Monday, June 22, 2009

Date at the Nile

So the past week, on my blogging hiatus - I spent my days basking in the beautiful sunshine that is Florida. Soaking in the waves and the rays. And since we were vacationing with my parents, our first thought was DATE NIGHT - For FREEEEEEEE!!!!! And since I have been trying to persuade somebody, anybody, to go with me to an Ethiopian restaurant with me, since, oh, February - I thought this would be a good opportunity to guilt my husband into driving me the 1 hour distance to find a restaurant in Orlando.

Before we even left for the trip, I had researched restaurants on the web, looked at menus, looked at reviews. Cause this was a once in a lifetime deal. He hates it - I'm not getting an easy re-do.

I settled on The Nile in Orlando as it looked cozy and was run by an Ethiopian couple who were noted for their good service and hospitality. So we start out around 6:15, head in the wrong direction, then run into the longest and most torrential rain shower EVER, and finally arrive close to 8. Good thing this place is open until 10 as I was getting worried.

Now kicking myself for not taking photos - but The Nile was situated in a little strip mall and really was a cute little place. The hostess led us to a table/chairs but when Tony asked what the floor seating was for, he said that we might as well experience the whole experience and we moved to the little stools around the woven table. (The following photos are from my trip as I was photographically challenged that night, but the food looked and tasted just the same)

So I decide to order us a beef combination platter for two for $29.95 which came with 3 beef dishes (beef key wat, alicha, cubed beef tibs), and 3 vegetables (green collards gomen, split peas kik, and salad). Now I really wanted Tony to try the shiro, as that is what we were offered most in the home visits in Ethiopia. But the shiro dish was an extra $10.95. I tried negotiating a vegetable substitution. But "no shiro". The friendly waitress then went, unasked, and talked to the manager about letting me have my shiro. Yeah!! (shiro with injera)

So with little flasks of the included home-made honey wine, we were quickly served our food on the oversized plate covered in the spongey bread (and eating utensil) called injera. So the wine we really didn't care for. BUT the food was fantastic and Tony really liked it. We picked that big plate clean! And no, he didn't like the shiro as much as I did. But I would say that for a beef and potatoes kind of guy, just getting him in the door was a huge success. (we didn't have the eggs as that is served with the chicken dish, of course...)

The really fun thing is a tradition that my friend Jerry taught us in which you use the injera to pick up some food and then feed it to your friend or family member. The tradition is called gusha and is meant to demonstrate love. So like dating teenagers, we even gave each other gusha at the dinner table. (Go ahead, cue the "awwwwws")

We then asked for coffee and the sweet waitress said she would go ahead and do her nightly coffee ceremony for us. She roasted the green coffee beans, brought the black ones around for us to see and inhale (yum), and then served us the coffee in the little teacups. After about 3 tablespoons of sugar to the 1 oz. of black coffee (table sugar is just NOT as good as the raw we had in country) - I was back to my original cup some 4 months ago. And loving it.

And note: if you should happen to ever try The Nile, ask for the bottled honey wine tej. Even the owner (who WAS very friendly) said she didn't like the home-made wine but many customers still request it. The bottled variety was very good. (the owner and a youtube video about The Nile. For those of you who are still interested after this completely self-serving post...)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How blonde am I? I was going to tell you the food looked just like your photos from Africa :) Bet you can guess who I am!