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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Queen of Sheba

Some friends of mine from the fencing club...who occasionally read my blog, asked if I had eaten at the Ethiopian restaurant "yet;"  to which I could only reply, "What Ethiopian Restaurant?"

"The one in the Flour Mill," they said, "It looks interesting."

They had not eaten there yet either, but we both put it on our lists of things to do... wondering, "What (exactly) might an Ethiopian Restaurant serve? "and wondering if it would be any good.

"What do people eat in Ethiopia?" (One thing for sure, is that it is a pretty far away somewhat obscure place! Not only that, it's right next to the Sudan where there are brutal wars and seemingly nothing but desert.)  I quickly remembered how Ethiopia itself is known to Americans for it's famines and starvation, and wondered what kinds of ingredients they would use.

Well, tonight we went... and while we were waiting to order, we looked Ethiopia up on google... even zoomed the cities a bit.  (It is quite amazing to be able to do that you know). It's quite amazing to have an Ethiopian style restaurant in Spokane too, I might add.

So.. how is Ethiopian food?

Well, let me tell yo right now... it is delicious and most unusual  in a very good and wonderful way.  My friends were right when they thought it looked interesting.  It sure was.

The restaurant is called, "Queen of Sheba" and is named after an ancient Ethiopian queen, (the Queen of Sheba,) known to the Ethiopian people as Makeda (or Maqueda,) who visited King Solomon of the Bible bringing him many gifts from her land.

The Queen of Sheba restaurant is a lovely little place that spills out and into the breezeway of the little Flour Mill Mall on Mallon near the Spokane Arena.  It's simply decorated with savanna colors and textures,  making you sense that you have entered another land.  The ancient game of mancala is offered at each table while food is served in traditional baskets and bowls.  They have a lot to choose from on their menu, even vegetarian dishes, meals made of lentils and their highly nutritious round, flat, bread.

It's quite an ethnic experience.  We even met the owner of the restaurant, Almaz; she was there when we visited, though she was kept busy cooking and serving tables.

Ethiopian food is flavorful.. not necessarily "hot spicy," but definitely "spicy"...aromatically so  They make a special tea here that is made with cloves and other spicy treasures to tantalize your tastebuds.  One other thing they specialize in is Ethiopian coffee.  They offer (with prior notice...  aka reservations)  a special coffee ceremony, Ethiopian style.  But as the menu says," don't be in a hurry."

Geo ordered "just a cup" of the Ethiopian coffee and I the tea.  (Both are they kinds of foods.. in our opinion,  that are unusual at first, and you don;t really like them, but then as you taste, they kinda "grow on ya".)Then he ordered the rest of our dinner for us, including dessert... Baklava!  (Who doesn't like Baklava?)

A big part of your meal here is something called injera.. (See the circular item to the right..)  It is a bread of sorts, which by the way, doubles as your spoon and fork.  (Spoons and forks are available upon request of course!)

We ordered Beef Sambussa (above)  for appetizer.... This was tasty, basically meat rooled up in a triangle pastry, served with a dipping sauce.

Then we ate something called Doro We't.  It is a thick sauce called a berbere...containing chicken pieces and hard boiled eggs.  Some of the spices they used are garlic, cardamon and ginger. We also ordered the Minchetabesh.  This is finely chopped prime rib... again spced with all sorts of things... ginger, onion, pepper, onion... and this is sauteed something called Kik We't.  It is served, as I mentioned, with the injera.... which you unroll and break off to pick up the food on the plate.  Sort of a shared bowl of food, sort of thing.

Here is the Beef Dish.. Doro We't.  

Here is the Chicken added to it.  There were three chicken legs and an egg.

That is an Ethiopian Restaurant for ya.  A little bit unusual... and even a bit spicy... but definitely another great human experience in the realm of cultural yum.

Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine on Urbanspoon


  1. Ooh, another good place. I'm so glad you have this blog! I would like to say that for my non-land-animal-eating husband and I, this place had some great vegetarian options. The fried chickpeas were really neat, and one of the sampler plates we tried was excellent as well. Spicy and delicious. The injera was certainly interesting too. Spongy and kind of sour like sourdough. (It has been a few months since we've been, we'll have to make a point to get here again.) Thanks!