Word of advice: Never discuss food after exercise. Burning calories leaves a person vulnerable and exceedingly susceptible to suggestion. For instance, I’m so loopy and ravenous after a hard workout that if someone were to say to me, “Let’s drive to Montreal and try that new French place,” I’d probably respond, “Let’s do it!”
That’s how my friend Emily and I ended up at Lalibela (not Montreal). We were in the parking lot after a workout chatting about getting some people together to go for Ethiopian. I drove home, with Ethiopian on the brain and a craving that would not be denied. A few texts later, we were racing to Mount Kisco before Lalibela closed.
To start, a couple of glasses of the wonderful Ethiopian honey wine that was chilled and slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so.
We split this appetizer of avocado salad on injera (Ethiopian bread).
Injera usually has a faintly sour tang to it. I noticed that this injera lacked the sourness — perhaps a deliberate attempt to tone down the distinctive flavor for the suburban Westchester masses?
Emily and I were both hungry and plowing through the cooling appetizer. The danger with injera is that it’s spongy and can fill you up quickly without you realizing it. We made sure to save room for the main course, the Taste of Lalibela combo.
Four veggie dishes — lentils, split peas, collard greens and string beans, and three meat dishes — Siga wat (slow-cooked beef), Gomen besiga (shredded beef) and Yebag wat (lamb).
Such a relaxed and experiential form of eating. No utensils — just tear off a piece of injera and use it to scoop up a mound of veggies or meat.
Everything was tender, flavorful and well spiced (one of the beef dishes was a hair salty). We both relished the wine and the dinner. Somehow Emily managed to keep her hands relatively clean, whereas mine required several napkins and resembled a four year old’s in finger painting class. How’d she do that?
I cannot express how happy I am to finally have an Ethiopian restaurant (and a good one) in Westchester. It’s something I’ve been pining for for years.
To the staff at Lalibela: I apologize that we were still eating a half hour past your closing time. I know you probably wanted to get home. But just know that we enjoyed your food, and we will be back.
37 South Moger Ave.
Mt. Kisco, NY