Thursday, November 1, 2012

God Bless Ethiopia

Okay, my wife is Lebanese which means that while always trying new things, we and her family find ourselves as 'regulars' at The Vine restaurant.  The Vine has great Lebanese style food and besides the service, which varies upon which day it is, the food is very close, to the food which I had experienced first-hand in Lebanon.  While driving on Grand to go to The Vines, we pass a spot on our right, which is Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant.  We always say to each other that we will stop in there, but we never do, until this past weekend.

Ethiopian food is great, as it is rich with lentils and spices and reminds me a lot of Indian food.  This restaurant has been open since 2007, but I just never found my way there.  If you are fan of spices, not spicy, but full flavored spices like coriander, cardamom, or even saffron, then this is where you need to go.  The food is flavored with this spiced richness that was so good that even the waitress had asked if we had been there and eaten that cuisine before.

We ordered the Vegetarian and Meskerem combo, which was delivered to us on a giant serving tray.  This giant metal tray, had a sourdough pancake on the bottom, covering the whole dish.  Then, on top of that, in little piles, lay all of these different kinds of dishes.  There were different flavors of spiced lentils, beef, chicken and even lamb.  There were peppers, onions, garlic and green beans.  All of this was eaten using pieces of this bread/pancake called Injera.  It was amazing and within minutes my wife and I, and kids, were full.  And it is great as if you have a lot of food and you take it 'to go', they simply fold up the bread with all of the dishes on it.  I think it was great because for dinner that night, I'd open the styrofoam container and cut a portion of this folded together 'sandwich' and it was awesome.  Even reheated, it was the same texture and even now though, you had no idea what you were eating or which one and just tasted a different flavor in each bite.  It was flavorful, rich and exotic all rolled into one.

The restaurant is on a corner lot, and nicely decorated with images and drawings of the country, as well as many religious artwork of crosses and Jesus.  It had nice quiet music playing and as I mentioned before, there was not a single utensil out.  This food is to be eaten with the bread in your hands so there is no need for forks or knives.  This is great for those with kids because you don't have to worry about your young kids playing with the utensils or hitting the table or anything.  The single waitress was very nice to all of us and I saw her being nice to everyone.  It was all, just very nice and this is someplace that I would easily go back and try again.  I rate the dishes, the dining and the experience an easy 4 out of 5 stars.  I have to say also, the honey wine is awesome!  It tastes like honey and flowers.

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