My First Taste of…
This weekend we traveled to Rochester, MN to visit family. We were looking for a place to eat lunch and Ethiopian food was mentioned. There was a place just a few minutes away. The majority of us said we had never eaten Ethiopian food before but after looking on the restaurant’s website and glancing at the menu, we thought the food looked pretty good, so we decided to give it a go.
The restaurant was called the Nile Restaurant. There wasn’t much for ambiance except for a few photos on the wall and the temperature of the restaurant was absolutely freezing. I was thankful I was able to borrow Dana’s dad’s sweatshirt. We sat at one of the ten tables and started browsing the menu.
We were greeted by the waiter who also turned out to be the chef and owner. We told him it was our first time eating this cuisine of food and asked for recommendations as to what to order. He told us that everything was delicious on the menu and that we would be happy with any of it (of course the chef was going to say that, right?). Super helpful. 😉
We asked him about the spiciness level of the foods and he explained that menu items with the word “wot” in them meant they were spicier dishes. Given that I’m a pansy when it comes to hot spiciness, I stayed cleared of those menu items.
I decided on a vegetarian option called Kik Alicha which was split yellow peas prepared with sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and sliced jalapenos.
We started off with a couple orders of falafel too. They were super crispy and tasted good, but I think the flavor of my falafel is even better, plus mine are baked so they are a lot healthier than the deep fried version. Still, I had fun eating them and enjoyed them.
The food was presented on a large platter where each order was placed on the platter according to where the person was sitting. In the middle of the platter was romaine lettuce with some type of sauce on it, and on the side of the platter (the white stuff in the photo) was some homemade cheese. My dish came separately in a small dish because it was more of a soup.
To eat this dish, you grab a piece of the bread underneath the food called injera. Injera is made from different types of flours like wheat, teff, or barley (or a combination of them) and mixed with yeast and water. The mixture is then left to ferment for a while which brings out a sourdough taste. They then use a special surface to cook the injera. Anyway, you take the injera with your fingers and use it as a utensil to scoop up your food. It’s messy but that is how they eat! They looked at us a little funny when we asked for utensils to eat the falafel– now we know why. We were learning!
I wanted to taste the injera but since there was gluten in it, I limited myself to just a few bites. It really did a great job of soaking up the flavors of the dishes. It tasted like a sourdough crepe (or at least what I think a sourdough crepe would taste like).
My Kik Alicha:
The flavor of the Kik Alicha was good; almost like something I would make at home. It was a comforting dish. It tasted like a split pea soup with turmeric. I also had a couple of bites of the other dishes to see what they were like. I liked the chicken dish, but wasn’t a huge fan of the lamb or beef. No surprise there.
Overall, we all really enjoyed our Ethiopian lunch adventure. Many of us agreed that we probably wouldn’t need to eat Ethiopian food for a while again, but we were happy with the food overall. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my belly appreciated it though because I wasn’t feeling so hot later in the evening. But who knows, it could have been something unrelated that threw my system off.
A quick teaser for a recipe to come…
Cookie making was happening in our house yesterday! YESSSSaaaa!
Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food?