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Archive for the ‘Foodsies’ Category

Fun Fact Friday

…also known as It’s National DONUT Day!

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Today, I walked into the office to the oh-so-sweet and tantalizing aroma of donuts. The scrumptious, mouth-watering scent tickled my nose, a long feather carried by a tempting devil. Not so hot for someone who’s perpetually on a diet…but everyone deserves a treat once and awhile…and it IS a National holiday, so who would I be NOT to indulge…unpatriotic, not-a-team-player, a Debbie-Downer? Thus, naturally I had to partake as should you.

Both the King of Donuts – Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme are giving out one free donut to honor this day, so get out there and embrace this holiday with the same fervor as you celebrate Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and National Belly Laugh Day (January 24th)!

Be one with the donut. Seize the donut. Mmmmm the donut.

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So today is FAT (yes all caps) Tuesday….

Personally I love the donut any day, but it’s on days like these where I feel it’s especially important to do my part and eat at least 2, possibly 3, and if it’s a stressful day…4. It’s perfectly normal to eat 4 donuts.

On any other day, I would be judged as I’d sit in the dark-windowless confines of my office and munch away, guiltily shoving the powdered delights into my mouth. But today, oh glorious Fastnacht Day, I can do what I want and proudly display the confectionery remnants in the corners of my mouth.

Today is the day before Lent starts. I’ve never been a big follower of fasting during this time. When I was younger, I used to negotiate my way through the fast…and would forgo only things I either knew I could do without or didn’t really like in the first place (often it would be something from the vegetable family or some obscure fruit like kiwi). I think one time I managed to give up soda. And another coffee, but at 15 I didn’t drink it anyway. One year, I tried to give up sugar and made my mom by only sugar free cookies and crackers (this was before the whole “healthy lifestyle fad” so that section in the supermarket was about ½ an aisle long). But I’m pretty sure I didn’t last all 40 days.

Yesterday my friend, Slim* called me from her office (same company, 1 floor down) and announced she was giving up meat for Lent; that she was making her grocery list that second and that her lunches would from now on either be egg salad or avocado based. Then she realized that she’d be having dinner at her parents this weekend and apparently her mom makes a killer roast. So that idea went out the window.

We continued chatting about what she could give up with minimal withdraws. And she finally suggested chocolate only to come to the conclusion she couldn’t possibly do that because she and her boyfriend might be going to the Melting Pot on Friday and the chocolate fondue is clearly the only reason she’d go.  At this point in our conversation, I interjected (as piously as possible),

“Slim, Lent is typically recognized as a time of sacrifice, i.e. giving something up that you really enjoy.”

She scoffed.

Today, she told me she made reservations at the Melting Pot. I asked, “What are you giving up for Lent then?”

“Chocolate. But this is the one and only exception. The rest of Lent, no chocolate, I promise.”

So I’m not quite sure how all this half-sacrifice translates into Jesus’ story of 40 days of complete fasting. What if he’d negotiated his way to be able to eat a couple bugs or maybe a small animal? Would then our whole perception be altered? Probably. But I’m not writing a philosophical analysis of religion or Lent.

I’m just celebrating that today is the one day a year where it’s socially acceptable to be a glutton.

Take that Weight Watchers!

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STACY CURTIS, “Freelance”Indiana

*My MD best friend and co-worker who owns her own motorcycle and shares a love of cheesy Reality TV (Biggest Loser, The Bachelor) and salads with dressing on the side.

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On Friday night, I went out to dinner with two friends in DC. Dodge* and Boot** (nicknames, obv.) met me at Etete, an Ethiopian restaurant on U and 9th Street which stands out against other fluorescently lit storefronts on the street.

This was my first experience with Ethiopian culture and cuisine.  I did have a friend in college who was Ethiopian, but he never cooked for me and I don’t think he’s your typical Ethiopian anyway. He’d always make dry comments about growing up eating only rice and running barefoot on dirt roads to the schoolhouse. I’m pretty sure they were sarcastic as he ended up going to a small, private Liberal Arts school in the middle of rural PA. So I doubt he grew up the way most Americans traditionally view the Ethiopian childhood, but one can never be sure. And I digress as all that’s beside the point…the point being, I enjoyed the food. A lot.

If you’ve never been to an Ethiopian restaurant before, you’re in for a bit of a culture shock. You’ve got to throw conventional eating etiquette out and get cozy with the idea that your right hand is your fork and your left, the knife (or vice versa if you’re a lefty-as is my case). After reading through the menu, we asked the advice of our waitress for what she’d recommend to order. She, being a transplant from the country, had a little trouble understanding our questions. But once we overcame the language hiccup, we figured out she wanted to know if we liked our food spicy. The three of us aren’t huge on extremely hot foods (i.e. Thai hot), but we decided we’d get at least one dish a little on the smoking side. Dodge also ordered a glass of tej, their honey wine. Ethiopians believe tej was the wine used for a toast between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. It’s extremely sweet, but is supposed to cut the food’s spicy edge pretty well.

ethiopian-foodOur food came out on a huge round platter. All together we chose 4 entrée’s and all were arranged on this one plate overtop of a special bread, injera. It looks kind of like a bubbled-stretchy crêpe and tastes slightly sour. You are to use it as the primary eating utensil, stretching it over your food and scooping it into your mouth. The sponginess of injera allows all the juices from the stews and meat to be sopped up. We were given an extra basket of the flatbread in which each individual piece was rolled like a napkin.

The waitress also brought out a plate with a whole fish on it (it was part of a veggie combo and only a dollar more!). I’m pretty sure the fish was rubbed with spices and then fried. Our faces were probably priceless as we eyed with calculated wariness how exactly to eat the fish. I broke off the tail and plucked what I think was the spine from the meat and cautiously took a bite. It tasted like fish…not quite sure what I expected it to taste like, but fish it was.

My first bite of one of the stews on our tray burnt my mouth with flavored heat. It stuck in that back niche in my throat. So naturally, I spasmed with suppressed coughs, trying to inconspicuously muffle the tickle out. When that didn’t work, I leaned to the side in favor of a more pleading cough (one that crosses between laughter and embarrassment). My eyes teared and my nose ran until I had slurped a sufficient enough amount of water to dislodge the offending spice from its comfortable nook. People quieted and stared. I reddened. Then the lights went out, literally. And everyone forgot about my hacking. We sat in candlelight for about 10 minutes before power came back on. But the lack of electricity didn’t keep us from munching away. When we finally sat back, we surveyed our progress. Our platter had been suitably demolished.

 Boot commented, “Well, I guess we like Ethiopian.”

 You’ll probably be seeing Dodge and Boots more in future posts. We’ve decided to make dinner nights a common occurrence, and have formed a sort of dinner club to try out different restaurants around DC. You know…so we aren’t like those people who constantly say oh I’ve heard of that place and always wanted to try it.

If you have any recommendations, let us know…also if you have any suggestions for our club name, we’ll take those too! Keep an eye out for their reviews as well…I’m going to let them guest post as we explore the various neighborhoods of DC cuisine. Our next outing is on Thursday for a night of fine Indian flavors and tastes at Rusika. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Below is a list of what I think we ordered…I was able to find the menu online. Check it out if you’re in the area or mood for something a tad more obscure than Chipotle or The Olive Garden.  

  • Yefem Tibs:: (*Etete’s Special) Charcoal broiled sliced prime tender beef marinated in white wine and rosemary, with a touch of garlic and black pepper
  • Special Etete’s Kitfo:: Minced meat seasoned with herbed butter and hot red pepper, served with special seasoned cottage cheese
  • Fasteing Food:: Combination of veggie dishes with fish
    • The veggie dishes were a mixture of: Yemisir Wat Slit red lintel cooked in Ethiopian red pepper sauce, meten shiro, oil, onion sauteed together; Yeataklit WatFresh green, carrot, potato, green pepper and onion sauteed with garlic, ginger and tomato and Gomen-Fresh green, carrot, potato, green pepper and onion sautéed with garlic, ginger and tomato.

 

*Dodge—so nicknamed because she works for a similar sounding department-of-government acronym and because occasionally…well, she’s just a bit dodge.

 **Boot—she literally walks around with a boot on her foot. You may have seen her on the Metro. Her name may change when doctors say she can finally forgo the boot in favor of a regular shoe.

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