Ethiopian Food

You’ll hear more about the Portland trip the rest of this week, G. R., but for now, a short item from The List: I tried Ethiopian food not half an hour ago. Apologies if this post is a little rough; editing on the mobile’s a bit of a bear. Alors!

Miss Spectacular, knowing that I’d wanted to try Ethiopian food, looked up a food cart for me before we left her apartment this morning – there’s a phalanx of nations, bartering their wares. I wandered into the fray around lunchtime, and Emame’s Ethiopian Cuisine was easy to find, right on the corner. I wandered up, and there was a sweet older lady, who reminded me of my grandmother, from her pearl earrings all the way to her kindness.

Elegant Lady

When I told her I’d never tried Ethiopian, she was delighted – in her lilting accent, she told me how important it was to try the flavors of other cultures:

Why, I’m nearly seventy-four, and I tried Argentinian food for the first time last week. Can you imagine that, at seventy-four?”

As an introduction to her native country’s cuisine, she grinned, giving me samples of all sorts of good things to eat. The only thing I recall the name of was Injera, a sort of bread that’s apparently made with bonemeal apparently not made with bonemeal? It’s moist and soft, and has the texture of a pancake. Miss Emame explained the history, the cultural significance, the flavor – then she gave me a taste.


I have no idea what the dish I got is called Sam from the Internet tells me it was called Doro Wat; it was exquisite – if a red curry and a marinara sauce were gently introduced, and served with a boiled duck egg and a chicken drumstick, over hearty, dark Injera – well, you get the idea.


She demurred when I asked to take a photo, but was excited when I told her I’d be telling the world about her cooking. She gave me an extra helping of sheep’s cheese, for that.

I’m really excited about trying different Ethiopian dishes in the future, and heartily recommend this type of cuisine if you haven’t tried it. And if you’re in Portland – well, you have to stop by Miss Emame’s.

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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29 Responses to Ethiopian Food

  1. Natalie DeYoung says:

    I have always wanted to try Ethiopian food, but never have. Little Ethiopia is a bit of a drive through a trafficky part of town… I know, no excuse. Glad you got to try it & share this little adventure.

  2. Sam says:

    It’s called doro wat!

    • Hurrah! Thanks, Sam! It wasn’t listed – her menu was all pictures – and Miss Emame was mostly saying things like “I think you’ll enjoy this now, dear.” Thank you for solving that mystery!

  3. linnetmoss says:

    A wonderful cuisine! Injera is not made from bonemeal but wheat flour. It’s like a sourdough pancake. If you go to a sit-down restaurant, they line a big platter with it and pour the main dishes over. Then you tear off pieces of the bread to scoop up the rest. It’s heavenly! Especially their vegetarian dishes;)

  4. heyelsa says:

    I always order doro wat and lamb tibbs. Injera is made mostly with teff, an indigenous African grain that is naturally gluten-free, but in the US many restaurants will use a teff and wheat mixture. It ferments in a bucket and a few days later you cook it. A good explanation can be found here (ignore the obnoxious white woman):

    • Okay, you’re right, the white woman was TERRIBLY obnoxious. I wanted to punch her in the eye. Secondly – the electric iron that she uses to make the injera looks exactly the same as my lefse iron – which makes sense, I suppose, when I think about it, but was pleasantly surprising. Thanks for sharing the video

  5. Pingback: Portland, Part One | Whimsical Adventures of the Reverend Doctor

  6. You are all far more adventurous than me. I am one of those picky eaters who likes to know exactly what is in my meals & prefeably see them being made. Makes me terribly boring, I know. However, on the plus side, I am a cheap date.

    • See, while I’m willing to try anything if it’s fairly mysterious, there are a couple things where I know what all the ingredients exactly are that I can’t bring myself to try – like pickled pig’s feet. I might love them; I don’t know, because I *just can’t bring myself to try them*. Gross.

      Being a cheap date is helpful, though!

  7. Pony says:

    I am bookmarking all the wonderful places you’re describing in hopes that I can somehow find a way to have a weekend getaway to Portland someday. The antique shops… omg. Want to go! And did you know that Emame’s has an entry on Yelp? You should write a review for her. 🙂

    • HOLY CRAP no I did not, Ma’am. I’m thrilled, by the way, that you’re thinking about it – my travel expenses were paid (Thank you, Sarah Spectacular! Thank you, Bernie, um, Spectacular!) but the travel itself? Super cheap – the original tickets were 52 USD, but when we rescheduled by a week were $40. Lodging and food? Well, that’s another story – but Portland is very kind to strangers.

      • Pony says:

        Yeah, lodging would be the tough part. I don’t have friends there anymore, and really, I’m pretty fussy and high-maintenance, so a motel would really be the best bet for me anyway. heh. But hubby has promised we could go on a couple of little trips before too terribly long, so hopefully Portland can be one of them. (been there bunches of times, but never for more than a few hours)

        But the Ocean is my #1 priority destination. I am desperate to spend some time at the ocean before I lose the ability to walk altogether.

        • I hear you. It sounds funny, coming from a not-religious-but-spiritual-former-magician-who-is-lazy-about-being-spiritual, but the Ocean is sort of my holy place. Oh, Dion Fortune wrote a book about it that I’m sure you’ve read, Pony – The Sea Priestess? I’m the English fella who is the narrator and the hapless vehicle of plot. At any rate, I understand the drive to visit the ocean.

          I knew that your health was… deteriorating, my darling, and I knew it was heading in that direction – but please tell me that the destination isn’t soon? I mean, from the way you phrase it, I’m sure it won’t be in the next six months, but tell me that it’s far enough off that they don’t have a date for you yet.

          But don’t lie? Shit. All my love, darling, and if there’s anything in my feeble power that I can do, please let me know.

          • Pony says:

            I have not read that, but I will now. And yes, absolutely. The ocean is where my soul is, and it’s been years since I’ve had the opportunity to ground and center myself in its presence. I can’t think of it without tearing up, the longing is so intense.

            Losing the ability to walk: No, not immediately, but I can’t leave the house without the cane at all now, and just doing the amount of walking required to grocery shop has me in tears. I might try crutches soon, thinking maybe it could take a little of the strain off my back? I don’t know. But if I want to go to something like a con with lots of walking, I need a wheelchair already.

          • I watched my dad go through – I hate to call it a decline, but that’s almost exactly what the word means, isn’t it? Descending through forms, said the word nerd, and not all the other things that it means. Um.

            Treating people who are going through debilitating illness with dignity is important. I watched my dad learn that with his own father, and then I had to learn the same lesson almost simultaneously – black humor that floated us through it. I don’t know a lot about your husband, but from what I do know, I’m confident that he’s got that lesson down – and if he doesn’t, I haven’t sold off ALL the guns (Fun Fact: I am a terrible shot and am awfully timid. Threats are for hyperbole’s sake and please don’t shoot me down, O Pony-Husband) – but from what I know, I think you’ll be alright.

            My Aunt Elaine – I haven’t actually mentioned her on the blog yet, because I haven’t figured out how to elegantly wangle my mom’s adoption onto the blog, or the fact that after she was given up, her birth mother adopted other children – but my Aunt Elaine, who is one of my favorite relatives, has proven to me that a wheelchair is not a bar to anything.

            She’s been in one since she got in a car with the wrong fella at seventeen, and has had an amazing life – she was Miss Wheelchair America in NinetySomething, she met the President at the time (Clinton), has skied, has been a career advisor at various colleges for years, and is currently on the governor’s council of … well, of something. I can’t recall the name of the council. Anyway, she proved to me at a young age that the things that hold us back actually give us strength, and show us new avenues to explore, that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of.

            I’m sorry that you got the long-tunnel version, Pony, where you see that train coming, and no power on Earth can move you off the tracks. ❤ All my love, darling.

    • BAM! Review written, Pony – and I never use my Yelp. Seriously, this is the first review I’ve written on there. However:

      “I was only briefly in Portland, and – I have a list of 150 things I need to try before 2014 is done, and Ethiopian food was one of them – my friend that I was staying with? Looked up locale Ethiopian cuisine, because she is a champion.

      Emame’s… I’ve been calling the lady who helped me there Miss Emame on my blog, because it’s a small operation, a food truck, and I know the staff has to be small. However? I told her I’d never tried Ethiopian before; she was thrilled – apparently she’d just tried Argentinian for the first time that week, and she told me how important it was to try foods from around the world. We smiled.

      After she gave me liberal samples of everything so that I could get an idea of what I might like, I chose what I later learned was Doro Wat. I really feel that we bonded over my first experience with Ethiopian food; it was delicious, the lady gave excellent service – and was kind, beyond that – we really seemed to connect – and basically the experience was the best thing ever. Hurrah!

      If you’re in Portland, you need to stop by Emame’s. She’ll take care of you.”

  8. Pony says:

    For some reason, it won’t let me add to the thread- maybe it got too long. No worries- my husband is very supportive and honestly, he deserves a medal for putting up with my ornery self. ‘Nuff said. 😉

  9. davekheath says:

    I have a friend who urges me to try Ethiopian food, I just never get the chance, must make time for it.

  10. The Global Recipe Project at is seeking authentic Ethiopian recipes. I hope you will consider participating! 🙂

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  12. Pingback: Post the Fifth: Year’s End Wrap Up 2014 | Whimsical Adventures of the Reverend Doctor

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