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Hearty Ethiopian

19 Aug

About seven years ago, I used to think that Ethiopian food was only for vegetarians. After writing an article on Ethiopian cuisine (during my freelance writing days in college) and trying different dishes with Ethiopian classmates and friends, this hearty and spice filled food cannot be limited to vegetarians. In fact, most of the dishes I order include lamb, fish, or beef!

Lamb tibs

Ribeye goden tibs – the bf’s favorite

When taking first-timers, my favorite spot in Atlanta to take them is Desta Ethiopian Kitchen just off of Clairmont Rd. It’s authentic, served individually for those who aren’t comfortable sharing family style, and provide eating utensils (if you prefer those over eating with your hands). The menu is great at explaining what everything is with a key/dictionary for common food terms (Tibs, shiro, firfir, gomen, ater etc.) and includes substitution options for those who may prefer other sides instead of the traditional injera.

Injera

What’s Injera?

Injera in Ethiopian cuisine is equivalent to rice for asian dishes. It’s served with everything and goes with everything. It’s often described as “spongy sour bread” known for its great absorbency, but with the flexibility of a tortilla. In some dishes, such as fit fit or fir fir (which literally means broken), the injera is cooked as part of the entree with the meat and seasonings. This dish is named as so because the injera is broken into smaller pieces and mixed with the sauce and spices. When eating in the traditional style with your hands, medium-sized pieces of injera are torn from the rolled injera and are used to grab or pick up other food. This allows the injera to soak up the flavor and prevents the sauce and spices from getting all over your hands. And even if you do get a little messy, the way I tend to get, there’s hand sanitizer at every table along with wet naps that they provide with the check.

Lamb tibs

Lamb tibs with a side of mesir (without gomen)

Lamb tibs with gomen

Lamb tibs cooked with gomen and a side of miser

The good stuff

I usually skip over the appetizers and order straight for the entrees. I’ve been to Desta quite a few times with different groups of people, but my favorites have been the fish, lamb and ribeye. The BF loves the ribeye or goden tibs (served on a sizzling plate), my father and a few friends prefer the fish tibs (with tilapia) or the fish dulet when they want something lighter and I usually end up with a lamb or fish entree. I can’t speak to the sandwiches or pasta because I am usually looking for a hearty meal, but I’ve heard everything on the menu is pretty great.

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Lamb cooked with gomen served with mashed split peas on the side

Fish dulet served with salad

Fish dulet served with salad

Fit fit served wrapped

Fit fit served wrapped

Fit fit (unveiled)

Fit fit (unveiled)

The other good stuff

While I typically order water or mango juice, some of my other favorite drinks for special occasions are tej (honey wine),  tella (beer) or their famous coffee. They also serve a variety of desserts, but I usually don’t have any room in my stomach for anything else. Do you have a favorite Ethiopian dish? Let me know and I’d love to check it out!

Desta Ethiopian Kitchen

3086 Briarcliff Rd.
NE Atlanta, GA 30329

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Plica Syndrome – Taking the Road to Running Recovery

10 Jul

It’s official – I have plica syndrome. So much for NOT getting injured while running.

No, it’s not a self diagnosis but the actual diagnosis from my knee specialist. In fact, here’s a great synopsis (from Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine) on what plica syndrome is.

The plica is a fold of joint lining (synovial tissue) that is a remnant of tissue from embryologic development. During embryologic development, bands of tissue divide the limbs into joints. These bands may persist into adulthood in up to 60% of people, although it infrequently causes symptoms. Several different band types may exist. These bands may become thickened and inflamed, causing varying symptoms.

How’d I get it?

Trauma to the knee, either direct, or with repetitive knee bending and straightening activity, causes thickening of the plica, and it loses its elasticity (becomes less stretchy). As a result, the plica pinches on the inner knee joint (medial femoral condyle) and inner patella. The pain is felt to be due to pinching or pulling of the plica band, which has many nerve endings.

The likely cause for my case is trying to rack up more mileage than my body could handle too quickly. The goal was the Disney Princess Half Marathon, which was lots of fun, but unfortunately, at the expense of my dear left knee. The doc also mentioned that I probably had weak hip muscles (which I disregarded at first). And it probably didn’t help that I also jumped back into kickboxing after a one month break of sickness instead of letting my body ease into it.

All that said, now I’m on the road to recovery so I can get active along with everyone else this Summer.

Chilling at PT

The prescription was something I never expected – physical therapy. I watched my younger brother’s physical therapy a few times when I had visited over the holidays, but being the patient is very different. And as I’ve began my physical therapy sessions, there are a few “habits” and ways of thinking I had to change.

  1. Completing the task/exercise faster is not always better – While I may be able to swim faster when in a time crunch or modify my run to exercise more than just my legs, trying to complete the exercise at PT is not always better. In fact, doing the exercise slower really helped me focus more on what muscles were being stretched and exercised and I was better able to be in better tune with my body. Which also showed me just how weak I was in my hip and core despite my perception of how fit I thought I was.
  2. It’s the little things – Some of the exercises I was assigned to practice at home seemed like stretches and “baby exercises” I would not normally even consider as part of a routine workout. But when done correctly with small details like point the toes forward or flex and hold, I could feel and see my muscles really working. Also practicing some of the exercises even while sitting or standing at my desk was a great reminder of my road to recovery.
  3. Make it routine – Whenever Summer hits, I find myself staying out later and traveling more which also usually means not sticking to a rigid schedule and horrible sleep patterns. But even while we were at Virginia Beach for Memorial Day Weekend, it really helped to practice my exercises while waiting at the hotel or in the morning before heading to the beach. Ideally, I should be incorporating my exercises into my morning routine, but I admittedly have not been as great at doing this yet.
  4. Be humble – I found myself somewhat envious when I’d see the Atlanta runners or long to go for a bike ride whenever I’d see kids speeding by, but I had to remind myself that to get better faster, I had better take it slow. It also didn’t help that my office had a pedometer challenge while I had to limit how much walking I could do.  I’ll admit, I did try to run a few times at the park while getting my pedometer steps in, but the stabbing pain in my knee screamed at me to take it easy. So accept your body’s condition and instead of trying to fight it, help it with the right exercises it needs.

Not sure if it’s the 20’s to 30’s thing to do these days, but it seems like everyone and their siblings are training for half marathons, marathons and triathlons. My only word of caution is to listen to your body and train properly! While I trust your body is strong (as I assumed mine was), your “high school” accomplishments and records you may have set cannot beat  the hours in training you put in with your current condition.

Happy Waffle Day! March 25

25 Mar

I was looking for food holidays and found this!

Not only am I more of a waffle person than I am a pancake person, but I found it ironic that I ate my go-to breakfast meal as I rushed out the door this morning.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffle Sandwich.

Basically, start with Belgian Waffles (six in a package at Kroger). As I’m changing, I pop it in the oven so there’s a little crunch and so my filling won’t run all over my hands. I prefer the honey peanut butter with the chunks of peanuts and raspberry preserves (so I tell myself I’m eating a healthier option). I then place my waffle sandwich along the lower half of a sheet of foil and fold up to the middle of the sandwich so I have a something to hold and finish wrapping the top to fully protect it. This way, I can eat my twist to the traditional PB&J with coffee whenever I get stuck in Atlanta traffic. I’d post a pic, but I ate it.  😉

Believe me, it’s muy delicioso!

My other favorite waffle toppings include nutella, strawberries, bananas, ice cream and almonds. My favorite waffle dessert is a waffle sandwich ice cream from the carnivals and fairs!

Superfraiche at the Drunken Unicorn

19 Aug

For my first ‘fun’ post, I am glad I was able to make it out for the first Superfraiche (pronounced “fresh”) pop concert in Atlanta hosted by pop blogger arjanwrites.com.  After hosting Superfraiche in New York and Los Angeles, Arjanwrites was finally able to bring the show to the city where he resides.

Although I was not sure what to expect at the Drunken Unicorn and clearly parked in the wrong place at first, I had a great time and a pretty good view.  Check out my pictures below of the Canadian group, Dragonette.

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And to top off the night, we did a well needed Krispy Kreme doughnut run on Ponce. The best tip I recieved regarding parking in the future is to park at the Kroger across the street. There are cops in the area and they won’t tow compared to the nearby restaurants.

Have you been to any concerts lately?

Hello world!

13 Aug

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