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Art, Bratwurst and Suya

October 6, 2009

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Nate and I were planning on going to the Virginia State Fair this past weekend, but it didn’t happen.  The reason for this is because there was an awesome art festival going on right in front of our house, complete with food and music.  There was absolutely no reason to go to the fair when all the best parts had come straight to us.

I took this picture leaning out of our living room window:

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And then there was the food.  Oh, the food.   A lot of the Del Ray restaurants had set up little stands where they were selling their wares, and my favorite, hands-down, was Let’s Meat on the Avenue.  They had made their own bratwurst, using someone’s grandma’s recipe from Germany, complete with German sauerkraut, a bun that stood up well against the brat, and mustard (no ketchup).  I’ve had a lot of brats in my day, what with being from Wisconsin and all, and I’ve gotta say that these were some of the best brats I’ve ever had (sorry, Dad).  Oh my goodness.  I was hoping they wouldn’t sell them all and then I could go back later and buy a bunch, but that wasn’t the case.

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I passed one food stand in particular that literally made me jump up and down and shriek like an eight-year-old girl: a suya stand.  Chicken suya (pronounced SUE-yah) was my absolute most favorite thing to eat when I was in Nigeria last summer, and I have since mourned the fact that I didn’t know when I would get to eat it again.  The beef suya was a bit dodgy because you weren’t guaranteed to get 100% meat: there might also be some grilled liver or intestines or other stuff.  It made for an unpleasant surprise.  If you’re a strictly-meat kind of person, chicken suya is the way to go. (You could ask for all-meat beef suya, but it’s hard to tell the difference between grilled kidneys and meat without tasting it).

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This is what the suya-making process looks like in Nigeria (taken when I was in Jos last summer):

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This is what suya-making in the states, two block from my apartment, looks like:

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The main difference is that in Nigeria (I’m not going to generalize to all of Africa, as it is a very large continent and might be done differently elsewhere, although I don’t know if they have suya in the rest of Africa… hmmm)they throw the whole chicken in the grill, including the gizzards and the head.  This suya was on a nice little stick, farther removed from its original chickeny state.  The suya was nice and spicey, as I’d hoped, but it had a kind of wierd breading on it.  However, beggars can’t be chosers and I was not complaining.

Besides all the great food, there were also loads of cute doggies.  Events such as this never cease to elicit endless wails  of  “I want a dog!” and numerous pouts, but until we move that will not be possible.  It makes me so sad.

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Don’t tell me that puppy isn’t absolutely adorable.

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Oh, and there was art too.  But who cares about that when there’s so much good food to be eaten and so many cute dogs that want to be petted?

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