Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Authentic African Cuisine

by Troy Jackson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | All About Food | October 22nd, 2014

Photo by J Earl Miller

On Oct. 8, when news broke from the Dallas Texas Presbyterian Hospital about Thomas Eric Duncan’s fatal demise, assistant chef Mohamed Yasser continued about his morning routine: waking up minutes before 7 a.m., preparing his girlfriend's daughter for school and finally shelling out items (ideas) from his freezer in order to accommodate the head chef’s daily specials. Named the Afro Latino 18 Cuisine, the eatery figured to cater to the rising population of Africans (as well as African Americans and other minorities) in Fargo-Moorhead. But since the restaurant opened mid-June inside the 25th Street Global Plaza it has catered to starving and intrigued customers of every color and creed.

The Liberian native welcomed me to a black marble table facing a NASCAR race on HDTV, in which he implied he must watch. As he shuffled toward the kitchen I took in the amazing details of pan-African colors designed on the walls with little African akuaba dolls framed about the spot. I was welcomed with a large cup of Special Gun Powder Tea, a Chinese green tea brew (according to a smiling Yasser). When consumed, it may invigorate a depleted immune system and sexual metabolism ... That's well worth drinking to.

As I sipped and brainstormed on what to order, I listened on to Yasser explain his plight about Liberia: "In my country you (got to) see it before you ever believe it … but the media sees Africa as a very sweet disaster.”

Honestly, I was not sure if his comment shed a positive light or negative lens regarding West Africa. Although not front page news, several news sources and economists have predicted that 50 percent of Africa's countries can expect to be leading the world in exporting of some natural resources within the next 50 to 75 years. After eyeing Saturday's menu, I choose the fried tilapia, sweet plantains, tomato goat stew, a side order of collard greens and oxtails with steamed rice.

Gina LaCroix, the general manager, grinned at me, “You’re going to want these collard greens to go!"

When the food landed on my table, I fully understood LaCroix’s reasoning. Thick cuts of crispy bronze plantains sizzled between two slices of golden breaded tilapia and an order of attiéké, a West African novelty side dish that's a soft crouton-like wheat grain topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, onions and cilantro. LaCroix explained to me that the attiéké compliments the rich meaty flavors of the tomato soup base that's added with tender cuts of goat, shrimp and beef.

I asked Yasser whether the Ebola crisis in West Africa had affected his life or business. "No, customers from the barber next door (Skill Cutz Barber Shop) still eat here everyday … My family living at home have worked, played and made sure to be picky clean about our water and hygiene. Many aren't wise or rich enough to always boil all water ... But none of my family or friends are affected."

The restaurant’s most popular dish is the Cassado Leaf Stew, a blend of fresh cut meats tossed with cassado leaves imported from Ghana with your choice of fufu, which is often made with flour from the cassava plant or from semolina or maize flour. Others prefer it with attiéké or with rice. Mohamed continued on: "A poor man back home can eat attiéké during the sunrise and it will keep his belly full until night."

But no matter what dish customers order, their food will not only be prepared with flavor in mind, but also with vitality.

By the time I began scraping my plate with my fork to finish off the remaining savory oxtails and attiéké, I leaned back and asked LaCroix for a to-go box for the rest of my rice and collard greens. And hot damn! The smokey aroma of those greens took me way back to my early teens when my Aunt Jean of Alabama used to boil a large sailor's pot of oxtails (the culinary cut name for the tail of the cattle) and collard greens over the stove right before leaving for Sunday’s service. But with each dish ranging between $7 and $15 bucks, if one's taste buds crave meat cooked so tender that one may not be too embarrassed to suck juices off the bones, then come enjoy this authentic cuisine.

Although Ebola was not my reasoning, I did say grace over the food. It's not hard to eat what I believe in: if available, good food can be one positive to appease a crisis in any part of the earth … even from a Third World country.

RECENTLY IN

All About Food

Tracker Pixel for Entry HarborHealthClinic Tracker Pixel for Entry TAK Tracker Pixel for Entry HPRONLINE Tracker Pixel for Entry HPR Sales

Recently in:

By the time this article is published, all the major new outlets in the area will have reported on the May 30th protest in Fargo demanding change and justice after the needless killing of George Floyd, as well as its aftermath. …

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

Predatory Capitalism Breeds Predatory Medical CareSurvival in the animal world depends upon who eats who. Wolf packs in Yellowstone chase down the oldest weakest elk and kill with a chokehold. African lion prides select the oldest…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Writer Rita Kalnejais adapts the script of her own 2012 play “Babyteeth,” and Shannon Murphy, delivering her feature directorial debut, guides a fantastic ensemble of performers to success in what could have been an…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

"…evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction." - Sophocles, Antigone“It is a mistake…as events since September 11 (2001) have shown—to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a…