you’re international, so international

After a quick little jaunt over to Asheville to visit my cuzzzzins and reunite with Mad Dog, I came back and BAM! I was a sophomore [for normal students they do 2 terms of labs and 1 term of academics their first year, then 1 set of labs and 2 academics their second year. cuz i can already read and write rull good, they don’t make me take no real classes or nothin’].

So! Being a sophomore means you get new uniforms which is AMAZING because you no longer have to do laundry halfway through the week and you rock the light blue collar on your coat which allows you to look at the little freshman with nothing but the utmost distain. But it also means they force me to take another pair of the most god awful work shoes ever. Those bad boys are going right to goodwill. danskos4life.

First class: International Cuisine

This was a huge change of pace right off the bat–it’s a service-centered class, which means we produce the food for the freshman dining room (remember when I was graded on opening a bottle of wine? that class). We got our first taste of dealing with ticket times, working a line, plating, all that good stuff. It wasn’t 100% authentic–the food was all prepared in advance, kept hot in a steam table, then just plated to order. But it was the perfect way to ease into things.

Each day of class we were “in” a different region of the world: Japan, Thailand, Spain, Greece and Turkey, Americas, Africa. We started off with lecture, covering a loooong list of terms and discussing the culinary history of the region and how imperialism, wars, and other major world events impacted the food people ate around the world (hint: spain made their mark allllll over the place).

The food was great–and diverse for sure. A new term means new classmates, so there were a few hiccups along the way (the paella–my love!–was a disaster) but by and large everything was tasty.

japan: miso soup (duh)

phillipines: lumpia and mandu (think wontons and spring rolls)

phillipines again: pansit (stir-fried noodles with shrimp and sausage)

in filipino culture, noodles are usually served on birthdays to symbolize long life. therefore, it’s super extra bad luck to cut or in any way shorten the noodles. that’s news you can use.

Americas: Bass with Mole Pepin (pumpkin seed mole)

awwww yea the crowning glory: ethiopian sample platter

you got your beef tibs, chicken doro wat, greens and veggies…heaven. we made our own injera (that brown spongey pancake thing on the bottom) and ohhh man it was awesome.  injera is usually made with teff flour (a grain, and gluten free!) and is fermented like sourdough, but we took a wee shortcut and used club soda and lemon juice to mimic the flavor and texture. i’m an injera fanatic and i thought this stuff was down right tasty.

pretty sweet jams, huh?

from here, we went to Advanced Dining Room [cue law and order DUN DUN]. It was all fancy-like, with french brigade style service. I won’t bore you with the details because it was absolutely terrible (and I already had experience with this style of service). It did make me infinitely more appreciative of just how fantastic all my instructors had been…this far. I’m a 27-year-old woman with a college degree and nearly 10 years of restaurant experience and I was treated like a 4 year old.  And she LIKED me. The hardest part was watching other students get berated for things there was no way in heaven they would ever know the answer to.  In a strange twist of fate, this brought out my compassionate side for these struggling individuals and it became a greater learning opportunity for me to quietly teach them things hiding in the dish room that our professor would rather screech and insult them over.

[end rant]

and then we walked through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and landed in advanced patisserie!

when there’s no time to cook, eat with your hands!

Things have been moving at break-neck speed over here at DTMS, which has left me with little time to cook, and even less time to blog. But a girl’s gotta eat, right?

Monday night Manfriend and I visited one of our very favorite places in the whole city.  I normally would not disclose this place to you because it is insanely delicious and rarely crowded on week nights and I would like to keep it that way. But because you are my dear readers and I’ve been depriving you for the last week, I’ll share my little secret with you. Ready? Are you ready?

Etete is an Ethiopian restaurant on 9th St, NW  just south of U on a 2-block stretch known as “Little Ethiopia.” But I bet you didn’t know that ;). I’d never had Ethiopian until I met Manfriend and now I can’t imagine my life without it (he’s been a nice addition too).

Here’s the deal: you order as many items as you like (we usually get 2-3) and they all come together on a big round platter lined with injera, the Ethiopian’s answer to pita. It’s spongy and tangy and fantastic all on its own. Your dinner arrives looking something like this:

yea your mouth is watering, isn't it.

Two of my favorites are the Yefem Tibs and the Kitfo, both specialties of the house, and both nice and spicy.  Manfriend swears by the Tomato Salad too. They have gobs of vegetarian dishes,and the meats come with yummy yummy greens.

Ready to dig in? Roll up your sleeves.  You also get a basket of rolled up injera, which will be your cutlery for the meal.  Tear off a piece and dig in!  There are forks for the faint of heart.  If you read DTMS, you are not faint of heart. Use your damn hands.

Laid back and always delicious, Etete is just the best for a quick, cheap, and out-of-this-world delicious meal.  Just don’t all go at once and take up all my tables. Kisses!