des pins olympiques français qui datent de 1984. Connaitriez-vous un collectionneur?
Deux examples. J’en ai plus…

 

Barcelona (suite et fin): La Boqueria
Heavenly tapas; paradis des tapas

 

I spent 2 delicious days in Barcelona on my way back from Morocco last May.
NO wonder the city is one of the most visited in the world.  And the food! … Be forewarned upon entering La Boqueria, Barcelona’s binge-inducing public market: Go hungry, zip up your pockets, and hang on to your iPhone. In spite of the masses of people, La Boqueria proved to be a highlight of my brief visit. The entrance to this city landmark is just off Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s renowned tree-shaded pedestrian thoroughfare. Smoothies, chocolate covered strawberries, jamon serrano, Manchego cheese, fried calamari, and tapas galore… need I say more?

Can you smell the garlic?

I was headed to l’Ampolla, two hours to the south,  to visit a friend of mine. (Les vacanciers français connaissent bien l’Ampolla) I couldn’t even find mention of this diminutive Catalonian beach town in guidebooks. Immediately after landing, I took a taxi to Barcelona’s main train station, to hop on the train to Tarragona, as advised: “You will see the stops listed on the overhead electronic billboard,” said the ticket vendor…Really? After 2 or 3 stations, I realized the electronic loop was stuck: the same station came up time and again! So, fellow travelers were kind enough to tell me when I should get off. Ah! The delights of Spanish trains… memorize your itinerary and your stop beforehand.

L’Ampolla:

So tiny is the town that it merits barely a 3 mn stop on the train (to Tarragona). (Attention, à l’Ampolla, le train ne s’arrête que 3 minutes. Pas de taxis ni de bus) No taxis, no buses, but a lovely waterfront. It is also the gateway to the Rio Ebre estuary, home to pink  flamingoes and famous OYSTERBEDS: Les parcs à huitres de l’Ampolla sont connus de toute l’Europe, et surtout, des français. L’Ampolla is Catalan for ”cruet” and so, my friend and I headed for the far reaches of the “cruet” to the oyster and mussel farm of Mirador de la badia
( http://miradorbadia.com) at the mouth of the Rio Ebre. Here, the mingling of waters from the Rio EBRO (in Spanish) and the warm Mediterranean create the mellow environment for l’Ampolla’s claim to fame. The shellfish’s mild flavor derives from the unique combination of salt water with the nutrient-rich fresh waters of the river.


Heaven= freshly shucked oysters and a LITER of cava (Spanish champagne)

This is also home to one of Spain’s largest rice growing regions (L’embouchure du Rio Ebre est aussi le pays des rizières) where paddies attract flocks of migrating PINK FLAMINGOES on their way to Africa: Bird Watchers, take note!

CLOSER TO HOME:  Une route historique en Californie. La route US 395 longe le côté est des sierras (vers Death Valley et Yosemite) avec touristes français en abondance. .

We recently took a drive up highway 395, the historic road that hugs the Eastern sierras (past Mt Whitney, the highest summit of the Sierra Nevada, and the contiguous United States.) I wanted to see Fall foliage, and leaves turning, a rare sight in the southern part of the state. We did find a few gold-colored leaves, but more exciting was discovering the historic sites along the way: from the ghost town of Randsburg (Ville fantôme extra) east of Los Angeles, to Ridgecrest, home to the famed China Lake military base and the Maturango Museum (https://maturango.org/ ) featuring Coso petroglyphs of the Northern Mojave Desert Tour. Here too, you will find the Death Valley Tourist Center. The most moving national park/museum came a little farther north at Manzanar National Historic Site (https://www.nps.gov/manz/index) , a couple of miles south of Independence. My interest in the site was parked by an exhibit at the California Center for the Arts last year, which commemorated the history of this American tragedy along with exhibits and photographs of Manzanar by Ansel Adams. More than 10,000 internees were summarily ordered to leave Southern California.

From the Manzanar website: “Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps at which Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II.” Located at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada in eastern California’s Owens Valley, Manzanar has been identified as the best preserved of these camps…We elected to explore the park (about 1 square mile) on foot, so

we could step inside reconstructed barracks where families shared a few square feet of living space, view the remnants of an episcopal church and a Buddhist temple, traces of a baseball diamond, and the elaborate Japanese gardens created by internees. The experience was at once soul-enriching and heart-wrenching—an episode of 20th century American history that is often overlooked.

A few miles up the road, we came upon Independence, CA. Mind you, I had never heard of the town until a few weeks ago. Misled by Google maps which labels it as the “entrance” to Mt Whitney National Park, I delved a little further: As the crow flies, Independence is about 15 miles from Mt Whitney.. but, no way can you enter the park from the east. A 5 hour detour will lead you back to the “real” entrance, north of Bakersfield. I had already made a reservation based on TripAdvisor reviews at the historic 1927 vintage, ghost-ridden Winnedumah Hotel that once welcomed the likes of John Wayne and Bing Crosby, directly across from the old courthouse/library where Charles Manson was arraigned.

Built in 1927, the Winnedumah Hotel is under new ownership and management, and undergoing a revitalization while staying true to its origins. We were there at the start of the renovations, and many kinks remain to be worked out with the plumbing, electricity, and structure. But that doesn’t deflect from the lobby filled with authentic 1920s furniture, the period artwork, and the original grand piano. Perhaps the most surprising of all, for me, was that we kept running into French tourists. Go figure. We dined at the ONLY establishment in town, the Still Life Café, an authentic French bistro (www.facebook.com/StillLifeCafe) ½ block away, also French-owned. Another surprise. Indeed, the menu lists such classics as boeuf bourguignon and endives braisées (my favorite), French onion soup (the REAL thing) and other cuisine bourgeoise classics. The owner, Malika, who hails from Algeria and relocated here  from further south on 395, prepares everything to order. And she COOKS wearing A KAFTAN. Too much. Maman, daughter, grandchild, and grand-père all work the tiny dining room. They open when they feel like it so be sure to call ahead. Again, go figure..
Still Life Cafe 

Nos nouveaux voisins:
A new neighbor
: SandnStraw farm, Vista, CA (https://www.sandnstraw.com)

Those who have been following me for a while know of my interest in California agriculture. The California Farm Cookbook is now over 20 years old (YIKES) but my interest in family farms hasn’t waned. So I was thrilled to find a new farm down the street. This delightful venue sells garden fresh produce, and shelters a petting zoo, and homes for Stormy the Pig, goats, ducks, and sheep. For now, SandnStraw is only open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays (Check their website) There is plenty of parking, and even a picnic area.

Have you tasted this? Let me know! I haven’t made the leap!

Kitty is selling: Pls spread the word:

For STAMP COLLECTORS: This seems so archaic—collecting stamps, but I was an avid collector when I was young. These were bought in Morocco: four packets containing eight Moroccan stamps apiece were purchased in Morocco. Each set is under cellophane and holds a combination of out of circulation and contemporary stamps (some cancelled, some not). Dates range from French Protectorate days (1912 to 1956) to contemporary.

Need a gift? I’ll sign and send one of my books!
FREE SHIPPING in the US FOR EDIBLE FLOWERS ($15.95)
and
MINT TEA AND MINARETS: ($27). I only have 50 hard copies left. You can also get it as an eBook on Amazon.com.
Just send me a check or pay via Paypal. I will sign and ship the book in the US only.

Kitty is selling: I have many Moroccan handicrafs for sale. Send me an emakil, amd I will send you photo:
–brass mirrors, kaftans, vintage brass and copper plates, costume jewelry, and much more..

This pair of matching door knockers were made to order for me in Marrakech, Morocco about 30 years ago. FOR A BIG FRONT DOOR.
I thought we would use them for our front door, but my husband decided otherwise.
Very traditional design. Two separate mounts, one for each door knock. All handmade, brass, similar to the ones you see on the doors of the Royal Palace in Fez, and created by local artisans. I have never polished them, but if you do, they will shine like gold.
SOLD AS A PAIR: USD250.00
Height of Knocker: 17”
Diameter of lattice part: 8 ½ “ to 9”
Wall Mount: 7”
Small round attachment to hit:
5 “ in diameter
Brass screw: 5” long
Weight:
About 6 lbs APIECE
I will send via cheapest rate possible, OR a local pick up can be arranged upon request.

 

Voici le lien sur Amazon.com pour Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued. Vous pouvez le télécharger sur votre tablette ou votre ordi.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+l%27oued&qid=1570749667&s

Si vous avez une petite minute, cochez le “J’aime” sur facebook. Aidez moi à faire de la pub.
Ecrivez un message sur la page Facebook du llivre. https://www.facebook.com/Le-Riad-au-Bord-de-lOued-110970043646415

News of Morocco and beyond:
Paris à bicylcette; cycle around Paris: https://www.ozy.com/acumen/biking-in-paris-is-booming-but-why/227290/?utm_term=OZY&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DD_2019_11_05&utm_content=Final

Morocco travelers! New direct flights to Morocco: Vols directs vers le Maroc à partir de Miami
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/travel/nonstop-flights-africa.html
In spring 2019, Royal Air Maroc offered the first Miami-to-Africa nonstop route in two decades, a direct route from Miami to Casablanca. And by next summer, fliers will be able to go nonstop from Philadelphia to Casablanca, on American Airlines’ new route (Also three times a week, but only 7 1/2 hours). In the American Airlines announcement of the new route, the Casablanca route is intended to link up with Royal Air Maroc, which will be joining the OneWorld alliance in 2020.

Français en Amerique: les immigrants français aux USA
https://france-amerique.com/fr/on-the-trail-of-french-speaking-migrants-in-north-america/

Explication de Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving/Le Jour de Merci Donnant.. pour les francophones..
Art Buchwald’ s classic explanation of Le Jour de Merci Donnant to French speakers:
lhttps://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/27/opinion/IHT-meanwhile-the-dinde-is-dandy-so-lets-give-thanks.html

All that remains is for me to wish you HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Voici le lien sur Amazon.com pour Le Riad au Bord de l’Oued. Vous pouvez le télécharger sur votre tablette ou votre ordi.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YYLJX2K/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Le+Riad+au+bord+de+l%27oued&qid=1570749667&s

Kitty