EDL Weekender: Spend Your Long Weekend Being Alté

EAT: The Backyard

NEW RESTAURANT ALERT!

Can’t vouch for it, but anything new is always exciting. Definitely doing this one at some point this weekend. If you're interested like we are, it’s on 4B Musa Yaradua, Victoria Island.

 

LAGOS: The Grand Bon Fire 3.0

EMEKA: Bring your picnic blankets, food, and drinks. It's good vibes all round. Ease back into the work week with a bon fire as the sun sets. #LetsGetOutside

It's on same street & 5 Minutes from Nike Art Gallery. Also use google maps, search for "Kids Beach Garden", and it will direct you to the venue.

 

BONUS: Forestation

Isabella’s last exhibition went pretty well so we expect this to be pretty fun as well.

 

The Barman

“Africa are you ready? The cocktail revolution will soon be televised!”

We’ve been given a chance to be part of this and we’re pretty excited. From the trailer, it looks a bit like Chopped meets American Idol for bartenders. Better get your famzing in before we’re popping

Are Diets for Foodies?

Are diets for foodies?

Short answer?

They’re not.

It's not possible. I have tried, many times and I'm not ashamed to admit that I have given up. Now for the long answer:

Allow me to explain my position and the long journey it took me to realize dieting is not for me nor for foodies at large, after all I'm a food expert (it says so in my bio so it must be true).

My love/hate relationship with dieting has been informed by a series of temporary successes over the years. If you've ever been on a diet you know delicious food is off the menu.

Tah!

Don't tell me about how I'm not supposed to starve myself but instead focus on "portion control". Portion control, what does that even mean? I'll tell you what it means, it means you can put in the “tip” but can't go all the way. It's the biggest scam since diet Coke. Only a minuscule portion of the population can do that successfully. As a Nigerian foodie, I crave pepper daily, but as you can imagine is only so much pepper you can put in a salad before it begins to get weird. I once saw a fitness page that had a picture of a "meal inspiration". It was a cup of tea, 2 boiled eggs and sliced cucumbers. That's it! Not even wheat bread to support.

Carbs are supposed to be the enemy but if you grew up in a Nigerian home this notion is completely at odds with your upbringing. You see when I was growing up, meat was the medal for completing the marathon that was your rice or eba or fufu or yam. As a matter of fact now that I think about it, my mother never gave us meat with yam. So, eating yam and meat still feels strange to me to this day. This actually supports my point we've been trained and conditioned from birth in a certain way. This includes eating carbs and having meat as the accompaniment, not the other way around. Imagine someone telling you frosting is the new cupcake and a few crumbs of red velvet is really all you need.

There was a time I had oats almost every morning as breakfast for three months with skimmed milk and a pinch of salt. It wasn't so bad and I know there are many other options but it was the only "healthy" breakfast I could eat that'd sustain my hunger till lunchtime. I also started jogging and even got the app to track my runs to give me credit. The app was a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I had extra motivation and could see my progress but on the other hand, after jogging for one hour I'd realise I had only burnt 400 calories. I really didn't need that kind of depressing information. I even thought the app was broken the first time I saw it. 400 calories, that’s two slices of bread, an egg and tea with either sugar or milk not both. I have never had a successful breakfast with two slices of bread.

There is also the small issue of one wrap of fufu being N50 and a cucumber being N100. I know many people have tried to debunk the “healthy eating is expensive” movement. That’s why I haven’t used the N2,000 salads or N50,000 a week meal plans as reference (if you can afford them, there are some creative meal options out there). I have gone to the grass roots and compared fufu and cucumber. I challenge you to eat N50 fufu and okro soup and not feel full to the brim. (Buy the market fufu from Igbo women, they provide the most value for money). Do that with a N100 cucumber and tell me how that went. Healthy food will always be more expensive because they are fresh, have shorter shelf lives and therefore cannot be stored in bulk like junk. It’s just the way it is.

Finally, the only thing I like better than eating food is eating free food. You cannot ask your work colleague to reschedule their birthday because you are on a diet. It will also be ridiculous to move your sister’s wedding because you won’t be able to partake in the Jollof (she might agree if you pay for the wedding). There lies one of my biggest dilemmas. It’s almost like the universe is testing you to see if you really deserve those abs by throwing parties and celebrations at you back to back. I have been strong too many times for my liking refusing to eat cake and sniffing empty small chops containers. Ultimately, I did lose some weight and got to a healthy BMI but a tiger cannot change its stripes so I have started eating again and frankly I regret nothing this time. Although sometimes when I wear certain dresses I do wish I could slay better but I’ve learnt to cope with that by wearing dresses that complement my frame.

I was miserable when I was slimmer because I love to eat delicious food regardless of health consequences. Now I feel and look like myself again. I still go for a jog occasionally and eat a salad here and there. I haven’t gained all the weight back but if I did I probably won’t care as much as I should. Life is too short to eat boring food.

I want to be on my death bed and know that I enjoyed my life, I ate well and I have no regrets.

Do you have any healthy eating tips practical for foodies? Please share, I might be convinced to try again.


Mrs. Kush is a self-confessed food expert with the waistline to prove it. Follow her on Instagram for never ending food porn.

An Overdue Cactus Revisit

Cactus

20-24 Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

01 461 8951

NOSA: On Twitter the other day, we talked about Lagos restaurants that have been in existence for 10 years and Cactus came up. It’s real easy to forget Cactus exists. Well, for me, at least. The location is so weird, for starters.

When you do remember and swing by, you’re like “oh, why don’t I come here often?”. Then you hear all the kids making noise and you remember exactly why.

FOLLY: I'm going to need to talk to a Lagos parent as to why Cactus is a go to spot for families. Maybe it's the large space or the parrot out front because I don't really understand why.

TL;DR - We went to Cactus again…

…and I got the Cuban Sub.

FOLLY: As advised by me.

Cactus 4.jpg

NOSA: As you can see, that’s no sub. But I’ll let Cactus slide because

  1. It was on Ciabatta
  2. You can find Ciabatta in Lagos?
  3. The ciabatta was delicious as shit.

FOLLY: One of my go-to orders is Penne Pasta so that's what I ordered at Cactus. I find it very easy to judge pesto cause I've had it several time and made it too so I'm pretty confident on what it should look and taste like.

Cactus 1.jpg

FOLLY: Cactus' pesto felt really watered down i.e. there was a lot of cream with a sprinkling of basil here and there. They didn't use pine nuts in their version either. It was topped with a generous helping of parmesan which I liked but the pesto sauce wasn't really the one.

Cactus 3.jpg

NOSA: The salad thing on the side was weird so we’re just going to talk about happy and pleasant things. The sandwich, itself, was pretty good. It’s not an elite sandwich or anything, but it gets the job done. Think Kelly in Destiny’s Child.

FOLLY: Kelly in Destiny's Child was phenomenal and you're rude.

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Cactus is easily the most consistent spot in Lagos and for what it is, that’s very high praise.

FOLLY: It's expensive though.

NOSA: Nah, I disagree.

DAMAGE

The Cactus Submarine - N3400

Pesto Chicken - N3300

 

PARKING

For Lagos, very very good.

From Nyanya to Wuse: A White Soup Love Story

If you are a Nigerian and you haven't heard of white soup, then I feel it is my duty as a moral being to kindly ask you to step out from under your rock because a wonderful world awaits. Called Afia Efere by the Efik and Ofe Nsala by the Igbo, white soup isn't actually white at all.

Crazy, I know.

I still remember the first time I tasted white soup, not vividly, my mind has paid time’s toll and blurred those precious memories. So, I do not remember if the sky was sunny that day or if birds flew about chirping and cooing in joyful abandon. What I do remember, clear as though it was just yesterday, was the unexpected feeling of pure joy as I, sitting in the cafeteria of the old NAFDAC office in Garki, tasted white soup for the first time. I never did eat in that cafeteria again. NAFDAC moved the next month and the cafeteria cook has probably moved on to hopefully better things.

A couple years later, older and with a more discerning palette, I had decided to find out if my childhood memories had indeed exaggerated the appeal of white soup. Nostalgia is a funny thing. Sure, it makes us more human, but there’s always that thing where what you really liked as a child isn’t any good. And that, can be heartbreaking.

The first problem I had to overcome was locating the right spot. I couldn't just taste any ol' white soup and pass judgement on white soup in general. They say you must kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, but I’m not interested in kissing any frogs. The odds of a bad white soup experience had to be next to zero. So, with my ears to the ground and a lot of asking around, I narrowed down my options to two spots: one in the semi-urban enclaves of Nyanya, and the other in Wuse, Abuja’s apparent commercial heart.

The first spot was located precisely in "Abacha Road", an unfortunately named small town nestled between Mararaba, Karu and Nyanya. It was a small dingy looking restaurant named Calabar Kitchen. At first glance, it was terribly disappointing to be honest. From the rickety looking plastic chairs carelessly arranged around equally rickety looking tables, to the general unhygienic look and aura of the place.

I didn't have white soup that day.

Not because the place scared me off, I've been to worse. No, it was simply because that they were out of white soup already. Three more times I went and three more times I left disappointed. Fed up, I decided to give Wuse a shot.

Kool Kitchen, located in Wuse Zone 3, was a nondescript joint with plain and simple decorations. The aroma, however, told another story - one of great promise. The bowl of white soup and the accompanying plate of pounded yam placed before me was a marvel to behold. The simmering bowl of soup was rich with diced chicken pieces, which all had a nice golden glaze.

Each mouthful was a fiesta of flavours.  The chicken was just the right amount of chewy and the accompanying pounded yam was perfection. Silky smooth with a little bit of stretch to it, the pounded yam was everything pounded yam should be. The broth was a bit of a letdown, it was silent throughout the whole meal and adding nothing to the experience. All in, it was a great meal, but it had failed to blow my mind.

Not ready to give up, I decided to give Calabar Kitchen one more try. The first thing that hit me was the very generous serving of soup. This time, I went with goat meat over chicken in the hopes that the goat meat would bring better luck. The goat meat was divine and rich in flavor, lacking the characteristic toughness associated with goat meat. The real trump card here was the broth. It was thick with assorted ingredients and contained a host of flavors, which against all odds complemented each other.

Afia_Efere.jpeg

The white soup at Calabar Kitchen was thankfully a lot closer to my childhood memories and it rekindled the flames of my long-lost love. The little boy in me felt validated.

Maybe nostalgia isn’t so bad after all.


Fori Joseph is a part-time conspiracy theorist, who spends most of his time reading fantasy books and then criticizing them.

Work Lunches: Smol Efik Pots

Smol Efik Pots

0703 037 9422

FOLLY: We've been following this account on Instagram for a while but for a number of reasons, it's never really worked out for Nosa and me to both order for delivery till this past week. 

NOSA: Her feed is one of the more interesting ones so she has always been in my mental "to-do".

FOLLY: I don't know if it's always been like this and maybe we never noticed, but boy, the offerings last week were incredibly boring.

NOSA: Barely got something to review.

FOLLY: Nothing really jumped out at me so on both occasions I just went for the least objectionable option. On the first day that was the Coconut Wholegrain Pasta & Poached Eggs

smole efik pots delivery.jpg

FOLLY: If you're thinking about whether that poached egg is appropriate there,  that makes three of.

NOSA: I still don't know how it was supposed to work

FOLLY: Nosa hates runny eggs and I just thought it was weird. 

NOSA: She let us sub chicken for the eggs so shouts to her for that.

FOLLY: In terms of the delivery process, standard Instagram food vendor. Order before 11 am and you get your food in the afternoon between 1 pm and 2 pm. As usual, the delivery driver won't know the way and so you have to direct him.

NOSA: The guy also won't have change so you have to find change for him The usual stuff.

FOLLY: First of all, the meal costs N1500, which puts it in the fast food category e.g, Shawarma, Chicken Republic, TFC so it will be insincere to review it as though it was from 1415.

NOSA: For what it's worth, this is miles ahead of any fast food thing you'd get for lunch so maybe we should judge it with that as context.

smole efik pots chicken.jpg

FOLLY: The pasta was okay, the veggies were few and far between but they had zucchini so I guess I can understand why it wasn’t plenty. The chicken, on the other hand, was a big fat NOPE for me because it was incredibly hard and chewy.

NOSA: Oh God, the chicken was so dry. Dryer that your work wife's ashy ankles

FOLLY: Sometimes you forget that chicken just like meat and needs to be boiled or slow cooked to make it tender. Even fried chicken is brined before it's fried. For N1450 at Chicken Republic I can get Rice/Spaghetti with a well seasoned 1/4 rotisserie chicken, that's what I kept thinking while I was eating this. 

NOSA: I couldn't get through the meal, which is pretty major because I'm Fatty McFatterson. The coconut pasta was a great idea in theory, but the execution wasn't all there. It's not like it left a lot to be desired or anything, it just didn't work. She does deserve credit for being adventurous so I'm not going to agree with Folly's comparison with Chicken Republic. Chicken Republic spaghetti will probably give you food poisoning, I mean.

FOLLY: The second day we ordered, I was equally unsatisfied.

NOSA: I wasn't.

FOLLY: I liked the boli because I'm not a philistine and everyone knows boli is the BIZness. Dry on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. 

NOSA: The plantain was absolutely excellent, but the chicken...

FOLLY: On one hand, it was worth the N1500 because the chicken was massive but then again it was dry and tasteless so it was tedious to eat. The skin was the only section that was flavoured but it was burnt.

NOSA: The chicken was boring. It tasted like it came off some grilled chicken conveyor belt, which is alarming because Smol Efik Pots is still a small set up. If the quality of chicken isn't top notch before the business scales, then yeah, there's a problem.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I don’t know but I expected a lot more from Smol Efik cause I’ve seen some interesting things on their Instagram page, maybe this was just one week when the owner/cook gave zero fucks and boy it showed.

NOSA: I want to give it one more shot before I write it off because the day after we ordered she instagrammed a picture of oreo puff puff. So there's definitely something there. Maybe it was an off week.

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Daily Meal - N1500
 

 

 

DELIVERY

Island - N500

Mainland - N1000