Apr 14, 2009

First Night at The Queen of Sheba

Tonight was Le and I's first time to experience Ethiopian food. There is a group of families in the Oklahoma City area that have adopted from Ethiopia and meet once a month for dinner at a local Ethiopian restaurant. For those of you who were as surprised as Le and I were, yes, there is an Ethiopian restaurant in Oklahoma City. The Queen of Sheba is located off of 23rd and MacArthur Avenue. We were a little nervous because: 1.) We hadn't officially met anyone from the group in person and 2.) we had never eaten the food before. Both of our fears were soon laid to rest. Everyone was extremely helpful not only about the food but also about the entire adoption process. There were several families who had their children with them and the entire night seemed like a reunion play date for the kids. Le and I ordered a #32 (neither of us can remember the name), but it was a great sampler of stewed beef, lentils (which were great a spicy), veggie, stewed pork, salad, chicken and chick peas. Everything was served over a large piece of injera. Injera is a spongy, sour bread which is the staple of Ethiopian cuisine. Served alone, injera leaves a lot to be desired, but we soon discovered that the reason it is a staple is because it takes the place of silverware! Eating with our hands is not an experience we Americans are accustomed unless it is fried chicken and corn on the cob. We were a little confused about how to actually scoop food onto the injera, but one of the children present was a pro. She is about five and she has only been in the US for about two years. Le and I both found ourselves watching her and mimicking her movements. She would grab the injera, rip off a piece and in one fluid movement would slap the injera over the meat and veggie, pinch with her fingers and pop in her mouth. The spongy texture of the injera compliments all of the dishes well and cuts the sourness of the bread. Of course, Le liked it all and I even found myself enjoying even the lentils.

As we were leaving, our little food guide was saying her goodbyes to everyone and turned and hugged me goodbye! It was so cute. Having never met me she automatically knew that everyone in this circle was almost family, even newcomers like Le and I. It was really fun and Le and I will have to start introducing all of you to this wonderful new experience.

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