July 28, 2005

Restaurant Le Pirate

Today my roommates and I went out for dinner in Sidi Bou Said, this glamorous touristy area up the coast, to celebrate Nathanael’s last night in Tunisia. We ate at Le Pirate, this amazing French-Tunisian restaurant which is way cooler than its rather cheesy name would suggest. The restaurant is on the sea, and you enter the walls of its courtyard, and you’re transported completely out of the city, luscious vines covering the walls, stone courtyard, white linen canopies above the table. The restaurant proper has marble floors everywhere. Marble is a locally-produced good, and there’s something I really like about that… using whatever is gorgeous that you happen to have on hand.

The food was, well, fantastic. I ordered some cut of lamb whose French name I didn’t recognize, but judging from the bones I’d say it was the tenderloin. It was so incredibly tender, so delicate, a cross between meat and a flower, or maybe a fig. And the sauce… they clearly made it with lamb fat to match the meat, and it was pretty impressive. If I knew more about gravies, I could say what exactly they did to make this sauce so good, but since I don’t, just try to imagine the most exquisitely good lamb sauce. And as a garnish, a flash-fried ball of mashed potato with some amazing creamy goodness I couldn’t identify, and wonderful spices, shaped to look like a pear, with a little leaf to complete the presentation. Two of my roommates ordered fresh sea bass, and I had a bite… it was really, really good. Grilled with a sauce of clarified butter, parsley, and almonds. Wow.

For desert we ordered almond marzipan, which came covered in this amazing glaze that tasted in between honey and sugar water… it had all the flavor of honey but a different texture, and instantly dissolved into the sensation of sweetness on your tongue. Adam, who knows a lot about food, explained that it is flash-seared honey. Also we ordered this cold chocolate-mousse type thing over this fantastic pastry crust. It was really good. I was too full from the lamb to have more than a bite of each desert, but those two bites were fantastic. Pretty close to heaven.

July 27, 2005

My roommates' blogs

Hey, I now have functional links to the travelogues of my roommates, Cari and Nathanael. (Nora and Adam don't have blogs.)

They have a lot of neat pictures I don't have, so you should check them out. For example, this picture of the five of us in the Carthage apartment.