October 09, 2006

Starving children at the Ethiopian restaurant

Addis Abeba
1322 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-5411
Entrees run $10-$15 per person; many vegetarian options

It pains me to make such an obvious and cheap joke, but it's true. We arrived at Addis Abeba after a busy three-hour beach clean-up and the boys were tired and hungry. While waiting for our food the boys were moaning loudly, "We're starving! When is the food coming?"

I'd say it was worth the wait.

We started off with a shorba, a satisfying cold soup made of with yogurt, honey, cucumber and mint. Given that the boys like all of the ingredients I was sure the soup would be a hit, but the "starving children" stopped after only a taste. Oh well, that meant more of the yummy soup for me and DH.

After soup, we moved onto the main meal. We selected the "combos" which allowed us to try small portions of several items. The meal is served on a single platter mesob (traditionally a hand-woven basket, but the large metal substitute is likely more sanitary) and accompanied by a basket of injera, large flat Ethiopian bread. To eat, one tears off a piece of the spongy bread and scoops up the food in small mounds. Once the novelty of eating with his hands wore off and he'd filled his rumbling tummy Smartypants decided he didn't like the food after all. The rest of us enjoyed the whole meal.

Our choices included:

Asa: fish cut into cubes and sauteed in Ethiopian herb butter seasoned with garlic and pepper. I found it a bit salty, but Splinter could not get enough of it.

Yebeg Alitcha: this lamb stew is always a hit.

Yeater Kik Wot: DH really liked this dish of yellow split peas cooked in spicy wot with garlic cloves and cinnamon.

By the end of our meal, the platter was wiped clean and we'd exchanged several gursha by rolling samples of the food in injera and feeding them to each other. According to the menu it's a traditional way of showing somebody that you care.

If you've got adventurous eaters definitely give Addis Abeba a try!

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