An Exotic Experience – Ethiopian Dinner Date
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I love going out for dinner.
I love everything about it – getting dressed up, enjoying food that I would never cook at home, and the best part – not having to clean up afterward.
Unfortunately, Adam and I have fallen into a routine when it comes to dining out – we always seem to end up at the same restaurants! Whether it’s the British pub down the road for fish and chips, a large chain restaurant for ‘the usual’, or take out from the Indian restaurant around the corner, our dining experiences have gotten a little bland.
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love quesadillas, fish and chips, and Korma, but the reason we started this blog was to get out and try new things. When I remembered hearing about an Ethiopian restaurant and how unique the food was it seemed like a great way to mix things up.
It was perfect! It’s new, exciting, something that few people have tried, and completely out of our comfort zone. I was pumped. Adam was less so when he pointed out that we didn’t even know what kind of an Ethiopian restaurant would server, but after a bit of research he reluctantly agreed to go.
As we drove to the restaurant I started to get nervous – what if we didn’t like the food? What if it was too spicy? What if we couldn’t eat it? Adam half jokingly pointed out a McDonalds in case things went horribly wrong. I made a mental note of the location.
The restaurant was in the basement of a building and while not sterling from the outside, it was clean and bright, with a few African paintings hanging on the wall. We sat down at our table and jumped right in ordering a glass of Ethiopian honey wine for myself and an Ethiopian beer for Adam. The owner came over to welcome us and was thrilled to see the waitress bring over the Ethiopian drinks. He patiently went through the menu for us, describing each dish and then explained how to eat the food.
You see – there were no utensils at our table. You eat with your hands. Or more specifically, you break off pieces of injera – a large sourdough bread, which kind of looks like a crepe, and use it to scoop and pick up your food.
Adam and I settled on ordering a combination platter that consisted of:
- Doro Wat – chicken stewed in red pepper sauce, flavored with onions, garlic root and a pinch of cardamom
- Lamb Wat – lamb stew
- Tibs – lamb sautéed with onion, rosemary, tomato, jalapeno pepper, served spicy awaze sauce on the side
- Shuro Wat – chick peas in berbere sauce and garlic
- Tikil Gomen – cabbage, carrots, potatoes, cooked in turmeric sauce
- Gomen Wat – kale or collard greens in mild sauce
- Yekik Alicha – yellow split peas in mild turmeric sauce
- Yemiser Wat – lentils simmered in spicy berbere sauce
- Keyser and Dinitch – beets and potato cooked in turmeric sauce
- Misir Alichah – whole lentil stew in mild sauce
The food was unlike anything I’ve ever tried – in a good way.
At first it was awkward eating only with our hands. Trying to pick up the food with the injera was like trying to eat peas with mittens on. But once we found our rhythm we couldn’t stop. The food was delicious, but deceivingly spicy. You don’t notice how spicy the food is until you stop eating and your mouth is on fire.
After our date I did not expect the response we received from others. Our family and friends wanted to hear all about our experience. Trying an Ethiopian restaurant is a great conversation starter and we have already made plans with multiple people to take them there.
- I would highly recommend trying Ethiopian food – just make sure you have a tall glass of water at your table. I’m talking crazy hot, people.
- Ethiopian is not for the timid. It’s the complete opposite of typical western cuisine and so you need to be prepared to just dig in. That being said it is perfect for any foodies out there.
Have you ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant? Would you? Whats the strangest cuisine you’ve eve tried?
|Bang for your buck:|
When Ashley and I decided to start going on more unique dates I knew she would come up with some different ideas. I was not prepared for her to get so adventurous so soon.
As she said, I honestly had no idea what Ethiopian food was and I was genuinely concerned that this date would fall on its face. I don't like to admit it, but I was wrong to worry.
Our dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant was inexpensive, different and a lot of fun. For me that's a perfect recipe for a memorable date night.