I love bread! Any meal is better with some type of bread. As I sat down to write this post, I realized that all the things I have to talk about involve bread. That wasn’t intentional but, looking back, it was fun and tasty.
First off, Casey and I found a hidden gem on Victoria Island or “VI” as the locals call it. Last Thursday, we went to VI in search of the Nigerian Immigration Services office. As you may know, I am only allowed to stay in the country for 30 days at a time. I have to leave for an hour at least, and then I can come back, get a new stamp, and stay for another month. This process will get tedious and expensive, so we decided to go ask the immigration officers in person if there are any other options for me. It took us awhile to find the building since Google Maps is not accurate in Lagos, but we finally found it. Unfortunately, after making us wait for a while, the officers weren’t very helpful. They only told us that I can get an extension which lets me stay an additional month, but we already knew of this option. They also wanted to charge us more money than if Arik Air sent in my visa for me. So that was a failed attempt, but at least we tried. I will end up getting an extension this month and then I’ll travel next month. We’ll manage. I snapped a photo of Casey while we waited and also a photo of the room. It was completely empty and smelled like a wet dog (since it had rained recently). We felt like it was a perfect interrogation room.
After that experience, our day brightened up. I had done some research online a few weeks ago to look for restaurants and grocery stores near our apartment, and I stumbled across this fascinating piece of information. There are two Domino’s Pizza locations in Lagos! TWO! I was so surprised! The unfortunate side of it is that they are not near our apartment because they are on VI (the rich part of town). The good news is that the Nigerian Immigration Services building is super close to one of the restaurants. Yay! We decided to scout it out and go there for lunch.
It was amazing! It looked exactly like the Domino’s Pizza joints you see in the states. A little slice of home, if you will. And you are correct! That is a genuine Cold Stone logo you see below! Oh my gosh, were we in heaven or what. The most exciting part was just to see these companies in Lagos, but we did treat ourselves to a nice lunch. We ordered an Italiano pizza which had beef pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms. The crust and sauce both tasted familiar! It was funny to see that they have Nigerian toppings too, like spicy chicken, sweet corn, and red chilies.
They even have a wide-screen TV that show the customers’ names and how long their orders will take! I wonder if they have those TV’s in the states. You can see number 71 is “Kelechi.” Casey gave them his Nigerian name. Also, we heard that Domino’s and Cold Stone (they have a partnership going on in Lagos) are supposed to be opening up a location near our apartment soon! Supposedly it will be open in December, so I’ll keep you posted. I promise we won’t go there every day.
We ate half the pizza and decided to save room for some ice cream. The employees at Cold Stone were incredibly friendly and even sang a song to us! They lined up behind the counter and waited patiently for us to order. I got mint chocolate chip ice cream with brownies and chocolate fudge, and Casey got apple pie! French vanilla ice cream with apple pie filling, graham crackers, and cinnamon. Delicious! We were very happy that afternoon. We ended our trip to VI by going to Park’n’Shop, another nice market. I guess I didn’t take any pictures while we were there. It’s smaller than ShopRite but still has some good products. The produce looked really fresh, so we bought some bananas, lettuce, and onions.
The next day, I decided to try to make pita bread! All they have is Lebanese flatbread here, which is thin and doesn’t have much flavor. You can sort of pry it open to stuff it like pita bread, so it works, but it’s not the greatest. I tried a recipe for pita bread that I found online and the dough looked great, but it never puffed up in the oven! I’m not sure why though… I rolled the dough out thinner and got a little air bubble in a couple pitas, but they just couldn’t puff up correctly. Sigh. Casey said he still liked them though. I was able to cut the thicker pitas and make my own pocket out of it. I don’t think I’ll use this recipe again, but maybe I’ll try making pita bread some other time.
For our final bread adventure, Casey and I baked together! It was such fun having him in the kitchen. We made rolls and stuffed them with all sorts of goodies: savory chorizo, ham, and cheese. Casey even made some dessert rolls with mashed bananas and cinnamon, and a couple PB&J rolls! He is very creative when it comes to food. They turned out pretty well! They actually looked like rolls, at least. Casey enjoyed them very much since the fillings are the highlight for him. I prefer the bread to stand alone, so it wasn’t my favorite flavor-wise, but definitely not bad for our first homemade rolls. (I give extra slack to the “first time” recipes. Next time I’ll be more critical.) All-in-all though, we had fun!