“OMG IS THAT ANTHONY BOURDAIN?!” R exclaimed as we drove by the Radisson Blu hotel, located in the Victoria Island area of Lagos.
“OMG I THINK IT IS!” I replied, excited to have experienced my first celebrity sighting.
The stylish, tall, lean, and unimpressed man that we *think* was Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, was standing outside the hotel, waiting on a car to pick him up.
We, the peons that we are, were driving just to the other side of the hotel, but still on the hotel grounds, to a little piece of heaven, a gelato shop named Hans & Rene.
“Should we go back up the hill and try to, uhhh, I don’t know, like, talk to him?” I asked R as I peered out the floor to ceiling glass pane wall of the gelato shop.
“Nooooooooo,” he replied. What else would I expect him to say?
I somewhat quickly became disinterested in the possibility of meeting a crabby celebrity chef when I remembered where I was. I turned to browse the cupcake area of the gelato shop. The delicious little treat that I hoped would be there, the pumpkin pistachio cupcake, was not there. “It’s probably seasonal,” R said, trying to console me as I took a deep sigh.
I recovered from my cupcake heartbreak when a tall, young Nigerian gelato shop worker offered to give me a taste of two flavors mixed together. To be honest, when he offered the gelato sample to me, I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what he’d said, I just nodded and tried to seem pleasant. I figured that nodding and smiling was safe to do in a gelato shop. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen in a gelato shop?
Like I have mentioned several times in this blog, between my old people hearing abilities and the Nigerian cultural tendency towards what I affectionately call “low talking”, a lot of times, I have no idea what people are saying to me. Believe it or not, I am very good at picking up on accents and understanding folks, even people with very strong lisps. But the trick to understanding an accent is actually being able to HEAR the people talking. For me, in Lagos, that doesn’t happen often.
The shop worker accepted my nod and smile and proceeded to scoop a tiny bit of salted caramel with a tiny bit of pistachio gelato onto a little, pink, plastic spoon. You know the kind, apparently, little pink spoons are synonymous with gelato / ice cream no matter where you are in the world. I wonder what the guy who invented ice cream spoons does with all the millions of dollars he made by inventing tiny, pink, plastic spoons.
I tasted the seemingly odd flavor combination and to my surprise, it was AMAZING. I immediately asked the shop worker to give R a taste of the concoction. R’s eyes seem to glimmer a brighter blue when he tasted it. I was sold.
I asked for a little bit of both flavors, but I received two full scoops of both. Ah, oh, well, close enough, I suppose.
R opted for a more fruity blend of gelato. I think his flavors were mango and blackberry.
I am quite fond of H&R and now I have a great little memory to go with my tales of this place: a relatively sure sighting of celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain at the nearby hotel. Somehow, having seen, but not actually met, the fussy chef made my gelato taste better. Plus, the interior of this little place is just so cute and happy!
Several children came into the shop after we sat down to eat. Each child seemed to dance in front of the display cases a little more vigorously than the last. Perhaps those children got to meet Mr. Bourdain and he had recommended this place to them.
We left H&R with bellies full of gelato (R’s belly more full than mine since he generously helped me eat some of my gelato as well as polishing off his own two scoops) and a box full of cupcakes.
Wherever you are in the world, tell me where your favorite place to grab a sweet treat! Leave a comment below.
Until tomorrow, my friends…