NOTA (None Of The Above); West African Food in NYC

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Sun Jan 25 11:03:56 UTC 2004

   OED has reached this letter ("N") and "NOTA" (None Of The Above) is not 
   See this week's article in NEW YORK PRESS, January 21-27, 2004, pg. 14:
   A workable alternative to New York's system of bad choice/no choice has 
been used in Nevada for a generation.  One of the Silver State's attractions 
(besides the absence of state income tax) is its voters' right to vote against 
all candidates.  SInce 1975, under Nevada Revised Statutes 293.269, ballots for 
statewide offices or for president and vice president must always carry "None 
of these Candidates."
   Consequently, you can beat somebody with nobody.  In 1976, "None of these 
Candidates" won the Republic congressional primary with 47.3 percent of the 
vote, much to the embarrassment of the hack perennial candidates left far 
behind.  )...)
   Nut Nevada law still lets the candidat woth the most votes be elected or 
nominated, even if "None of these Candidates" wins.  It's a safety valve, not a 
barrier to the hacks.  A better option would be to require a new electio0n if 
"None of these Candidates" outpolled the candidates, with the losers barred 
from the ballot.  THis is the practice in Russia and a few Eastern European 
countires, where voters may simply reject all the candidates and try again.
   The option of voting for "none of these Candidates," or "none of the 
Above"--called NOTA for short--enjoys support on both left and right.  _The Wall 
Street Journal_ endorsed NOTA in 1996, after Rep. Wes Cooley of Oregon was 
re-nominated despite being exposed as both a fraud and a phony war hero.
   See,   There are links to these "NOTA" articles:
The Wall Street Journal,  Editorial, June 3, 1996
   from In the Public Interest,  by Ralph Nader
The Boston Globe,  Editorial, September 16, 1990 
The Union Leader - New Hampshire Sunday News,  Editorial, May 18, 1992 None 
of the Above --- The People's Veto,  by Gary Hoover  
'None of the Above' on Pennsylvania election ballots,  by Steve Lilienthal 
The Case For None Of The Above,  by Tony Miller, Acting Secretary of State of 
NOTA: Cutting the Big Boys Down To Size,  by Ralph Nader 
The Right To Vote No: NOTA Ballot Options,  by  John J. Pitney, Jr. Binding 
NOTA, by John Murray, Washington State Campaign for Democracy 
"None of the Above" Wins in Election Night Landslide!  by Andrew B. Spiegel 
None of the Above  By the Horace Mann Review staff Commentary by Jim 
   "NOTA (None of the Above)" has 3.750 Google hits and 1,930 Google Groups 
   The NEW YORK PRESS article continues:  "Having spent nearly 15 years in 
City Hall, I speak from personal experience in suggesting that most politicians 
only pay lip service to democracy."  That rings true to me.  Try solving "the 
Big Apple" and begging your "elected representatives" for twelve years to give 
you a simple reply.   Try having your work place explode and begging your 
"elected representatives" for weeks for a simple reply about a fire exit.
   In this week's VILLAGE VOICE, January 21-27, 2004, Pg. 52, Robert Sietsema 
again covers West African food and begins:  "There are three dozen West 
African restaurants currently operating in Gotham."
   Nothing can possibly beat paying thousands of dollars, enduring 13-hours 
travel days of bumpy roads, stopping numerous times at Total or Shell gas 
stations for old ladies to go, seeing your vehicle break down three times, riding 
an uncomfortable camel, and finally reaching Timbuktoo and having a moonlight 
dinner of "couscous and sand."  But this is the next best thing to being there:
Counter Culture
by Robert Sietsema
Grains of Paradise
West African cooking crawls toward the mainstream on Canal
Les Enfants Terribles 
37 Canal Street 
There are three dozen West African restaurants currently operating in Gotham. 
Located in every borough, these places offer food that ranges from 
okra-sauced fufus to peanut-crusted kebabs to cassava stodges topped with fried fish, 
exhibiting novel and powerful flavors unknown to most Americans. You'd think 
such a rich trove would have long since been raided by chefs, who have been 
combing the planet for new tastes. But these restaurants have been ignored by the 
media and the dining public, and truth be told, few have actively tried to 
recruit a wider audience. 
But inevitably, African flavors will work their way into our cuisine, as they 
did centuries ago when first introduced by slaves. This time the point of 
entry is not the plantation kitchen, but the French bistro. Named after a film 
about an incestuous brother and sister written by Jean Cocteau, Les Enfants 
Terribles is located on the dark eastern end of Canal Street. The chef, Abdhul 
Traore, hails from Côte d'Ivoire, and he's making a noble attempt to incorporate 
elements of West African cooking into his menu. I happen to believe the 
attempts are way too timid, and that local diners—as their current love affair with 
chile peppers, garlic, and gorgonzola has proven—are ready for flavors every 
bit as sharp as Mother Africa can provide. We embraced sun-dried tomatoes, why 
not sun-dried stockfish? 
Les Enfants' sirloin steak ($18.50), called by the tongue-tying name of 
korhogofefemougou, is an impressive rhomb of meat that arrives grilled to order and 
lightly dusted with kola and guinea pepper. A roundish red nut, the former 
was one of Coca-Cola's original ingredients. Africans chew kola nuts for hours 
on end for their bitter taste and caffeine kick. Guinea pepper—also known as 
"grains of paradise"—is a kernel that delivers a mellow burn and a slightly 
sweet taste. Native to West Africa, it was popular in Europe during the Middle 
Ages as a cheap substitute for black pepper. 
A very good marinated and braised chicken ($16) comes with "sauce mafe." As 
served in local Senegalese cafés like La Marmite (see Chow Choices), mafe is a 
lake of spicy peanut sauce with an island or two of chicken or lamb. At Les 
Enfants, the roles are reversed, with a huge mass of chicken and a comically 
small cup of mafe. Though the sauce is bland by African standards, the quantity 
is sufficient to give you the general idea. Still, the chicken does fine on its 
own, and I suspect most diners simply ignore the peanut sauce. Another of the 
chef's Senegalese inspirations is the side of plainish red rice that comes 
with three bacon-wrapped scallops. Though the menu calls it "tcheboudjenn," it 
has none of the tart and fishy complexity of real cheb, alas! 
The menu plays around with Moroccan flavors with some success in casbah lamb 
($17), a monster shank surrounded by a dice of root vegetables, and Brazilian 
flavors too, in the skirt steak called picanha à la Jobim. But look to the 
list of sides to find the dish dearest to the hearts of Ivory Coast residents. 
The twice-fried plantain chips ($4) are known as aloko back home, and often 
constitute an entire meal when accompanied by a spicy red sauce. At Les Enfants 
the sauce is none too spicy, but once again, you'll get the general idea. 

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