Archive for the ‘Turkey’ category

Asmara: A restaurant where it’s OK to eat with your hands

November 28, 2010

I joined some friends for a meal at Asmara Restaurant in Cambridge’s Central Square the other night. I thought the restaurant was Ethiopian, but upon conducting some research I learned it’s Eritrean. In 1992, following 30 years of war with Ethiopia, Etritrea became an independent country. Though the two countries have the same cuisine and culinary traditions, this restaurant has ties with Etritrea. Asmara is actually the capital of Etritrea.

We all had mango juice to drink. It was so tasty and refreshing! And it went well with some of the spicy dishes we sampled. We actually ordered a large platter with numerous meat and veggie dishes.  The “meat combination” was called Sega Bebaynetu and included:

  • boneless chicken
  • spicy lamb
  • sautéed beef
  • mild vegetable stew
  • mild lentils
  • a house special salad

The “vegetable combination” was called Ahimilti Bebaynetu and included:

  • cabbage
  • yellow split peas
  • spinach
  • chick peas
  • lentils
  • tomato salad

It was awesome to have such a variety of foods at our disposal. You eat everything with your fingers with bread called Injera (made out of rice flour). It’s just like a sponge, soaking up sauces and flavors.

For dessert my friend Katie and I had some Etritrean coffee (it was similar to Turkish coffee– very strong with coffee grounds you’re not supposed to drink at the bottom). Here’s a picture of Katie enjoying her beverage:

The mango juice, food, and coffee cost me about $35 with tax and tip. Kind of expensive, but everything was very good.

Don’t mess with me…

July 29, 2010

…or my eye will get you!

My coworker just got back from visiting family and friends in Turkey. Upon her return she gave me this bracelet:

The eye in the middle protects against the “evil eye,” or “Eye of Medusa.” In Turkey and other Mediterranean cultures the evil eye is a look that is believed to cause injury or bad luck to the person at whom it’s directed for reasons of envy or dislike.

In other words, if someone looks at you with ill will, you’ll be harmed.

But because I now have this bracelet, I am immune to their hostility. Yeah!