Monday, January 31, 2011

The Weekend Report: Black Swan and Ghana Café

Happy Monday! I know it's a little random, but I had two completely unrelated blogworthy events this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon I finally saw Black Swan. My opinion? Love. 

Some people said Black Swan was disgusting, I thought it was unique and edgy and artistic. Everyone warned me about how disturbing this movie was, so I was mentally prepared for the worst, which made the actuality not so bad. I think that people expect ballet movies to all be silly and pretty like Center Stage, but Black Swan is more of a psychological thriller set in a ballet. Natalie Portman was amazing, and there are scenes I can’t get out of my mind (the final black swan dance where she grows wings was breathtaking and the Swan Lake music is so dramatic!).

I don’t want to give too much away, but there is so much more to this movie than a ballet-dancer-gone-nuts. Everything in the movie has meaning, and it all relates back to the Swan Lake story. (Click here to watch the trailer.)

Then on Sunday night 6x6 and I met a friend for dinner at Ghana Café. Again, love. I lost track of how many times 6x6 said “This is really delicious.” At first we weren’t sure about the menu – it offers a selection of stews/curries with your choice of unrecognizable carbohydrate:
  • BANKU: Fermented and cooked corn made into balls
  • FUFU: prepared from plantain or yam & cassava
  • JOLLOF RICE: Ghanaian-style rice cooked in savory seasons
  • KELEWELE: Ghanaian-spiced diced fried soft plantain
  • KENKEY: “Komi” fermented and cooked corn made into balls, (a little harder than "Banku")
  • OMO TUO: Mashed rice balls
  • RED RED: Fried plantain and beans stew
  • WAKYE: Rice and beans
  • YAM “AMPESIE”: Boiled yam 

I have experience with a few African staples: Nigerien tuo made out of millet (ick), Congolese sorghum (yum), and of course Ethiopian injera (yummm!).

Luckily our friend is Ghanaian and could help us decipher our options. (I wish I'd taken pictures, Google Images is not delivering in the Ghanaian food search!)

6x6 went with Plantain Fufu with Spinach and Egusi “soup.” The fufu came in a slightly sticky ball – imagine a ball of really starchy mashed potato (but with a banana-ish plantain flavor). And the spinach and egusi wasn’t soup-y at all. Egusi is ground pumpkin seeds, so the dish was julienned spinach in a salty pumpkin-y sauce. Then there was a side of absolutely fabulous rich tomato sauce.

I got Banku with Chicken Curry. The chicken is cooked in that same tomato sauce, and was soooo flavorful and rich and delicious! I liked my banku more than the fufu – it also came in a ball - imagine a starchier and more flavorful polenta. Delish!

Our Ghanian friend got the Wakye (rice and beans) with Beef Stew – he said it was pretty good and very authentic.

“Shito” is the condiment they give you on the side. It’s a mixture of dried ground shrimp and chilies. It’s spicy and salty and very classic Ghanaian.

Overall the meal was a total win – we’ll definitely return to the Ghana Café. And next time I'll take pictures, because these ones I found do not do it justice! 

(And get excited…there are plans for an actual Ghana trip in the works!).