I met up with my friend Grazyna last night, who is in town for some intense SAP training. Originally from Poland, lived in Toronto for many years, and now in Phoenix, she’s usually up for any sort of cross-cultural experience, so I suggested dinner at Ethiopian House. The restaurant is tiny, one small room downstairs and another upstairs, but the unique incense wafting through rooms, combined with the music and the crafts on the walls make a cozy and welcoming environment. Although the house wine was nothing to write home about (my bad, should have ordered beer), our platter of food arrived promptly and was delicious. I’ve eaten here many times before, and always enjoy the experience of tearing a piece of injera (flat sourdough bread) and scooping up a bit of the meat or veggie dishes with it, since there’s no cutlery. The manner of eating lends itself well to long conversations over dinner while you nibble at the shared platter, and we were still picking at bits and pieces of it long after we were full.
Unlike Queen of Sheba, another favourite Ethiopian restaurant, they don’t offer any chicken or lamb dishes, only beef and vegetable. However, at the server’s suggestion, we ordered a spicy beef dish and a selection of the vegetable dishes that was more than we could eat. Ethiopian food can be fiery, but this was fairly mildly spiced, although I didn’t eat the obvious chunks of chiles in the beef dish.
If you’ve never eaten Ethiopian food before, get over the obvious jokes (how many times have I heard “oh, I thought that they didn’t have any food there”?) and any squeamishness that you might have about eating goopy stuff with your hands, and dig in.