Monday, January 4, 2010

A Lunch Date

Last week Chris and I had a whole week off together! My daughter was visiting her dad so we had a lot of time to ourselves. Earlier in the month, I made him promise me to take me to Makeda! This is one of the few, if not the only Ethiopian restaurant in New Jersey. It is an absolutely amazing and delicious experience and I cannot implore you all enough to go!

The best time to hit it up is for lunch. Dinner can get kinda pricey. You can have your choice of four different dishes if you chose the vegetarian sampler and it will only set you back $9. This comes with injera so you can dine in traditional Ethiopian fashion...
...with your hands!

Injera is a crepe like fermented flatbread made from teff. It has a slightly sour taste that envelopes the complex flavors of the meal perfectly. Ethiopian food is usually served in a stew form called wat. The menu at Makeda is full of them which are made from many different sources and combined with a variety of seasonings. I've tried several from the lunch menu I definitely have my favorites. I usually always order the same four.

Starting clockwise from the left: Gomen Wat which is made from collard greens. Mesir Wat is at the top and it is made from lentils. Atakild Wat is probably the most popular. It is a stewed combination of potatoes, green beans, cabbage and carrots. Last but not least is the Shiro Wat made from split peas. All of these are seasoned traditionally with garlic, ginger and a magical blend of spices. I've been told by members of the wait staff that the cooks are quite guarded when it comes to their methods.

Treat yourself to an adventure. Call in sick and go to Makeda for lunch. It's rarely crowded. The atmosphere is relaxed while still accomplishing a sense of eloquence. You can enjoy the view of the art gallery through the windows that divide it from the restaurant. Don't go if you are in a hurry. Even if you are one of only two or three tables, the pace is quite slow. Let yourself relax with a cup of spiced tea (a favorite!) or a glass of Tej which is an Ethiopian wine made from honey. Drop me a comment to rub it in my face a little bit if you do decide to go and even if I don't reply, know that I'll be jealous!

338 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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