This actually has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my fabulous friends, but I was able to enjoy not one, but two! free meals in the last 24 hours.
First, one of my oldest (in years, not age!) and dearest friends, Kimberly, is a Yelp Ambassador, and she invited me to be her date at a dinner party she was hosting at Enjera Restaurant. Most others in attendance had RSVP’d, but I was able to slide in there anyway. We knew the food would be complimentary, and the people at the restaurant were nice enough to share their wine with us as well!
First appetizer was a sambusa of lentils & an asaroll, a fried ball of salmon and risotto. The sambusa was served with a spicy sauce on the side and the two paired well together. I ate the whole thing despite my aversion to the consistency of beans. The asaroll was delicious — crispy on the outside and fishy on the inside. The pink sauce tasted a little like cocktail sauce.
The second appetizer was kantisha, a mix of braised mushrooms with a seasoned sauce. It reminded me of a ragout with its thick, meaty texture. Lots of chunky mushrooms. The spongy rolled up bread (called enjera) is meant to be broken into pieces which are then used to scoop up the kantisha. This is the traditional way to eat Ethiopian food.
After several minutes, a red plate with an enjera pancake was brought out and placed between two people sitting across from each other to share. They would come out with bowls and spoon a bit of something onto one section. A few minutes later, they would come out and spoon something else onto a different section of the plate. My favorites were the collard greens, and the meat! The first scoop of beef was crispy and reminded me of fajitas meat. The chicken was nicely seasoned and the last serving of beef was tender and delicious as well. There were also a lot of vegetarian offerings. By the end of it, all the bread had gone to my stomach and the wine had gone to my head.
The following day, my good friend Jessica invited me to join her for a women’s wedding lunch; I was sitting in for her boss who had had to cancel at the last minute, leaving Jessica with two already purchased tickets. Jessica is the sales manager of Savory Fare, a new catering company in Warrenton. The lunch was all about networking within the wedding industry, with photographers, makeup artists, and people representing car companies, venue rental, and more catering. The appetizer and entree were provided by the Dominion Valley Country Club, where the event was held.
The appetizer course was two pork and shrimp rolls with rice paper, basil and rice sticks. There was a thick sauce served on the side that I liked a lot. The roll itself was very floral and chewy. I ate the first roll and only ate the shrimp of the second roll. The sauce added enough flavor which I think is the only reason I ate as much as I did. One of the girls I was sitting with still had a tail on her shrimp! So digging out the shrimp was definitely a good idea.
The entree was salmon served with kale and sweet potato. The sauce was very watery and flavorless so I don’t know what its use was other than to add moisture. The salmon was cooked well, and the kale was a good texture. The sweet potato tasted okay; I’m not a fan of the potato’s ginger cousin in general, but I did take a small bite.
The dessert was provided by Cakes by Happy Eatery located in Manassas, VA. The cake was amazingly moist, almost spongy. It definitely did not resemble your run-of-the-mill cake. The middle filling was a light strawberry flavor, very fluffy and not too sweet. I basically ate the cake in three bites, it was my favorite course of the three.
And there you have it! I get by with a little help from my friends. 🙂 Going to both events made me realize that there are lots of different ways to escape the 9 to 5 office ball and chain; not everyone has to become an entertainer. If only I could parlay my own career in food critiquing! Eating food and writing about it for a living? Sounds like my dream job. 😀