The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Ethiopian and some pudding

Oh jesus, I'm falling behind. What did I eat? Yesterday? Day before? I...just don't know...the sky, it's getting darker...organ failure is commencing...heart palpitating...

[flumps over]

Thankfully, I have flickr to remind me what I ate, a handy tool when my brain is of no use. Absolutely. Useless. Thing. Taking up space. Forming these sentence fragments you see before you.

I ate out somewhat randomly on Friday night with Nancy (a friend/former classmate) and her friend, Dave, visiting from Cornell. We didn't have anything in mind but by browsing around Menupages, we settled on Mara's Homemade. The prospect of fried chicken and cake (mainly the cake for me) made out bodies moan, "Oh god, you're gonna fill me with crap, aren't you?", while at the same time made our, they just drooled and made incomprehensible "mraaah"-like noises.

[On a totally unrelated note, my roommate put a plug-in type air freshener in the kitchen. It was alright for a while but now EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE A CANDY FACTORY EXPLODED IN OUR ROOM. Or. I don't know. It's not quite like a candy factory, but maybe...a factory that makes floral-esque scented candy? There's something uber-artificial about it (well, liquid scents that you plug into a wall probably tend to be that way) nose...MY NOSE IS BEING RAPED WITH CHEMICALS. How's yours? Fine? Dandy? Good.]


Alas, Mara is too popular for us common folk (who don't make reservations on Friday so we tried the neighboring Ethiopian restaurant, Awash. None of us had ever eaten Ethiopian food before, which to me was a clear reason as to why we should try it. CLEAR AS A PAPER BAG DIPPED IN GREASE. While there were a gazillion Indian restaurants nearby (I've never actually walked on East 6th Street before, fancy that) that we'd probably enjoy, I insisted, "WE WANT ETHIOPIAN!" and then dragged Nancy and Dave inside after shooting them with tranquilizer darts.

Meat Sambusa
meat sambusa

Ordering was a bit hard considering we had no idea what Ethiopian food was like, but the waiter recommended meat sambusa as an appetizer, which consists of...meat and sambusa. To be more specific, the menu described it as "pastry shells filled with spiced chopped beef".

Meat Sambusa

Whoaaa, this was good. It reminded me of a delicate spring roll made of phyllo dough whose outside layers were light and crispy and the innermost layers, soft and chewy. The ground beef filling taste light (well, for meat) and flavorful without being fatty. As for the flavor, it Uh. "Spicy". Could I get any more vague? (YES: "meaty".) There's a bit of heat in the flavor, although nothing approaching unbearable. I'd love to eat a loaf of sambusa, but I doubt they come in loaf form. Overall, meat sambusa is delicious stuff that I wouldn't hesitate to eat again.

combo plate
combo plate

For our main meal, we ordered a two-person combination platter of two meat dishes and three vegetarian dishes (which was why we were required to order an appetizer, although I think that worked out for the best since it was so good). Ethiopian food is eaten sans silverware; instead, you pick up food using teff injera, a pancake-like bread traditionally made from teff flour.

Teff Injera
teff injera

The injera came in long, neat rolls, which instantly reminded me of carpet. Not that you need me to tell you, but it's much tastier than carpet. (Assuming I have any idea what carpet tastes like, which I don't. That's probably for the best.) The bread has a pancake-esque texture, but is spongier and more elastic than your regular breakfast pancake. Taste-wise, it's sour due to the dough being fermented; if you don't like sourdough bread, start learning to love it now. It's soft, moist, pliable, and doesn't easily become soggy in the process of handling sauces; overall, it's a great utensil for eating other...stuff, such as those that comes in sauce, paste, or cubed meat form. (Mmm, you know you want cubed meat.)

As for the exact names of what we ate, I can't really help you there. The meats were chicken and lamb and the vegetables included chickpea, potato, green bean, and other stuff of plant-origin I can't remember. What I can tell you is that we liked everything, resulting in this aftermath:


Even though we split the two-person portion between the three of us, we were insanely stuffed (it would probably help to tell you that we went through about five injera rolls, which are definitely filling). The appetizer was pretty small so I wouldn't say it contributed greatly to our joint feeling of, "Oh shit, can't move."

Of course, you don't think we ended the night without dessert, do you? DO YOU? Nuh. You know me better than that. The chances of us not piling some sugary concoctions atop the mountains of savory protein, fat, and carb goo churning in our stomachs were as high as me ever failing to be amused by this bunny sticking its tongue out, which will NEVER FAIL TO AMUSE ME, EVER! Oh god, do you see that bunny? It's ripping out my organs and stomping on them repeatedly with pointy glass shards of cuteness! AGRHGARGHRH!! SWEET PAIN!

dessert trio
dessert trio we waddled down to Sugar Sweet Sunshine and got some tasty treats (because Sugar Sweet Sunshine is capable of selling only tasty treats). Nancy got a chunk of pumpkin cake, Dave settled on a mini cheesecake, and I returned to the piggy pudding, the only dessert I've gotten twice so far in SSS.

piggy pudding
piggy pudding

Ahhh, what do you see in this cross-section? Shortbread cookie crust, sweet cream cheese, chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and nuts. That feeling you just felt while reading that last sentence was of your body conjuring a few pounds out of nowhere and distributing it over your entire body. Swell! Despite all those fat-bomb ingredients, the dessert isn't actually that heavy. Per se. The cookie and the cream parts feel somewhat light. However, you will feel like a pig after eating it.

Of course, you can't go wrong with a combination like that (unless you're allergic to dairy, nuts, chocolate,, but for some reason it just didn't taste as good as the first time I ate it last summer. I think it's because I sampled Nancy's and Dave's desserts, which were sweeter, thus weakening the piggy pudding's flavor in comparison. Of course, there's always the chance that this batch just wasn't as good as the one I had before. [siiiiigh] However, I'd rather blame it on "too-many-desserts interference". Being the sugar freak that I am, I still ate the whole thing. I wouldn't object to eating a bucket of it if I didn't think that act may kill me/send me to hell.

Since Friday, I've eaten a lot. Unlike last Sunday, today wasn't spend getting better acquainted with my toilet bowl's topography (if you missed it, I was in a state of possibly food poisoning-induced puking-ness last week). I did pig out last night for my first Cantonese Chinese New Year dinner, but you'll have to hear about it later, or never if I'm lazy enough.


lori / January 30, 2006 12:59 AM

Hey, you celebrate Chinese New Year? Anyway, I just wanted to say that when faced with a selection of desserts, you should eat the sweetest one last. That's so that you don't experience what you so eloquently call "dessert interference." Really.

roboppy / January 30, 2006 10:32 AM

Lori: Actually, I don't really celebrate it. Up until 8th grade, I did receive hong bao and from 1996-1998 I celebrated it while living in Taiwan (hard not to when everyone else is celebrating it and you get a nice long vacation, hehe) but I haven't celebrated it in America. Last year for CNY I did nothing, besides mope a bit. :P

I didn't know my pudding would be so much lower on the sweetness scale. Waagh! But now I do. At least it didn't interfere with Nancy's or Dave's desserts!

Wei / January 30, 2006 11:09 AM

The appeitzer looks really good. Flaky crust + spicy meat.. how can anyone not like that. Spongy pancakes.. hm.. That reminded me of Middle Eastern food. Except it wasn't wrapped up like a burrito.

I mistakened that pumpkin cake for carrot cake. Do they taste the same? That pie you had reminded me of a Mississippi mud pie that I had once in a post-doc interview. The slice was massive and it made all my colleagues gasp.. heh.

Kathy / January 30, 2006 2:18 PM

Xi Nian Kuai Le!

I've never craved CARPET so much...ooh...spongy and sourdough! Open to any form of bread! Crap you have no idea how excited I am about spring break.

roboppy / January 30, 2006 4:12 PM

Wei: Flaky crust + spicy meat = mmmmm! Each component is good on its own too. :D I ought to hit up some middle eastern restaurants next time I go on a random fooding spree.

The cake did kinda taste carrot-y, I guess from similar spices. The frosting was also kind of cream cheesy, although not as much as regular carrot cake, I think. I've never had Mississippi Mud Pie...OH GOD, it looks the same, and uber delicious. AHHH! GIMMEEE! Dare I ask what this pie was doing at a post-doc interview?

Kathy: Xi Nian Kuai Le!...hey, that actually sounds familiar. WOO. I still suck at Chinese, but whatever. Too many dialects, as Yongfook said. Be sure to try some Ethiopian food when you get here! :D

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