Tastiest Non-Euro Breakfast Entree: A way to wean yourself off bacon
5353 Claremont Ave., Oakland, CA 510-655-6003
Sun washes through the window bars at funky little Alem Cafe, where half a dozen guys nursing cups of coffee are chatting. They're speaking Tigrinya, a major language of Eritrea, the small country that buffers Ethiopia from the Red Sea. The wall-mounted flat-screen is tuned to EriTV, where a music video shows glamorous women lip-synching in black cocktail dresses. But the thing worth dancing for around here are the shallow bowls of shihan phool, an East African breakfast dish that's as far from American fare as curried goat from cornflakes. It's a soupy stew of coarsely smashed fava beans scattered with raw onion and hunks of green jalapenos. There's an olive oil slick on top, finely crumbled feta, and a dusting of what tastes like sumac. Scooped up into hunks of shattery-crusted French rolls, it's just about the sexiest morning food imaginable.