Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Axum Ethiopian Restaurant

Ever since Ethiopian nurses cared so lovingly for my mother in her final days, have I wanted to know more about these people and their country. It's taken 2 years till I've actually eaten at an Ethiopian Restaurant despite passing the Axum on dozens of occasions and saying to whoever was with me, "I really want to eat at that restaurant." It's right on East Hastings at Clark.
Well, tonight I got my chance. It was well worth the wait. The cozy little restaurant was bright with light and colour. The beautiful hostess and chef welcomed us warmly. The menu was vegetarian and meat with chicken, lamb and beef. We started with fresh mango drinks and when it came time to order quickly were asked, "Is this your first time eating Ethiopian." "Well, yes. " Beaming with pride and pleasure, our delightful ambassador told us all we needed to know about what was in store for us.
Not long after we placed our order, the feast began. There was this huge piece of dough almost like an extra extra large pizza base and the spicy lamb and spicy beef we ordered with the mixed vegetarian was poured all over this. Then these little rolled up towels of bread I'd thought at first were for cleaning up served for handling the food. Tearing off bits of them like cloth I used this unique bread to pick up mouthful of exquisite food and literally stuff my face.
Laura used a spoon and ladled her delicacies onto the bread. I was having far too good a time eating with my right hand that I ask the hostess if we had to use the spoon. "Whatever you want," the handsome man with her said, "We like to experience the food with our hands as well in Ethiopia". So I went on with my wanton ways while Laura continued to use her spoon and daintily wipe her lips with one of the many napkins.
All the while people came and went with take out. "This really would be good as take out for watching a movie, " Laura said. "For sure," I answered, hardly looking up.
I was amazed at the beef and loved the potatoes and spinach. The lamb, always my favourite was actually surpassed by the extraordinary spicy marinaded beef. It's not curry. It's something utterly unlike anything I'd eatten before. Ethiopian. And wonderful.
"It's all good for you too," Laura said.
I was busy with my fingers and glorying in the taste and the full feeling growing in my body. Too involved to be thinking about anything else but the next bite. Soon I was literally glowing and with a contented smile pushed myself back from the table stretching my legs, I admitted "I can't have another bite."
The only thing I can say against the Ethiopians is that their chairs don't become recliners. That's the only thing I needed at the end of that meal.
It was only $40 for a feast. There was enough left over for both of us to have another meal for lunch. Our hostess had it all packed up for us to take away when we thanked her praising the food and chef. "I'm so glad you enjoyed our food, " she said.
"We'll be back". Laura said.
And that, we will!

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