Month: October 2013

Afua Participates in BBC Africa Google Hangout: Challenges for African Women to Finding Love

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Yesterday, I participated in a small google hangout as part of the BBC’s 100 Women series. It was short and sweet, only a couple bloggers ended up being able to join, so the conversation wasn’t as full, but it was some fun times. Also, just wanted to clarify the presenter called me an expert – I’m not. And I didn’t start Bandeka.com, I was only a part of the leadership team. Enjoy! And for more on the 100 Women Series visit HERE!

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The Ten ‘Places’ to Eat in Accra (First and Second- Date Style)

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There’s nothing to do, nothing to eat in this town.

Wrong!

Because we care about our readers (and their dating lives) so much, we thought we’d run through ten categories of good restaurants in town where one can have a nice first AND second date. Bare with us, this is sort of the first time we’re attempting to have a real conversation style blog. The conversation is led in regular font by Afua, and Italicized is Amma.

1. Sushi

first-dinner-dateFirst date: Santoku. 

Af: Make sure you’re ready to pay though, it is not the place for posing either, don’t get there and order water and edemame. Yes, I’m talking from first hand experience.

Am: This is a good first date spot mostly for guys to show off a little bit. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the main course menu but as a desserts girl… they had some really fun things.  

Second date: Rockafellas

Af: Everyone would think to eat at Monsoon, it’s the obvious choice, but give rockafellas a try. A newer, less expensive joint (it is the old 3121) inside the Tantra compound in osu). Nice ambiance, fresher sushi, and not as crowded (like monsoon).

Am: Plus they have edemame… and I can’t stand going to sushi places that don’t serve edemame (ahemMONSOONahem). Since I can’t get my personal fix (I have yet to figure out where I can buy it in bulk and eat it like popcorn while watching the movie channel), I need to have it when I eat sushi.

2. Thai

First date: Thai Island (Afrikiko)
Second date: Zion Thai

Af: I like the feel of Thai Island, but in terms of food, people really prefer Zion. I wouldn’t venture there if your stomach isn’t strong, I’ve known more than a couple of people get sick after eating there- myself included 😦 – So it may not make for a cute morning after the night before situation.

Am: Because Zion Thai is in Osu in this sort of quaint spot on the corner of a street, it seems way more casual and therefore perfect for the second date where you can break out the dark denims and heels. Plus they serve really good Thai Iced Tea (and it’s always available) and Afrikiko has yet to have it when I go. 

3. Pizza

First Date: Mamma Mia

Am: I love thin crust brick oven pizza, especially Margeritta with fresh basil, tomatoes and cheese. Mamma Mia is probably the closest I have gotten to it. The outdoor seating is a really nice way to make a casual affair of a rather formal encounter, it being first date and all.

Second Date: Dine in and order Pappas Pizza

Af: Living with your bestie has some perks, including skipping out on dates, period, and lazying around the apartment catching up on the week’s Newsroom, Scandal, Good Wife, or Suits episodes over some Pappas Pizza. It’s a great stay in option if you’re living in East Legon, and they are SUPER fast – 15min! Plus they deliver the pizza to your car door when you go to pick it up.

4. Traditional

azmeraFirst date: Azmera

Af: Ok, Amma and I differed a little on the first date option. A lot of people say Buka is the spot for upscale traditional food. And although I am not a fan of their wait times, nor impressed with the quality of food, I would put it as #1 for the ambiance. However, I really like Amma’s choice of Azmera in Airport as well, so we’ve gone with that option. It’s really good food. Great for a lunch date, but you will pay a decent penny for the ‘luxury’ buffet. Try their palm wine (not too much if you have to go back to work). I’m not usually a huge fan of Palm Wine, but this one is really fresh.

Second date: Bush Canteen (or any other chop bar)

Af: Second date-wise, you can switch it up for your local chop bar. I’ve been on a date before where the guy took me to a fufu spot under a tree. No lie. And it was definitely one of my most memorable dates. If you can vouch for the quality of food (ie. your date won’t be sick the next day), take her to a ‘local spot’ and see how she fares…. it’s a good litmus test.

Am: Groundnut Soup and Omutuo are my kryptonite. I like that Bush Canteens is spicy without burning my lips, and has a good amount of groundnut paste. I also love the general chop bar vibe because at the point that you can eat with your hands, licking bowls and slurping soup without repulsing the other person, it’s probably a good sign for the both of you.

5. Spanish

First date: Toros Tapas
Second date: Chase El Paso, Osu

Af: Toros Tapas is kind of a given for a first date, but because we do not have very many choices for Spanish/Mexican food in Accra, our second date choice is Chase Tex Mex. It’ll hit your pocket like a first date would, but the atmosphere is more relaxed than toros.  It is across from Koala in Osu.

Side note, if you want to just have some bomb nachos on the fly-by, hit up Rhapsody’s! Their nachos hit. The. Stop. Every time.

Am: I was low key going to just put Rhapsodys as the first choice, SOLELY because of those nachos plus the fajitas! But I do like tapas… I wish they weren’t all so expensive, but the concept of small plates to try together is really cool, and a good way to ascertain sense of adventure… no? If he’s all ‘nachos and quesadillas’ then it’s on to the next, right? haha!

6. Bar Food

Yummy goodness from Republic Bar and Grill

Yummy goodness from Republic Bar and Grill

First date: Honeysuckle 
Second date: Republic

Af: Honeysuckle can be hit or miss depending on the day. Not my idea of a sexy first date, but if she’s into watching football games, you really can’t go wrong here. With the new renovations, make sure to sit in their non-smoking section! Also, get their wings – they’re really good.

Am: Republic has such a chill vibe plus the goat and rice is delicious. It’s definitely one of those places you go to live out your Harlem in the summer fantasies. Sitting outside in the evening, talking really loudly, bumping into familiar faces and enjoying your place in the hipster sub- community makes for a great second date. PLUS the food and drinks are locally sourced. #forallbyus

7. French (we’re not experts in this field)

 

First date: Le Must
Second date: Chez Clarisse 

Af: We’re not experts in the french field, however I’ve had great dinners at Le Must. We have heard La Chaumiere is also good, however we are yet to try it. Note these spots will both put nice holes in your wallet, gentleman. Yes, I said gentleman, as this is a first date spot.

**We must admit, we’ve afua has become a little obsessed with this little Ivorian spot in Osu in the last month, as such it has made it onto the list for a second date spot. For amazingly spiced Tilapia and good attieke, there. is. no. other. place. in. Accra. to. go. **

Am: Chez Clarisse- I think I have been there about four times in the last three weeks. It’s very divey, but the people are so friendly and the bissap is delicious (though it could use some ginger for spice). It’s sort of out of the way, which makes it a bit more intimate without all of the frufru of say, Le Chaumiere.

8. Lunch-date

Sadly, I have so many options for lunch… Sigh

First date: Sunshine cafe
Second date: Starbites

Af: I love me some sunshine cafe. I go there at least once every 2 weeks, and it’s always filled with duos. For nice portions, options, and a great atmosphere, it’s great for nice first date and being in Osu makes it easier for you and him/her to get back to work quickly. Unlike our second choice. Starbites definitely has a special place in our hearts. Not only because Eric the owner is a friend, but because the place is the backdrop to a lot of good laughs in our lives… remember our random run-in?

Am: Starbites is one of those places you go and just expect to make a lazy day of it. Getting your food will likely take a cool hour or so, but that’s great for second date because you aren’t really in a rush to leave and it’s likely that you are completely not even focused on the fact that your drink still hasn’t come around. Plus, the honey wings are absolutely divine and will also help you forget if this date is going really badly and you need to focus your attention on something more— stimulating.

9. Weekend Brunch

brunchThe hotels have monopolized on this so whether first or second date, you’ll be paying for this one

First date: Labadi…

Af: The oldest, and most tried and true breakfasts in Accra, we think at least…-and probably the most expensive.

Am: One thing I like about the general Labadi atmosphere is that it feels other worldly without being super ornate or grandiose. Plus, they have a good lamb tagine. Even if that’s not breakfast food, they are still yummy. The brunch is a good spread of foods and the desserts are also a good array of sweets. 

Second date: Fiesta Royale or others

Af: Our criteria for here is less about costs than just crowds – so for something less frequented, try hotels like Fiesta Royale.

10.Lebanese/Turkish/ Sharwana

First date: DNR
Second date: Chase

Af: I don’t know much to say about DNR. It’s consistent good food. Done. It’s not going to hit your wallet like the other first date spots, but it’s nice. Regarding Chase, they are consistent as well, and though their new renovations have bumped them up the design pole… there’s just a lot of the ‘I’m too cool for school’ crowd of youngins that hang around there, this may turn some people off for a first date.

Am: It’s so sad how I live down the street from DNR but have never been… as for Chase’s though, I think their Shawarmas are allllrrriiigght. I really like the Shawarmas from Basilissa’s, also in Labone, but Chase has a nicer set up inside and there is a little outside venue too in case you want to enjoy the weather a bit (though dry season may not make that so enjoyable). So it’s pleasant.


Af: We’ve definitely not exhausted the list of good eats or date places in Accra (and we’ve left out categories like Indian, Italian, Ulterior Motives and Weekend Trips). So we’ll be coming back to you in part II soon… After we’ve eaten at more places, and gone on more dates perhaps?

Am: Ese Woara Hehe 🙂

So… what are your favorite first and second date restaurants? Let us know, in the comments below!

On Being Better than Basic

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This is a response to Afua’s most recent blog post “Go Check Your Wife, Now!”

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Amma: “Yo…I saw you called. You never call. Whats up?”

Afua: “Girl! Guess who texted me”

Amma: “<insert names of many an antagonist in the Afua Telenovela of Life>”

Afua: “No…. ***’s wife”

Amma: “Who?”

* face palms*

* rolls eyes *

*<shows other general signs of incredulity>*

I HATE… with a scathing hatred, when women approach ‘the other women’ about their relationship issues. Does that even make sense to you? Do you really think that if your man is going to step out, the woman is some seductress trapping your man with fetish powers and flirtatious text messages? Are you a fool?!

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That is what I wanted Afua to say to her, but as Afua noted, she decided to take the high road of not even responding at all— well aside from the blog post. In a secret fantasy of mine, I hope she happens upon the post and sees how ridiculous the situation even sounds. After we had a ‘could one person be so dense’ fest… I started thinking about Afua’s stance on keeping in touch with exes in relationships… and now I am starting to wonder if it is all a function of age.

In high school, when it was all, semester long relationships… maintaining a meaningful friendship with an ex was an excusable thing because a) you could totally fall in love again in college or after and b) what you shared wasn’t deep enough to throw a whole wrench in your social calendar. No reason to make going to the movies with the group this big awkward experience.

In college, when you thought you would marry on your graduation day and you didn’t, it still made some sense to at least KIT. I mean… networking. Plus…you could always fall in love again in five years if you were not married and there was no one else (was I the only one making these social contracts?). In any case, maintaining a superficial relationship with an ex… the kind Afua described in her last post, made a lot more sense at this stage than in the next one.

In Quarter Life, when people are actually getting married,having kids and forming these intricate family/ friend relationships with their play groups and reading clubs for moms, it would seem really out of place to insert yourself in that situation at all. Like how does a conversation as a single woman sound when you are checking in with your ex who has three kids and is planning a family vacay? Surely the banter you cherished will be a little– distracted, no? Plus… there’s no chance of rekindling the flame at this point. Don’t let  bollywood nollywood hollywood fool you… we can’t all be The Good Wife.

So maybe Afua should amend her rules. No talking to exes who are married— with kids, unless they can literally get you a meeting with the Obamas period.  Because clearly folks go ham to protect their family unit… even if the main threat to the said unit— is an actual member of. the. said. unit. #noshadeImage

My favorite part of this is how much people have been commenting on Afua’s insistence that the wife is a basic chick. I haven’t met her… and she is probably a lovely girl with many qualities that make her wifey material (hashtagcancook hashtagwifeytings). Furthermore, she is at least very committed to eliminating all threats at any cost… which is the sort of Ride or Die, thug lifeness that most men dream of… so I have heard. So at least she has that as a redeeming quality to her ‘basicness’… and she was the one he wifed… which threatens me to ask: is better than basic… better? 

I mean… maybe at the end of the day even the most sophisticated of men don’t want that in a pairing. Perhaps having a women who, “…hasn’t traveled much or at all, hasn’t gone to university, she’s quiet, (very) young- there’s about ten years between the two of them, and she’s the seemingly shy and submissive type.” is a better long term investment. I had the most interesting conversation with two guys I work with. They were explaining that as folks who have experienced both US and GH living, they seem to be at war with themselves. On the one hand they want to be around someone who pushes them, challenges them and provokes them… but mostly they don’t want to come home to a two or three hour session on the latest in political economy. **guffaws**

Who is out here trying to give you three solid hours of political economy?! You get the point, Amma.

I do.

So here we are going in on the basic chick… but she is the one that has the quote ideal guy unquote to sleep next to every night, while Afua is left to her intermittent discussions of political economy once every six months.

Again… is better than basic really better?

*shrugs*

Clearly a woman of more style, grace, class, wit, and sense would have avoided the aggressive text message in pursuit of a 3 hour long conversation with her husband about how the political economy of their household was bound to come crumbling down like the Roman Empire if he did not delete his ex’s facebook, twitter, phone number, instagram, snapchat, googleplus, email, and LinkedIn (what have we come to…!!). And perhaps the right response for the actual woman of style, grace, class, wit and sense is to just avoid all of the exes who hold no future value in terms of relationship and marital bliss.

But maybe… the real lesson here is that: being a basic ride-or- kill die chick >>>> the better than basic chick– chick.

#jussayin’