Who: VN's Editorial Director Aurelia d'Andrea + Editorial Assistant Lisa Mickleborough
What: Dinner and dancing
Where: Club Waziema and The Transfer in San Francisco
When: August 8, 2008
Why: Well, because it's fun
The Scoop: Having already been on an exciting not-for-tourists tour of San Francisco, when Aurelia suggested we head to her neighborhood and try an Ethiopian restaurant/dive bar known to locals for its all-you-can-eat vegan special, I was in. Now, I have to be honest—my past experiences with injera, the traditional Ethiopian flat bread, have bordered on traumatic, but with the promise of East African beer, a Midwestern-American jukebox, and Aurelia’s good company, I took a gamble knowing the night would have to be at least twice as fun as it was … traumatic.
Sitting deep in Club Wazeima’s unlikely dark, musty, wood-paneled bar setting, we waited for our food long enough to get a couple drinks in, thus inhibiting my squeamishness. We tore into the pizza-sized flat bread laden with homemade split lentils and peas, savory vegetable stew, rich mushrooms, collard greens and—coulda been the beer—but I swear there wasn’t a hint of the wet, too-tangy, deflated whoopie-cushion experience I recalled. Instead, this injera was soft, fluffy and mild—the perfect vehicle for the somehow-buttery, robust sauces. Whether or not we actually had room for seconds, we happily obliged as the chef came around with ladles of lentils.
From the NoPa neighborhood, it’s just a quick jaunt to the The Transfer nightclub in lower Castro where we met up with Aurelia's DJ friends including Anthony Lymon. The co-owner of Ginger Rubio Salon by day, I was pumped to meet him since his veg-friendly business space is the site of the upcoming VegNews-hosted Vegan A-Go-G0 Book Bash (Sarah Kramer's new cookbook). Anthony turned out to be very sweet and fun, and while dancing to new wave mixes sipping I-can't-believe-it's-vegan mixed drinks like Tanqueray tonics, twisted vodka sodas, and Malibu orange-crans, we came up with very original dance moves. (See below for one highly technical example, which I've dubbed, "Oh no, it's the cops!")