Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yet Another Nile?

I first ate Ethiopian food as a freshman in college. My suite mates and I drove into San Diego to the Blue Nile Restaurant (or possibly the Red Nile Restaurant -- I went to both over the next few years, and I can't remember which was which. It was definitely some color of Nile though.) The Nile of Color was pretty authentic as far as restaurants go. Everyone who worked there was actually from Ethiopia, and it was an Ethiopian singles bar as the evening went on. The food was amazing, and I (the person who fully delights in the fact that nobody can ever make me leave California ever again) love going to Ethiopian restaurants, even to this day.

A few years ago I played floor hockey in an informal team in Sacramento and we made it a habit to go to the Ethiopian place nearby after every practice. This place was called Addis Ababa (not a Nile) which I thought was a little obvious, but I guess if you want Americans to know what type of cuisine you're serving, you don't have very many choices.

I actually tried making Ethiopian food one time (back when we used to cook for each other once a week, leading to the infamous Spikes of Death and Neopolitan Turkey Loaf meals). For the most part Ethiopian food is similar to a curry, but it's served on a pancake-like sourdough bread called injera. I knew I was going to have problems getting that right, but I found a recipe which involved using sourdough starter and letting it ferment for 48 hours.

It turns out that bread fermentation involves significant expansion. Yes, bread rises. The injera didn't just rise, it overflowed the bowl I had left it in and dripped down the wire mesh cabinet and all over the floor. Bowl propagation at its finest. (That joke's for you Rvan.) There's nothing like dried, semi-fermented sourdough mix to really make a difficult cleanup. For the record, though, in the end it tasted pretty close to what I thought it should.

Anyhow, someday I might try making it again. But this time I'll definitely use a bigger bowl.


Eric said...

This place was called Addis Ababa (not a Nile) which I thought was a little obvious...

Oh yeah, isn't that the place with great Indian food?

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

You're right. It might have been too subtle.

JJ said...

I think there is a law somewhere that all Ethiopian restaurants must be called Something Nile or Addis Ababa. If not, the restaurant is doomed to fail. Chinese restaurants have to have Imperial, Dragon, Jade, Palace, Lucky, or Golden in the name somewhere.

I want to try Ethiopian food, but Rich does not like it. Apparently, he's been to Ethiopia and to American Ethiopian places, and he dislikes them all equally.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Thai restaurants must have "Thai" or "Bangkok" in the name.

There used to be (and may still be) a Chinese restaurant in Concord called "Peking Boy" which would seem to go against the trend, but it was next door to the adult bookstore so I think it was an intentional pun.

Hm. I guess you don't need to dump Rich just because of this one strike against him. He can stay home and clean while you go out to dinner.

JJ said...

Wait, that's 2 strikes against him because he's too busy doing "homework" instead of cleaning.

jeff said...

The rumors of Peking Boy's death are exaggerated. In truth, concord drove out the adult bookstore -- it's now a "lingerie shop"

Or so I've heard...,+concord,+ca&fb=1&gl=us&hq=peking+boy,&hnear=Concord,+CA&cid=12982822755334571284

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Oh yeah, "homework". I used to use that excuse a lot.

Jeff, I guess we could go to Peking Boy some day for lunch, but... why?