Aus of Africa

So yeah, Ethiopian food. I can’t say this was my total fave. But it was interesting and very exotic. The place was charming and the customer base could not have been more diverse.

I do not think we had any language in common with our waitress despite the fact that the RIMP speaks 8 languages, most of them fluently—and I’ve noticed that his German improves with his alcohol consumption—but there was a lot of pointing and smiling. It was helpful that the owner (I assume) who was hovering nearby spoke German, English, Italian and what I presume to be Ethiopian was able to solve a lot of our issues. And you know me, I have issues. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to help with some of my larger ones.

The wine which was from South Africa, (Ethiopia to South Africa is about the same distance as Milwaukee is to Paris but at least we were keeping it on the continent) was very good.

We started out with lentil sambusas which are the same as samoosas in South Africa, and samosas in India. They were quite nice. The dipping sauce which was some bottled Chinese sweet and hot sauce, the same stuff that comes in those little packets when you order Chinese delivery—I’d happily eat it with a spoon—added a another alien dimension.

And as if I needed more alien, the food arrived and (not being too familiar with this cuisine) it was weirder than weird. I liked it, but, you know, not my people (although there were potatoes involved). Ethiopian food is eaten with these pancake-like, well, pancakes, called injera (thank you, the google) and when I say eat with, I mean you use it as your utensil and eat it at the same time. I noticed I was the only person in the room eating with a fork. You tear off pieces of the spongelike edible eating device and pinch up bits of the various items on the tray which, by the way, is lined with injera. People who are accustomed to eating with their fingers do this quite elegantly. Me, not so much. I dropped good deal of it into my lap before resorting to my fork.

I am fascinated by Ethiopia, it’s history, relationship to Italy, and the Coptic religion. I’d love to visit the underground Coptic churches there.The food would not be the draw though. It’s way too bland which is weird considering how exotic the country is.

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