Saturday, December 29, 2007

Etete Ethiopian Cuisine, Washington DC

I truly love trying new types of cuisine. When AH suggested Ethiopian food for dinner I jumped at it immediately. Of course the description of eating chunks of meat with my barehands was a great motivating factor haha.

Injera is sort of like a soft pancake (almost like a dosai/tosai) made from teff flour. It's fermented prior to being cooked so there's a slight sour tinge of flavor which makes this a rather acquired taste.

Besides the additional injera on the side, the base of our serving platter is made out of one huge sheet of injera. It comes with some basic gravies and the food is piled on by the server.

Each different dish is gradually piled onto the same platter.

Once everything is done, we peel off pieces of injera and proceed to eat with our barehands all the tasty morsels that's been placed on the main injera platter. Communal barehand eating; awesome.

Although all the dishes tasted pretty damn good, my personal favorite would be the grilled beef short-ribs. Grilled till they were slightly charred but still maintaining a juicy interior, these savory and spicy treats of meat-on-bone were truly delectable.

We had some fine red wine to accompany the meal and also some tej. Tej is a traditional Ethiopian wine fermented from honey and a form of hops called "gesho". Rather sweet with a slightly muddy(?) flavor, this tasted odd initially but paired well with the tart injera.

Best part about the meal is that you get to eat the plate when you're done! Well.. technically not really the plate but the layer above the plate... which is made of injera... ok.. you get the idea.

There's something so primitive and primal about eating meat with one's barehands that appeals to me so tremendously; this I felt was pure genius.

Etete, my first Ethiopian dining experience and definitely far from being my last.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cakelove, Washington DC

This little bakery along U street seemed to be garnering quite abit of popularity, so we stopped by for a look.

Apparently they specialize in cupcakes. At 3usd a pop, these are definitely at a premium compared to some that you get back in Singapore.

Nevertheless the flavors and colors did inspire us enough to buy a little box home to sample.

They turned out to be pretty tasty. The icing on top help kept them moist and buttery even though we ate them at the end of the day.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington DC

One of the "must-eats" in DC is a half-smoked from Ben's Chili Bowl. Now why do they call these hotdogs half-smokes? Some say the name came about because the hotdogs are sometimes sliced sagitally when being cooked. Apparently there are different theories about that but I didn't really care as long as they tasted good.

How much of an icon is Ben's? Well they've been here since 1958 and is part of the African American Heritage trail; nuff' said.

The first thing you see and smell when you step into this establishment are the half-smokes being cooked teasingly right by the front window.

Ben's is still family owned and run till this day. Join the line and place your order.

The side of cheese-fries here were pretty mind-blowing. Unlike the one at Shakeshack, none of these chips were soggy and they were heaps generous with the melted cheese. Salty and totally artery-clogging greasy, this hit the spot.

Lo and behold the magnificent half-smoke order with EVERYTHING on it. Coarsely minced pork and beef in an extremely snappy casing served in a soft warm hotdog bun. This is one wiener I can eat almost everyday. If I were to nitpick though, the chili could be spicier but that's all I'm going to gripe about.

I will refrain from making any crude jokes about the superimposed double phallic symbols here haha. Visit DC, drop by Ben's, period.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 in Washington DC

Thanksgiving is pretty much an American and Canadian holiday. I'm not going to go into details on what it's about (because there's Wikipedia) but it's a holiday I appreciate due the huge amounts of food consumed. Here's a picture of at the dinner table of my gracious host, AH and family. D's spotting a new haircut but more importantly spotting an extremely hungry tummy too, which explained why he didn't take more pictures of the food he enjoyed that evening!

Round the corner of AH's neighbourhood is a cool wholesale market.

They sell everything here and I mean "EVERYTHING". What the hell is "cow something??!!?".

And living up to the wholesale name, everything here is sold huge bulks too (and look at those fantastic prices!). But AH had a whole list of restaurants lined up for this long weekend, I would have loved to throw some of those ribeyes on the barbecue. Maybe next time aye?

Since the viewing of all the meat drove us to the brink of a hunger frenzy we had to stop somewhere to break our fast.. er.. or just to have some breakfast haha.

We started with some pastries. But what's this? Pastries (read as non-meat) won't cut it for a proper brekky.

A bowl of steaming hot beef soup. Generously served with pieces of short-rib, this was exactly the thing for the cold late Autumn morn.

And of course we had to stuff ourselves with beef tacos just for the hell of it. Tender, well marinated beef chunks on a warm soft taco shell = yum.

This wholesale complex also sells kitchen equipment. Here's D with a badass giant pizza spatula. I so need my own brick oven pizza one day.

A. Litteri. Inc is famous for their cold cuts and submarine sandwiches. Alas, we were too full to have a sub.
But we did pick up a fine selection of cold cuts, a few bottles of excellent lambrusco and I got this apron!


p.s: Thanks for all the well-wishes in my previous post, I'm going to reply them personally soon.