The State of Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa, and just so happens to be across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen – Middle East countries I hope to visit while Caleb is stationed on the island of Bahrain. Anyways… San Diego has plenty of food options and the more we are introduced to the more variety we fall in love with. As much as we would like to return to our favorite places I make it a priority to try new things.
This visit to Asmara Eritrean Restaurant on University Ave. would be Caleb’s first attempt at using injera to pick up lentils and lettuce – my second. I love eating with my fingers and am getting better at not constantly licking the different flavors that find themselves on my palms, chin, and cheeks. I instead try to wait to savor the taste at the end like Caleb, but he has a weird neatness about him – even the two times he’s had enough time off work to grow a beard. And yes, that goes on the list of what makes him sexy.
We arrive after 7:00 pm and with usual restaurant etiquette I want to take my jacket off, but I notice everyone else is wearing their coats and sweaters – cheaper to keep the inside as cold as the outside, and probably easier on the chefs too. We already knew we were getting the veggie platter, but somehow the waiter talked us into two orders – still on one plate, but that guy might be a competitive eater. We could’ve easily shared one.
I don’t know what I was expecting when I ordered the tea – a pinch of cardamom, a tiger in the bottom of my cup, or some fancy serving ware. What we got was black Lipton tea – the same thing I can make at home in a pitcher on my porch in the sun, but we can all make water come from the tap and that doesn’t stop me from ordering it everywhere I go, so I took a picture of the drink provided and it complimented my meal greatly. I was debating getting any dessert option they may have to-go and looked up at Caleb.
He was sitting contently when the waiter showed up, shoved the plate of injera on top of our lentils, and then quickly placed them back down putting curry sauce on the table when he realized that we would take this meal to go. I should’ve remembered my reusable to-go dishes, but luckily the restaurant had some. Maybe he thought that we didn’t enjoy the food because we were unable to finish it, but it was enough to feed me twice more and treat the dogs to some rolls of injera.
To the untrained eye it might look like a simple plate of carrots, cabbage, collard greens, spinach, brown and yellow lentils, and lettuce on a crêpe or tortilla, but it’s the style, flavoring, and history that bring more meaning to this feast. I enjoy how other cultures share living spaces, eat off a communal plate, and hold hands no matter the age or sex of the persons involved. This brought Caleb and I closer to each other by sharing a new experience and taught us about another culture – even if they are over 8,700 miles away.