December, 2012

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Nile Ethiopian

Combination Plate

If someone were to ask me, what does Ethiopian food taste like, I really wouldn’t know what to say.  Being the adventurous eater that I am, I decided to go to Nile Ethiopian Restaurant.  Driving up to the restaurant, I began to have some doubts about this place.  It’s located right in the super touristy part of Orlando.  I-drive.  From my past experiences, the food on I-drive isn’t something to brag about.  While sitting in traffic (as expected on I-drive), I had plenty of time to wonder what kind of food I would be having tonight.  Oh, google maps, don’t fail me now!  I finally find the place, located behind Buffalo Wild Wings.  This is not a restaurant one would happen to stumble upon.

Entrance Some of my vegetarian friends recommended this place, so I had some idea about this place.  As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a server.  The warm earthy tones in the restaurant was a nice touch.  To my right, I see this coffee ceremony set up.  I am really digging the ambiance of the place.  There is the usual dining area and to the left of the restaurant is the traditional style seating.  Unfortunately for me, they had been very busy and didn’t have the areas cleaned.

 

Inside the Nile

 

Nile Honeywine

Nile Beer

As I browsed through the menu, the homemade honeywine caught my eye.  Honey… mmmmmm.  I always enjoy mead so this was right up my alley.  I had fun drinking out of this glass.  I could compare this to mead but this is much tastier.  Imagine mead with more fruity flavor and less cough syrup-like flavor.  I could probably drink 4 more of these.  Probably not a good idea though.  There was also some Ethiopian beer, Hakim Stout.  I was a bit hesitant on the beer at first since I’m not an avid beer drinker.  It wasn’t as bitter as I would have thought it to be.  I could possibly drink all of this too. *gasp*  I think I’m making progress with beer.

 

Chef's combination

The menu has plenty of selections, vegetarian items, poultry, beef, lamb, seafood.  The Chef’s Special caught my eye since it allows me to try different entrees.  I’m definitely about variety!  The Chef’s Special included: Chicken Doro Wat, Doro Alicha, Beef Alicha, Beef Tibs, Cabbage, Collard Greens, Lentils, and Split Peas.  The yellow split peas was good overall, but nothing terribly exciting.  I felt the same way with the red lentils.  The cabbage had a lot of flavor as well as the collard greens.  I think the chicken doro alicha was quite tasty.  It was my first time eating Ethiopian food and I didn’t realize there were no serving utensils.  I had to use injera to eat my food.  Injera is a type of flatbread made from teff flour.  You can expect a sour flavor and traditionally, it’s even more sour.  I thought it was plenty sour already.  The texture was a bit different to say the least.  Imagine a soft, spongy, cold, slightly sticky crêpe.  So, you rip pieces of the injera to grab your food.  The sponginess was great in sopping up the sauces.  The meal itself was on top of injera.

This truly was a learning experience.  Definitely a filling meal!  Overall, everything was quite flavorful and I definitely recommend it for everyone to experience at least once.

 

 

Oh, and if you’re wondering what Ethiopian food tastes like, I’d say it’s has hearty, earthy flavors.  It’s like Indian minus the spiciness with some Mediterranean influences.  Better yet, you guys try it and tell me what you think of it! :)
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Trader Joe’s Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Finally, I’ve made my trip out to Trader Joe’s!  No, people of Orlando, we do not have a Trader Joe’s here. At least not yet, anyway.  So far there is one in Sarasota.  Yes, I know it’s a far drive but for those in the area, it’s definitely a place to drop by.

I’ve had some people ask me, what’s so special about Trader Joe’s.  In my opinion, I don’t think there’s anything THAT special about it.  I compare it to an Aldi essentially, where they have their own branded products. But the folks of California love this place.  I’ve even seen cookbooks dedicated to things you purchase for Trader Joe’s.  There is obviously a cult following.  I went inside the store, and it’s just packed.  The cashier told me they opened about 3 months ago.  I had been to a Trader Joe’s in the outskirts of Baltimore, MD, so I had some familiarity with it.  They do have lots of items and for anyone who enjoys food, this would be a fun store to check out.  The nice thing about this store, is that it’s like Whole Foods but you don’t end up spending your whole paycheck.  In today’s hard economic times, it’s nice to get good food at a good price.  The store isn’t very big at all, but there were definitely an assortment of items in here.  I didn’t buy many things but I still managed to spend a lot between my saffron, pink Himalayan salt, 2 bottles of framboise, a bottle of rice vinegar and a bag of kale chips.

Kale Chips I’m getting hungry and the drive back to Orlando isn’t a short one, so I look for a nutritious snack.  The kale chips jumped out at me, with the bright green comic-style bag.  Vegan, no preservatives, super nutritious, I’m all in!  The question is, how does it taste?  I am all about healthy and I truly believe you can healthy and delicious tasting food.  Except vegetarian bacon.  No one should ever eat that.  bleh!  So, the words “zesty nacho” sound quite enticing, but unfortunately, it lets me down.  Don’t call something “zesty nacho” if it’s not going to taste like “zesty nacho”.  What does it taste like?  One might ask.  Or maybe they wouldn’t and just gladly eat the kale chips.  Have you ever ate the rice seasoning that you get from the Asian store?  Yep, it’s like that sprinkled on top of kale chips.  It’s not bad by any means, but it certainly isn’t “zesty nacho”.

  • Let’s see what the ingredients are: kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, carrot powder, red bell pepper powder, onion powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, salt, garlic powder, chipotle powder.
  • And the ingredients on my Yasai  Fumi Furikake (rice seasoning): sesame seed, carrot, spinach, pumpkin, celery, Japanese mustard plant, potato starch, sugar, salt and seaweed.

Just saying.  I’m not crazy for thinking the flavors are similaresque.

 

Inside Kale Chip BagKale Chip

After I showed some people the picture of the kale chips, they kept telling me it looked like a certain herb. *coughs, coughs*.  I was like, “WHAT?!”  I thought it was funny they thought it looked like that, but to me, I thought it looked like seasoned kale chips.  This 2 ounce bag of kale chips is 2 servings but needless to say, I finished it without difficulty.  I had a fun time at Trader Joe’s and I’ll be going back to get more snackies.  Just not the kale chips.  I’m certain I can make some tastier kale chips.

 

On a side note, these chips are not good as a driving snack, unless you like green crumbs all over you.