Little Baobab Birthday

After a three month drought, it starts raining buckets the day before my birthday. After considering several nicer restaurants, S and I decided to go with something near the bar we would go to later on, so Little Baobab it was. This Senagalese Restaurant is a magnet for West Africans, and people who enjoy their fried yucca and plantains, peppery curries and grilled fish. Part restaurant, part dance hall, it’s a dark little building in the middle of The Mission with plenty of happy people and twinkle lights to brighten us up.

Avocado stuffed with tuna salad and fried yucca (6). Between the briny tuna, smelly cumin and hot whiter pepper, my mouth was not having fun. If my mouth had eyes, they would’ve cried. I enjoyed its avocado husk. I felt supremely cultured to have these yucca fries, but couldn’t help thinking that there IS a reason we don’t have yucca in America, unrelated to the fact they’re not native–potato fries rock so much harder. I also couldn’t help wishing they provided some ketchup, because despite its deceiving appearance, the house-made hot sauce was NOT like ketchup. It killed me. Ugly, uncouth American, party of one.
“It’s like paella!” I said to S when they described the special of the evening. Because apparently I was not done showing off my worldly charms to the waitstaff. Actually, it’s ceebujen (16), the national dish of Senegal. Tilapia boiled in tomato sauce and served on rice cooked in the tomato-fish broth, with stewed vegetables. Comforting, flavorful, and healthy. I just don’t usually get stewed food at a restaurant, because it’s not freshly prepared. But nit-picking aside, the servers were really fun and hooked me up with some birthday chocolate cake a la mode, and a song. As I was contemplating what to wish for, one of them tried to teach me how to blow out the candle. I’m culturally challenged, not stupid.

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Earlier that day…a nice birthday lunch at a killer new Mexican place with the editorial girls.