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Dating on an NYSC Budget - 2019 Edition

The last time this list was published, the naira was already pretty bad but now that it’s downright terrible and most likely irredeemable. Dating in Lagos is hard enough, but dating on an NYSC budget is an extreme sport.

For those who are not familiar with the lingo, NYSC is an acronym for National Youth Service Corps; which is a mandatory one year service to the nation for first degree holders where they are paid a stipend every month called allowee (short for allowance).

Many young Nigerians have mixed feelings concerning NYSC ranging from “do I really have to do this?” to “there is no way I’m doing this” and then there are the few (special people IMO) who actually look forward to it. Your allowee is just a few bucks above minimum wage (well, until Buhari approves the new one), and for many corpers, it’s the only means of survival. So, like I said, dating on an NYSC budget is an extreme reality, because one misstep could have you soaking garri till the next allowee.

Ahem. But this is why we’re here for you and so without further ado, here are a few places you can get a pretty decent meal for two for less than N10,000. (Abeg don’t go and spend all your allowee on food oh, save some eh?).


Pancake Hub

17, Jibowu Street, Yaba, Lagos

A mainland favorite, Pancake Hub is a great place to have good (breakfast) dishes without breaking the bank. As the name implies, pancakes are their forte, but they also serve a pasta meal. Their pancakes have a variety of flavors and sides, are fluffy and to die for. A regular pancake meal should set you back like N1000, but if you want to go all out and order special flavours and sides, it goes up a bit to N3000. Not bad eh?

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Spur

Seven Eagles Spur - Ikeja City Mall, Obafemi Awolowo Road, Ikeja, Lagos

Golden Eagles Spur - 53 Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos

Amazon Spur - Landmark Towers, Water Corporation Road, Victoria Island, Lagos

Soaring Eagles Spur - Shop C41, Lekki Mall, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos

Located in Ikeja, Lekki and Victoria Island, Spur Family Restaurant is another good spot, they have different menus and a wide variety to pick from. Maybe due to the fact that it is a family restaurant, there are quite a number of platters and combos one can choose from and this can be shared between two (or more) people.



La Brioche

237 Kofo Abayomi St, Victoria Island, Lagos

If you want to do brunch or breakfast, La Brioche at Hartley’s in Victoria Island is another ace option. This cozy brunch spot serves breakfast through the day that is inexpensive and pretty good. It could also work for a coffee date as they serve pastry as well. Also, they’ll be opening a new spot on Ligali Ayorinde soon according to gist we heard.

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XO Bakery

48 Balarabe Musa Cres, Victoria Island, Lagos

My final recommendation is XO Boutique Bakery, a cute cafe nested at the back of La Taverna. The pastry is divine (hint: try the apple pie) and bubble tea from Bubbletii.

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Bonus: Coffee Dates

Coffee dates are one way to stick to a strict budget, and we thankfully have quite a number of cafes where you can have such dates.

  1. Cafe Jade - 7, Caroline Atounah Lekki 1, Lagos

  2. Vestar Coffee - 36, Oju Olubun close, Victoria Island, Lagos

  3. My Coffee - 1701, Violet Yough, Victoria Island, Lagos

If you’re looking to have something nice to tickle your tastebuds and incite happiness without spending your savings, these are a few places you can visit. You’re welcome!






A Game of Cones: Winter Finally Came

Going into Game of Thrones, I’m not sure what I expected. I’d previously glimpsed a few scenes while visiting my friend Lawrence but the series never really stuck. If I remember correctly, the first scene I ever watched was the beheading of Ned Stark and I was beyond shook! What a way to begin!

Sometime during my third year in university, I decided to give Game of Thrones a try. Everyone around me seemed to be watching the series at the time and curiosity had finally gotten the better of me. I wanted to understand why people were calling themselves Khaleesi’s, why the whole world seemed to have a fit when this dude named Jon Snow died and why the phrase ‘winter is coming’ meant so much to people. I mean, winter would come inadvertently right? It’s a season and they come every now and then. Oh, I was so naïve.

Game of Thrones broke my neck. I’d been told it was a whirlwind of a series – and frankly speaking, I’d seen the beheading of a character previously – but I did not expect up to half of what I was beholding. It’s a story so masterfully written, full of wicked twists and turns, sprinkled with politics, fantasy and best of all, vengeance. I wish someone had told me not to pick a favourite character!

As season 7 drew to a close, a little bird whispered to me. This bird did not have good news. I had just found out I would have to wait two years to watch the season finale of the series. I wanted to fight. Two full years? Do you know how much can change in two years? I could finally join the Fit Fam, I could decide to go Buddhist again or I could even be dead in that time. Not to be dramatic or anything but even worse still, I could be married! The years – as expected – flew by and when Game of Thrones returned to prime time television, I was beyond ecstatic.

The return of Game of Thrones to television sparked a movement for many commercial scale businesses. Almost everywhere you look, you’re sure to find something that’s on theme or inspired by the series.

Game of Thrones Mountain Dew? Yes

Game of Thrones Oreos? Yup, we got that too

White Walker by Johnnie Walker? Most definitely

Lagos got in on the Game of Merch action too Hans & Rene had a selection of Game of Thrones themed treats, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I immediately knew I had to swing by. Winter was finally here and it clearly came for my taste buds. Take a look:  

 

Petyr Baelish

Petyr Baelish – or Littlefinger as he was commonly called – has to be the craftiest man in the seven kingdoms. Creating a flavour to capture the diverse personas Lord Baelish portrays is no easy feat.

Petyr Baelish is a berry salted butter caramel. The combination of these flavours is true to who Lord Baelish was. Sweet in words, salty in actions and ready to butter you up for the slaughter.

Personally, I don’t enjoy caramel but the unique blend of sweet and salty gave the treat an unexpected kick.

 

Ser Brienne of Tarth

A blond chocolate gelato for our blond knight. Ser Brienne of Tarth is a blond chocolate gelato infused with intense biscuit flavours and caramelised milk. Akin to the series, Ser Brienne of Tarth is Hans and Rene’s first ever blond chocolate gelato. Three cheers for Brienne, the bringer of beginnings!

I enjoyed many things about this flavour but my favourite thing would have to be the texture. I absolutely love how creamy gelatos are. It had a thickness that wasn’t overwhelming. Its sweetness was delicate and enjoyable.

 

Cersei

Putting a flavour to Cersei must’ve posed a challenge for Hans and Rene. How do you create a sweet treat inspired by pure evil? The connoisseurs of the sweet life did not disappoint with Cersei.

Cersei is a mint ice cream decorated with shards of chocolate. If you ask me, the mint ice cream is the real evil here.

Mint ice cream is a bit of an acquired taste for me. The sharp taste of the mint was balanced out by the sweetness offered by the chocolate. It didn’t taste like sweetened toothpaste – like some mint flavours I’ve come across in the past. Honestly, I could say I enjoyed it just a little.

 

Lord Varys

I love Lord Varys. Varys is easily one of my favourite characters from the series. He has all the tea in Westeros and beyond and is truly dedicated to the good of the realm. What’s not to love? This flavour, that’s what.

Lord Varys is a banana gelato with layers of banana bread topped with caramel. I’m very sure this flavour would have been a hit if it could pass my throat. On my list of forbidden fruits, bananas have to be top 3. It’s one of those things I wouldn’t put in my mouth no matter the circumstance. They make me sick. Literally.

I’m particularly sad because this treat was created after a character I love and now, I’ll never be able to know what it tastes like. Tears.

 

Tyrion Lannister

The Lannisters love their wine. It’s no surprise that a flavour fashioned after our beloved Tyrion infuses the biggest part of Lannister culture in the seven kingdoms.

Tyrion Lannister is a Zobo Sorbet infused with red wine and cherries. Simply put, this flavour was divine. Red wine and sweet treats aren’t something which would usually come to mind. The balance between the sweet sorbet, slight tang of the cherries and red wine created an exotic blend of flavours.

In my opinion, this flavour should sit on the iron throne.

 

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen is a fior de latte infused with pistachio and raspberry. ‘Fior di latte’ means ‘flower of milk’ or ‘milk flower’ as the case may be. It’s the purest form of gelato possible – all cream, no flavours or additives. Just sweetened pure cream.

The mother of dragons kept it sweet with the pistachios but packed a punch with the raspberries. Creating that balance between both flavours kept true to Daenerys’s nature. She’ll break your chains but she could burn you alive, you know.

Between its texture and sweetness, I’m still undecided on what I love best about this flavour. It’s lit.

 

The Night King

I’d come across the Night King at GT Food and Drink when I reviewed some sweet treats. The Night King is hands down one of the best flavours inspired by the series.

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The Night King is a fior di latte gelato – just like Daenerys Targaryen. The Night King kept it sweet and smooth with its cloud like texture. If this is what the actual Night King was bringing to Westeros, I don’t think there would’ve been a war.

Neither a Cultist nor an Armed-Robber: A Case for Malt and Amala

According to the Nigerian Internet, if you drink malt, you’re an armed robber.

There’s also a section of the Internet that believes that if you eat amala, you might as well join a cult and change your name to ‘Scorpion’ because you’re clearly dangerous.

I think it’s tragic that amala and malt get all this hatred so once again, I’m here to defend what I love. I’m going to be very direct on this matter. There’s no need to beat about the bush. Amala is one of my favourite things to eat. I also enjoy drinking malt – yes, willingly – and I think it’s a nice drink. There, I said it.

The slander on malt and amala is nothing short of terrible. At least half of Lagos and Twitter think both food items are vile. Before you press CTRL + Z on all things amala and malt related in your life, allow me to make a case for them. They deserve some sort of defence. They’ve been dragged in the mud for way too long. To be fair, I’ll be taking this from the prosecutor’s angle – All the Amala and malt haters; and the defendant’s angle – the people who see Amala and malt for the angels they are. I’ll also be judge and jury because I have three fair independent personalities.

Arise Denise’s!

Court is in session.


The Prosecutor’s Angle: Independent Personality One

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Aesthetics and food go hand in hand. Amala, however, has no aesthetic appeal whatsoever. It’s an eyesore. Between its colour and texture, amala is simply a mess for anyone who likes good looking food. Amala is brown, slimy and looks like a sad yet glossy pile of poo.

Amala is usually paired with ewedu and gbegiri which are just as visually unappealing. Ewedu is a deep green slimy soup which looks like snot and gbegiri closely resembles diarrhoea. Put these babies in one plate and you have a sneak peak of what soak-away pits look like in their spare time.

Malt is an illusion that didn’t need to be created. It’s an illusion because malt was created for kids who are kids but don’t feel like they’re kids anymore. You know, when you’re too young to have the Remy Martin but Coke and Fanta are just too childish for you. Funny as it may be, malt itself is exactly like the crowd it was created for. It has the same composition as beer – barley, hops, and water – but it isn’t fermented. So it’s ‘mature’ but not mature enough.

Malt does nothing for the taste buds.

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The Defendant’s Angle: Independent Personality Two

A wise man – or animated baboon, if we’re keeping it technical – once said ‘Look beyond what you see’. Wiser words have never been uttered.

Amala is like a diamond in the rough. It doesn’t look like much on the outside but on the inside, it is precious and priceless. Judging a food purely based on its looks is simply unfair. If you examine all the slander on amala, you’d notice that it’s all based on its appearance.

No one talks about its good sides. Amala has an amazing texture. It’s soft, fluffy and glides down with silky smoothness.

Malt is nearly not as bad as it’s made out to be. When it’s cold, malt is really enjoyable and refreshing. Asides the fact that malt is low in sugar, it’s nearly not as carbonated as regular soda. Malt is less likely to leave you bloated or suffering from gas – well except you have certain food allergies. Malt is a great option for individuals who want to enjoy non-alcoholic drinks but prefer not to drink soda.

The Judge’s Verdict: Independent Personality Three

The prosecution and defence have presented insightful angles on this case. Having considered all angles presented on the case, I will now come to my verdict on this matter. I understand I had promised to be fair and just but honestly, I see no reason why you’d hold anything against amala or malt.

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Amala is an amazing meal option. Between its fluffy texture and flavour, I cannot decide what I enjoy best about amala. With malt, I understand it could be an acquired taste but it’s not the trash it’s made out to be. Call me whatever you want: cultist, armed robber or even scorpion. I’ll take it.   

If you’d like to have this case reviewed again, I’d be willing to. Feel free to leave your appeals in the comment section and I’m sure they’ll be considered. Till then, I’ll be in my safe corner wolfing down a hot plate of amala and cold malt. Who knows? I may have a Bounty for dessert.

EDL Weekender: Korean BBQ, Ogogoro and Victor Ehikhamenor

This week went by super fast or felt like it did. And that’s a good thing because it means the Game of Thrones finale is almost here. Whoop!

 

Weekender!

A new playlist this weekend. Very dance-y for the imaginary cookout in your head.


EAT

Korean BBQ at Hua Han

Our big review of the week. We absolutely loved our lunch at Hua Han and we really recommend it. If you’re in the Ikeja area and You haven’t been, you’re slacking big time. Fix it. If you’re on the island, the weekend is the best time to make the trip.

 
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DRINK

Ogogoro & Canapés at Temple Muse, VI

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We’re hosting a tasting of Pedro’s Ogogoro this Saturday, May 18 at Temple Muse. There will be canapés, from Bite., paired with cocktails, from Bar Nomadic. We will discuss how versatile Pedro's is and what flavors and aromas work with the refined liquor. If you’ve never tried ogogoro in your life, Eat.Drink.Lagos and Pedro’s are here to fix that.

South Socials

South Socials is back again this Friday, featuring a set by DJ Mo Mode. Here’s the Drink Lagos review of the cocktails at South.


LAGOS

Daydream Esoterica

Victor Ehikhamenor is launching his first public solo exhibition in eight years in Lagos at Rele Gallery this weekend

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That’s all from me this week. Have a good weekend!

The Healthiest Ways to Eat Your Veggies

I was watching Food Network’s Chopped Junior the other day and I noticed one of the contestants presented deep fried Brussel sprouts as part of his dish. It was surprising (also a little embarrassing) that frying vegetables, outside of fried rice and making stir-fry, had never even occurred to me.

Vegetables (and fruits) are packed with powerful nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent diseases like cancer, help with vision, and boost the immune system. I guess this is why doctors are such huge fans. So you have to wonder: won’t the grease of the oil (saturated fat) defeat the purpose of eating vegetables in the first place?

So, I decided to do a little digging. It turns out there are healthier ways to prepare vegetables than boiling them like we typically do. It led me down a path to discover the best ways vegetables can be prepared in a way that retains their nutrients. It differs from veggie to veggie. Some are best eaten raw, like carrots or broccoli but also retain nutrients when they are steamed.

Here are a few ways in which vegetables can be prepared and eaten that are healthier than outrightly cooking them:


Raw

Nutritionists have found that some vegetables are better consumed raw because like we have previously established, even the lowest heat can destroy some of their properties. For instance, broccoli and radishes both contain an enzyme called Myrosinase that creates compounds that actively fight against the growth of cancer cells and stomach ulcers. Cooking them depletes the myrosinase. Another vegetable that’s excellent eaten raw is cabbage, a common ingredient in coleslaw. Cabbage contains an incredible amount of vitamin C and K and also anti-cancer agents. Other vegetables that have been proven to be better consumed raw are kale, onions, and carrots.


Sautéed

We all know sautéing meat or produce is a great, fast and super easy way to cook them. Dieticians recommend sautéing vegetables rather than outrightly deep-frying them. Using healthy cooking oils such as extra-virgin olive oil is recommended for sautéing vegetables because, that way, they absorb nutrients and antioxidants from the oil and increase their nutrient value.

Grilled

I personally think grilling is a great, fun way to cook some particular types of food, especially meat and fish. Grilling enhances flavour, and gives food a lovely char which improves the overall appearance of a plate. It has been proven to be a good way to cook vegetables; one we personally do very well here in Nigeria, is corn. Other vegetables that can be cooked by grilling are red, yellow and green bell peppers, carrots and asparagus.

Steamed

This method of cooking which involves low heat and minimal water has been proven to help preserve nutrients in vegetables; especially water soluble vitamins like vitamin C which is found in quite a number of vegetables like tomatoes and broccoli. Generally, vegetable take a few minutes to cook, however the denser the vegetable, the longer it takes to cook.

For instance vegetables like carrots and potatoes take longer than softer, less dense ones like spinach or peas. Steaming vegetables is highly recommended because the method does not allow the vegetables come in contact with water. That’s one sure way to lose the nutrients in your vegetables. Boiling vegetables is only recommended when making soups where the broth the vegetable is cooked in is consumed as well.

Microwaved

This is an unconventional way of preparing vegetables, but it’s another way to quickly cook them with minimal contact with water, which as we have established, helps to retain the nutrients in vegetables. Like with the steaming method, timing matters and also differs. It’s easier to avoid over-cooking or undercooking vegetables with microwaves because of the inbuilt timers that they come with. The trick is to cut them into smaller pieces- the denser the vegetable, the smaller the pieces - lightly season them, add water (minimal amount!) and then microwave. It’s fast, easy and perfect for lazy people like me who cannot be bothered to heat up a grill.

Basically, I’ve learnt that in cooking vegetables, the goal is to retain all their bad-ass nutrients, and the trick is to limit their contact with water and avoid pressure cooking. I think this means we have to find a better way of cooking efo riro and egusi because what’s the point of eating vegetables if you’re cooking all the nutrients away, right?