Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eating Egypt: Day 4 - Cairo and Saqqara

(photo by Dan)

[I'm sorry this continuation of my coverage of our recent trip to Egypt has been a long time coming.  I've had some problems with photo formatting and laziness.  Let's put that behind us and talk about day four's eats.]

1. Breakfast at the President Hotel, eaten on our balcony -- juice and fruit (not pictured).

Today's breakfast featured a Faux Cocoa Puffs disaster.  On this day I finally decide to try the chocolate cereal (brand unknown) that has been on the hotel buffet each morning.  But when I take my first spoonful out of the bowl, there is something that looks sort of like a dissolved straw wrapper (or worse) attached to the cereal.  Ick.  I eat fruit.

Later, Adam tells me that the imposter Cocoa Puffs sold in Cairo are gross even without slimy things in the milk.  I'm glad I didn't put any into my mouth.

Andrea food prep

Andrea restaurant

Dan at Andrea

2. Andrea, near Saqqara - meatballs, grape leaves, fries with chicken hearts and livers, fresh pita bread, cheese phyllo triangles with mint (sambusas), stuffed mini eggplants, lemonade, melon.

Path up hill

We spent the afternoon of day four driving to, then climbing around, a temple and mastaba near Saqqara.  I don't know the name of the complex we visited, but it was completely deserted, except for Dan, Adam, and me.  There were also two men guarding the site, the older of whom gave us a tour.  We were south of Cairo, near a sign that said "Villa Adam," not far from (in sight of) the famous step pyramid of Zoser, which is older than the Giza pyramids.

Our guide and his son showed us around, leading us over a pile of stones into one of the otherwise padlocked mastabas, or tombs.  There, he showed us two sarcophagi, even insisting Dan get inside for a photo.

(photo by Adam Mourad)

Tunnel 1

In the temple

After our VIP tour, we headed to Andrea for lunch. Adam and Omar (our hosts) had assured us that this was one of the best restaurants for grilled chicken in the Cairo area. Indeed, it was clear from entering the open air space that grilled chicken was the specialty of the house.

Near the massive grill, a group of women baked fresh bread. They invited me to take a photo (of course, I tipped them for the privilege), and ululated at me through the grill smoke as I did so.

Women making bread (through the grill smoke)

Adam at Andrea

All of the food at Andrea was amazing, especially the chicken -- which was grilled perfectly.  I even threw caution to the winds and ate a chicken liver and heart.  These were served with french fries!  I have to say,  the heart tasted much better.  It was sort of fatty and meaty, as compared to the liver, which tasted strong and, well, liver-y.

Beet salad
Beet salad

Stuffed tiny eggplants
Stuffed, tiny eggplants

Chicken at Andrea
Grilled chicken

Chicken liver and hearts with fries
Chicken liver and hearts with fries

Gibna beida cheese with mint in phyllo-like dough
Gibna beida cheese with mint in phyllo-like dough

Kefta - Meatballs
Kefta - meatballs

Warq Enab - stuffed grape leaves
Warq Enab - stuffed grape leaves

Cantaloupe for dessert


3. Stadium - water, fruit juice.

That night, we were honored to receive tickets to a soccer match between the two rival Cairo teams, El-Ahly and El Zamalek.   Security was tight and riot police were in abundance.  Apparently, this was a serious game.

We sat with the Zamalek fans.  To say Zamalek is the "underdog" team is a bit of an understatement.  There were two hours of pre-match cheering/taunts.  After that warm up, in a nutshell - the game was exciting, "our" team almost won, I learned to chant for a blazing player called "Shika," and we immediately fled the stadium area at the end of the game (to escape riots and/or traffic jams) without experiencing (or witnessing) any violence.

During the game, I couldn't help but notice how much junk food was consumed around us (not pictured).  Take my word for it -- Egyptians know how to snack.

Zamalek Section

Game beverages

It was an exciting end to a delicious day!  I'll post the remaining 3 days of our trip soon...

p.s. I ATE A HEART!!!


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