Monday, March 24, 2008
So my experience with the not quite right couscous the other day had the effect of making me crave the real thing. So I tried looking around the bay area, and came up with Tajine on Polk Street in San Francisco as a place to try not so far from Marin. (Chowhounders also recommended Aziza which I will have to try too). I wasted no time getting there.
First up was a large pot of mint tea. The server poured it with a flourish, which was the first good sign. Then I sipped it, and I KNEW I was in good hands. Slightly sweet with deep mint flavor, this took me back to another place and time.
Next came our appetizer, the vegetarian bastilla. The description read that it is made of baked fillo dough stuffed with sweet vegetables, raisins, and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. This was delicious and very satisfying. I'm wondering what the actual vegetables were as I had a hard time identifying them all. I do know that one was yam.
Then on to the focus of my attention, the vegetarian couscous. It looked right, large chunks of vegetables (these are simmered a long time so larger pieces hold their shape better) floating atop very fluffy couscous! Brilliant! The vegetables had obviously simmered long enough to have an intense deliciousness. It contained garbanzo beans, turnips, carrots, squash, zucchini and tomatoes. I never imagined myself waxing enthusiastic about turnips, but the chunk of turnip in this was so well flavored it provides a new and improved relationship with that healthy vegetable.
The server also brought us some fresh bread.
Dad tried the grilled chicken kebab sandwich. He was thrilled with it. Not only did it taste good, but it was wrapped up such that it made it easier for him to eat. And I have to say the mint tea was a hit with him as well, I've never seen him drink so much tea before! Another staff person (or owner?) came in part way through our meal with a cheery "Bon Jour" to all. There were also three travel posters about Morocco in French (one in Spanish) on the wall. So it looks like there is some French influence although this is a Moroccan place rather than Algerian. This is definitely a good place to enjoy very genuine and delicious food in comfortable surroundings.