Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Appaloosa

Last Sunday evening, we finally found a restaurant for which we’ve been looking for some time now. Nobody we’ve talked to here has ever heard of it before, so we didn’t get much in the way of help. Unfortunately, it turns out that we were looking in slightly the wrong area :/

Ever since we first saw the advertisement for the Appaloosa restaurant in a little book featuring restaurants, hotels, and attractions in Burkina that I bought from a downtown street vendor, we’ve wanted to go there. In the pictures it looked classy and it offered Tex-Mex dishes. The latter was a pretty strong drawing point for us because we’re always looking for food with different flavours here.

We were not disappointed. We went early on a Sunday evening and were the only customers in the place. The large dining area was extensively decorated to look like a western-style restaurant in the States. In fact, except for the fact that the waiter spoke French, we could have sworn we WERE in a restaurant somewhere in the south- or mid-western United States! Drawings of Indian chiefs decorated several walls. Western rifles and Mexican sombreros hung beside our table. Lights hung on wagon wheels suspended from the ceiling. License plates from a number of US states were plastered haphazardly on the walls. And virtually all the lights in the place were western-style kerosene lamps with light bulbs in them.

Of course, all that ambiance comes at a price. At 1,500 FCFA, the soft drinks (from a very extensive drink list) are by far the most expensive ones we’ve ever had here in Burkina. And the average plate costs 5,000 – 6,000 FCFA. The menu features American, Tex-Mex, and Lebanese dishes, as well as the usual Ouaga ones. There are also 20 different kinds of pizza. And as far as we know, it’s the only restaurant in Ouaga that serves a Greek salad.

To be honest, it was hard to choose our order! We finally decided to split a Greek salad and a plate of enchiladas. The Greek salad, with big chunks of real feta cheese, was to die for! The enchiladas weren’t as good as the ones Kathy makes herself at home, but they were good enough. It’s a good thing we didn’t order too much in the way of main dishes because the dishes of peanuts and popcorn, and the basket of fresh rolls with real butter were replenished as fast as we could eat them :)

In the end, we were reluctant to leave the place. For an hour or so, we’d stepped into a completely different world that in many ways reminded us of home. Then it was back out the door to reality. But that’s okay. It’s the contrast that makes us appreciate things like this, things that we would normally take pretty much for granted back home. In fact, if they ever got one here in Ouaga, going to McDonalds would be a special event!

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