Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Taste of Ethiopia

I have been wanting to try Ethiopian food since before we even began our adoption process, but finding an Ethiopian restaurant can be really hard!  Little did I know, Seattle has several options for Ethiopian cuisine and I should have jumped at the opportunity that was available to me while we were living there.  This past May, I decided I wanted to go out for a big Ethiopian meal for my birthday.  Patrick and I had found a cute little Ethiopian restaurant online that was located right downtown Madison.  I am a bit of a foodie, so needless to say I dreamt about the food and talked about how excited I was to try it for an entire week.  When my birthday night finally rolled around, we got to the restaurant only to find out that they went out of business and had been replaced with a new Indian restaurant.  I was SO disappointed.

This past month, my friend Liz and I took a drive down to Milwaukee for the day.  She offered to take me an Ethiopian restaurant there that she had been to with her family years ago. image(3) Liz has two Ethiopian brothers so it's fun to share this whole adoption experience with her because she has been through it with her own family.image(8)
We got to sit at one of the traditional Ethiopian tables that had these small basket style stools that you sit on. image(6)
First thing I noticed when we took a look at the menu was that about half of the meals were vegetarian...SCORE!! I'll be honest, as much as I had anticipated trying the food, I was pretty sure that once I did I would come across something that didn't appeal to me. I'm not a picky eater but I just figured since the style of food is so different than ours, it would probably take me awhile to get use to some of the dishes. This was not the case! I devoured everything on that plate because it was all sooo delicious! I ordered a vegetarian sample platter that came with five different dishes. Here is what I was served:

Yemiser Wot-Split lentils slowly cooked in Ethiopian red pepper sauce

Gomen- Collard greens steamed, delicately seasoned

Yater Alitcha- Yellow split peas in traditional flavored mild sauce

Yatakilt Alitcha- Steamed vegetables steamed with onions, garlic and a traditional sauce

Shirto Wot- Split peas, milled and slow cooked

Small portions of each of these dishes were plopped atop a large round piece of this spongey, sourdough tasting bread that is called Injera. image(7) You don't use any silverware to eat, but instead you tear off small pieces of the injera and you pinch the food between it, eating with your hands. I seriously LOVED every single bit of my meal and I already can't wait to go back for more! Some of the dishes had a little bit of a kick to them (which I love) and I have purchased some of the Ethiopian spices and look forward to learning to cook some of this food in my own kitchen. That will be another blog post in the future, so stay tuned. For now, if you haven't ever tried Ethiopian food, find out if there is a restaurant in your city and GO THERE! You will thank me after :)

XOXO,
Aleena

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