Road trip: Pho 14 and more in D.C.! »
In 2010, PETA named Washington, D.C. the country’s most veg-friendly large city. This is clearly bullshit. Other than Sticky Fingers Bakery, D.C. has no “holy shit you HAVE to go there” kinds of vegan places like SF, NYC, Denver, etc. Nevertheless, there’s some good eating in that city, and over the holidays I did my duty as an American and spent a lot of money eating out so my I wouldn’t have to blame all my weight gain on the vegan Christmas cookies my [awesome] mom made.
I hit up Pho 14 in Columbia Heights with some omnivore buddies one night. Pho is all about accessories, like [insert style pop culture figure whom I’m too big a nerd to keep track of]. The vegetarian broth is kinda sweet but then BAM! add some lime juice and it’s a whole new thing.
Notice the bowling-ball lacquer on the table.
My man DK and I shared some spring rolls (so tightly wrapped!) as an appetizer, then ordered a large tofu pho, which felt like stealing because they split it for us in the kitchen, and the two bowls were huge and dinner was so cheap! This would be a great place to bring a date because you’d look classier than you really were!
Another night, DK and I wanted something romantic near the Mall (the one with the monuments, not the one with Bath & Body Works). Mandu on K Street seemed a good choice given how obsessed we were with Sura in Oakland.
The waitstaff totally got the whole vegan thing, and only brought us munchies that had no shrimp or fish sauce. Our entrees were fresh and filling but a little bland—I wanted to run into the kitchen and whip up a sauce for my bi bim bop, but instead I just ate it all including every tiny little grain of rice.
D.C.’s also know for its Ethiopian food, which I love. We hit up Dukem this time, which had a nasty bathroom, a suspicious taste of butter, and was pricey, pretty much not worth it. Try Etete or Meskerem if you’re there, those are better. But really just go to Cafe Colucci in Oakland, it’s the absolute bestest, I’m considering having children so I can send them there to be indentured servants and learn to cook for me that way.
The actual highlight for me was all about booze, duh: The Gibson, a $12-fancy-cocktail joint near all the Ethiopian places on U Street. Make a reservation and bring a smartphone, because you’re going to need to Wikipedia the shit out of their changing, incredible menu (Akvavit what?). Everything we tried was spectacular—better than SF’s Bourbon & Branch or Williams & Graham in Denver—but watch out for the egg whites they sometimes want to put in things. Gross. Definitely a great date place, especially if someone else is buying! I’m gonna start dating again just so people will buy me drinks; it’s good for my husband, too, though, I swear.
Kittee’s got a new zine! It’s called Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food and it’s full of recipes and illustrations and Kittee’s tips ‘n’ tricks! She promises that “[t]his 86-page recipe zine has the power to transform you into an Ethiopian cooking maven, and if you already have mad Ethiopian skills and know-how, you’ll find recipes to make magical dishes you’ve never seen or tasted before.” All that for $9 (plus shipping)!
Moya: the new Ethiopian hotnesss—go there immediately »
Moya is a new Ethiopian restaurant at 1044 Folsom St. (between 6th and 7th Streets), at the bottom of a residential hotel (y’ know how we do.) Get in there if you know what’s good for you.
The first thing you need to know is, it is fucking delicious. It’s handmade by a mom (and some other ladies), and the hip, adorable daughter (dig their Twitter! The bio is amazing!) waits on you. The food is hot, spicy, clean, and clearly made with care. They’re super conscientious about making things vegan, and they have all-teff (read: gluten-free) injera!
That’s the second thing you need to know. All-teff injera! Teff is hella expensive because there is a shortage in Africa (which is why most African places here cut their teff foods with wheat or other grains), but we can totally exploit our position as a first-world country and buy the black gold! For $2 more per injera order, in fact. WORTH IT. It’s rich and dark and makes you feel all wholesome and bursting with health like a
tribal warrior yoga teacher in Rainbow Grocery. And it gets on your hands in this delicious primal way. All-teff injera or bust, from now on.
The veggie combo is amazing, a cut above your average plate, but really don’t miss the Shuro. It’s a proprietary blend of chickpeas and magic and it tastes like spicy melted butter. Mix it with everything on the veggie plate, slop it onto injera by itself, and rub it all over your body. When the relatively small pot of it is gone, cry about it.
Also, they have tofu tibs! It’s great! Feast your eyes:
The one thing they don’t have is a beer and wine license (yet? maybe?) but what? You need alcohol at every meal, you big lush? Okay, that’s fair! Go get some dranks before or after at City Beer Store and Terroir wine shop! They’re both about a block away and filled with magical beer and wine deliciousness!
All day on Tuesday, Aug. 31 they’re having a grand opening party with lunch specials and cooking demos! I’ll be there! And since they serve lunch every day, I’ll be there most of the time!
Review: Café Colucci! »
Café Colucci is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in the Bay Area. That’s saying a lot because I love Ethiopian people. They are seriously the greatest. Also, their food is MWAH! (I’m making the Italian chef “IT’S-A-NICE” kiss into the air.)
Now, at Colucci, you’re going to want to start off your meal with some of the veggie sambussas. Sambussas are heavenly fried dough balls that are like samosas but filled with lentils. They are super-tasty. Next, you’ll want the vegetarian combo. It’s 100 percent vegan and 100 million percent delicious. The veggie combo consists of Azifa, Buticha, Messer-Wot, Kik-Alicha, Gomen, and Atakilt. I know that means nothing to your uncultured ass but just know that it’s a plate filled with delicately spiced yellow lentils, spicely spiced red lentils, cracked wheat (you have to request this but just trust), potatoes and carrots and cabbage and collard greens. You eat it all up with their perfect fluffy and just-the-right-amount-of-sour injera and it’s just sofuckinggood.
The service is kinda slow (hey! they’re on Ethiopian time! Which I can only assume is roughly seven days behind the rest of us) so it’s best to pretend to go into labor or something right after you order so that they hurry it up. Worth the trip to Berkeley from SF and that’s saying a lot because Berkeley is basically the devil’s playground. I seriously hate that city. It’s filled with the dirtiest worst fake hippies with their WHITE-PERSON DREADLOCKS and HACKY SACKS and the whole scene makes me want to vomit. My best friend lived a block from Telegraph Avenue for a year and I swear to god, I cut the bitch off. I couldn’t hang. Every time I went to see her, I would get protested at by someone on a bicycle with BICYCLE BUMPER STICKERS. I’m sure we just lost half the readership of this blog but really, you have computers in your co-op? Is that okay? Well, relax. You can blow off this rant by having sex in your communal hot tub OH MY GOD I’M DRY-HEAVING.
P.S. Café Colucci often has gift certificates at Restaurant.com. Basically, you buy a gift certificate from them for hella cheap and then get a lot more money to spend at the restaurant. I know, that was the explanation you would give a five-year-old, but it’s what I got right now. Anyway, I’ve gotten one for Colucci through them and it worked perfectly. I ate like a king with a pauper’s pocket change. If you’re from Berkeley, you probably go to the Ren Faire, so I’m totally speaking your language.
Review: Club Waziema! »
Club Waziema is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in San Francisco. Not so much because it’s autentico (I stole that from Jonas, I believe it’s Mexican for “authentic”) but because it’s delicious food in a fun space (dive bar meets whorehouse. See: the ridiculously wonderful and sexy wallpaper) and it’s super-cheap and there is an excellent jukebox. Oh and IT’S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT. AMAZING.
I strongly suggest ordering the Vegetarian Combo, a combination of all their vegan dishes. They don’t use the proper Ethiopian names on the menu because their customers are almost 100 percent Hipster McWhitey but basically you get two different lentil dishes (one spicy, one milder), a mushroom stew, collard greens and a potato/carrot/cabbage combo for $9, ALL YOU CAN EAT. When the food runs out, you just ask for more and they bring it out because as mentioned above it’s ALL YOU CAN EAT. Has there ever been four more beautiful words strung together in the English language? I’m being serious, can you think of any? Because I’m actually trying and I can’t.
Everything is served on injera, which is traditional Ethiopian flat bread made with teff flour. The injera at Waziema is fluffier and less tangy than I like it but it’s still delicious and I think easier on a palate that isn’t used to eating this type of food. Please see above about Hipster McWhitey. You use the injera to eat all of the food so please don’t humiliate yourself by asking for a fork or some shit. HOW EMBARRASSING.
Some things to keep in mind when dining in here. The service can be inattentive and slow (this is how they do in Ethiopia. I’m assuming.) so either be relaxed, baby, or prepare to go to bat for what you believe in. I’ve also had really excellent service so it’s a bit of a crap shoot. It’s good for groups (I had a big birthday dinner here a few years ago and it was the perfect location for a laid-back celebration—just make sure to call ahead and reserve some space. You can apparently even make reservations on their site. I would say not great for a romantical date because it can get really loud and there aren’t basic restaurant things like tablecloths and shit because you’re in a bar but on the other hand, I had the first date with my current boyfriend here and he’s ALL RIGHT. And oh yeah, they are closed Sundays and not open for lunch. The kitchen is open from 5 to 10 p.m. every night but the bar stays open later, until midnight on school nights and 2 a.m. on the weekend SO YOU CAN PARTY! ETHIOPIAN STYLE! WHAT?!
That is all.