Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

We recently took another foray into Los Angeles to meet Andrew and Lauren for lunch. This time the venue they chose was Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine, located at 1047 South Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019 (323-937-8401), in the heart of Little Ethiopia. 
We have eaten in Little Ethiopia before, at a place across the street called Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant. The most distinguishing feature about Merkato was that we ate without utensils. Instead we used a sour, spungy flat bread, called injera, to pick up the food and accompany it down our gullets. Merkato also had some unusual dishes, the most memorable being bloody raw meat with kind of a bitter sauce. Rahel, by contrast, was much tamer and less unusual. We had utensils, which I liked, but the option of using injera if we wanted it (I didn't). The ingredients were all familiar, but what was unusual was the different combinations of these common ingredients and their amazing colors. The interior of Rahel is roomy 
and there are wonderful pictures and African artifacts to give an Ethiopian feel. 
We had the option of picking from a number of great looking menu items, or a buffet. We all decided to do the buffet because the offerings looked great and it would allow us to try more dishes. Interestingly, virtually all of the dishes were seasoned with onions, garlic and ginger, something I would not have guessed  based on taste. I think it may be the most colorful food I've ever eaten, lots of yellow, orange and green. 
The yellow item with a green pepper, on the bottom left, is steamed split pea stew. Next to it, on the right, was one of my favorites, zucchini stew, which also included chili pepper. Above the split pea stew, on the left, is cooked and seasoned kale, which was surprisingly good. The orangish item to the right of the kale is steamed cabbage with tomatoes. 
The same plate, just looking from the opposite side, has more yellow to the left, which is steamed cabbage, potatoes and carrots. To the right is steamed string beans, carrots and potatoes, and below is boiled orange sweet potatoes, and kind of covered up to the right, some salad with beets. I went back for another plate and stocked up on my favorite items, the two cabbage dishes, the zucchini stew and also some steamed buckwheat with onions, one of the few items without garlic and ginger. 
At least Andrew, and maybe Judy, ate their food with injera, a spongy, sour Ethiopian flatbread. I am not an injera lover, so I was happy to use a fork and spoon. For a drink, I got a strawberry banana drink which was very good. 
We all left stuffed. I wish this was close to work. If it was, I would eat there regularly. As Judy said, it is disgustingly healthy, and it is good tasting. On the other hand, I did not find any one of the items that stood out as outstanding, something I would crave and drive many miles to specifically get again.  

1 comment:

  1. If riotous color is an indication of healthy food, this place has it. I do like a little injera with my vegetables, but a little goes a long way. Their drinks were fabulous.