For vegans, eating in restaurants can be tricky. I'm lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, where there's a good number of vegan restaurants to choose from when my tummy rumbles. But I have a lot of omnivorous friends, and when we choose to dine together, part of me always worries a little bit. It's on occasions like last night, when vegan boyfriend and I dined with omnivorous friends, that I am very grateful for a very-vegan-friendly restaurant like Meals By Genet.
Meals By Genet, a well-reviewed Ethiopian restaurant nestled in the heart of Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles, is the place that introduced me to Ethiopian Cuisine. And boy am I grateful. If you're not familiar (and don't worry if you're not, this type of cuisine isn't too common in the United States), Ethiopian cuisine is mainly made up of vegetable and meat dishes served on top of Injera; a large, spongy sourdough flatbread that's not too far off from a pita. Lucky for me, an amazing amount of these dishes are vegan, and if they're not, they can easily be altered. The staff at Meals By Genet was more than happy to oblige us by veganizing our tofu dish (it is normally made with Ethiopian butter).
So basically, here's how it works. You get a huge plate that is topped with a piece of that delicious sourdough-like Injera bread, that is then layered with all kinds of delicious veggie concotions in a circle around the perimeter. In the center is your main dish (in our case, tofu, in our friends' case, a meat dish). You're each provided another piece of Injera that you then use in place of your utensils. Just rip off a piece and scoop! Boyfriend and I ate off the same plate, and it was outrageously yummy. What's fun, too, is that when you're done with your piece of Injera, you can eat the one that is on the plate. It soaks up all the delicious juices from the food and is extremely flavorful. Below is a photo of Genet, the chef, holding one of her meals.
So I think we've learned a nice little lesson here. When choosing a place to dine with your omnivorous friends, think out of the box. It's been my experience that ethnic cuisines are often "VVF" (very-vegan-friendly, it's an official term now, k?) and can be a lot of fun for everyone. Just be sure to call beforehand so you're not left eating dry lettuce leaves. We've all been there, right? Oh, and next time you're in L.A., hit up Little Ethiopia. Next week, boyfriend and I are hoping to go to Rahel, a completely vegan Ethiopian restaurant! I'll be sure to report back. But for now, grab that friendly omnivore you've been meaning to eat with and head down to Meals By Genet. You won't regret it!
Meals By Genet
1053 S Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019-4402
photos courtesy Meals By Genet website.