Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Little Ethiopia Treats

I previously mentioned in LACMA Summer Evenings that we enjoy eating in Little Ethiopia before or after visiting LACMA galleries.  There is something about eating with our hands brings out the kid in all of us.

If you have to endure this kind of traffic where Fairfax Avenue compresses from two down to one lane, then why not stop for refreshment midway?

Fairfax used to be an orthodox Jewish neighborhood.  Many Ashkenazi (European Jewry like my in-laws) congregations sponsored Ethiopian Jews for immigration and shared this area.  As the Ashkenazi moved westward and northward, Ethiopian businesses sprung up to fill the storefronts here.

Orthodox Ethiopian Jews eat vegan on ritual days.  But you don't have to wait to sample it; Rahel serves vegan food every day.  We are not vegan.  But, given a tasty alternative, we prefer to eat lower down the food chain.  This is one of our family's favorite restaurants in Los Angeles.  If you didn't tell someone that the food is vegan here, I don't think they would notice the absence of dead animals.

Before eating family-style with your hands, you .must. wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water.  Rahel's hallway and dining room walls are lined with artwork by friends of the owner's.  Prices are marked (and quite reasonable).

The lunch buffet is quick, cheap and tasty--but you miss the chance to dine family-style off a big platter. (But don't use that excuse to skip washing your hands!)

We start by sampling the salads.


Then we return with a clean plate for the hot entrees, which we eat with injera.

Injera is a type of bread made with teff flour, which is difficult to source outside of Ethiopia.  Consequently, most restaurants in America stretch it out 50/50 with wheat flour.  However, 100% teff injera is available upon request at Rahel.


After stuffing ourselves, I like to shop for (what else?) textiles. Iris enjoys the thrift shops, especially the vintage jewelry. We have also had fun purchasing CDs of world music.

Some other perspectives on Little Ethiopia:
We also enjoy eating at:

  • Rosalind's: oldest African restaurant on the block and it offers west African food, too
  • Genet's: spiciest and some say the most authentic
  • Messob: good food and great atmosphere

What we order when not dining at a buffet:

  • Vegetarian sampler: for large groups, get several
  • Doro wot: chicken and egg stew with spices
  • Beef tibs: for carnivorous Iris
  • Whole Fried Catfish: because it looks so cool and tastes pretty good

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