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Ethiopian in Asheville?

May 28, 2009

If you are anxious to put down that knife and fork and pick up a giant piece of sour spongy bread, look no further.   Some plucky group of west African immigrants and white hippies are looking to make your lentil dreams and root-mash wishes come true.

The catering group calls themselves “Abaye,” and they’ve been offering monthly Ethiopan dinners for a little while now.  In April, I ventured in to one of their dinners in the Greenlife annex building.  I thought the food was slightly better than mediocre, but I applaud anyone who attempts to enliven our culinary landscape out here in the ‘ville.

There’s plenty for vegetarians to choose from, but honestly I found their meat dish to be the best-tasting option, spiced with paprika and hot peppers.  The bread was, well, a giant sour sponge, but they didn’t find a way to keep it warm enough brighten the flavor, which dampens as it cools. 

That said, I dream of a day when we formally welcome Ethiopian cuisine into the pantheon of Asheville dining experiences, so I say let’s support Abaye’s efforts and come on down!

The next Abaye meal will take place this Friday, May 30, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville (1 Edwin Pl) at 6pm.  I think plates are $12-$15.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2009 11:42 pm

    I’m a huge Ethiopian food fan and I have to say your review did not make me want to go at all…

    I find mediocre food depressing…and my standards are too high in any case…total food snob living in what seems like the worst culinary hell I can imagine…

    (now I know that is an exaggeration as I just spent 2 weeks in some awful little town with much worse food in Florida!!)

    I hate being disappointed and the Ethiopian where I moved from was so awesome.

    Still got to go have one of those Sunday brunches you talked about though…those sound genuinely good.

  2. May 29, 2009 11:18 am

    Hey Gianna,

    Just remember, I visited them one time only. Check it out for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised, or the Abaye folks may have improved their methods and found a way to keep the bread warmer and the spices more flavorful. One snob’s opinion does not equal gospel (although let’s face it, I’m usually right).

    Gourmet Grrl

    P.S. I love your blog, thanks for checking mine out!

  3. May 29, 2009 9:48 pm

    well, I’ve been following you religiously actually….but there isn’t too much happening in the culinary department here, huh??

    I’ve got you in my google reader though, so I won’t miss anything!!

  4. June 11, 2009 2:38 am

    I have been complaining for years, with all the diverse cuisines in this area, why is there not an Ethiopian restaurant? The injera alone, with a proper heated dish, would be a draw and the endless vegetarian dishes.

    Surprisingly, the best Ethiopian food I ever had was at a restaurant in the Schwabing district of Munich. I forget the name. The lentils were amazing, but my buds savored the Sega Wat. A spicy lamb makes me happy.

    I have subscribed to your RSS feeds for awhile. Why has Google reader failed me? : (

    There used to be a great Ethiopian restaurant in Atlanta called Addis Ababa many moons ago. Friends down yonder recommend Moya, but it is a fusion. There was another in Durham called Blue Nile, but I never head that way. No idea if it is still open. Give me a traditional Ethiopian restaurant many days of the week.

    I am going to resubscribe again as I do enjoy your posts.

    I do love Ethiopian and injera, though the fermenting process is easy, one needs a big iron skillet, yay south, or traditional clay thingy, I forget the name, used to do it well.

    I could babble about Ethiopian food for a long time. I will depart.

    Keep eatin’.

  5. Patsy permalink
    November 1, 2010 4:46 pm

    Even mediocre Ethiopian is better than NO Ethiopian. Is this group still cooking at Greenlife? If so, when?

    And I’ve never had warm Injera bread. I don’t think it is even supposed to be warm because it doesn’t take on its characteristic sponginess, until it cools. If you eat it with the vegetable dishes that come with it, it is warmed by those — hot gomen, alicha, mesir wat, etc.

    I tried to talk my Ethiopian friend in SC who has a great — but struggling–restaurant there– to move to Asheville where her business would surely boom! Unfortunately she was stuck in SC.

  6. November 10, 2010 12:52 pm

    Patsy: Ethiopian is the menu every Tuesday night at de Soto Lounge on Haywood Rd in West Asheville. Try it out an report back to base camp, please!

    At more upscale Ethiopian cafes where I’ve eaten in D.C., the Injera bread is definitely warmed, but perhaps that’s a rare occurrence.

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