Best Place To Go In De-Nile (2002)

Blue Nile Cafe

Sometimes we enjoy escaping daily craziness to this charming little cafe stuffing ourselves with delightful kik alitcha (warm yellow split peas simmered in a mild sauce of onion, herbs and spices), and tebbs (tender sautéed chopped beef in a sauce flavored with onion, tomatoes, green chile, seasoned butter and spices).

We choose to sit in the traditional Ethiopian section of the restaurant, on intricately carved, swaybacked wooden stools, about half a foot high, clustered around a mesab, a handmade wicker hourglass-shaped table with a domed cover (think of a mini woven Taj Mahal). Eating Ethiopian food is part of the experience. When the mesab cover is removed, the server presents a hubcap-size tray blanketed with injera, an enormous quilt of unleavened bread that is the heart and soul, plus utensils, of Ethiopia. The steamed bread is more like a pancake, fluffy and pocketed with bubbles, tangy with sourdough character. The bread serves as a tablecloth of sorts, adorned with small mounds of food, and we tear off pieces of bread to scoop stews or wrap meats burrito-style.

As we feast here, it's easy to pretend everything in the world is okay. It's a simple case of de-nile.

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