August 9, 2006
Makeda, Mitsuwa, and Otto
SWEET BABY JESUS, I AM IN A DITCH OF "STUFF I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT, BUT HAVEN'T GOTTEN TO YET," AND...I...AM TRYING TO ESCAPE......
[breathe in, breathe out, just like they do in lamaze, or something]
This entry may not make the top ten/hundred, but here I go anyway.
On Monday I met up with chocolate making extraordinaire Deb at Ethiopian restaurant Makeda for lunch with my mum in tow. I've never brought my mum to a "meet another food blogger" meal before, but she likes food. ...And I suck at driving to places I'm not familiar with (probably not that good at driving to places I am familiar with), which was the main reason I needed her to come along. Besides that I love her so very much!
The spacious, wood-accented restaurant only had a few customers, which is too bad because their $9 lunch special is yummy and filling. As for how good it is compared to other Ethiopian food, I have absolutely no idea how it rates. Ethiopian eateries aren't exactly ubiquitous around these parts of suburbia, nor in NYC. At the very least, I can confidently say that in the overly general scheme of "food", it's great stuff and unique if you haven't eaten it before.
I don't remember exactly what I ordered, but it may have been this:
- Minchetabesh - Finely shopped prime rib, pan fried with ginger, onion, cardamom and white pepper until golden, then sauteed in Ethiopian's famous Keywat. Hot.
- Atakilt Wat - Fresh green beans, carrots potatoes, green peppers, cabbage and onions, sauteed with garlic, ginger and tomatoes
- [insert name] - Damn, I forgot.
Overall impression? All...yummy. I know that's horribly undescriptive, but I'm not going to make something up. They ain't kidding when they say "finely chopped"; it's like meat stew. Which is fine with me. I liked the vegetable portion (right-most item on the plate), but I can't remember what it was, and the pureed quality of it doesn't make it recognizable. At the very least, I can make out the potato and vegetable medly. My ability to recognize flavors is pathetic, so I'll just say that I don't think anyone would find this food too bland or overwhelming. I'd hope that most people would find it interesting and tasty, unless they're insanely unadventurous.
While you could ask for silverware, you're supposed to pick up the food by using the included injera, a spongy, flat sourdough bread that soaks in all the saucy goodness. You don't mind getting your hands a little messy, right? I mean, you will wash them. Eventually. I hope. They give you napkins to wipe your hands with before and after the meal if you're concerned about that. Aside from a splodgey big of overly soaked injera in the middle of my plate, I chowed down everything. Unfortunately, it's the Robyn way.
Deb and my mum ordered the same thing (or rather, my mum ordered the same thing as Deb). They also both used forks. LIKE TWINS, THEY ARE!
Although the dessert menu is about as Ethiopian as I am, my mum and I topped off our already stuffed bellies with mousse cakes with surprisingly awesome results. My "Ultimate White Chocolate Mousse Cake" consisting of "pure white chocolate and whipped heavy cream over a buttery cookie crust, topped with swirls of ganache" was as good as it sounds (the assumption being that it sounds damn good). The texture was "medium"—not too heavy or light, kind of like a cheesecake, but instead of the slightly tangy cheesecake flavor that fails to capture my sweet-lovin' heart, it just filled my mouth with smooth, sweet, vanilla white chocolate-ness. Awesome, really. I'd want to eat it again.
The description of my mum's chocolate mousse cake, "a very light chocolate mousse with an oreo crust and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings", also proved to be truthful. The texture was lighter than my cake and it had a smooth chocolate flavor that wasn't too sweet or bitter. My mum declared it the best chocolate mousse cake she's ever had! Check out Deb's blog for a photo of my smiling mum and her cake chunk. ;)
Great entrees, sinfully tasty desserts, friendly service, and a cool environment make me wish I lived closer than a 90-minute drive to Makeda. [sigh] Thanks to Deb for the suggestion and for giving my my mum and I a box of her adorable chocolates.
You can buy Deb's Delectables for yourself. Hell, you can buy a box of 100 chocolates in a special box that comes with a freakin' handle so that you can lug your chocs to your secret "chocolate gorging" location in that secluded cave in the woods (as opposed to the non-secluded one)...yeah, I can see you.
Not creepy. Not creepy at all.
Mitsuwa steals my non-Japanese heart
Who doesn't like katsu, the golden, delicious deep fried foodstuffs, the antithesis to sushi (or one of em), the surefire way to make your salivary glands do that "drooling" thing? I DON'T KNOW. I got some kind of yam chunk thing and Stephanie went with pork (or chicken...well, they look the same after they've been fried in cutlet form). I'd say skip the yam unless you like pseudo-slimy gelatinous chunks armored in a crunchy shell, but at least it had the crunchy shell to make me forget about the pseudo-slimy gelatinous chunks.
I ate a red bean donut from St. Honore Bakery for dessert while Steph went for the less guilt-inducing fruit danish. Unlike American filled donuts I've had in the past (all three of em), the Japanese donut had a more substantial, chewier dough. The red bean filling was also thicker than a standard donut filling, such as jelly or cream. Japanese donut wins over regular American donut in my case, but my love for red bean paste has a bit of influence in that preference. I know some people who don't like red bean paste and to them I say, "STAY AWAY FROM MAH DOOONUT." (The surge of craziness changes "my" to "mah". Don't ask. I have no answers anyway.)
And now for some random photos (of which many more lurk in my flickr account; click on the photos for more info):
A childhood flashback spurned from the deep, oh-so-squishy depths (indeed, in deep spaces you will find depths) of my brain when I spotted these "chu-chu" bars. Who else ate these as a kid? You stick these artificially flavored/colored liquid-plastic tube-filled (methinks those words weren't combined correctly, but I'm no English professor so it doesn't matter!) in the freezer and take them out (after they've...ye know, solidified) when you want a cool treat. Break em in half and suck out the icy goop for MEGA FUNS.
I just liked the name of that drink. For all those times I need 2000 mg of BCAA or whatever the hell is in this drink.
Ever wanted to eat spaghetti with your hands? Man, who doesn't?...don't answer that. Whether or not you give a crap, the solution is here: carbs wrapped in carbs! I love Japan.
You need to click on those photos for a larger view. Trust me. They fill me with odd joy and laughter from my disturbed inner child.
Last Friday I ate at Otto with Jennifer with the goal of eating tasty food and getting a little interview out of me. :] If you like tomato, mozzerella, anchovy, capers, and chiles, then OH BOY, this pizza is for you!
...Actually, it's for me. I ate it. Hopefully it passed through my digestive system by now.
Otto is one of my favorite pizza places for their ability to make the thinnest, crispiest crust I've ever chomped on. I know it's not the "best" pizza in NY, buy hey, I'm still making the pizzeria rounds. Besides that I love the crust and toppings, I consider the smallish size a plus as it means I can eat the whole pie without feeling like a beached whale.
However, not everything is a satisfying size at Otto. Check out Jennifer's chocolate budino (chocolate hazelnut pudding with whipped cream) in its comically tiny cup. The size would make sense if the pudding had the chocolate density of an atomic bomb, but it was simply regular chocolate density pudding in a small cup. The pudding was good—smooth, texture like a thick mousse, don't remember much about the flavor besides that it was chocolate hazelnut—but the $4.50 price tag for what looked like a pudding shot made it underwhelming.
Upon my waiter's suggestion, I ordered the "coconut gelato, lime curd, strawberry granita, coconut tapioca and pineapple" parfait. For $9, it's twice as much as the pudding shot and definitely more worth the moolah, although still not as satisfying as a simple three-flavor $7 gelato cup. I'd suggest getting unadulturated gelato over anything else, as Otto's gelato is really awesome (for those of us who haven't been to Italy, at least), but the parfait is also worth trying. The granita was more like fresh strawberry jam than what I thought would be more sorbet-like and the smooth lime curd was just strong enough without being throat-cloggingly acidic.
...But I want olive oil gelato. Mm. Yes.
Thanks to Jennifer for joining me and going where no blogger has gone before...by interviewing me in real life. I'd expound upon the questions here, but I have to go to sleep and wake up in less than six hours. Damn. You can google the addresses yourself, right? Goodie.
Posted by roboppy at 1:10 AM
Post a comment
Your comments won't get published until I approve them, which could take up to a week. Sorry! :( Unfortunately, getting to your legit comments, which I love dearly, requires wading through bucketloads of spam. I apologize in advance if I accidentally delete your comment during one of my spam-killing sessions.
If you comment under your business's name, I will unpublish your comment. I'll unpublish anything that looks overly self-promotional or doesn't appear to be from a real human. This only applies to 0.5% of you guys; as for the rest of you, stay awesome.
If you have something to ask me that's unrelated to this entry, please email me instead.