Yesterday after waiting over an hour to be seen by my chiropractor, Ethiopian food appealed to me. Yelp said one was 2.9 miles away and a 13 minute drive.
Another car with two women in it pulled into the small parking lot in front of the Ghion Cultural Hall on Cheshire Bridge. They went in and sat at a corner table. I sat alone at another table--the restaurant was empty except for us. We got our menus. "Excuse me," one of the women said. "Do you know anything about Ethiopian food? We don't know nothin' about this kinda food. We need some help." She had an unusual accent (Bulgarian? Russian). "A little," I said. "Well, come sit with us! Come on," she said. So I go sit with them. I explain that the food comes with a huge tef pancake and everything is stews. Lamb is usually a good choice if you like meat. They order lamb and I get the veggie plate.
The waitress/cook brought our lunch on one 24 inch tray lined with tef pancake and all the stews we ordered on top. There were extra pancakes rolled up on side dishes. "Tear off a piece of pancake and pinch up some stew in it. Eat. No forks will be given," I say. "Oh Lawwwd," says Mavin. "This is delicious!" This is a Blessed lunch. The Lord is being good to us!"
We trade some personal information. Mavin's mother just died in August and she's recovering from that. Hillary is basically single, having broken up with her boyfriend. Mavin was born and raised 20 miles down the water from New Orleans and her accent is perfect wonderful Cajun. Hillary is thinking of moving to Atlanta from her north Georgia town.
We order coffee and it comes when we've finished our meal. The coffee has been freshly roasted and prepared here in the restaurant; it's in a carved black pot with a rose colored, carved wooden plug. The waitress lights a frankincense rock that's on a little bed of straw. As the smoke of it reaches us, an elegant man in a lovely brown suit who had come in a while after us, stands up and comes close to explain that an Ethiopian mother would shoo her children away, saying, I want to enjoy my little time with this kaffu. The frankincense is for calming before the coffee is drunk. A relaxing ritual. The three of us inhale the exotic smoke and smile at one another. The man also explains that when the coffee is finished, there is a residue in the bottom and if a fortune teller is present, your fortune can be had by analysis of the coffee dregs. I wanted to ask him if he can tell fortunes, but I don't. He is too much like a professor rather than a fortune teller.
Pat enjoys designing and weaving tapestries, designing and constructing books, knitting, cooking, and fooling around in Atlanta, GA. Member of the American Tapestry Alliance, Tapestry Weavers South, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Southeastern Fiber Arts Alliance and Atlanta Shambhala Meditation Center.