Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela On What You Might Not Know About Ethiopian Cuisine

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From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives

Up next, the folks behind one of the best places to get your hands dirty in Tempe. 

97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant 

Mom always said not to play with your food, but at Tempe's longstanding Ethiopian restaurant, Café Lalibela, diners have been digging into plates of flavorful fare hands-first for years. Family-­owned and -operated for nearly two decades, the restaurant has been a jumping-off point of many an adventurous diner looking to explore the world of authentic and aromatic Ethiopian cuisine. This spot is known for excellent wats, rich Ethiopian stews made with lamb, beef, fish, or vegetables, and spongy injera bread, which you use to scoop up fingerfuls of food. Recently, owners Anibal and Salem Beyene added a small retail market to the mix, giving fans a place to find Ethiopian spices, jewelry, crafts, and grab­-and­-go beverages. 

Today they dish on one thing you might not know about Ethiopian cuisine. 

Our go-to place for macarons in Phoenix is Essence Bakery. 

The best kept secret in Phoenix is Via Cappello dinners at The Royal Palms Resort. 

One thing most people don't know about Ethiopian food is it's extremely healthy. 

You'll never find processed meat in our kitchen, but we can't cook without onion. 

Our culinary guilty pleasure is kifto, minced raw beef marinated in mitmita (a chili powder-based spice blend) and niter kibbeh (a clarified butter infused with herbs and spices). 

The 2016 Tastemakers so far: 

100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour 
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography

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