• rosalind’s rox

    May 20th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, rosalind's

    i’ve been frequenting the little ethiopia district on fairfax for years—from rahel’s, to messob, to nyala, i’ve tried plenty. and of all these similar ethiopian restaurants, i like rosalind’s best. sure, maybe i am being a traitor. maybe i should blindly pledge allegiance to rahel’s, because it’s 100% vegan…but something about rosalind’s just keeps me coming back. maybe it’s the super chill atmosphere, or the fact that the same waitress is always on duty and she has my order memorized. i dunno. whatever it is, it’s more than just the amazing food.

    vegetarian combo: a combination of collard greens, chick-pea, yellow split-pea, red lentils and cabbage. served with injera. $13.95

    sambussa: a pastry shell stuffed wuth green lentils, onion, jalapeno and herbs $2.50

    now for the uninitiated, ethiopian food is something quite special. it’s massively tasty, reasonably healthy, and some of the best vegetarian fare in los angeles. i love the fact that the vegetarian dishes are kinda just, well, vegetarian. i don’t worry about chicken stock, fish sauce, lard and other horrors like i do at many restaurants. ethiopian food is pretty much pure herbivore goodness, and if you order it sans the obvious meat, you are almost always safe.

    for all y’all who have never eaten ethiopian food, i’ll let wikipedia break it down for you:
    “Ethiopian cuisine characteristically consists of spicy vegetable and meat dishes, usually in the form of wot (With a hard ‘t’ noise), a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes. No utensils are used.”

    now, as i hinted earlier, most of the food that i’ve tried in the little ethiopia district of fairfax is totally comparable—i urge you to sample every last restaurant and make your own mind up. but one thing that really sets rosalind’s apart is the incredible atmosphere. nyla’s decor is too bright, rahel’s isn’t quite cohesive (umbrellas hanging from the ceiling…wtf), and messob is just too small and kinda blah. rosalind’s on the other hand…well, it’s hip, dim, slick and authentic—all rolled into one.

    at rosalind’s, 2 vegetarians can totally eat on the cheap—the veg combo is a mere $13.95 and comes equipped to stuff 2 hungry vegans to their bursting seams.

    but i don’t want to get ahead of myself. let’s begin with rosalind’s appetizers.

    first up, a lightly dressed tangy salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber is served—the leaves crisp and mouth-watering. ha, this may not be traditional ethiopian food, i dunno. but who cares! it’s good. plus, it’s the last time i get to use my fork before taking the plunge into the land of no utensils.

    the sambussa is fucking genius as well. it’s like an ethiopian version of the samosa, with lentils and jalapenos rather than potatoes and peas. a perfect fried, greasy and spicy accomplice to the fresh, cold and citrusy salad.

    and now, for the main dish! the hot and steamy wot comes with a heaping plate of injera that never lasts long at our table.

    the spongey bread is great for scooping up the runny clumps of stew, and its plain, sour taste pairs well with the flavorful vegetables.

    while all 5 flavors of stew are amazing, here are a few of my personal favorites:

    yellow split-pea (left): cooked with onion, jalapeno and garlic. chick-pea (right): spiced and milled chick pea cooked in onion.

    red lentils: cooked with berbere garlic and ginger root.

    i could go on and on about how good this vegetarian combination is, but you just gotta try it for yourself. suffice to say, we (mr. meaner and i) always eat absolutely everything except the plate. we are usually battling to the very end, ripping off pieces of the injera platter and rolling them into little greasy cylinders before stuffing them in our mouthes.

    seriously, i don’t know how i survived 20 years of living on this earth without ethiopian food! all the restaurants i’ve tried have been great, and i encourage you to check out rahel’s as well (we gotta support the vegan joints!) i just really love rosalind’s—it was the first ethiopian place i tried, and i’ve never stopped going back.

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  • Similarly, Nyala was my first and the only time I strayed was once when I arrived in Little Ethiopia to find that Nyala was closed for a renovation or something. I think I went to Messob that day, but I honestly don’t remember. I’m sure I’ll try Rahel someday; I just don’t think it’ll take away my love of Nyala. Thanks for a great post about the wonders of Ethiopian food!

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