Follow-up to Ramadan baskets…

Three quick things to follow up the previous post on Ramadan baskets.

1. A very kind Dakar Eats reader contacted me to offer her suggestions for gift baskets featuring local products. I really appreciated Aurelie’s message and wanted to share it:

“Perfectly agree on the principle of offering baskets of Ramadan! Why not continue to make the baskets ourselves while trying to use a maximum of local products? Personally I buy a basket made by artisans in Mermoz, add coffee from Torrefaction COR Coumba (or café Touba, according to the brotherhood), Senegalese brand sugar cubes, Dolima milk (their slogan is even ‘Good for Me, Good for my Country’), local jam, millet bread, local juice (there are so many!), local honey, local cheeses… Not everything is not available through local production, but almost everything! And often it does not wind up much more expensive. Just an idea!”

2. One of (y)our favorite vendors, Marie’s Kitchen, is offering an Ndogou Special for breaking the fast: 2 dozen whole wheat English muffins, 750g batch of granola with freshly grated coconut and 1 liter of pure Casamance honey for 10,000 CFA. Delivery is available for 1500 CFA, or you can order in advance by calling 775367887.

3. Marché de la Renaissance Africaine will take place at the Monument from 8am to 5pm this Saturday, May 27th. Among other vendors, you will find:

Cor Coumba coffees
ASD organic produce
Femezon juices. made with all natural ingredients
Awa Casamance (fruit jams and more!)
Veronique’s peanut butter
Marietou’s Oven
Many other Senegalese specialties!

Let us know how your baskets turn out!

Ramadan baskets, and why you should buy them. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 9.04.51 AMFor the past few years, when the  Ramadan month of fasting begins, I have gone to my favorite basket vendor and then hit the supermarkets to buy items to fill the baskets to give to friends and workers who are fasting. The baskets are usually filled with food items to be eaten for Ndogou, breaking the fast at sunset.

I set out to do the same this year, but my very observant husband pointed something out to me at the grocery store: the pre-made baskets all wrapped up and tied with a bow were actually a pretty good deal! Much less work for me, and also no more worrying if I bought the ‘right’ food items!

Both Auchan and CityDia stores around Dakar have a nice selection of Ramadan gift baskets, starting at around 10,000 CFA.

Also, filed under ‘good to know’: CityDia has gift cards!

Review: Health in a Box

Good news, busy people wanting to eat healthy – and maybe lose some weight while you’re at it… Isa Sarr has launched Health in A Box, a subscription-based plan for delivered meals that meet your personal health goals. More good news for busy parents: there are options for kiddos as well!

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Last week I tried out Health in a Box meals for a day, each one packaged and labeled with ingredients and helpful calorie counts.

After coming home from running, I started with a mango-carrot-orange smoothie was still icy and delicious. Then I had the stack of gluten-free banana pancakes (perfectly sweet naturally so I didn’t even need the syrup) and fresh fruit.

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous eating produce from new places, but Isa was very happy to answer all my questions and explain to me her thorough cleaning cleaning process for all fruits and vegetables that are served in her meals, many of which are grown on her family’s farm where they also raise chicken, lamb and cows, allowing her ensure to that the meat comes from healthy, well-raised animals. Some of her produce also comes from the neighboring Thieppe Farm.

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But back to my plate! At lunch I had the roasted sole filet (which was quite a generous portion) with a caramelized onion sauce, green beans and grated carrots. Also convinced my son to share a a bite of his Health in a Box pizza quesadilla meal, you know, for the sake of writing a thorough review. 😉

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The dinner salad was loaded with tuna and shrimp (Again, I’m picky and careful about seafood and this tasted very fresh and was well cleaned.) and came with a Ranch-type dressing that was a nice change from the constant mustard vinaigrettes. And the grape tomatoes were candy sweet.

Isa has studied nutrition and is passionate about cooking, so the idea for Health in a Box came naturally. You can find out more about her weekly meal subscription plans and menu choices on the Health in a Box Facebook page. But if you have ANY questions at all, just shoot her message. Isa is incredibly responsive and really listens to what her clients want – and speaks English!

Health in a Box
Find them on FacebookFind them on Facebook.
Tel: 76 333 80 18

Review: Francesca’s in Ngor

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Guest post by Becky Hughes

Two hot seasons ago, my friends and I would often spend our weekends at Gymnasium, a restaurant by a pool with a beach view on the Petite Corniche in Plateau. A friendly Italian woman named Francesca cooked amazing Italian food there – I would always order her gnocchi – as my friends and I sipped perfectly chilled prosecco.

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Francesca has since then moved her Italian eatery and she now operates out of her home in N’Gor, having a “home restaurant.” This means you can make a private reservation and eat directly at hers or you can order evening deliveries via Jumia Food. While the ocean view has changed, the quality of her cooking has not.

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I stopped by her home in N’gor to taste the Italian food that had previously enchanted my friends and me. While I glanced at her menu, I had no idea what to choose – her variety in pasta dishes and pizzas was so extensive. Everything seemed so good. Francesca said her pizzas are popular for delivery but I wanted to try some pasta. So Francesca offered to make a scaliatelli aux fruits de mer.

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As we chatted over the scent of sautéing garlic in simmering olive oil, she told me about her experience cooking in the Caribbean, and her 25+ years of working in different Italian restaurants. She and her husband moved to Senegal two years ago to import artisan Italian food products to Senegal (wine, prosecco, pasta, olives, etc).

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Francesca started off cooking a focaccia bread with her homemade dough. She began making focaccia bread and she said the secret to her pizza and focaccia dough is letting it sit for a 48 hours to absorb the yeast – this makes the dough more digestible.

I started off with her homemade focaccia. Crusty, warm, thick and topped with cherry tomatoes, parmesan, and basil, it was the right amount of salty savoriness. Next came the scaliatelli aux fruits de mer – thick pasta cooked al dente with shrimps and seafood and doused liberally with olive oil. Even though I witnessed Francesca cook my meal, I somehow missed how she managed to make her food so savory and fresh. Francesca assured me how simple her recipe was – “It’s just extra virgin olive oil, parsley, salt, and a little bit of garlic.” Everything I ordered lived up to my memory of eating at her previous restaurant in Gymnasium.

Next time I know what I will be ordering from Francesca’s — pizza.

How It Works:

1. For evening delivery, you can place your order directly on Jumia Food.
2. For private reservations, call Francesca directly at 77 844 05 79 or 77 181 40 83. Her house is located in N’Gor, down the street from Chez Katia. She has the best prosecco 😉

Wagokoro, THE new Japanese restaurant

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Buzz, buzz, buzz! Yes, everyone is talking about Wagokoro, the new Japanese restaurant that has (finally) opened in Ouakam. And when I say ‘in Ouakam’ I mean ci biir Ouakam. More on that later…

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Wagokoro first started making waves in Dakar with their bento box lunches and then a stand at the Dakar Farmers Market. The echoes I heard were all the same: great food, can’t wait for the actual restaurant to open because it will be so much more convenient.

Well, they’re open! And is very, very worth checking out.

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We went with friends who had lived in Japan for seven years (because I am clueless, but adventurous) and we asked our server at Wagokoro to bring us a variety of dishes from the menu that would hit all the high points. They nailed it. One after another, at just the right speed and with perfect presentation, we had:

– sake
– hijikino-mitsuke (warm black seaweed salad)
– salade du Wagokoro with sesame dressing
– tamagoyaki Japanese omelette
– terriyaki chicken
– sushi with mackerel, dorade and bonnite
– assorted sashimi
– matcha cake with cream
– kinkeliba tea

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Literally everything was perfect and delicious. The temperature, the flavors (not salty!), the garnishes… all of it. It’s been a week and I could still tell you about the cabbage slices on the salad, if that tells you anything about we enjoyed it. Plus the service was excellent and the restaurant itself is very well done.

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 A word about the location. Before you go, check out the photos on their Facebook page. Got it? Okay, take route de Ouakam and turning Ouakam neighborhood at ‘tally americain’ (the road YumYum and SFC/Piccolo are on). Stay… on… this… road. Wagokoro will be on your right. Just keep looking for that dark gray building with balconies.

Wagokoro
Tel: 77 512 1657 or 77 796 9058
Find them on Facebook.

Sunday Brunch at the Pullman Dakar Teranga

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I know, a picture is worth a thousand words and I’ve got quite a lot of pictures of the gorgeous Pullman Dakar Teranga’s brunch here. But you’re going to have to tolerate at least a few more words from me on the subject…

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Here’s the essential info: Sunday Brunch is served from 11am to 4pm and includes their very, very large buffets and grill complete with drinks, desserts and everything you could possibly want, with a focus on locally sourced seasonal specialties such as poultry and eggs from Ngaparou farm and Passion Nature fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

The 25,000 CFA/person price also includes access to their oceanside pool.

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I hadn’t been to the Pullman Dakar Teranga hotel (located on the place de l’Independence) since, well… 2004 maybe? So while the building is physically the same on the outside, everything else looks dramatically and beautifully different. This is accentuated by a lovely and sincerely friendly staff.

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The many buffets can be a bit overwhelming — which, let’s be honest is awesome. Pastries and breads (including gluten-free), traditional breakfast dishes, chilled salads, fruits, sushi, roasted meats, grilled brochettes, Senegalese and West African, specialties, cheeses, desserts… I mean the list goes on and on.

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But the best part is that every buffet could totally stand on its own. No filler or fluff. Just genuinely great food that had us wondering how on Earth they pull it off for 25,000 CFA.
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Note that they also have a smaller daily breakfast buffet from 6:30am to 10:30am Monday thru Saturday and Sundays from 7am to 11am.

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Pullman Dakar Teranga
Find them on Facebook.
Reservations recommended for the Sunday Brunch.

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