Psst. Want your kids to try new foods? Let them eat with
That's the way they do it at the Ethiopian Diamond restaurants
in Chicago. Food is served Ethiopian style, which means there are
no utensils. Instead, everyone's order is placed on one large,
round serving platter (eating from one platter symbolizes loyalty
and friendship). Diners break off small pieces of the spongy
pancake-like injera bread and scoop up whichever food they would
like to eat.
Almaz Yigizaw opened the first Ethiopian Diamond
restaurant at 6120 N. Broadway Ave. in 1996 and says it is now the
largest Ethiopian restaurant in the country. She opened a second,
at 7537 N. Clark St., last year.
Both of the family-friendly restaurants often entertain
school groups. She says the kids "are not as afraid to try (exotic
foods) as they used to be."
Yigizaw, who spent six months in a Sudanese refugee camp
before emigrating to Chicago with her brother when she was 15,
never cooked when she was growing up. Despite that, she cooks the
way she remembers her grandma cooking back in Gander,
She imports her spices directly from Ethiopia and cooks
"by taste," she says.
There are savory meat dishes made with lamb, beef, chicken
or seafood, but there also are many traditional vegan and
gluten-free dishes, including injera bread, which is traditionally
made of gluten-free teff flour.
Portions are generous and, Yigizaw promises, her staff is
happy to offer guidance to Ethiopian Diamond newcomers.
I recommend first-time visitors order the "Tour of
Ethiopia," which offers a sambusa appetizer (thin dough shells
stuffed with minced meat or vegetables), Diamond salad, entrée
choice (stew-like dishes containing lamb, beef, chicken, seafood,
or vegetarian options with vegetables, lentils or chick peas that
can be made mild or spicy), and sides (try the greens simmered in
garlic and onions). Finish with the not-too-sweet injera torte,
made from injera bread and walnut cream and drizzled with
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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