25 November 2012

Trinity Hall

Trinity Hall, bringing people together, one drink at a time. While I am not Irish I can still appreciate a good beer with a hearty shepherd's pie from time to time. And from time to time I mean I used to visit this pub several times a month as it was conveniently located at the corner of Mockingbird and 75, literally a block from my old office. It has a great patio overlooking Mockingbird Station where you can relax during the "patio weather months" and people watch. I have so many fond memories including this place. I celebrated my 29th birthday here:
Mmmmm.  Creme brulee. 

24 November 2012

Food Diary of a Tex Mex Addict

Pending my return to the States all I could think about was the TexMex delicacies that awaited me in my hometown of Dallas.  Upon arrival I was hoping for a Taco Bell fix but my health conscious mother instead insisted on making fixins for homemade fajitas instead.  I guess I can't complain.  Chicken grilled in taco seasoning and covered in salsa, sour cream, and cheddar is not a bad way to start a trip home to Texas.

22 November 2012

Naan Sushi

Since I'm only in the Big D for about nine days I have packed full my calendar with lunches and dinners with friends I haven't seen since I was in town last Christmas. My first day back I arranged to meet a friend for an early dinner at what I expected to be Indian restaurant in Uptown. I was a bit confused when I discovered that we would actually be eating sushi at Naan. We made it in time for their daily happy hour special; they host an ever changing selection of specials ranging from half priced rolls to $3 bottomless mimosas and bloody marys on the weekend.

17 October 2012

Ali Baba Restaurant

While traveling to Chad for work, Ali Baba was recommended to me by a friend of a friend as a good place to check out in N'Djamena. My work colleagues and I went there for lunch our first day in the country. As we were a bit peckish (read: starving to death) after traveling since 4:45 in the morning before arriving to sweltering heat, immigration police, and meetings with implementing partners, I feel like by the time we finally headed to lunch 12 hours later we were less concerned with quality and more concerned with quickly. However, in my opinion, neither were lacking. As a large-ish group of nine arriving about one hour before they closed for the afternoon (15:30) they were quick with the drinks and friendly with the service. As a group of Americans and Kenyans with French skills ranging from none to rusty it was nice that the menu was offered in both French and English. 

I shared moutabel (~3500 CFA), an aubergine dip, and houmus (~3500 CFA), with a side of beef shawarma (~4000 CFA). With a "large" Castel beer (~2000 CFA) my portion of the bill was a hefty ~8500 CFA (about 16 USD at today's exchange rate); while pricy I left with take away box stuffed full of beef, dips, and pitas enough for leftovers for dinner and brunch. 

26 August 2012

Taste of China

While attending security training at the gym at Prime Apartments on Rhapta Road I discovered a hidden taste of China. After a particularly hard workout of assaulting colleagues and resisting assault, a workmate and I decided to indulge. While I haven't found the most impressive selection of Chinese food in Nairobi I thought, why not give it a shot? 

I will say Taste of China surprised me. We pre-ordered our lunch so it would be ready by the end of training and the waiters were prompt in their service and food delivery, ensuring that we could make it back to the office on time. We sat poolside, a highly recommended option over the dark interior of the restaurant. We ordered a tofu entree with vegetable fried rice to share between the two of us. The portion was so large not only did it feed us for lunch that day but we took the leftovers back to the office and split them again the next day.

Mandhari Restaurant

Yesterday evening I sat on the Mandhari Terrace in the Serena Hotel just outside of City Center and was wined and dined by my favorite Curry Delight. The restaurant was quiet, a relief from the other restaurants we had considered dining that night. The table overlooked the pool and CBD and was punctuated with the musical musings of a bevy of frogs and crickets with only an occasional burst of laughter wafting up from the pool bar below.

The waitstaff was attentive, if a bit hovering, but very professional. All I needed to do was to turn my head in their direction before someone scurried over to assist us, and they never let our drinks empty without requesting if we needed another.

The head chef is French and apparently visits the restaurant several times a year but the menu provides an array of choices ranging from set multi-course menus to continental a la carte or even a surprise five course menu specially designed by the chef. The cocktail selection was nothing exciting, just the typical drinks you expect to see in Kenya- Pimms, Dawa, Bloody Mary, with a couple of others thrown in to round off the menu. Their wine menu was extensive, but as the sole consumer of wine my choices were a bit limited to those they sold by the glass as I did not want to attempt to drink an entire bottle by myself. 

03 July 2012

Blogger/Google Reader Issues

So it appears that not only has Sue the prostitute from Nairobi Nights co-opted my former blog title, but now Google Reader is importing her feed over my blog despite the difference in web addresses.  I have no idea how to fix this but I suggest that if you want to receive regular updates from African Nights that you follow the blog directly from the website instead.  If I manage to figure out a way to resolve the issue I will update this space. 

28 June 2012

Misono Japanese Restaurant

Misono, a sushi and teppanyaki Japanese restaurant, makes its triumphant return to Nairobi nightlife with its reopening in the Greenhouse building on Ngong Road. It has been reopened for awhile now and last night was my third time back to the new location. While their old space was conveniently located on Lenana road within walking distance of my apartment and boasted a lovely garden, their new digs are updated, larger, and have better service.

I have always loved their food but their service wasn't just lacking before, it was terrible. Many people I know would avoid eating there at all costs because of their inability to serve an accurate order in any sort of timely manner. Happily, the new restaurant has ironed these wrinkles out and the service is immensely better. The waiters are engaging and charming and I have never had an incorrect order served even though my maiden return voyage included a group of eight with too many sushi rolls to count. They even kept the restaurant open to serve us after we called ahead to let them know we wanted to come but were going to arrive just before closing.

BarBQ Tonight

BarBQ Tonight is one hotspot in Westlands everyone should try out; they boast BBQ, Afghan, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines and can be found on the Mezzanine Floor of The Mall across from Haandi. Haandi is apparently already feeling the pain of having some good competition around; on a recent visit waiters stood outside of Haandi trying to entice the flow of BarBQ customers into their own restaurant to no avail. Armed with a reservation, a hankering for BBQ, and the smell of happiness wafting through the doors beckoning us, we kept moving. 

My fellow foodie, The Handsome Hamburglar, as he wishes to be known, dove in to BarBQ's well advertised 1200KSHS buffet while I ordered off the menu. The waitstaff looked at me like I was crazy for not indulging but I am not one for trying to eat my money's worth at a buffet (unless I've got my big girl pants on and am prepared to roll myself out of Fogo Gaucho). I think I chose well, while I was hoping for a pepper steak (the kitchen was out of beef that evening), the chicken steak smothered in cheese was delicious. And the few bites of the buffet I managed to sneak of my companion's plate were delightful. In his words; "the Malai Tikka was luxurious and supple." 

25 March 2012

Franco's

So for all of you aid workers out there, as we well know, not all trips to the field are as exciting as the DRC/RoC or as happenin' as Kampala. But not to fear, Hungry Expat has scoped out the dining options at Kakuma Refugee Camp and has found an option both convenient and edible. Granted, it's not the most high class of joints, or even the best Ethiopian food, but it is a great place for a quick breakfast or working lunch at their satellite location on the IOM compound in Kakuma 2 or day drinking at the original in the Ethiopian section of Kakuma 1. 

24 March 2012

O'Poeta

So while options were limited in our neck of Kinshasa I was able to venture out a few times to O'Poeta, an Italian restaurant down the street from the hotel. With a constant bead of perspiration over my brow, the cooling patio fans and chill vibe were a nice break from the overpriced VIP airs that our hotel deemed itself worthy. Whether you are going to kick back with a beer and a couple of friends or to have a quiet dinner, O Poeta has the perfect atmosphere for both. 

23 March 2012

12-Step Guide to the Perfect Bloody Mary

The Cocktail Contessa strikes again...finally. While the origins of the cocktail might be unclear (the French seem to have taken a decent idea and spiced it up to the greatness it is today) the deliciousness factor is definitely not. Three cheers for the perfect Bloody Mary concoction!

As your Cocktail Contessa, I feel that the time has arrived for me to up my number contributions to the Nairobi Nightlife Guru’s blog from one to two.

Anyone who lives in Nairobi knows it’s nearly impossible to find a decent mixed cocktail beyond your basic gin and tonic – and even those can be questionable. I’m banned from most of my friend’s kitchens for safety reasons – but I’m always the go-to for Bloody Mary’s. DO YOU DOUBT ME? Don’t doubt me.

Without further adieu, I give you the 12-Step Expat Guide to Bloody Mary’s.

25 January 2012

Kampala Eateries

Disclaimer: If you're looking for an authentic Ugandan food experience, the restaurants listed here are not it. However, if you're in Kampala for a business trip and looking for some good eats or a fun place to hang then, by all means, read on.

When I headed to Kampala a few months ago for work, I received several recommendations of restaurants to check out. Despite my hectic work schedule, I still managed to chow down at quite a few including: Khana Kazana, one time sister restaurant to the Kigali restaurant of the same name, Lotus Mexican Cantina, Boda Boda, and Mammammia. 

13 January 2012