Friday, May 21, 2010

Culinary Correctness: Jerry's Place Restaurant

"Have you been to Jerry's Place yet?"

"What's that?"

"Oh, you mean you don't know and haven't heard about it?"

"No, I haven't! What's that, and what are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the latest Nigerian joint in town. There, the food is great and you will love it. You will be glad you did.

"Oh yea'?"

"Oh yeah, man!"

"Hmmmmm, so, where is this new restaurant located? Is it around my neck of the woods?"

"Yeah man, in Hawthorne!"

"Where in Hawthorne? I know the one on Imperial and Hawthorne Boulevard run by the Cameroonian lady had been out of business a while ago. So, which one, and where exactly in Hawthorne?"

"It's 'past' the one on Imperial and Hawthorne, all the way past the police station, on the corner of El Segundo and Hawthorne Boulevard."

"That use to be my hood until the spooky bad cop image Hawthorne Police began their tussle with civil society to raise money by all means for a desperate, broke, City of Hawthorne, remember?"

"Yeah, long time ago, I remember."

"So, you want us to go there now, on your tab?"

"No, I'm busy, maybe next time."

"No wahala! Nothing spoil!"

"I'll let you know when I'm ready."

"Ok now, we go holla!"

That was the 'kinda' chit-chat I had on the phone with structural designer, Ben Tokumbo Obafunwa, who had in the past called me all sorts of names when I criticized the horrible services of Ronke Bernadette's Lagos Cafe.

A couple of days after our chit-chat on Jerry's Place, Obafunwa called me again to find out if I had stopped by the newly arrived Nigerian eatery in Greater Los Angeles everybody is talking about:

"You don go the place?"

"Which place?"

"The place wey I bin tell you naw."

"Nooooo, u know say na money now for dis kain economy wey don dabaru kpatakpata!"

"Ah, you wey be baba nla."

"I see say you won begin run your mouth again! Basket mouth!"

"Ah, make man no talk o before you begin your wahala."

"Ok now, we go yan!"

It was like a must that I should visit Jerry's Place even though for some reason -- doctor's warning of high cholesterol, greasy Nigerian dishes -- that my intake of anu ewu, goat meat, nkwobi and all that ngwongwo stuff be limited. But 'man must wack,' you know! Also, there was no mention of a do-nothing, jumbled and bellicose Nd'House of Los Angeles gathering in this new eatery, which showed an indication of originality.

However, as it happened, and for a new eatery much had been said and talked about, I made up my mind to check it out. Not much of a drive though, and placing my order of okra soup, midly spiced, coupled with mixed meat and a bowl of pounded yam, I called Obafunwa to join me, on my tab, at Jerry's Place. Obafunwa ordered olugbo soup, bitter leaf and a variety of meat with dried fish and said "I will be there shortly." He arrived in about twenty-five minutes and his food was ready. Mine, too, was in order as justice was done the normal way -- eating with our fingers and swallowing the pounded yam, orishirishi soup pasted. It's tasty, Obafunwa would say, and I would agree.

Jerry's Place Restaurant, located at 12631 Hawthorne Boulevard in the City of Hawthorne, is run by Nnobi, Nigerian-born Geraldine Chinwe Okafor. Growing up in Uruala where she attended secondary school, she was friendly, showing an element of dignity on how to operate an effective and efficient eatery by way of engaging her customers into relative discussion, knowing who they are, and getting to ask questions about her service.

On my second visit, I had called and ordered a combination of okra and egusi soup to be swallowed with cooked, ground oat flour. "Your food will be ready in twenty minutes," she said. I arrived on time and my food was ready. Without a doubt, I liked the food and service, which is what I had looked for in a typical African-related restaurant, excellent customer relations. Practically, customers were trooping in picking up their orders of rice and stew, Jollof rice, fried akara, olugbo soup, porridged yam, ogbono soup, cooked, sliced cassava roots, what we Nd'Igbo call akpunkoro or abacha depending on dialect, and other varieties of menu too numerous to mention.

So far, Ms. Okafor, owner of Jerry's Place Restaurant is not doing badly, and for a start-up, and in these hard times, a B+ in my assessment.

Jerry's Place Fine African Cuisine is open from Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays. For contact:

Jerry's Place Fine African Cuisine
12633 Hawthorne Boulevard
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Tel: 310-970-0411
Fax: 310-970-0042

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rapper Yo-Yo and the Million Marijuana March

Rapper Yo-Yo being interviewed by one of the leading advocates for marijuana.

Rapper Yo-Yo signs autographs as the event unfolds.

Yo-Yo and a cast of marijuana advocates poses for the camera.

Anambra State-Nigeria-born Chi Chi performing one of her favorite tunes "Chukwu Nyere Anyi Aka" to wrap up the event.

An advocate wearing the Home Grown T-shirt and a performer on stage.

Kelly Love Jones holds her baby while entertaining the crowd as the cameraman takes his shots aground the stage.

Los Angeles, CA -- Saturday, May 08, 2010: It wasn't like the 2010 Playboy Jazz Festival Community Event Series I had attended a week earlier at the Beverly Hills Civic Center Plaza, on Rexford Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, which featured the Grammy-award winning pianist Ben Cunliffe and his Septet, or the swinging big band vibes of Johnny Crawford and his Orchestra, courtesy of Resonance Records.

It was the "Million Marijuana March" held on the grounds of the historical Leimert Park with an amazing crowd. Female rapper and hip-hop artist, Yo-Yo was around. Born Yolanda Whittaker, who back in the early 1990s exploded in Ice Cube's single "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" and a year later with her own debut album "Make Way For The Motherlobe" and the smash hit single "you Can't Play With My Yo-Yo?" featuring Cube, was obviously the center of attraction in an event of its own kind.

Chants of legalizing marijuana was in the air as in Peter Tosh' "Legalize It":

Legalize it; don't criticize it
legalize it, yeah, yeah
and I will advertize it

Some call it tampee
some call the weed
some call it marijuana
some of them call it ganja

it's good for the flu
it's good for asthma
it's good for tuberculosis
even umara composis;

And the music, too, was loud with a legendary Bob Marley's vibe:

One love! One heart
Let's get together and feel alright
Hear the children crying' (one love)
Hear the children crying' (one heart)
Saying give thanks and praise to the Lord
And I will feel alright
Saying let's get together and feel alright
Wo wo-wo wo-wo

Let them all pass their dirty remarks (One love)
There is one question I'd really love to ask (One Heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who hurt mankind just to save his own beliefs
One love! what about one heart? (one heart)
What about - ? let's get together and feel alright
As it was in the beginning (one love)
So shall it be in the end (one heart)...

Nevertheless, what mattered was the stuff that Rapper Yo-Yo does -- giving back to the community where she was raised with her youth foundation, "Let Your Light Shine Youth Foundation" along with Lana Moore. And my credo on that, is, by her foundation mentoring, educating and engaging in all kinds of social programs by way of providing positive influences to the youths of today.

Yo-Yo has worked alongside producers and artists in the likes of Missy Elliot, Keri Hilson, DJ Quik, Ceelo, DJ Toomp, Eric Sermon, The Lab Rats, Raheem Davon, among others. Also, her acting career sprang from the 1991 film "Boyz N The Hood" to "Menace II Society," etc.

So you go girl! It was all good!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hoha! (Pointblank): The Talkingheads on South Africa 2010

"I'm more of a realist. I don't think it will happen in 2010, but it will be something special if an African nation can win it because it's on the continent. I think if it was somewhere in west Africa, with the heat, then you could have said an African nation could win. But in South Africa it will be winter, so it will be more in the favour of the Europeans."

-------Steven Pienaar, South Africa/Everton midfielder predicting with certainty no African team will win the World Cup that begins next month when asked if he thought an African team could win the World Cup

"I think we can go far. Why not? First, it is imperative to go through the group stage. We need to concentrate on this target. We have three matches. First we need a win, and then a draw. This can send us through. Seriously, I think we will go through the group stage. Afterwards, I don't know how far we can progress."

-------Kafoumba Coulibay, OGC Nice/Ivory Coast midfielder when asked by on how far he thought Ivory Coast will progress in the World Cup.

"The beautiful game in High Definition is truly a remarkable thing to see. Any football enthusiast will tell you the difference between standard definition and HD is night and day. World Cup 2006 was the first to be shown in HD, but it was rare. It was far less common for someone to own an HD television than it is now as they were more expensive and people had yet to see a need. HD programming was not yet easily available to everyone, let alone on ESPN. It was more common on the networks, which is why World Cup 2006 games being seen in HD were mostly on ABC . HD was still in the beginning stages just four years ago."

-------Jake Islas, European Premier League (EPL) Talk podcaster on one of his five reasons why South Africa 2010 World Cup will be the best tournament.

Ever since we first bid for the World Cup, this is a road we have travelled. There have been doomsayers, but we have so far proved those people wrong and we will prove them wrong again.
From the moment Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, this country was written off. But we have struggled hard. You cannot determine your lives by having people say, 'You cannot do this'. Because if we were to have taken that position, I would still be living under apartheid. There is only mild hyperbole in this invoking of history. The World Cup is a massive chapter in the development of the democratic South Africa, an event of infinitely greater significance to its hosts than to Germany in 2006 or to France in 1998. And it will continue to have its doomsayers, but you can only hope that in 49 days they are wrong."

-------Danny Jordaan, Chief Executive of South Africa 2010 on the critics and his organizing committee about the World Cup.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Photo-Up: World Cup Update

Didier Drogba (Chelsea/Ivory Coast) and Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal) covers the June issue of Vanity Fair Magazine.

Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan/Ghana) and Samuel Eto'O (Inter Milan/Cameroon) pose for Annie Leibovitz of Vanity Fair Magazine in June 2010 issue.

I'm not sure why as a die harder and one who has in-depth passion for the sport from childhood not to have made any commentary on the world's most watched sport, all along. But like the saying goes, "nothing spoil," and I will be definitely popping up with some detailed analysis. So stay tuned!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Nigerian Jungle Blues and Sunday Cartoons

The ACF, Sunday Vanguard can also reveal, is insisting that the zoning arrangement of the PDP is a sure panacea for the evolution of equity in the country. A source in the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, told Sunday Vanguard that “what we are hearing is that the Acting President wants to contest the presidential election of next year and it is dividing the party....MORE @ VANGUARD