Eating Chicago (But Really Evanston): Ethiopian and Down Home Meals

26 Apr

As if all that stick-to-your-ribs deep dish wasn’t enough for us, we decided on an Ethiopian feast for dinner at a nearby Evanston restaurant called Addis Abeba.  For those who’ve not had the intimate pleasure of eating Ethiopian, I’ll hint that the symbol on the front of the menu was a red circle around silverware with a line through it.  Eating with one’s hands is a part of the cultural experience of Ethiopian cuisine. 

For an appetizer, I tried the popular dish of raw beef mixed with spices such as cardamom and hot pepper.  It was very delicious wrapped in the utensil-esque injera bread that is served as a solution to keep hands mess-free. 

For our entrees, we shared the chicken doro wat, the beef kebab, and a saucy pureed chickpea dish.  They were all delicious, and the communal platter on which many Ethiopian restaurants serve their food made it a more familiar experience. 

The next morning, we were too full for anything major, so we opted for a light coffee run at Clarke’s Diner.  We got some fruit and got our caffeine fix for the day before my sister left to meet a friend at Northwestern.

Later, when hunger finally set in, my dad and I decided that we would eat lunch at the Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop down the street from our hotel. Every time we passed it on  the street, jazz music blared out onto the sidewalk, and the clientele looked happy and at ease.  So, instead of waiting to try the Sunday brunch, we wandered in for a midday meal.

When we sat down, we were served a quaint basket of Johnny cakes, which were simultaneously corny and tender with the perfect hint of sweetness.  Spreading a thin film of butter on top of the homey griddlecakes,  I was a content diner.  Oh, what an ingenious bread basket.

For our lunch, my dad got the trout pecan with plaintains and red beans and rice.  I got the Dixie Kitchen green goddess salad, which was a mountain of large croutons, cornbread croutons, fried green tomatoes, grilled chicken, and pecans over romaine.  The green goddess dressing was redolent of basil and delicious.  My friend went to Louisiana for Jazz Fest over spring break, but I was able to find my own little corner of New Orleans in the Dixie Kitchen.

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