Queen Of Sheba is the only place I know of, East of Seattle, where you can be guaranteed an authentic Ethiopian cuisine.
Most of us, unless we’ve done a lot of travel, remain uninformed about the wide range of cuisine offerings found in Africa. They are as varied and sweep as wide a range as you will find in China.
Marvelous food. Owner and Chef keeps very tight quality control with everything; menu, atmosphere and I’m pleased to say, the music…which is all Ethiopian. I really don’t like to go out for an ethnic experience and come back with some pop tune that I can’t get out of my head…BECAUSE it was played a half dozen times during my meal because the ‘Boss’ was off duty! (there, that’s off my chest)
Back to this restaurant in Spokane, Washington and It’s very tempting menu. Here’s a big tip for anyone who is gluten intolerant: this is the place to go – NO GLUTEN whatsoever! Teff is the national grain… it is to Ethiopia what wheat is to America. It’s an annual grass native to Ethiopia and is a species of what is called ‘Lovegrass’. Sometimes its called Ethiopian Millet. It is extremely high in protein among other nutrients. It’s been cultivated for thousands of years, first by the Egyptians they believe.
The seeds (Teff) are ground into a flour then used to make a flatbread. These are made in much the same way the French make crepes. You’ll see that in the video I produced.
The main challenge in producing this video was to communicate how very rich the diet is and invite folks to explore the menu…this is why i showcased all the spices that are used in creating the sauces. Don’t worry, very few of these dishes are ‘hot n’ spicy’ they are savoury. In much that same way the more sophisticated dishes you’ll find on an extensive menu featuring Indian dishes. The further north you go in India, the more savoury and less ‘hot’ the spices mixes are.
The reason for the tradition of people in hot countries eating spices is for the purposes of cooling the body, not, as is commonly thought, to heat it up! LOL
Spices cause the capillaries to dilate, in so doing, heat is released. You’ll love the food there if you love tasting the layering in dishes.
One of the videos I created was of the Coffee Ceremony – I was delighted to see, more or less, the very same procedure in the ceremony they performed as I did in Ethiopia. I think of it in the same way I think of the Tea Ceremony common to the Japanese.
Another common to the culture practice we wanted to film was the way they share food in a communal way – they feed each other. i so loved seeing this; it was also common in my ethnicity and has now nearly faded away. It’s one of the most intimate ways to celebrate community. Those of you who know your Bible will recall various verses referencing how the Jews feed each other at the ‘table’. Not the table we know of in the West, but one where they lounge together and eat with their hands from the same large platter plate. In Ethiopia, and here at Queen Of Sheba, you’ll be invited to share you meal in this traditional way, with your hands from one platter…BUT you can elect to each have separate plates and your own utensils if it’s preferred!
The Teff Flatbread is what’s used as a utensil..and in case you don’t know, the use of flat bread to pick up food from a communal plate is practiced in one way or another all over the world.
Sometimes I think how much more relaxed this method of dining would be. There is no rush to get the food down and then run out to a meeting, or a game, or something else more important.
The shared meal, with family and friends at the close of a day, is the highlight.
Think of it. I invite you to really think of it and consider what we have and have not in our progressive lives.
If you live here in Spokane, go and enjoy the atmosphere, menu and educational evening you’re certain to have at Queen of Sheba Restaurant…it’s by the colosseum.