Little Lab Outing

Little Lab Outing

We recently has a post-doc leave our lab to pursue a new job, and as a result, we’ve been shifting the seating arrangements of our lab personnel…in other words, my lab bestie (E) moved into the office I am in, as well as another person I like talking to in lab! From the two offices our lab occupies, my office became the “loud and fun one” pretty much overnight πŸ˜›

To celebrate the new arrangements, me, E, and our other colleague went out for lunch Tuesday afternoon. Azla Vegan Ethiopian was a food court-style restaurant in a mini shopping complex called Mercado de Paloma, but this specific food spot was a place I had on my foodie radar for a while now (like so many places I am realizing, haha)!

Azla Ethiopian Vegan

E and I ended up eating here while our colleague got a quesadilla lunch from one of the other food court stalls. We picked 3-4 side items, and got two rolls of injera with our plates.

Small, but one of the cuter storefronts in the shopping complex.

We were able to pick from dressed lentil salads, curried lentils, greens, cooked vegetables, and spicy tofu to pair up with our injera.


There was also a small assortment of vegan baked goods, but we (well at least I did!) knew our plates would be filling enough.

Savory, and a bunch of sweets.

E’s plate was full, packed and looked delicious! I didn’t get the lentil salad, but looking at E’s plate made me second-guess that decision.

E’s plate

My plate had the curried lentils, boiled potatoes/cabbage/carrot, gomen (cooked spinach), and two rolls of injera. The three of us walked over with our plates of food and found a table to sit at, amongst racks of clothes and in front of other food stalls.

My plate πŸ™‚

We spent the next hour enjoying our lunch and each other’s company. I made this comment on Instagram, but being able to go out for lunch on a Tuesday with lab mates, and not having food be the focus felt so refreshing. It was just another reminder that I am progressing through recovery, and that I’m also improving when it comes to taking advantage of social opportunities. I’m forming relationships, and allowing those to grow while, gradually with each day, I am squashing that eating disorder voice. This is recovery in action, and I’m loving that days like these are starting to occur more in frequency.

We went back to work after lunch, but I felt much more energized from both the food and endorphin burst from all the laughing we did. I’m sure these lunches will become a regular occurrence, and seeing that it took me two years to feel “at home” at work, I couldn’t be happier about this prospect.

Do you hang out with work colleagues outside of work?

Azla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday Ethiopian Buffet

Sunday Ethiopian Buffet

After running strong on Sunday morning, and diving head first into sweets the day before, I wasn’t sure what I wanted for my late lunch. I ended up deciding on Ethiopian, considering that it had been a long while since my last encounter with injera πŸ™‚

Sunday afternoon in Little Ethiopia.

Plus, it gave me an excuse to finally set foot in Little Ethiopia—where there are Ethiopian restaurants literally rubbing shoulders with one another. I’m not sure how they ALL survive, but I’m glad they do πŸ˜€

Rahel VEGAN Ethiopian Cuisine!!

Rahel Vegan Ethiopian Cuisine was my stop for the day. It was refreshing to see that, even though Ethiopian cuisine is very vegetarian friendly, there was an entire restaurant devoted to serving just the vegan options of the cuisine.

Interior decor

The restaurant was split up into two seating areas, but most people were seated in the larger room where a tall window brought in lots of sunlight.

Menu cover.

As a single diner, I thought it was best to help myself to the lunch buffet offered between 11am-3pm each day, rather than figure out something from the menu.

Buffet at the far end of the room.

The buffet was split up into a cold and hot section, and the injera rolls were kept inside a large basket. The cold food bar had mixed salad, beets (my love!), cut-up injera with spices, and dressing.

Cold food section

I wanted to load up on all the side dishes, so I helped myself to one injera roll for every plate I ended up getting.


Plate #1 was a masterpiece. Since I was sitting in the center of the room, it was hard not to draw attention to myself due to my phone picture-taking, but it’s all part of the food blogger duty πŸ˜‰

Plate #1 : Injera, cut-up injera with spices, cabbage + carots, spiced cabbage, spicy lentils, kale

The spongy texture of the injera—perfect for absorbing all of the spices from the lentil stew and nutrient-dense veggies!

Sponginess of injera.

Seconds and thirds (and an unpictured fourth) were necessary for the full buffet experience. I left Rahel feeling stuffed, but since I was only a 20 minute walk away from the Grove, I put my full belly to work.

Seconds and thirds, cause it’s mandatory.

Carbs on a Sunday = a fun day πŸ™‚ .

Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kites and Colucci

Kites and Colucci

Last weekend, we were fighting a small heat wave where I live, so a trip to the Bay to meet up with my cousin was an agreeable decision made by all of us. It just so happened that Berkeley was also having its annual Kite Festival, and what a stupendous coincidence it was.

Add a Title

We met my cousin around 3pm, and boarded a free shuttle (which was really a school bus) to take us to where the kites were. The ironic thing was that it wasn’t really free, since we couldn’t get out of paying for parking :/ . After leaving the shuttle, we were greeted by so many beautiful sights in the sky and on the ground.




Even a little after 3pm, the crowds were still strong.


As we approached the center of the scene, I got a close-up of some professional kites. Like these multi-themed octopi:


I thought the swimmer & scuba diver kites were an interesting idea! The only odd part was they had no faces(??)


There was even a group helping the tiniest of kids control a kite. This little tot had a tight hold of..


…this kite wayyyyyyyyy up high!


Running around in a gerbil ball in a kiddie pool looked like a lot of fun too—except even if I could, I wasn’t appropriately dressed, wearing my nice work dress and all…


We soon made our way down the hill to where the food stalls were all lined up. They had everything from knishes to pupusas. My cousin got a potato knish, while my Dad got a bag of kettle corn that we split among all of us.


After mulling about where to stop and sit, we found an area behind the food stalls where people were sitting down and families were busy flying their own kites. We sat down ourselves, and chatted while also gazing up at the marvels in the sky now and then.

It was also pretty breezy, and about a half an hour later, the wind started to pick up even more. Noticing that my sister and I had goosebumps, my cousin suggested that we head back. At that point, I could not believe I was complaining about how hot it was earlier in the day. The Bay Area will forever be a weather anomaly!

Since it was 5:30pm by the time we packed up and reached the car, dinner plans were discussed. We first headed out to a cute Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating, but the line was 40+ people long and it was inching towards 6pm. I wasn’t too bothered though, because once the word “Ethiopian” was brought up, I thought yesyesyes, but really said, “That sounds good.” πŸ˜€

We carpooled with my cousin for a 10 minute drive to Oakland, and saw our destination across the street. 


All of the outdoor seating was taken on this Sunday evening, which prevented me from getting good pictures of the outdoor area. (I didn’t want to look like a stalker to those sitting outside!)



Once we were situated inside, we were able to take a look at the menu. 


The breakfast items featured on the half-page sounded delicious, but obviously it was way past morning-time. Even if they were available for purchase at the time when we arrived, I still think we all would have defaulted into ordering the usual: two Veggie Combos to split family-style. It does come with all the fix-ins and injera you could ask for. We also asked for a side order of the mushroom tibs, you know, because we were feeling ultra-daring πŸ˜‰ .


I later learned that the restaurant used to be an Italian Restaurant, but the owners decided to keep the name. I think they did a pretty good job with the decorations, artwork, and logo—despite not being so creative with a name change πŸ˜›



After some time spent people-watching and conversing, our food arrived.



They combined two Veggie Combo orders plus Mushroom Tibs all on one plate apparently. It was most certainly a feast for the eyes first.

Veggie Combo - Azifa, Buticha, Messer Wot, Kik-Alicha, Gomen, & Atakit
Veggie Combo – Azifa (lentils), Buticha (the white hummus-like looking dollop of chicpea deliciousness!!), Messer Wot (spicy legumes), Kik-Alicha (split pea in tumeric sauce), Gomen (collard greens), & Atakit (cabbage, carrot, potatoes) + Mushroom Tibs (sauteed mushrooms)

Once we all got our own share of napkins and gluten-free, 100% teff flour injera rolls, it was time to dig in!

 Injera = time to eat :D
Injera = time to eat πŸ˜€

Everything tasted so fresh and summer-y, and the plate itself looked like a rainbow. My sister and I were in an unspoken race to see who could get their injera with the most buticha (the white hummus-like dip that looks like cream cheese but tastes somuchbetter), but I also made my way to the other sides on the plate. As a self-proclaimed Ethiopian food fan, I felt that it was my duty to give myself a good-size serving of everything πŸ˜‰

After dinner, we spent two more hours at my cousin’s apartment for coffee and tea. We then made our way home when the sun went down since the next day was a working day…but on the brightside, at least our weekend ended, and our week started, on the most colorful note possible πŸ™‚

Have you ever been to a kite festival?

Cafe Colucci on Urbanspoon

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