Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ethiopia in Utah

Last night I went to my favorite restaurant, the African Marketplace. It is located on 1875 S. Redwood in Salt Lake City. I have been there before, but the second time was as if it were my first time.

I think my favorite thing about going there is how sweet the people are! We walked in and the people, no matter what they are doing, say ‘hello’ and ‘welcome.’ I went with my
friend of four years, who always takes me to the most exotic food-eating places, Brandon Bott. We sat ourselves in their newly remodeled dining area.

Seated in a very simply-constructed area with picnic type chairs and tables, we went through their menu. I was fascinated by the variety of their menu. From dishes that include cabbage, potatoes, meat, I was surprised to see that they also offered spaghetti meals. I would like to try that sometime when I visit again. Each dish is cultivated with the many spices and herbs from Ethiopia that really do not compare with spices that are used in other restaurants.
I think my favorite part about their food is the Injera bread.

According the website Science of Cooking
, "Injera is not only a kind of bread—it’s also an eating utensil. In Ethiopia and Eritrea, this spongy, sour flatbread is used to scoop up meat and vegetable stews. Injera also lines the tray on which the stews are served, soaking up their juices as the meal progresses. When this edible tablecloth is eaten, the meal is officially over."

My favorite sauce would have to be the Berber sauce that is used as a mixture with beef. All the dishes from their famous lentil and pea dishes (cooked with incredible spices) are all served on the ‘tablecloth’ Injera bread, and most of you know
I love using my hands to eat…so, if you don't like to use your hands, you may not like it. But it really makes the experience for me.

I was chatting with the woman that was running the restaurant, who by the way is the most stunningly beautiful and petite woman ever, and told her how much I loved Ethiopian food. I told her I wish I knew how to make the bread so I could have it all the time. She actually told me to come in and see how she makes it and would even let me make some!! Seriously, it was awesome. So, I am going to take her up on that and report back.

In the meantime, I was searching online for some recipes and found these websites:
Africa Guide
Recipe Source

I really liked this article about someone's experience eating Ethiopian food. I love how descriptive the writer is. Here is an excerpt: "A meal in Ethiopia is an experience. When you have dinner in an Ethiopian home or restaurant, you eat the tablecloth! One or two of the guests are seated on a low comfortable divan and a mesab, a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with a designed domed cover is set before them. The other guests are then seated round the table on stools about eight inches high covered with monkey fur.

The mesab is taken out of the room and returned shortly with the domed cover. The host removes the dome and the table is covered with what looks like a gray cloth overlapping the edge of a huge tray. But it is not a "tablecloth" at all. It is the Injera, the sourdough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia. Food is brought to the table in enamel bowls and portioned out on the "tablecloth!" When the entire Injera is covered with an assortment of stews, etc., you tear off a piece about two or three inches square and use this to "roll" the food in-the same way you would roll a huge cigarette. Then just swoop it up and pop it into your mouth. Your host might "pop" the first little "roll" in your mouth for you. It takes a bit of doing to accomplish this feat but once you master it, you cannot help enjoy It.

My hostess did not pop the first roll in my mouth by any means, but I guarantee, the rest of the experience is pretty darn accurate. Maybe not the monkey fur part either.

By the way, the number for to go orders is: 801-978-9673.


The Solomon Fam said...

That sounds like fun. I've really never eaten exotic foods but it sounds like fun to try. I have an idea, you learn to cook all this stuff and one day we'll all get together and eat it. :)

Unstoppable Lindsey said...

DONE DEAL!! When should we plan the SV reunion?? Seriously, I think we should 'rent' the church and set a date. I miss all y'all!

MB said...

It has been so long since we've eaten Ethiopian, and we have at least 10 restaurants within 30 miles of our house. Now that your post has me salivating, we must go this weekend!