Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Veil Drops

Ange treated me to a lovely time at Cafe Maroc this evening. The lamb shank was so tender and tasty, it fell off the bone onto a deliciously Moroccan-flavoured couscous. The maftoul (little meat-filled, flaky-pastry cigars) were delicious dipped in a chipotle-flavoured mayonnaise, as were the spicy frites. Ange had the lamb burger which I've had before and that was delicious too. The decor is so perfect. I'd love my place to look like this. The front section (where we were) is the Cafe Maroc, redolent of Rick's Cafe Americain in Casablanca. At one point it got really bustlingly busy and I remarked to Ange that I expected any moment that someone would burst into the "La Marseillaise." The back section is the Sultan's Tent, where you eat from a prix fixe menu. The tables are set up under tents and it's there are gorgeous belly-dancers who do a series of sets each night. It's not as cheesy as I make it sound and it's worth a visit just for the decor, and if you go, check out the bathrooms, whether you need to powder your nose or not.

We returned here and watched - FINALLY - The Seventh Veil (see my post from Monday, March 5). It was so much fun, a classic, 1945 melodrama. Ann Todd was lovely as the tormented and brilliant, young concert pianist and James Mason completely scene-stealingly wonderful as her brooding and controlling guardian, complete with limp and cane. Herbert Lom, one of our favourites, was the psychiatrist. The name of the movie refers to Salome's last veil. See, apparently, the human mind is covered in... veils.... and when we first meet people we hesitate before removing the first. With good friends we might remove three or four, with a lover, the fifth and possibly - gulp - the sixth. But never do we remove that seventh veil!!! Unless of course we are under the treatment of brilliant Dr. Lom and his special "narcosis" injections.

I was fairly stunned about 15 minutes into the movie when Ange suddenly burst out: "I don't believe it! Seeing this movie is explaining more to me about you than has 10 years of knowing you!" Apparently this is the inspiration for all my dreadful romance-novel writings complete with surly hero and tortured heroine. I pointed out that these are fairly stock-in-trade characterizations for most bad romance fiction but she said, no, it told me all she needed to know about ME and we continued watching only to pause the tape several times to break into laughter at some of the most scene-chewing moments.

Biggest laugh: Ann Todd has just arrived at her guardian's home and is meeting him for the first time. She looks down at the cat in his lap which he has been stroking. The camera travels lovingly from the cat up Mason's body to his smirking expression. "Do you want to stroke him?" he says. We had to play that about five times.

Ange was quite shocked by the end which delighted me no end. It is a shocker and yet perfectly logical, to my addled mind anyway. The picture is of Ann Todd and James Mason. I took it off the British Film Institute site. I'm not sure if that's wrong or right of me but I'm sure they'll forgive me.


Ange said...

Saturday night was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had in a long while, and as for the dinner at Cafe Maroc....well, Jana does NOT exaggerate. It was divine.

I do not dine out very often these days, alas (does Swiss Chalet count?!)so having dinner in a restaurant was a truly wonderful treat. My "Maroc Burger" was superb. Juicy, delicious, and aromatic with that marvy combination of spices that is used in North Africa for cooking meats.

The frites alone at Cafe Maroc are worth the drive from Acton, or any other place for that matter. Yes, these are what frites are meant to be.

And as for atmosphere, that place is unparalleled. One really does feel that one has stepped into Rick's Cafe Americain in Casablanca...Indeed, one is nearly driven to look desperately about for someone who can help one obtain the much-coveted letters of transit!

Except I, personally, don't want a letter of transit because I never want to leave.

My only regret? We neglected to order one of their specialty cocktails, I believe the one made from champagne and pomegranate juice. It's one of my favourites and I haven't had it in longer than I care to remember.

By the by, a couple of years ago I spent practically the entire month of March whiling away my evenings at Cafe Maroc, waiting while a family member was in rehearsals at a nearby theatre. And there was never a more pleasant place to wait. I would order a silver pot of Moroccon mint tea, open a magazine or newspaper, or just daydream, and thus remain for a couple of hours. I also chatted with the waiter or bartender, admired the decor,(which includes a gorgeous carpet which hangs upon a wall there and was in fact a gift from the King of Morocco), and soak up the atmosphere.

I would remember my all-too-brief visit to Morocco in 1990, and how I walked the maze of streets in Tangier and never wanted to come back home.

Thank you Jana for a lovely evening. In my next comment I shall write about the impression that the Seventh Veil made upon me, a first time viewer (and huge James Mason fan).

annalbin said...

I thought I was the only person on earth who found that "Would you like to stroke him" line terribly provocative (for 1945)and funny. Only Mason could have delivered it just so the double entre was evident but not too obvious. I am a big fan of Mason's so email me if you want to discuss any of his other films.

Blog Princess G said...

Hello Annalbin... unfortunately I have not been able to find out how to e-mail you as your profile seems a bit thin.