Are we going to Addis Ababa, Mr. Luthor?*
(* Superman, 1978)
Well, we’re probably not going to Addis Ababa anytime soon, but now San Carlos can bring Addis Ababa to us. In one of City of Good Eating’s first posts, it yearned for two new culinary options in the city. One of those was Ethiopian cuisine, which was nowhere to be found anywhere between San Francisco and San Jose. Well, maybe someone heard our call and answered it, as during the lockdown we discovered True Ethiopian Cuisine.
Technically, True doesn’t qualify as a regular eating and drinking establishment according to our criteria, but rather is a home-based catering business that now is serving dinner options Thursday through Saturday evenings. You place an order through their website and the food is packaged up for you to be picked up in front of their home at the designated time.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ethiopian food, it is traditionally served family-style with a number of meat and vegetable stews (called Wat) served on a bed of Injera, a sourdough spongy flatbread. Another typical preparation is Tibs, which is sautéed meat and/or vegetables. Some of the dishes are spicy, but all seem to have really bold flavors. It’s an added benefit that you’re allowed (and expected) to eat with your hands, using the Injera to pick up the food. One typically orders a series of vegetable and/or meat dishes depending on the size of your party. With the True take out option, you don’t get the traditional presentation (unless you do it yourself), but rather the individual items packaged with the injera on the side.
True has a particularly wide variety of vegetarian options, including Wat preparations of lentils, yellow peas, cabbage, green beans, and potatoes. They also have an excellent tomato / onion / jalapeño salad. There is a smaller section of meat dishes, but they include both beef and lamb Tibs and well as beef, lamb, and chicken Wat. Injera comes with each dish, but you can also order additional injera on the side (recommended). They do offer catering options for 10-30 people, but clearly during the current crisis the majority of their business is the family-sized orders.
Needless to say, their food was hit in our household. The ingredients were fresh and full of flavor — spiced but not super spicy. And of course it’s always fun to eat with the injera, scooping up a combination of the great vegetable and meat flavors. Although we were happy with everything we ordered, the favorites included the Miser Wot (red lentils), Gomen Wot (collard greens), Tomatoes Salad, and the Lamb Tibs.
The City of Good Eating can only hope that after the current pandemic fades, perhaps True will be able to open up a permanent restaurant site on Laurel Street!