02 September 2012

Nairobi: Habesha

My last night in Kenya was so bittersweet.  On the one hand, I had to leave the country after dinner.  On the other hand, I was eating a totally incredible meal with really amazing people.  I mean, it's Ethiopian food in a country that's bordered on the north by Ethiopia.  Come ON.*


Habesha
Kirichwa Rd
Nairobi, Kenya
(0)20 3755418

Even in Nairobi, ethnic food will save us vegans.  I ordered the Veggie Plate for 700 KES ($8.31) - EIGHT BUCKS, PEOPLE - and look how huge it was!  I certainly didn't eat the whole thing by myself.

You remember injera.  All the little scoops of vegan heaven are resting on top of it.  We got extra injera so we could scoop the food up with our fingers.  Make sure you use hand sanitizer before eating!  Nobody wants to end a meal like this by logging hours in the bathroom.

See the light salad on the left?  I'd avoid that.  You know, fresh vegetables getting washed in tap water and all.

The pink beets and yellow potatoes on the bottom were yummy and mild.  The beets were surprisingly sweet, and both were universally inoffensive.  Those yellow lentils on the bottom right?  Also mild.  Also delicious.  I'd call all three comfort foods.

The dark red lentils in the middle comprise the Msir Key Wot, which is super spicy and wonderful.  They have a toothsome bite that almost makes you expect to find beef in there.  But do not worry, muffins.  No rotting dead cows will ruin your Ethiopian party.

The kale, string beans, and cabbage, which are along the top and right sides of the dish, all had their own unique tastes.  Each was tangy and mild, but full of flavor.  The kale was crunchy and well-infused with vinegar, the string beans Thanksgiving-like, and the Atkilt (cabbage) sour.

Best for last: the brown lentils were my ABSOLUTE fave.  Turner loved them as well.  They were slightly spicy and so addictive that I wiped that whole part of the dish clean.  I think Turner got a few good bites before I swooped in.  I mean, I hope he did.  He might hate me forever if he didn't.  That stuff could ruin a friendship.  I asked him for his culinary expertise to assist me in describing these lentils.  I expected all these beautiful gourmet words to come flowing out of his mouth - which is normal when Turner talks about food - and my pen was poised to take notes on everything.

He said, "It's the perfect baby food."

Thanks, Turner.  You're so helpful or something.  Maybe that was payback for me having eaten all the perfect baby food.

Thus ends my Kenya escapades!  I'm counting the days until I can go back.  Within the next couple of days, I have something extra special to share with you, and I'm peeing-my-pants excited to post it.  Just wait!  It'll rock.


* I'd like to take this moment to point out that Fasika in good old St. Paul is similarly amazing.  We can't all eat Ethiopian in Africa, but we CAN all eat it in St. Paul.  So do it.  Now.  Yes, now.  I don't care if you're in your pajamas.

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