Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blog Archives--Good Eats

[There's a bunch of things that I typed up weeks ago, but never posted. Here's more Good Eats.]

I’ve been holding out on telling you about more good places to eat around Monrovia, so now I’m going to play catch-up.

PA’s: About two months ago, there was buzz about a new rib house opening. Then I noticed their sign in Sinkor—a picture of mouthwatering ribs drenched in BBQ sauce. I was incredibly skeptical that such a thing could even exist in Liberia! The place is owned by a few women who have spent a lot of time in the States, and they know their BBQ! The menu also has familiar things like burgers, salads, sandwiches, BBQ chicken and your typical appetizers. Sorry folks, they only serve Liberian dishes on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You can eat downstairs, which is more casual with fewer menu choices, but the prices are cheaper (so I’ve been told). When you walk inside upstairs, it feels like you’re not in Liberia. It’s a small place, with only about 15 tables, and on Saturday nights, the place is always full—usually because someone has reserved ahead of time for a larger party. If you arrive earlier (5-6pm), you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a table.
On our usual Saturday night, go-into-town and eat-out-trip, we unanimously voted to check out PA’s. On the first visit, all four of us got the same thing (“The Small Boy”)…and we were not disappointed! The Small Boy includes 4 (HUGE!) beef ribs, your choice of 2 sides (baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, green beans, french fries, mashed sweet potatoes) and a corn muffin….all for $8USD! It’s plenty of food! It was a quiet dinner, except for everyone licking their fingers. It was so good that we returned to PA’s the next Saturday. This time I got a burger with fries, which was pretty good (it actually tasted like a grilled burger at home, which you can’t find in Liberia), but next time I will be getting the ribs! The burger was also $8USD, so my logic is you can get super good ribs and yummy things like potato salad (which is a huge treat in Liberia) for the same price! Anyway, PA’s is located in Kapezee by the airfield—just look for the sign with super good looking BBQ on it! Then follow the signs off of Tubman Road, except at the first sign, where the arrow points to the left, you actually keep going straight, and bend to the right. At the second sign, follow the arrow to the left, and you’ll run right into it.
P.S. We went to PA’s again this past weekend. It finally showed signs of being a Liberian restaurant. The biggest disappointment was that they didn’t have any potato salad, and there were a few things on the menu that were not available (which is very typical here). But the ribs were still good and bigger than ever (I could only eat 3), and I settled for the coleslaw.

TAAJ: Looking for Indian food in Africa? If so, head to the TAAJ. It’s located in Sinkor…6th Street maybe? I actually ate here about 2 months ago, so I don’t remember a lot about the menu. I got chicken curry with rice and it was $10USD. I had plenty of food (2 big pieces of chicken with sauce and a big bowl of rice)…and it was pretty tasty! You sit outside under a covered area, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll be playing a football game or a Bollywood film on the projector. They have a really large menu…chicken, beef, vegetarian, etc. and the prices are reasonable, and you won’t leave hungry.

The Royal Hotel: This is the white people mecca in Monrovia. I admit, I haven’t eaten anything off their menu other than a plate of French fries, which were just ok. If you need to feel like you’re in the West for the afternoon, then you go to The Royal. There’s plenty of freezing cold air-conditioning for everyone! They have free wireless internet, that’s sometimes pretty speedy, and other times, not so speedy. It’s a good place to retreat for the afternoon to catch up on emails. They just recently got a new menu, which translates into a price increase! The burger is $12USD. They also have started doing themed days…like Tuesdays is a taco buffet, which I haven’t tried, but it looks and smells really good….I think it’s either $10 or $12. On Friday there’s a BBQ buffet, but I’m not sure what that means. On Sundays they have a brunch buffet. We’ve been debating on whether it’s worth the new price of $15USD, but in celebration of Andrew’s last day in Liberia, we decided to try it out. The food was alright, but I for sure didn’t feel like I got my $15 worth…I can’t even eat $!5 worth of food these days. They have pancakes and pastries, a salad bar, hummus, moutabal, quiches, hot dishes like pasta, curry chicken, rice and beans, beef in gravy, and a few desserts to choose from. The buffet also includes juice and coffee. The beginning of our meal was accompanied by wireless internet, but about 20 minutes in, the staff walked around to inform everyone that they were turning off the wireless…BOO…cheap shot Royal! My vote is I’ll stick to ordering snacks while I’m using the wireless.

King Burger: Located in town on Broad Street, King Burger is probably the closest thing there is to fast food (that doesn’t involve rice). I will say, it was quite an interesting burger…more like a slice of roast beef on a bun, with cucumber and non-American ketchup. It’s very affordable (a cheeseburger was 190LD….about $3). The place is small and alittle dingy—think Waffle House, but they had CNN on! If you’re looking for a quick, cheap bite, and as long as you’re not expecting a big fat juicy burger, then you’ll be alright.

MonaLiza: Located in Sinkor, across from UN Drive Supermarket. The place is large, clean and well air-conditioned. The menu has a lot of choices—pizzas, Lebanese food, salads, sandwiches, the burger…but the best thing is the long pastry/ice cream counter on the side of the room! I don’t want to plug them too much because when I was here last year, this was the only place I ate out at….5 times in 1 month! The food is nothing special, it’s priced fairly…the ice cream is pretty good (it’s cold!), but it is Lebanese (like really gooey and stringy gelato). The best thing in the place is their macaroons, but they don’t call them that. I recommend just stopping in to pick up a few chewy macaroons to much on while you run you errands in town, or to take home for a sweet treat!


Tyler said...

sounds wearily delicious. it's weird reading posts like this; as if i'll be "in town" next weekend to try out these places. you sound more and more like that history teacher i once had.

tyronebcookin said...

just wondering...are you sure its not the SAAJ?

At the Saaj (which sounds exactly as you have described it) the 'chicken bread' is delicious and consistent.

Although if your with a party of four or more your food comes out randomly...but I have come to except this, some things never change.

The Garden (chinese restaurant) right before Elwa Junction on the right side of the road going towards Elwa was also great for chinese food (their menu flips over for a more European menu on the other side)

The food (which I tasted a few dishes of my fellow eaters) was better than the Great Wall (at least I thought so) even though the Great Wall had a more extensive menu...

Here are a few things that I liked at The Great Wall - the smoked duck appetizer was delicious, also the fried or tempura shrimp smelled and tasted like it was cooked in a corn fritter batter...maybe it was just me? Or maybe the oil had been previously used for something else...interesting but delicious. Sweet & Sour Pork was average.

The Great Wall is in the same area as the Royal and the Saaj.

Thanks for the PA write up, this wednesday night I'll be checking it out.

Ashley said...

I'm positive--it's TAAJ. SAAJ just something else...but I do recommend the chicken bread there, if you're willing to part with 10 bucks.

I keep forgetting to review The Garden. If you want chinese in Liberia, go here! I've been here twice, and it's been very good both times. I've never been to The Great Wall, so I can't comment there.

tyronebcookin said...

Ok, well the Saaj House on 18th street beachside has chicken bread for about 7 or 8 dollars unless the price went up again...they are about the size of a small pizza (like 2 pita breads stuffed full of chicken, pickle, lettuce, tomato, etc...)

P.A's rib house was good, but as I have notice and several other people that went at different times, the ribs usually do not come out hot, or even warm. I did like the mashed sweet potato (which is like a fried croquet).

But as you have mentioned in your post they tend to be missing food when you order, unfortunately I went with a big group of guys last night and guess what? NO RIBEYE STEAK! Yep we were a little disappointed about the steak, and temperature of the ribs. But it was good.

I'll be looking for your next food review, thanks!