Monday, November 28, 2005

Ethiopian Chow

My beautiful date and I strolled into MOYA ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT Friday night on a whim. After glancing at the menu at the door and not understanding anything on it, we excitedly took a seat and waited to order. The atmosphere was pleasant with a little oil candle on the table. Our waitress, adorned in a colorful head wrap and welcoming smile, offered a few suggestions off the authentic Ethiopian menu. We decided to share a Ye' Atkilt Moya beye'aynetu and a Ye'Doro Moyachinn Ye'Doro Moyachinn. The first was a vegetarian sampler and the latter a chicken stew. I later found out that everyone shares in Ethiopia. In fact, I would have had to specially request separate plates if I didn't want to share.

After 30 minutes or so, our server brought out a large white platter that could have easily held a 15lb turkey. It was laced with Injera, a soft unleavened crepe-like sourdough bread. Around the edges of the platter were rolls of Injera that looked like gauze from a first aid kit (but light brown). A basket with several rolls of Injera sat next to the platter. My date and I looked at each other with wide eyes wondering what in the world we had just ordered. Our server then returned with several small dishes and proceeded to dump piles of mystery goop all over our platter directly on the unrolled Injera. The idea is to tear off a piece of Injera and use it to pick up a bite of food from the platter. Our platter included all of the vegetarian dishes as well as the chicken stew dish (served from a clay pot and dumped onto the platter like the other dishes).

Included on our platter was:

Ye'missir wett & Tiqil Gomen - Seasoned lentils with a cabbage-potatoes-carrot side

Moya Le'Tena - Spicy collard greens with golden split peas

Ye'Doro Moyachinn - a thick spicy stew with a boiled eggs and a part of a chicken leg

The food was phenomenal. We ate until we groaned from being too full. Our server helped two more foolish Americans experience her incredible culture and her subtle grin of satisfaction proved it. This new experience bumped Ethiopia higher on my list of countries to see before I die.

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