For my 25th birthday me and a few friends celebrated by venturing into some Ethiopian dining. I had walked passed Pero hundreds of times but had yet to venture in. They had pretty rave reviews on Blogto and Yelp, so it was worth a venture in.
A few of us shared the signature Pero Platter which had lamb, chicken in red sauce, three vegetarian dishes and a green salad in the middle. In Ethiopian culture food is not eaten with forks and knives. Instead, Injera a spongey type of flat bread is used to pick up food. It was really interesting because it soaked up the aromatic sauces of all the food. Everything was pretty delicious. The Timitimo Tsebhi, a yellow lentil stew thing had a nice creamy texture, the chickpeas were eaten up right away and the chicken and lamb were delectable. Plus, who wouldn’t like a plate or utensil that could be eaten?
The other thing I tried was the Special Kitfo which was a minced beef with a spice called mimita. Mimita is a blend of bird’s eye red pepper, cardamom seeds, cloves and salt. They had a little thing of it at the side that we could spice to our own liking. The dish itself was already a tiny bit spicy and very flavorful.
Since we had all eaten with our hands, we were given warm water with lotus flowers to wash them in when we were finished with our meal.
I had heard about the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony before and I thought since we were at a restaurant it would only be appropriate. The ceremony took couple of stages. First the beans were roasted and the host teased us (and the entire restaurant) with the fumes. While we waited for the beans to be crushed and turned into coffee, we had popcorn. I asked the host if he knew the origin of why Ethiopian’s use popcorn and he did not know. However he explained that when it is someone’s birthday they often put a type of bread on it. So, I pointed out that we were celebrating my birthday….
… and he lit the bar on fire and gave us free lemoncello shots, which was probably more awesome than bread on popcorn.
Then the coffee came and was served in little tiny cups. I drank it black and it wasn’t as bitter and strong as I expected it to be. Apparently it had quite a bit of caffeine because I drank two little cups and now I’m still up at 1:33am writing this post (after some alcohol and a long ride home). Anyways, for the price, the amazing service and exciting but tasty food, I am totally coming back.