Multicultural Monday

Monday was Lauren’s actual birthday, so the celebrations continued. One of the gifts we got Lauren was a dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant.

Kelly and I have never tried it before, but it is one of her favourite types of food, and even though London is a huge culturally diverse city, she has yet to indulge in it since she’s been here.
We all met up at the station in our party dresses after work and made our way to the restaurant with a vague map and no sense of direction, so we took a luxurious cab ride of less than a mile to Merkato, which has amazing reviews. It is a quiet little store front with authentic interior, but is world famous for it’s delicious traditional food. Apparently it even gets celebrities once in a while. (Woody Harrelson has been spotted there)
The food was amazing. Let me try to explain what it is like: You are served a giant round piece of bread. (about 16″ diameter) and it is porous and spongy and we called it moon bread because it looks like the surface of the moon and it is big and round. We also thought it felt like skin, but everything was completely vegan, so that was comforting. Anyway, they put what ever you order right on the moon bread. In our case, we chose the sampler, (so everything!)which included things like spicy lentils, sauteed spinach, green beans, potato and cabbage, and more. And then they give you more moon bread to dip in the food. We all share and they don’t use any utensils! Kelly got an Ethiopian beer and Lauren and I got glasses of a traditional honey based beverage. We ate all of the food too fast for photos, but here is basically what it looked like:

We almost ordered a second helping, but decided since we were going out for drinks, we better save a little room. We walked to Angel (about 15 minutes away) to go to a cute little independent bar and club that we always tell Lauren about, but when we got there it was closed due to a gas leak. There wasn’t much else we wanted to see in the area so we just got on a bus and roamed around, until we decided to go a little further east to Old Street where all the art galleries and cute vintage stores are. We knew there had to be some cute bars too, they are just hidden down alleyways and off the beaten path. The first bar we went to was cute and had a lot of people in it, so we stopped in for a birthday snakebite.

Then we realized why all the people were in the bar, it was a tour and they were having a trivia night. We tried to play along on our own paper, but we didn’t know any of the answers. Mostly because they were about old British television and theatre stars. One of the questions was “What does the W stand for in George W. Bush?” Several of the drunken burly men in the group shouted out “WANKER!” So we decided to move on, before anyone realized our nationality.

Some graffiti along the way.

We wondered around the quiet streets of Shoreditch, which is usually full of nightlife. But it was a Monday, so not much was happening. We were about to give up and go our separate ways, slightly defeated, when we saw bright bulbs that said “Electricity Ballroom” we thought we would check it out and make plans to go another night, but when we went in, it was so cute and had such good beers on tap, that we had to stay for a drink or two.

We got a Belgium wheat beer that smelled like bananas.

We also met some guys who were 30 year old skateboarders, but were really into activism and super involved in the community so we talked to them for quite a while. We even convinced workaholic Lauren to stay the night at our house again (on a work night!)

Before we knew it, it was 12:15 and we had to run to catch the last train home. On the tube we met a french couple who were all dressed up: the woman with a purple bob and the man with a red afro (think Annie) they sang “Happy Birthday” to Lauren in French and wanted us to get off the tube and continue drinking with them, but by then we were tired and hungry again so we passed. We also met a friendly architecture student who said happy birthday in German. All in all, I’d say Lauren had a very multicultural birthday experience.


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