Monday, August 21, 2006

Rosalind's...Yummy and Fun Ethiopian Cuisine

I love when people come to visit me since it always helps to force me to get out of my normal routine and do all those things that I I'm always saying that I want to do someday. I have been dying to try Ethiopian food for a while now, especially since I drive through Little Ethiopia on my way to work. My friend from back east was visiting this past weekend, and we trying to decide on some interesting places to eat. Ethiopian food seemed like the perfect choice. After doing a quick comparison on we decided on Rosalind’s Ethiopian Cuisine.

The restaurant had a really nice décor, although the lights could have been a little dimmer to create a better ambience. One wall was a big mirror making the place the look very spacious. It was obviously set up to be rented out for parties and one room had a small dance floor in the middle. Some of the tables were under little canopies that made me think of mini tiki huts and bout 5 tables were the more traditional messob straw tables. Each of those tables had a straw lid, which was kept on till serving, and the tables were dipped in the middle where the platter containing the food was to be placed. It would have been cool to sit at one of those tables but I think they were for parties of two only so my friends and I were sat at one of the regular booths. The menu consisted of a variety of meat and vegetarian stews called wats and all the dishes were served with Ethiopian sourdough flat bread called injara. The injara is used as an eating utensil by tearing off small pieces and then using it to pick up a small amount of the wat. I found the injara too sour for my tastes, although I don’t really care too much sourdough bread in general. The bread was chewy and is traditionally served cold. It kind of looked like napkins folded up on a plate.

Not being familiar with any dishes and having the desire to try many different things, I went with the vegetarian sampler. My friends both got meat dishes. The vegetarian sampler included vegetable alicha (steamed veggies with spices), lentils, collard greens, split pea alicha and one other dish that I don't remember. The portions were very large and were served in a large dish lined with the injara. Overall the vegetarian wats were pretty good. Each had a distinct flavor and there was enough variety in the textures to keep things interesting. While I didn’t care too much for the injara by itself, it went really well with the food and helped give balance to all the flavors. The one thing that was lacking was some spiciness. The lentils had a slight kick to it, but were still relatively mild for even my palate. All my other dishes were very mild. According to my friends, the meat dishes were all very spicy and they all agreed that the lamb was the best meat dish. While I really enjoyed the food, there weren’t any of the dishes that were particularly memorable. Overall though, it was a really fun experience and I will definitely be going out for Ethiopian food again.

The Good: Interesting food, fun to eat

The Bad: Not quite spicy enough

The Yummy: hmm…my fav was the lentils and the lamb was the big hit with my meat eating friends

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mashti Malone's...not all I was hoping for

Blah...I am so sad, I am 0-2 on my list...not so good, considering all the super yummy places I have been around the city. I hit up Mashti Malone's after giving a little driving tour of Hollywood to my brother and his lady friend. I was really looking forward to trying some of the more interesting flavors. Luckily they let you have samples. Being the ginger lover that I am, I tried the ginger rose water. Admittedly, it was good for one taste, but I couldn't imagine eating a whole cup full since it kind of reminded me of perfume. My bf tried the saffron and we both felt the same way about that flavor. I ended up going with the Turkish coffee. I have to say it was quite good and had very strong, deep, earthy, coffee flavor. Actually looking back, it was probably one the best coffee flavors I've had in ice cream. The texture was not quite smooth enough though and it had little ice crystals in it. My bf got the blueberry cheesecake, which was also very good. The texture was smooth and thick and had a great sweet cheesy flavor. While both of our flavors ended up being quite good, I really wanted to like their more interesting flavors. I do agree that Mashti Malone's is good (although wouldn't say it is the best in LA), and if I was in the area I might go back, but it is definitely not some place that I will be going out of my way to revisit.