Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whispering Bench and Ethiopian Food

After parting ways with J. and the boys, G. and I began winding our way easterly. He asked me if I knew about the whispering bench, which elicited a truly blank stare on my part, so he told me to pull over so that I would live not another moment in ignorance (my words, not his). And it was neat. These long, curved, stone benches are placed on either side of a giant monument to military heroes (why don't you just click on the link if you want any more historical context), and G. told me to sit on one end while he went to the other. I was skeptical. Of what I didn't know. Then, as if from behind me, G.'s voice resonated in my ear. Totally a weird aural thingamabobber. Something about the curve makes voices carry in a truly eery way.
I should have taken a photograph of the whole bench so you could see the distance properly. As it is, just realize that this photograph was taken from my end of the bench. G. looks very small, which should give you a sense of distance.
After that there was a little regrouping and Scrabble before dinner at Ethio Cafe. I had recently purchased a Groupon for the establishment and it was finally time to put it to use. I paid $20 for $40 worth of food at the restaurant, which, we soon realized, came out to a lot of food. We shared the "Tour of Ethiopia," which included a combination of Doro Wot, Yebeg Alicha and Kitfo and served with a salad side. We also ordered the veggie combo, which provided us with a choice from five veggie dishes including spicy split lentil stew, yellow peas stew, collard greens, steamed cabbages, Ethiopian salad chickpeas ins picy sauce and green beans with carrots. We also ordered hot tea. The space is rather small, but we were the only other table at the time so it didn't feel crowded. There was only one woman serving and bussing tables, and perhaps she could have been a little more on her game, but I'm not really complaining.
I favored the tomato/onion dish with some sort of vinegar dressing and the chickpeas from the veggie options.
The greens were good too.
This chicken dish was quite interesting. G. nailed it when he said it tasted slightly like cheese, perhaps a sharp cheddar. When he asked the woman what might make it taste like cheese she didn't have a very good response. And when I asked what exactly was in it, she kept say that it was probably the 'red spices.' In my head I was like 'ok, but what are the red spices?' I kept it to myself though. While it was interesting, it didn't really grow on me in terms of my wanting to eat a lot of it. The chicken was tender though. There was also a lamb dish and another beef-oriented dish. Both were good, but not incredible.
My overall thought on the spot is that it was good. Have I had better Ethiopian food? Yes. But did it remind me that I like Ethiopian food and should try a few more spots in the area? Yes.

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