“Would you like to try some of our honey wine?”, asked our server. Oooh YES, I thought inwardly. “Of course”, I replied politely. My enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed and our meal was off to a memorable start. It was my first visit to an Ethiopian restaurant and I was soaking in every moment with utter curiosity. I noticed the rustic woven basket the server placed our meal on, I sighed at the mellow lighting and admired the traditional Ethiopian wall art.
For a vegetarian, an Ethiopian meal is a revelation. My husband and I ordered an Ahimilti Bebaynetu. The meal is presented on a big plate meant to be shared. A big, crepe like bread called injera forms the base. Later, I discovered that injera is gluten free! Soft yellow chick peas cooked with spices and a tangy tomato salad were placed on the injera. Just like you would with an Indian meal, tear the injera and use it to scoop up the chick peas and salad. Another delicious item on the injera was a spicy lentil dish that we couldn’t get enough of! All of their vegetarian entrees were made using traditional spices, some of which I suspected were similar to Indian ones. But the flavors were nothing quite like I had ever tasted before. I’ve had Ethiopian food several times ever since, but my first taste of this unique cuisine remains ever so memorable.