Restaurant Review: Walia Ethiopian Cuisine

Let me start by saying that Ethiopian food is the bomb dot com!  The dishes are loaded with bold spices and you eat with your hands, using tangy injera bread to scoop up your food. When I lived in the East Bay, I frequently BARTed to Oakland to stuff my face at Addis.  After moving down to San Jose, I discovered the culinary gem that is Walia Ethiopian Cuisine.

Walia is a cozy restaurant with top-notch service.  The Man and I go there for dinner about once a month and have the same waiter every time (I really need to ask him his name) who  recognizes us as soon as we walk in the door and simply asks if we’re having our usual order as we’re being seated.  My ‘usual’ is the vegetarian combination, which is brought to the table about 10 minutes later along with an extra plate of injera.

Nerd alert!

Each Ethiopian has their own variation of the veggie combo, here’s what Walia has to offer (pictured above):

  • Miser wot (left): Red lentils simmered in berbere sauce
  • Alicha wot (bottom): Split peas prepared mild in turmeric and light sauce
  • Gomen (right): Stewed collard greens
  • Atkilt wot (top): Cabbage, carrots, potatoes simmered in mild sauce
  • Shiro (center): Pureed chickpeas in berbere sauce

All five dishes taste great, but I think the miser wot is my favorite because it is the spiciest.  The combo plate can easily feed two normal people but I eat it all on my own.  I always wear loose clothing and bring a crane when I eat at Walia because all that food you see in the picture above quickly finds its way to my belly.  I walk out of the restaurant feeling like Violet Beauregarde in full-on blueberry mode, but it is so worth it!   (Bonus points if you can name that movie reference)


Joys of the Off-Season: Sleep-In Saturdays

I love training hard and racing, but waking up at 5:30 am to spend 8+ hours on the road every weekend isn’t something I can sustain year-round.  Triathlon is a very selfish sport and I end up neglecting some of my responsibilities in favor of training during the spring and summer months.  It’s been a couple years since I had a break in racing so after I finished Vineman 70.3 in July, I decided it was time to reward my body by significantly scaling back my training in the fall and winter.  Thankfully, my coach agreed that a break was in order.  My training schedule for the off-season includes at least one day off each week, sometimes even two or three.  My weekend workouts are only 1-2 hours each.  With this reduced training load, I have time and energy to tear it up in the kitchen and do my chores and enjoy luxuries such as sleeping in on weekends and spending time with friends.

I didn’t have any workouts scheduled yesterday so I slept in until 9:30 (that’s really late for me) then straightened my hair and put on makeup (this happens so rarely that some of my co-workers honestly don’t recognize me without my standard bare face, top knot, and nerd glasses).  The weather was warm and sunny so I decided it was time for a long-overdue mommy-doggy date with Miss Dylan.  The first stop was Philz Coffee in Palo Alto for a mint mojito iced coffee with vanilla soy milk and a vegan lemon glazed doughnut (supplied by Pepple’s Doughnuts).  Then, we made the short trip to Hoover Park for Dylan to enjoy some off-leash time.  We continued the lazy fun day at home with a long nap.

I am loving the off-season!

mmm… doughnut

Gadgets Galore: Citrus Press!

I consume citrus fruits like it’s my job.  I juice 2 or 3 lemons every day to add to my water and salad dressing.  Fresh-squeezed lime juice is great in marinades and adult beverages. Orange juice straight from the fruit tastes way better than anything you’ll find in a bottle at the grocery store.

For years, I used handheld presses to extract the juice from citrus fruit. I found a couple issues with this type of juicer.  First, they seemed to leave a lot of juice in the fruit.  Second, I needed to replace them after 6 months of use because the hinge would eventually corrode and break.

A couple months ago, I decided it was worthwhile to invest in an OrangeX juice press.  It’s pricey and takes up a lot of space, but I’m completely in love with this thing!  The OrangeX extracts every drop of juice from the fruit and is easy to clean.  It has usurped my espresso machine’s spot on the counter by the kitchen sink.

I had a couple valencia oranges left from my CSA delivery last week, so I made some orange juice.  Two oranges yield about 1 cup of juice.

Rumor has it, this bad boy can also be used to make pomegranate juice!