Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another Friday Night

It’s been one of those weekends, and it’s not over yet. Last night being Friday night, Kathy & I had planned to go out for dinner at a new place we saw a few weeks back in the Ouaga 2000 area of town. For some reason that now escapes us, we thought it would be a Mexican restaurant and I was really looking forward to it. As we drove up to it and had a closer look, we realized that it wasn’t. But since we were here, we thought we might as well check it out anyway.

The hot season has started here in Burkina, so when we walked into the first large room inside the front doors and saw that all they had were a few ceiling fans to blow the hot air around, we were not impressed. However, the server quickly showed us to another room that had air-conditioning, which he immediately turned on. So far so good.

The menu featured a lot of African dishes, so I thought I’d try one of those. I ordered half a grilled chicken with tô (a stiff starchy porridge made of corn flour, a village staple in Burkina). The server asked me what I’d like for an accompaniment (in most Burkina restaurants, things like potatoes and other vegetables like beans, peas, or carrots that we would consider part of the meal are extra). I looked at him with puzzlement. “Doesn’t it already come with tô like it says in the menu?” I asked? “Yes,” he replied, “but what would you like for an accompaniment?” I didn’t argue with him. I just ordered some green beans.

After half an hour or so, the meal finally came. I received a dish of chicken pieces in a tomato and onion sauce, and a small plate of green beans. Then Kathy got her meal. I waited, expecting the tô to arrive at any minute. It didn’t. So I finally started eating. The tô never did arrive. And I didn’t pursue the issue because at that point, if they had to prepare the missing tô, the chicken would be cold by the time I got it. So what happened? Did someone on the restaurant staff intercept it and eat it before it got to me? Did they forget it? Did they think that I had ordered green beans instead of tô? Who knows. And while the chicken and sauce were good, I thought I had ordered grilled chicken...

Then came the bill. Yup, you guessed it. I got charged for grilled chicken and tô. But by then, haha, Kathy & I were laughing so hard about the whole thing that we just paid up. I’m not sure I could have eaten all that tô anyway (it’s a pretty heavy food). And we did get a good story out of the experience :)

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