los angeles, California
March 7, 2003
New Eritrea is one of those places. It's a great Eritrean (as opposed to Ethiopian) restaurant - very large. I've only ever had one thing off the menu, the combination. You order it for the number of people at your table and at $10.50/person it's quite a deal. You get a more than ample helping of several of their main dishes along with a huge round of injera - the bread that is your fork/spoon/napkin all in one.
The combination platter has chicken in spices, lamb in some sort of sauce, something beef, and then a couple of dabs of vegetable dishes - all served on yet another piece of injera on a very large round metal tray. Sort of a deep dish Eritrean pizza in appearance except you scoop bits of each food with your own piece of injera, and if you're still hungry eat the injera that the food was served on when the food is gone. Some of the dishes are spicy but not too much so - most are just savory and rich.
I have no problem eating the sour, spongy injera when it's warm - in fact I like it - but when it's cold I can't stand it. The sourness really takes over and the consistency sort of - anyway, eat it while it's hot is what I'm going for. Also a warning! Injera expands in your stomach and will do odd things to you if you eat too much. I have no scientific study to back me up, merely personal and anecdotal reference, but please trust me. It will get bigger so as soon as you feel the least bit full stop! You will feel more full later, I promise.
Don't order the wine, it's not very good. Instead opt for one of the Ethiopian beers - they are very good.
One odd thing - the decor. Not particularly attractive. Lots of bamboo (?) beads over glass and goat skins painted in bright colors.
From journal Alameda Island (a quiet spot on San Francisco Bay)