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Almaz – Ethiopian

I love it when other people decide where to eat. While A was here, she’d compiled a list of a few places she wanted to try. Because I didn’t feel like driving up to the northeast, and because I’d actually wanted to go there the night before, we ended up having an ethiopian feast at Almaz Cafe. I’d passed by this place dozens of times before in my life, but I didn’t realize it served food until a few weeks ago. I thought it was just a little coffee shop. It’s much more!

The place is pretty small though, there’s some seating downstairs, and a little bit more in the upstairs. They have regular coffee shop and cafe fare (coffee, sandwiches, breakfast) but also have a small menu of ethiopian items. We got the Dorowat, which is a stewed chicken dish, and the Veggie Combo, which came with misir, tikil gomen, kik-alchia, shiro, and one more unknown dish. What does all this mean?

The chicken is stewed in a red pepper sauce, but is not spicy at all. It’s full of flavor and super juicy. It’s all pretty much dark meat, so nothing dry here. The misir is red lentils in berbere sauce mixed with chopped onions, tikil gomen is a veggie stew which was my absolute favorite, kik-alchia is yellow split peas, and shiro is mixed greens which was my least favorite. I’m just not that into greens. The one mystery dish was a red colored dish at the top of the photo. Whatever it was, it was still good. All these items get served on a big plate on top of injera bread. Injera bread is a spongey crepe like bread with a sourdough flavor. You tear of pieces of the bread and scoop up the different dishes with it. You get a basketfull of injera as well. This was plenty of food for the two of us. Our server was super nice. I believe it’s the husband who serves and the wife who cooks. Now that I know they serve such good food, I’ll definitely be back!

Almaz Cafe

140 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 557-0108

Almaz Cafe on Urbanspoon

Some Treats From Sierra Leone

My friend runs this fantastic monthly movie watching and discussion group called Javaflix. We watch a movie, then we talk about it, and then just hang out. It’s totally cool. Last week, we watched Blood Diamond (yeah, so freakin heartwarming), but the best part was that there were guests there from Sierra Leone, and they brought some homemade vittles! Whoohoo!
Some simple, yet delicious, fried sweet potatoes. I love me some sweet potatoes. Seriously, my favorite root vegetable of all time.

Again, some simple fried sweet plantains. You all already know how much I freakin love me some plantains!

The piece de resistance? A fish stew… or as they call in Sierra Leone, soup. Yeppers, they call stew soup there. So behold the fish soup. It mostly consisted of sweet and melt in your mouth onions, some red and green onions, and just a smattering of fish thrown in there. It wasn’t as spicy as it looks… it looks more lethal than it was. It was just good. Greasy and delicious. I want to learn how to make this!

Taste Of Senegal

On friday night we gathered for a low key dinner at Fatou and Fama. It is a caribbean, soul food, and senagalese restaurant in University City, at 40th and Walnut. When I say low key, I mean it. There’s no aesthetic style at this place, not that that’s a bad thing. It has some african art on the wall, but otherwise, it’s quite unattractive. Extremely bright flourescent lighting, no air conditioning, some plain crappy tables and chairs. It’s not romantic, it’s not swanky, you’re definitely not here for any atmosphere.

They serve caribbean food (think jerk chicken), soul food (think collard greens and fried catfish), and senagalese food (still don’t really know what that is). The menu has lots to choose from. Since I am the queen of not being able to make decisions, I went with the option that didn’t require a decision – the buffet. The dinner buffet, at $9.95, is quite the bargain. It’s not a giant buffet, it’s actually quite tiny. They had 2 chicken dishes, a fish dish, and several veggie dishes. They had a salad bar consisting of lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers, basically. They had some soup. They were supposed to have dessert but after having one piece, they ran out and refused to make more. Bummer. They were little beignets. They were yummy.

I enjoyed pretty much everything I had from the menu. Surprisingly, I enjoyed my veggie dishes the best. There were stewed cabbage, okra and corn, stewed veggies. I loved them all. The two chicken dishes were good too (don’t remember exactly what they were). And I don’t know whether they were west african or west indian. They were both good though!

I’m not sure what this dish is, I think it’s maafe lamb, which is a peanut butter sauce. You can also get this in chicken. They give you giant dishes of rice. Their rice is really buttery, I loved it.
This is chebujen, the Senagalese national dish of fish and veggies. It had an extremely strong fish smell but I was told it was tasty. It doesn’t look that appetizing.

I have no idea what this is. If I had to guess, I would say yassa chicken. I love onions though, so I bet this is good.

I enjoyed the food quite a lot. It was a good time and quite a bargain. I would have loved it if I could have had more beignets. The service was good enough, nothing to praise and nothing to complain about. It’s definitely a place I would try again. You should too. Just because it’s african food doesn’t mean that it will be like the ethiopian / eritrian places in west philly. It’s not!

Fatou & Fama on Urbanspoon

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