Friday, June 18, 2010

Single ladies

Every now and then Emerald's husband packs the kids up to go see his parents. Such is the case currently. As a result, I received a call from Emerald on Wednesday asking if I wanted to check out a new restaurant, Miliki, in the Laurel District. (Note to self -- Must write a post in the future about the various neighborhoods in Oakland.)

What little you can find about Miliki tells you that they are West African. But then I spied one word in their description -- Lagos. This told me that we were in store for traditional Nigerian food. I love the food of East Africa -- like Ethiopia -- and want to marry the food of Northern Africa but my knowledge of West African food has been limited to what my cousin's husband has prepared for the family. (He's Nigerian.)

Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- the place was packed and we were asked to share a table. Our tablemates being Nigerian were able to help us navigate the menu.

The standard dinner consists of a soup/stew accompanied by a dough. Our tablemates told us that some of the stews were an acquired taste so I went with one of the ones they said was not so.

Egusi is a mixture of tomatoes, pepper, spices, melon and vegetables with meat. The meat in this case was a mixture of chicken and various beef products. I told them that they could leave the tripe out as I have never been a fan of the stuff. There was a taste that I could not distinguish that just seemed off to me. Perhaps it was a result of the melon as the menu stated that it could be optional.

Then there was the Iyan -- pounded yam also known as fufu. Emerald and I decided that it needed to be bland to combat the spiciness of the other food.

Now before you start believing that the food was unacceptable to the Western palate, let me share Emerald's menu choices.

She saw Moin Moin listed and was deeply fascinated. It is a mixture of steamed ground beans, tomato, onion and red pepper. It looked like the fufu -- except color - but had so much flavor.

She also ordered the Pepper Soup with goat meat. Upon tasting it, I thought that I was on my way to heaven. If and when I return, I will be ordering this dish.

And I'll try to do so in another month or so -- once they have gotten past tonight's grand opening. Because tonight the service was way below par. Since it was their grand opening, I'll cut them some slack.

Missing is a photo of the wonderful drummers who were there for entertainment. I thought too late of snapping a photo and so missed the opportunity.

But tonight reminded me that the Laurel District is only a five to ten minute drive away. It's like the perfect meld of Berkeley and Oakland. And I absolutely love it.

And as I parked my car, I also remembered my realtor's statement in convincing me to buy my condo -- You only have to plan to stay there for five years or so. Because yes, this house is for sale.Way out of my price range now but in four years? I might just have to check out the open house on Sunday. Because right now I'm all about building my dreams.