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Injera - Ethiopian Bread in NJ/NYC

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I love Injera - the fluffy Ethiopian bread. We pick up packets of Injera in Adams Morgan during our visits to Washington, DC. Anyone know of places in NJ or NYC that just sell Injera that you can eat at home?

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  1. There's a good Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick and the name escapes me. However, I am sure they'd let you buy some injera as takeout. At places like that, you usually just need to ask.

    For what it's worth, it's not that hard to make.

    5 Replies
    1. re: glutton

      Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
      338 George St
      New Brunswick

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      Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
      338 George St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

      1. re: arpad

        This post got me thinking about Ethiopian food, so we went to Makeda on Sunday. The meal was pretty good, though pricier than we anticipated. I'm used to Ethiopian meals that are reasonably priced, but this one worked out to about $25 per person for two appetizers, an entree (meat + two sides), and a diet coke. If we had each gotten an appetizer, it would have cost $30-35 per person. The food was good, especially the doro wat and fit fit. Their injera ws very good, though I wish it had been served warm (not cool). All in all, it was a fine meal, but we vowed to return for lunch on Mon-Sat, when they run lunch specials.

        For what it's worth, the restaurant was completely dead for lunch on Sunday. There were two tables taken and there was no atmosphere. That didn't bother me, but I can see some others complaining about that.

        1. re: glutton

          I love Makeda, but granted, it's the only Ethiopian restaurant I've tried so I can't compare. When I worked in NB I went for lunch often, and the lunch specials are great - I either get the vegetarian special or one of the wraps.

          I'm not surprised it was quiet on Sunday afternoon - NB tends to be pretty quiet on Sunday in general. If you (or anyone) are looking for a livelier time, Friday and Saturday nights it's usually hoppin' and they have live music. Of course, service is sometimes slow...but we never mind cause we love the food and the company.

          Mmmm, now I need to go.

          1. re: mickeygee

            I've probably been to a half dozen ethiopian restaurants in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, so I have some room for comparison. The food at Makeda compares pretty favorably. The portions were a bit skimpier than some of the other places and the prices were higher, but the quality of the food was fairly comparable. The service was slow at Makeda, but it was slow at every other Ethiopian restaurant I've been to (incredibly slow at a couple of them). I've been told that the slow service is a result of the way the food is prepared and cultural norms about not rushing diners, allowing them to relax, etc.

            I wish Makeda had Ethiopian beer -- it goes perfectly with the food.

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            Los Angeles Cafe
            4300 Bergenline Ave, Union City, NJ 07087

          2. re: glutton

            I went to Makeda a couple times about 10 years ago and stopped going back when I realized it was basically bland Indian food at twice the cost.

      2. Mesob in Montclair

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        Mesob Restaurant
        515 Bloomfield Ave Ste 1, Montclair, NJ 07042

        1 Reply
        1. re: harrison

          Been hearing a lot of excellent things about this place. Every person I know who has gone has liked it very much. Looking forward to going very soon. I passed by it last night...it was crowded.

        2. Yes, I have gotten it at Makeda--although it is more expensive than what you would pick up in Adams Morgan. We too always stock up when we are in DC. There must be small groceries or people who sell from their home in the area, but I've yet to find them. The people who own Mesob are Eritrean (whereas I believe Makeda is owned by a Nigerian), so they might be able to point you to a grocery or individual who sells it.

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          Mesob Restaurant
          515 Bloomfield Ave Ste 1, Montclair, NJ 07042

          1 Reply
          1. re: SunnyD

            Someone hating on Nigerians owning restaurants? :) You definitely can not beat what is in Adams Morgan.

          2. There's also Harrar Cafe in South Orange...I have to admit that I haven't been there since they moved from West Orange, but the food in W.O. was terrific and far more reasonably priced than Makeda...

            www.harrarcafe.com

            2 Replies
            1. re: Curlz

              Anyone been to Mesob in Montclair recently? Can you recommend what to try?

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              Mesob Restaurant
              515 Bloomfield Ave Ste 1, Montclair, NJ 07042

              1. re: Curlz

                We actually have two Ethiopian places in SO. There is also Lalibela on Irvington Ave. (about a 1/2 mile up from the intersection with SO Ave.), which is a small, homey place. I prefer their food to Harrar, which is still OK.

              2. I am married to an Ethiopian; and I have been to every Ethiopian restaurant in New Jersey. And I would have to say that the best one that I have been to, in terms of taste and price, is Lalibela on Irvington Avenue in South Orange, NJ. Not only is the food good, the injera, if ordered in advance, is very authentic and nice. It is made with teff flour, which is a plus; given the health advantages of such a flour. In addition, the restaurant, although small and cozy, is run by a husband and wife team; and this adds a personal, and very pleasant, touch to the service.

                If you are a vegan/vegetarian, its also a good place to eat at as well. So, if you want to buy injera, and it is available, call first. The price for six injeras is $9. If you do not eat all of it right a way, you can roll them up, cut them in half, then wrap them in plastic and freeze them. Put them in a zip lock bag, so that they do not get freezer burned. When you want to eat them later, take one or two out of the freezer, let them thaw, and then microwave the injera for 15 to 20 seconds. If you need more time, try an additional 10 seconds.
                Also, just a note: I went to Ethiopia about four years ago, I did bring back some teff flour--hoping dearly to make my own injera. But there is something about the tap water here that prevents you from doing so. And Lord knows I tried really hard. So, just to save you some time, buy the traditional Ethiopian bread from a professional who knows what he or she is doing.
                Food suggestions at Lalibela: The tibs are really good!

                9 Replies
                1. re: EthnicNJ

                  I wasn't terribly impressed with Makeda. It seemed to be more interested in style than substance. The prices were high, which I could tolerate if the food was substantially better. But it was fairly average Ethiopian food, all said.

                  1. re: Alem

                    I don't where you live but this a good place to try though it has few tables and not fancy.
                    This review is for Ada's new offering of Ethiopian food which is available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I was born and raised in Ethiopia and lived there for 16 years. She makes really tasty Ethiopian food at an incredible price. Though her place is small with not many seats this is native food for her and she does a great job. Ethiopian cooking takes many hours to prepare but she does not cut corners. Her best dishes are the chicken stew (doro wot), split lentil, shiro and collard greens. She serves it all with excellent Ethiopian crepes called Injera. I have eaten in a lot of Ethiopian restaurants and though she does not have a big variety of food she has captured the essence of Ethiopia.

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                    Ada's Latin Flavor
                    279 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740

                    1. re: TsteveT

                      Thanks a lot for the information on Ada's. If I get a chance, I will try it.

                      1. re: TsteveT

                        Ada's actually started out as a Dominican restaurant, but she and her husband Muller are native Ethiopians. She was hesitant at first to offer Ethiopian dishes as she was not sure how much of a market there would be for it, but she is gradually expanding the selections available.

                        Prices for that cuisine are amazing given the alternatives within 50 miles.

                        Website includes a separate Ethiopian menu:

                        http://www.adalatinflavor.com/home.html

                         
                      2. re: Alem

                        I second the hearty recommendation for Lalibela. It's a bit pricey compared to some places, but it's worth it because the food is excellent, and the portions are very large. The food is much better than at any Ethiopian place in NYC that I've tried, and I've tried several of them.

                        1. re: Ike

                          Yeah, Lalibela can be on the expensive side, but its still the best I've tasted. But if you want to cook your own tibs, here are some tips: buy a pound of beef round tip, cube it, and refrigerate; then in a non-stick skillet, w/lid, add 7 purple chopped onions, 1 tsp of crushed garlic, ginger, sea salt, 1/4 cup of berbere, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of light olive oil, and 2 tbsp of Ethiopian clarified butter. Now add the meat, brown it, and then let simmer for 1 hour; and longer if its not tender. While cooking, slice an onion, a bell pepper, and a jalapeno pepper, mix for 1 minute, and serve with injera or Portuguese rolls that you can get from Fine Fare, near Lalibela, they are really nice, 5/$1. I think you can buy the Ethiopian spice from the Harrar Cafe in South Orange, along with the butter, and injera. I buy my injera from Harar, because they always have them on hand, and I've never walked
                          in to buy a bag and they didn't have one to sell. And the owner, Terrance, and his wife, are really nice people. You can also make a cabbage dish, if you have turmeric and curry powder, *you will need 1 tbsp of both or less if you like) just cook four chopped white onions, 1 chopped fresh tomato, oilve oil, salt, ginger, garlic,and carrots for a good 20 minutes on low, once the carrots are soft you can add your cut up cabbage, steam it for 10/15 minutes, or until slightly tender. And eat with the meat, on top of the injera. Bon appetit!
                          P.S. Little India, in Jersey City, has the best turmeric/curry powder. Go to Patel's, but you have to go early in the morning, on any given day, because its always crowded. But you can get any spice/bean you could imagine, and the cost is reasonable, including the coconut powder/flax seed if you do smoothies at home...don't ever buy spices at the grocery store, this place is the best! I have been going to this store for 17 years, for incense to spices...

                        2. re: Alem

                          There's no reason you can't make good injera with the tap water in NJ...all you need to do is filter the water first.

                          Also worth noting: the ShopRite supermarkets in NY/NJ carry Teff flour...just look in the baking goods section where the BOB's RED MILL products are. They offer true Teff flour. It's great, and makes perfect injera!

                           
                          1. re: The Professor

                            Hi Professor ?,
                            Thanks a lot! I will try to make the injera with filtered tap water. I only wish I knew this secret, years ago, when I returned to NJ from Ethiopia with my husband and family.
                            I will keep you posted, when I get the chance, after school is out, to try this.
                            Again, thanks!