I wouldn’t call myself a “foodie”. I don’t really care about food. I can live for days eating junk, say potato chips for lunch and pop corn for dinner. And I don’t have to eat a lot either. We don’t really need all the food we eat. Less would be enough. There is this misconception that we need breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner is the most useless meal of the day, since most of the time you don’t burn the calories you get from it. You stuff your gut and then go to bed; all the fat sits nicely in your butt and gut. We should be good with a good breakfast and lunch, and I can allow you fruit and yogurt for dinner.
Having said that, I can really appreciate good food. I was brought up with mediterranean home-cooked food, you know, good olive oil and fresh ingredients. There was almost never candy or soda at home: the way it should be. Alas, I never liked cooking and, no, I don’t cook. So when I go out to eat, I really want to have something special, something that I cannot easily make on my own, like pasta or hard-boiled eggs.
Last Friday we went to dinner at Addis Red Sea in Cambridge, a supposedly authentic ethiopian cuisine restaurant. To be honest, ethiopian restaurant sounds a little weird to me: I grew up in the 80s with TV images of starving ethiopian children and humanitarian aid in my brain. So what food are you talking about? But I am sure as a country they have authentic cuisine, as it was before it was turned into a european colony.
Anyway, I was willing to give it a try, and boy, was it a mistake. First of all the service was the slowest ever, I think it took them like 30 minutes to take our order. And then it took them forever to bring our drinks. I got the ethiopian medium-dry wine, which was apparently a euphemism for vinegar. We got the lentil sambusa for appetizer and it was OK. Then our main course came. You are supposed to eat with your fingers, scooping food with the spongy bread. Yes, spongy, but also moist and cold, like it had been accidentally tossed into water and then quickly served. I had ordered atakil, allegedly “mixed vegetables, green beans, potatoes, carrots and onions, sauteed in a blend of exotic herbs” (that’s a quote from their menu). What actually came was the blandest mix of, most likely steamed, carrots, potatoes and green beans. No onions (which is OK with me), no other mixed vegetables, and certainly no exotic herbs. I’d say no salt either, nothing. I put a bit in my mouth, and I thought I was going to spit it out. It was so awful, I had to chew it 100 times before I was barely able to swallow. That was worse than english boiled vegetables. I don’t think I’ve ever had worse food than that at a restaurant.
On Saturday we went to brunch at the newly opened Friendly Toast in Kendall. A place so hyped, mainly because of the first one in Portsmouth, NH. I’d never been to the Portsmouth one, and so many people were raving about it, so I thought I’d give it a try. I talked about the kitschy decor before, which doesn’t really blend well with the hardwood floor and the generic ceiling. I wouldn’t call it cool, no. The place looked tired, it was already 1pm on a Saturday and as the waitress said the kitchen was running behind. I got the greek scramble, and I have to say scrambles are better than omelets. I was really starving and after I had finished 3/4 of my food, I realized there was no feta cheese in it, which explained the slight lack of flavor. But otherwise was good. Their bread comes in big slabs and it is delicious! We split the drunkard french toast with creamy Grand Marnier and raspberry sauce, which was too sweet and too artificially flavored. In summary, this is a good brunch place, but not verygood. Soundbites is still the king of the brunch.