Expanding my restaurant repertoire

I don’t have any photos of the Ethiopian food, but here are some tempeh tacos we made a few weeks ago…

I learned an important thing this weekend: lots of Ethiopian food is made with a delicious spiced butter that makes my stomach really unhappy. 

I stopped eating Ethiopian when I gave up gluten, since the internet informed me that most injera made in the US contains wheat flour and I try not to push my luck with restaurants. 

My lady, however, had never tried Ethiopian and was entertaining an out-of-town guest this weekend, so she made some calls and found a restaurant that offered Ethiopian injera (as in “real,” teff flour-only) in our neighborhood. Cautiously optimistic, I joined them for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed a meal I thought was literally off the table based on my dietary restrictions. As we were eating, my lady mentioned that she’d be excited to have another restaurant to add to our safe list. It sucks, but until she mentioned that, I hadn’t really thought about how my food intolerances affect her. So yeah, I’m a jerk. And unfortunately, Zenebech Injera will not be making the list.

This is totally way too much information but my stomach reacts differently to dairy and gluten — neither reaction is fun, but I can usually tell which I’ve accidentally eaten. My late night upset stomach led me to Wikipedia and, since everything on the internet is true, I’m assuming what I ate was butter (niter kibbeh, according to Wikipedia). 

So, okay. I have been sort of a brat about DC restaurants because I think they’re all the same and I’ve been to way too many places here where fries are the only remotely “safe” menu item. And I’m lazy. But I could see how visiting the same three (two?) restaurants on my safe list could get old for someone who eats (almost) all of the things. 

…and this is butternut squash mac&cheese with roasted broccoli!

In an effort to not be the Worst Girlfriend Ever, I need to expand my dining out horizons. I’m starting with VegDC.com’s restaurant list, which sorts vegetarian-friendly establishments by neighborhood, and exploring menus to find out which ones also have gluten-free menu items. Fun fact: having a gluten-free menu and a vegan menu doesn’t necessarily mean a restaurant has gluten-free and vegan menu items (cough, Founding Farmers, cough). A few spots that have made my short list:

  • Woodlands Vegan Bistro at 2928 Georgia Ave NW How did I not know this existed?!
  • Rasoi (Indian) at 1810 K St. NW There’s a vegan section of their menu! And they clearly mark items containing gluten!
  • zpizza at 806 H St NW The gf crust is also vegan and they have vegan cheese

So I’m working on the restaurant thing and getting to know DC’s vegan offerings better. I’m also hoping that my will to live will return along with the warmer weather and Daylight Savings and I’ll be interested in doing things that don’t involve Netflix and my couch. Wish me luck.


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