EATING MY WAY THROUGH LAGOS PART III: SOME FOODS YOU SHOULD TRY IN LAGOS, NIGERIA

Hello, and welcome to the third and final (for now) installment of the Lagos food series. The Lagos trip might be over, but the good news is it brought inspiration for something new.

I have held out for long enough. I'm finally doing it. Yes, I am adding a "food" category on this blog. There are so many food related things I want to talk about and I can hardly wait to begin. The good thing is I warned you here  that this blog is about a little bit of everything. Plus remember, we are all about doing things that we love, yeah? Every single thing. So that one decade from now, no one is pressuring you about how the decade is about to end and what do you have to show for it. Stop that, people lol.

Anyway, so I love food photography, which is basically just me taking pictures of my food and other people's food.  On Instagram, I noticed I was always posting food stuff and thought to embrace that even further. I have decided not to stop. So I will post more about it here or better still, feature other people's posts and reviews of food and restaurants on here. Woohoo! I want to say I will learn more on the art of food photography but that's not true; I probably won't. Lol. So my pictures will for sure be amateur iPhone pictures of food, if at all lol. There will also be interesting recipes perhaps once a month or once or year? Haha. This also means if you have a restaurant or food review or story from any part of the world and want to write about it, and you need somewhere to post it, hit me! Hahaha.

Anyway, on to the matter of the day. So one final post on food in Lagos, which I hope you enjoy. I either mistakenly deleted some pictures or I just don't have them anymore. I really wanted this to be about places in Lagos that are affordable and most people can buy from. I think to a large extent, the below are and if they are not, it's because most places in Lagos are actually expensive. Please remember, as with part II, that I will try to give my honest opinion as best as I remember. To be honest with you, recording the foods I ate plus the whole experience of going to a restaurant with an aim to not just have a good time, but record that good time sparked the interest of making it a whole thing on the blog. So I'm glad about that. Disclaimer 1: I don't think I am a foodie. At least, I don't think I have an eclectic/diverse enough taste to be called a foodie. Disclaimer 2: This will not be  really be restaurant reviews, I don't have the range for that haha.

Enough with the talking, enjoy!

First on the list is Yellow Chilli. I have eaten at Yellow Chilli before, the one at GRA. And I think it's generally good. At least I love the vibe there. This time around though, there was just something about it I didn't like. For the main course, I had stewed/peppered fish and fries. The fries, I believe needed more salt (but I like salt). The fish was just meh. My friend, E had plantains, Efo (vegetable stew), and shrimp (?). The Efo was really dope except it had no protein: no fish, no ponmo and other such stars of an Efo show. For the appetizer, I had goat meat pepper-soup and that was pretty amazing. E had peppered snails for appetizer; also really amazing!

Stewed fish and fries


Efo, plantain, shrimps (?)


Goat meat pepper soup
Peppered snail



An honorable mention is the coconut doughnut from Shoprite that was mentioned in part one. It is making a comeback because it's really good. Though I eventually became tired of it. So there is that.

Coconut doughnut

The travesty below was from TFC, and blegh. It is apparently called "native rice". They call it some other interesting name. And while it has the potential to be nice, it was drowned in oil. And we all know I hate food with excess oil.

Native Rice

And now to one of my favorite corners in Lagos, Cafe Neo. I did a LOT of dissertating at this coffee shop like I mentioned in part II. I really, really like the place. And bonus is their coffee/beverages are really good. The staff was also really great, which is a rare occurrence in Lagos.

iced mocha or some variant

Take two

Another honorable mention is the one and only Fanmilk SuperYogo that had been rescuing me since secondary school (high school) and is still apparently a life saver in Lagos traffic.

SuperYogo

For the next one, I am not going to say the name of the place because I am almost certain I made the wrong order. BUT see, I am a green smoothie aficionado, which just basically means every single day (except I am traveling), I have a green smoothie/juice. I also have a high tolerance for the most disgusting-looking green goop, BUT what you see below was honest-to-God the most disgusting green smoothie (or drink of any kind) that I ever had.

Yikes

Now on to sweeter things, literally. This gem from Hans and Rene (a self-proclaimed gelato place) was DELICIOUS.

gelato

I got the next photo from a fast food, but I'm not sure which: TFC or Sweet Sensation. Either way, it was pretty dope.

Yum!

Now we are moving on to a touchy subject: pizza. I love pizza as my Instagram would show you but I'm also somewhat of a pizza snob. And I can tell you MOST pizza in Lagos is trash. I will tell you this for free. But I always held out hope because everyone said Debonairs had pretty good pizza. Well, I finally tried Debonairs. It was ok. The toppings combination was lame and very restrictive. Overall, a B minus. Sorry. A good bonus was the ice cream though. It was great, but let's face it, you'd have to try really hard to make ice cream bad.

mediocre pizza

this vanilla swirl though...yum

On to the next: another sweet treat. This time froyo from Pinkberry. If I'm not mistaken, Pinkberry is an American company and we have it all over America. So you probably already know about this. In that sense, it's an honorary mention.

A lifesaver

Okay so now we have  food from a place called South Eatery and Social House; one bougie place in Victoria Island hahah. I have to say, as I think back to many of these places, it's not really the food that is memorable as much as the time spent with my loved ones, you know? In that sense, restaurants are more than just places to eat. They can be an ecosystem, a social chamber for love to thrive, right? Anyway, so yes, I ordered Jambalaya. Ermm...so it was not bad. But it also was not very good. I should mention, it was my first time having Jambalaya (a food native to Louisiana) so it's possible I just don't like Jambalaya. The jury is still out on this. My friends, R and Z had burgers and fries (it was called the Chicken Sammich) and I think they made better choices than me. Ignore the soggy looking fries, they were actually tasty.


Jambalaya


Chicken Sammich

Chapman

Now onto brunch!! I love brunching, again see Instagram haha. So I was excited to get brunch with my friend, E at Orchid Bistro. And let me tell you, my only regret is I had not visited this place earlier. I loved their food. I had waffles, and forget how weird it looks, it tasted really great. The restaurant was also truly a bistro. The ambience, the staff, everything was lovely. The only problem is it's literally tucked away on Isaac John St. and you can pass that road every single day without knowing such a place exists. When E and I got there, we thought we had the wrong address and were literally about turning back. It didn't help that it was raining that day. What the hell was all that rain about anyway? Ugh

Coffee

Waffles and some sad looking apples, Lol

Loved the ambience


Breakfast

E's meal


Our food

This is getting really long, but let's keep going. The next food is from a place in Lekki called Kohinoor. We all had pepper-soup. S had catfish pepper-soup with a side of plantain, E (a different E now LOL) and I had goat meat pepper-soup, with sides of plantains and fries, respectively. S's catfish pepper soup was HUMONGOUS. I mean, it was sorta scary haha. They didn't like their plantains, I remember that. Otherwise, everything was quite good. The ambience was really lovely...and edgy I think. There were motorbikes parked inside the place. And I think it doubled as  a lounge and restaurant.

Feasting

Or breaking bread as E calls it hahah

Pepper-soup, again

Catfish pepper-soup

Yum

Remember my previous frustrations with Ofada? Well, I finally had a great one. And it was basically someone selling close to E's house. Cheap and incredibly cheerful haha.

It was spicyyyyy

The next item is not a food and is mostly an honorable mention. I was with my cousins for most of this trip and every time I went out I would bring some sort of food/gift back for them. So at some point, my seven-year old cousin figured I always used to give him stuff and wanted to reciprocate, which he did in the most seven-year old way: he gave me his juice from his lunchbox. It was the sweetest. Haha

Packed with sugar and some vitamins? LOL

I cannot possibly write about food in Lagos without writing about Small Chops. I don't know how to describe it for my non-Nigerian audience. They are basically finger foods that are appropriately hyped, served in parties, sold after church and just all around fabulous. A decent Small Chops pack/dish/plate should have puff puff, samosa, spring rolls, and some grilled protein. Similar to Small Chops is Asun (grilled goat meat). Man, these are good stuff. E and I bought these after church at Daystar whenever we went. I love Jesus but I gotta say, one huge reason I followed E to this church for several Sundays was for these babies. No shame in my game. Haha.


Small Chops in all her glory

Asun.


And so with that, I round up this excruciatingly long post. Lagos is annoying for several reasons but food is not one of them.

Should I have divided this post into two parts? Probably. But we move.

If you read all the way, you are the real MVP. Too many long posts in a row so I will try my hardest that the next post on this blog is very short.

Thank you for reading, and if you ever try any of these, definitely let me know.

Love,

I

Much Ado About Traveling and The Danger of Self-Care in Our World

Bon voyage? Or nah?

Travel.

When I was much younger and did not travel as much as I now do, I used to list travel as a hobby. Surely, nothing can be as fanciful and luxurious as packing a tiny bit of your life into your suitcase, scurrying through crowded airports, getting on a plane and jetting away into God-knows-where? Then I grew up and found the answer to that. Only a few things are more horrible than leaving home at the crack of dawn or maybe ridiculously late at night to meet long lines at a check-in counter; then walking a few miles (depending on how stupidly large the airport is) to another ridiculously long line so some stranger can basically press your breasts to be sure that you do not plan on bombing a plane or hijacking it; then after surviving the horror that is TSA, you realize you are starving because you left home too early for a plane that does not leave until a few hours, but then again airport foods are overpriced if  at all you manage to find anything decent enough to be consumed (God save you if you are traveling out of Dulles); only to get on a plane where they honest to God serve the most disgusting piece of thing (called food) you have ever seen; and then you are trapped in what is basically a tube for some hours so much that your legs hurt and your skin is so dry, there are visible scales; then you land in another country but are too jet lagged to do anything, and when you finally get the chance to, your stomach hurts and your body just won't adapt to different climate; so you stay there miserable (but fake being happy, of course) for a couple of days; and it's time to do all of the above over again. Except this time you have to resume work the next day.

Whew.



I tell ya. Traveling is not all it's cut out to be. But that's not what you see online and on your Instagram timeline. You are told traveling is how you discover yourself. It's the next best thing since slice bread. In fact, it is now being touted as self-care. Hashtag self-care. Sigh. SELF MOTHERFREAKING CARE. Every single thing is a self care trope these days. And I worry that the capitalist and consumerist world we find ourselves in has somehow managed to curate the idea of self-care as something that you need to sink money into. When the truth could be entirely different. Maybe travel is overrated. And maybe sometimes self care is paying down your student loans [or other debt] instead of taking another trip where you spend more than half the time taking pictures to convince the rest of us that you really are having fun. I think it can be classist to sell traveling as this thing everyone has to do in their lives. Is it probably good to see other places and cultures? Yes, perhaps. But is travel the one true zenith of an accomplished and purposeful life? No. absolutely not. And whoever sells it as such to you is a liar.

I don't like to travel very much. Newsflash. Plane rides make me mad uncomfortable. I spend too much time worrying about safety and other shenanigans in the new place I am visiting, and it takes too long to adapt or revert to my normal whenever I return. Besides my own personal bias and dietary concerns about traveling, I genuinely think traveling can be overrated. Now would I stop traveling? Probably not. I accept and admit that traveling can be exciting and I love making memories with people I care about. But I will never make it my life's mission to "see the world" or "travel".  I will travel with people I care about if it means getting to spend time with and making memories with them, of course. People pose travel as this opportunity to learn grand things about yourself and the world. And I bet you, you can learn the same things in your room, on your bed on a rainy Saturday morning. Except this time, you would have saved yourself thousands of dollars and a few million bacteria. I don't think the act of travel has ever been a form of escape for me, and I don't think it should be for you either.

People say they yearn to learn about other people's cultures and experiences. Fair enough. Except most of y'all go to other people's countries, villages and never know how to properly behave. You crap on people's customs and call them bizarre the minute you find them different from you. If no one will tell you this, I will: going to a remote village for the sole purpose of your once-in-a-lifetime magical experience or some eat-pray-love crap is just...a tad selfish if we are being honest. Not to mention so many big cities have an underlying framework modeled so similarly that you might think you are having a de ja vu moment just walking down the road.

And let's face it, you are way too busy taking the perfect Instagram photo to learn anything about your destination. So while traveling is not a terrible thing, I need people who travel to get off their high horse and drop the sheer hubris that emboldens them to think because they have hopped from plane to plane, their life is better than others. The worst are those of you that have the guts to go to ANOTHER PERSON's place of dwelling, take a picture of it as a contrast to your designer clothings and USE THEM TO EXPLAIN WHY PEOPLE SHOULD BE THANKFUL BECAUSE AT LEAST THEY DON'T GET TO LIVE SO TERRIBLY. Please don't go on Instagram to celebrate  and take solace in the fact that your life is not as impoverished as those whose village you are in. And if you're white, I beg you with all things precious, do NOT...I repeat, do NOT take pictures with "poor, starving kids in Africa".

I was going to call the second part of the title, "the danger of self care in a consumerist and capitalist world" but it would have been too much of a mouthful. I think business enterprises have mastered the art of marketing their services and products, carefully parading them as self-care, because then it becomes a necessity, a requirement if you will, to a great life. When in reality, to truly have a good life you don't need most material things. Self-care has also become an indulgence; a carte blanche for recklessness and irresponsibility.

Traveling by itself is not what gives your life meaning and this is why I dislike the spiritual connotation attached to travel. If you can afford to, and you want to, then yes do it! But please do not travel and then make a post about how life altering it is. Because that's bullshit, and as someone who has been privileged to travel, I'm here to tell you not to fall for it.  You have been told traveling is a necessary investment you must make in yourself; depending on who you are, it probably isn't.

People brag about how travel has enlightened them and broadened their thinking, but all it takes is one conversation with people to see that they are still the same close-minded, ignorant person they were before packing their suitcases. I mean, what does finding yourself even mean? Seriously, humor me. Tell what what finding yourself means. Who you are is not a result of your mileage or one single experience; it's series of life events, memories, people, backgrounds, culture. You don't just wake up to find "yourself" on a 5 day trip to Belize. Traveling gives you another one of the million things that shape you. I would argue you are even more likely to "find yourself" in the mundane; in your normal; in  the midst of your routine.

I say all this not to demonstrate my hatred for traveling or visiting new places. Far from it; I don't hate visiting new places or traveling. On the contrary. I have a lot of traveling to do if I feel like (and can afford it), but what I will try hard not to do is sell it as the path to purpose or joy or happiness or worse, self-care.

Love,

I

P.S: I understand if you stopped reading halfway. Yikes this was long. Wuuttt. I did warn you about longer posts, didn't I?

P.P.S: To make up for this rant against travel, I shall write something on surving traveling or traveling efficiently, I promise.

P.P.P.S: If you are tempted to make this personal, get over yourself. I had absolutely no one in mind while writing this, I promise again.

P.P.P.P.S: Oh whatever, someone will for sure make this about them, I promise again, again. Hahaha. Enjoy loves!

Friday Reflections

1.) Have you read this recent post on how to conduct fieldwork for your research?

2.) Keep your goals to yourself. As someone who doesn't really like to talk about her goals, I quite agree with this TED Talk.

3.) An old schoolmate recently passed away, and I was really shocked. We all were. Normally, this sort of thing bothers me of course, but I was even sadder than I normally would be.

4.) I was (and I think we all were) utterly confused. But then I remembered our hope in Christ; I would like to say God reminded me of our hope in Christ...our hope for eternity...our joy despite sadness. My prayer is that God grants peace and comfort to her parents, family, and friend.

5.) Okay, is anyone else over the news? (whew started writing this more than three weeks ago, and yuppp, still OVER THE NEWS).

6.) Okay so, get this: Aja Newman checked into Mount Sinai's emergency room with a shoulder pain. Then a famous ER doctor sexually assaulted her.  A whole medical community and other gatekeepers worked to shut her down. Aja Newman won. This story is mind-blowing, powerful, and worth the read.

7.)  The truth is, David Newman would never have stopped if not for the bravery of Aja Newman (yes, a BLACK woman once again saves the day). That woman is what you call a bad ass, a fighter, and hella fierce.

8.) This brought tears to my eyes. And now I'm thinking of all the impactful and kind human beings I have been fortunate to cross paths with.

9.) The five stages of taking  a public shit. Lmao. Besides sharing that post, I also wanted to highlight the blog and (blogger) behind it. She's really creative! Oh also, maybe I should be randomly sharing blogs I like.

10.) Should I be including a fun (or not), interesting, random photo from the week in Friday Reflections? Hmmm. Thinking about this. In the meantime, check out the Instagram page, I always post a Friday dessert to get you yearning for sweet treats haha.