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29 Before 29: Eat Ethiopian

2 Apr

In my 29th year of life, I’m attempting to do 29 new things. Full List Here. All Bucket List Adventures Here.

Important Ethiopian men of means?

Important Ethiopian men of means?

For our third date, he took me to an upscale Mexican restaurant in the Theater District. As we sipped on our margaritas and perused the menu, I noticed a strange menu item under the taco category.

“Wow, Grasshopper tacos, huh?” I said, thinking aloud.
“Would you actually want to eat that?” he said.
“I mean, I’ve never had grasshopper before. I’m game if you are.”
“It comes with two, so we’ll each have one?”
“Deal.”

So out they came. Grasshoppers, legs and all, piled high on guacamole and a corn tortilla. We spritzed some lime on top and each took a bite of our respective tacos. The first thing I noticed was the legs of the critters getting stuck in my teeth. They were bitter and with every crunch I could only think “exoskeleton.”

So on a later date, when he offered to take me out for Ethiopian, it didn’t seem to be as adventurous of a dining experience as it seemed when I made my list, but I was happy to knock it off, nonetheless.

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The Wine!

I’m not a wine drinker, but I wanted to try the Ethiopian honey wine. My date got the traditional honey wine while I ordered the blackberry honey wine. Both of our wines came from California, but honey wine is a traditional Ethiopian/Islamic drink, because the religion forbids alcohol that derives from grain or grapes. My blackberry honey wine was incredible. I like my wines on the sweeter side, and I’m blackberry’s number one fan, but I was also enamored with the honey aftertaste.

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The combination plate. Beef in middle. Lamb on sides. Lentils, chickpeas all around. And weird bread stuff in the background.

The odd thing about Ethiopian food is that they don’t use utensils. Not even offered at the table. Instead, we were given rolls of this sponge-bread with which to pick up the food. The food came out on a platter that also had a layer of sponge-bread. The bread wasn’t the star of the show that I was expecting it to be. I thought it would hold similar glorious revelations like Naan does for me in Indian cuisine. It wasn’t bad, just odd. But I suppose it’s not supposed to be the centerpiece, the actual entrees are.

The beef was incredible. Spicy, tender, full of flavor. And I liked the spiced lentils as well. We wanted to order the green beans, but they wouldn’t let us. It was kind of odd. We offered to pay more. But at that point, the waitress just decided for us what three vegetables we were going to have on our combination plate then took our menus. I didn’t want to offer up much of a protest. After all, I don’t know Ethiopian cuisine, and I didn’t have my heart set on anything in particular.

All in all, it was good! I would definitely go back. If for nothing else, for more of that blackberry honey wine.

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One Response to “29 Before 29: Eat Ethiopian”

  1. totallytangledandie April 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    This is reminding me of my first experience eating snails! lol It’s making me feel like trying something new again … good luck on the rest of your list 🙂

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