Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Shiyan Phool

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I was driving north on the 24 to go to my  parents house on Saturday when I noticed smoke coming from under the hood and exited.  After pulling over and calling AAA for roadside assistance, I walked over to the  nearest cafe to wait for someone to come out and ended up at Alem’s Coffee on Claremont and Vicente.

A few groups of dark, middle-aged men were congregated around small plastic tables of 4 or 5 throughout the establishment.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on what language they were speaking but later learned it was Tigrinya, one of the official languages spoken in Eritrea.

Knowing I had about 30 min. to kill before someone from AAA would arrive to help with my car, I ordered a traditional Eritrean dish, Shiyan Phool, as my breakfast.  It was a bowl of crushed fava and black beans, chili peppers, onion, butter, tomato, and crumbled feta and was served with lemon and crispy (but warm and soft on the inside) french bread for dipping.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about eggs and bacon for the first meal of the day, but this was the best vegetarian breakfast I’ve ever had.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth stopping by.

Alem’s Coffee, 5353 Claremont Ave. (btwn Cavour St & Vicente Way), Oakland, CA 94618

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Written by winniewongsf

September 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm

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