2/16/2023: From Nigeria to Kalamazoo

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The Daily News and Events Roundup

For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County

Thursday, February 16, 2023

High 35°/Low 18° Wintry mix

Isa Clark spent many hours in the kitchen growing up in the Niger Delta region, helping feed an extended family and a steady stream of visitors. Now it’s the Kalamazoo community’s time to feast. Also: A lockdown at Parchment Middle School turned up no threat. And the USPS has postponed a controversial consolidation plan.

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Nigerian fusion food comes to Kalamazoo

A plate of egusi stew and fufu

The importance of family was ingrained into Isa Clark at a young age. Growing up in Nigeria, his father welcomed their extended family into their home. That’s a lot of mouths to feed – happily. Isa credits his upbringing as foundational to his work now as the Executive Chef of Clark’s Special Kitchen, a catering business offering Nigerian Fusion cuisine in Kalamazoo.

“We believe so much in family and we have a bunch of kids and food is always an essential part of family,” says Clark. “My father had a strict policy that you had to be busy doing something, even if you had nothing to do, so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.”

That dedication to family is also what drove Clark to Kalamazoo. In 2017, when his daughter was born in the United States but his relationship with her mother didn’t work out, he decided to stay close to her. He left a successful financial services business back in Nigeria. Stateside, he found fulfillment in cooking the foods of his home country and sharing his culture with his new community. Clark started out offering dinners during the holidays. That led to him gaining clients for bigger events which then inspired his current dream: to own a catering business and a food truck.

When NowKalamazoo visited with Clark, he prepared his rendition of Egusi Stew with fufu, a dish that’s trending around the world.

Click here to watch him cook it and to find out more about his story

NowKalamazoo Partner Event

Baklava to Benefit Earthquake Victims

Channon Mondoux standing in a kitchen

We told you a few weeks ago that our Kzoo Kitchens writer, chef, and food historian Channon Mondoux was heading back to Turkey to continue her research into the traditional recipes of baklava.

On her itinerary are parts of southwest Turkey, to learn in real time about recipes that have been passed down by generations. This region is now trying to recover from the devastating earthquake that struck earlier this month.

Mondoux along with Amo Mazen of Bab El Salam Restaurant will be selling her custom baked baklavas to raise recovery funds, which she will deliver in person.

The types of baklava available include one recipe that originates in the historical Karaman region, where the earthquake hit:

  • Vegan with Apricot Jam
  • Almost with Orange Flower Water
  • Walnut with Honey
  • Baklava Ve Karaman (Green Lentil, Honey, and Pistachio)

Fundraiser for Earthquake Victims

February 18, 2023
Bab El Salam Restaurant
129 W Centre Ave in Portage

baklava cut into a star pattern

More News You Need To Know

No weapons found during middle school lockdown

Police responded to a report of a student with a gun at Parchment Middle School Wednesday morning. Fortunately, the threat turned out to not be credible, according to Kalamazoo Township police. Nonetheless, the school was placed on lockdown for several hours as police searched the school.

The call came in around 11:00am after a student reported hearing another student say they had a gun. The school was locked down for about 2.5 hours while a K-9 unit searched the building. In the end, nobody was physically hurt, though several parents were angry. “We sat out here in cars and didn’t hear information,” parent Thomas Huntley told MLive. Many are especially on edge following shootings at Michigan State University earlier this week. [MLive]

Controversial USPS consolidation postponed

The U.S. Postal Service still plans to consolidate mail processing in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas, but it appears to have delayed those plans for at least a little while. The announcement drew criticism, including from then-Representative Fred Upton, because of inefficiency and the toll it would take on workers. “[Postal workers] are literally going to be driving perhaps as many as a hundred miles more a day,” said Upton in an interview with WMUK. “You’re just going to put an added burden on that man or woman.”

Despite the criticism, that consolidation plan moved forward. It was supposed to be implemented this month or next. But Kevin Trayer, the Michigan-area vice president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, said it’s been delayed until at least June. A spokesperson for USPS wouldn’t confirm that timeline, but did say they don’t have a firm date. [WMUK]

NowKalamazoo Partner Event
Sounds of the Zoo and Raising Hope logos

A Benefit Concert for The Tiny House Pilot Project

The Skeletones | Samuel Nalangira | Headband Henny
Thursday, Feb. 16
6:30pm @ Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
$10 | 21+

A night of live music in the Bell’s Back Room raising money for the Tiny Houses of HOPE Pilot Project, an affordable housing project in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. It’s part of an ongoing series by Sounds of the Zoo to increase visibility of local artists and the music scene.

Members of the band The Skeletones pose with their instruments
The Skeletones
Samuel Nalangira plays a stringed instrument and sings into a microphone
Samuel Nalangira
Headband Henny performing with his backup band
Headband Henny

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Restaurant Week – Downtown Kalamazoo

Another Evening with Amy Grant – Radisson Plaza Hotel
6:00PM 2/16

Adult African Diasporic Dance – Rootead
6:30PM 2/16

Sounds of the Zoo and Hope Thru Navigation Presents A Black History Month Benefit Concert for The Tiny House Pilot Project – Bell’s Eccentric Café
7:00PM 2/16

Kettle Belles – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 2/16

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 2/16

Vintage + Handmade Pop-Up Market – Louie’s Trophy House
5:00PM 2/17

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 2/17

Jon Hayes “Between You & Me” Album Release Show – The Clover Room
6:30PM 2/17

Brian McClure – The Thirsty Hound
6:30PM 2/17

Gull Lake Community Schools Piano Concert by Pierre & Sophie van der Westhuizen – Gull Lake Center for the Fine Arts
7:00PM 2/17

The Incantations and The Whiskey Charmers – Old Dog Tavern
7:00PM 2/17

Bob Wallis – Live Music – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 2/17

First Date – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
7:30pm 2/17-18; 2pm 2/19

Museum – WMU, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
7:30pm 2/17-18, 2/24-25; 1pm 2/19, 2/26; 4pm 2/19, 2026

Cats – Miller Auditorium
7:30pm 2/17-18, 2pm 2/18

Echoes of Pink Floyd – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/17

The Moody Coyotes – Final Gravity Brewing Co.
8:00PM 2/17

Comedy Showcase – Dave’s Bar
8:00PM 2/17

Creative Wilderness Day Retrea – Kalamazoo Nature Center
8:30AM 2/18

Shipshewana on the Road – Kalamazoo county Expo Center
9am 2/18, 10am 2/19

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo – Kalamazoo county Expo Center
10am 2/18-19

UPROOTED: Journey of Jazz Dance – Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers
2/18 2:00 PM

Community Concert: Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra – Portage District Library
3:00PM 2/18

Baklava Fundraiser for the People of Turkey and Syria – Bab El Salam Restaurant
6:30PM 2/18

February Freeze Out – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 2/18

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 2/18

Char Jones Music – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 2/18

Echoes of Pink Floyd – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/18

See more upcoming events here.

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