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Ethiopian Village Food & Spice (and welcome!)

j
Jim Leff Apr 30, 2003 06:41 PM

Hi, Toronto hounds! I've been enjoying reading your great stuff!

Has anyone tried the Ethiopian place mentioned in the Star, yet? Jennifer, the excellent hound who wrote the article (link below), says I may have gone overly loopy for Aziza's food (though she loved the coffe and qut'i). But I thought the food was slamming. Was one of our few strong disagreements. Very interested in other impressions.
Ethiopian Village Food & Spice, 2229 Danforth Ave. (east of Woodbine Ave.), 416-686-1846

Again, good to have you guys!

Link: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Cont...

  1. g
    Glenda McElwain May 9, 2003 11:36 AM

    I invited 3 friends to join me for dinner@Ethiopian Food and Spice last night. Two of us had already tried Ethiopian food in restaurants and at the home of a friend, while the other two were complete neophytes.

    Firstly it must be said that Aziza is a MARVVVELLLLLLLLLLLOUS hostess!! We are ALL WILLLLDLY enthusiastic about Qu'ti and now prefer it to BOTH tea and coffee. Even better we know we can buy the Qu'ti leaves @ Aziza's and now know something about how to make it ourselves.

    The experience of seeing the little charcoal brazier toast the leaves and roast the coffee is deserving of a whole new category of taste bud honorifics. Hearing the history of the coffee ritual and having its blessings invoked by Aziza herself is truly an exceptional dining experience.

    The four of us chose the combination platter with a spicy beef central feature. The injera was beautifully wrought. Fine textured with slightly crispy edges, no discernible bitterness, it draped its velvety edges around every savoury morsel. I DO agree with you Jeff that more spice would be terrific. That said, my companions preferred to luxuriate in the complex flavours without the distraction of additional heat.

    The bill for 4 of us was 60 bucks and would be well worth it at twice the price for ambience alone. We plan to make dinner with Aziza a regular feature in our schedules henceforward.

    One of my friends also happens to suffer from Celiac disease which means that wheat,barley,spelt are off the menu for her. Sandra was thrilled to discover that Aziza is only to happy to prepare teff-only injera. Vegetarians are free to indulge in meat and dairy free conbination platters as well.

    In August (around the 24th) Aziza will be a guest chef at an international culinary event taking place at Harbourfront. So stay tuned!!! I'd place a bet that the smart money will take every opportunity to visit Ethiopian Food and Spice well before then! After more exposure in the limelight, it may get VERY difficult to reserve for dinner @Aziza's table in future.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Glenda McElwain
      j
      Jim Leff May 9, 2003 01:06 PM

      Yeah, I really think that place is a great treasure.

      The full Ethiopian coffee ceremony is hours long. I'd strongly suggest you persuade her to do it...I'm pretty sure she would.

      Qu'ti's my favorite now, too. So many flavors, yet so subtle. Like a sympony of ants playing Mahler!

      Listen, the more hip gringos go there and beg for spicy....and clearly enjoy it if served that way....the easier it will be for others who follow. It's like busting broncos. We can convince her that gringos who ask for spice really WANT spice! So don't give up! It's a "group project"!

      "Aziza is only to happy to prepare teff-only injera"

      That's fantastic news....for non-veg's, too!

      One note...Aziza is one restaurateur who'd not let quality suffer if she got popular. She's an amazingly smart and energetic woman, so she'd surely find a graceful way to juggle it all.

      God, I wish I could go there for lunch today. But from here in NYC, it's all so far away. Like Oz or something....

      ciao

      1. re: Jim Leff
        g
        Glenda McElwain May 9, 2003 01:32 PM

        Well maybe if we click our Ruby slippers we can lure you back!!!

        *wink There's a REALLLLLLLLY excellent French bistro style place on Avenue Road called "Arlequin". It's located next to a flower shop that is so crammed full of blooms that they spill onto the street..

        The restaurant has truly enchanting decor with little tragedy/comedy plaster masks on the wall and many harlequin themed accessories... BUT I digress... THE FOOD is well... EXTRAORDINAIRE!!!... and they do takeout..Ahh zoout alorrsss... Magnifique...so DO check out one of our many Blues/Jazz fests this summer or better yet come to that Harbourfront gig... it will be a chowhound extravaganza..The guest chefs will teach us their secrets *griN

        1. re: Glenda McElwain
          j
          Jim Leff May 9, 2003 01:47 PM

          I've PLAYED in your jazz festival! One of the best in North America, I might add.

          Check the end of theToronto Star article...there's one of those winking sequel set-up lines. We'll do it again someting before too long.

          Bistro sounds great. I've changed the subject title to reflect the new drift.

      2. re: Glenda McElwain
        j
        julesrules May 10, 2003 05:50 AM

        What is teff?

        1. re: julesrules
          g
          Glenda McElwain May 15, 2003 10:33 AM

          Teff is an ancient grain grown in Ethiopia primarily. It is a great substitute to wheat because it has more iron and minerals and is metabolized better. It gives the traditional Ethiopian bread "injera" its characteristic light brown coloration.

          Teff is the Amharic word for lost. The grain is so tiny it is easily lost between the fingers or if you spill it on the floor.

      3. e
        estufarian May 1, 2003 09:52 AM

        Haven't tried that one.
        Not sure what the situation is back home, But TO has dozens of Ethiopian & Somali restaurants - and new ones open (& close) regularly.
        You were exploring inner suburbia and we don't (or didn't)have many posters out there.
        Too many restaurants, too little time!

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