Top Chef DC: Foreign Affairs – What Was That Ingredient? [Buddhacation]

Posted by Foodie Buddha on August 05, 2010

abattoir chophouse - tripe stew 

Last night’s Top Chef: DC episode was filled up from the floor up with ingredients of mystery.  Entitled “Foreign Affairs,” it started with Ethiopian food and resolved itself around several different types of cuisine.  Though the guest judges included Marcus Samulsson and José Andrés, I’m not so sure the participants are worth the duo’s attention.  I guess now is as good a time as any to remind you that we have a plethora of Ethiopian restaurants here in Atlanta.  The leader of the pack? One Desta Ethiopian Kitchencheck it out!

Hopefully, this post will supplement the cursory explanation Samulsson gave of some Ethiopian dishes.  Okay dookie, sit back and enjoy this spoiler free recap.

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Desta Ethiopian Kitchen Restaurant Review – Druid Hills, Atlanta, GA [First Impressions] 5

Posted by Foodie Buddha on October 28, 2009

desta ethiopian kitchen - signage by foodiebuddha.

It’s amazing to me just how many of my favorite meals are the consequence of haphazard circumstance.  Such is the case with my recent trip to Desta, a popular Ethiopian restaurant located near the intersection of Briarcliff and Clairmont.  While Desta has a much more vibrant following than a place like Celia’s [you’ve all been … right?], that fact alone did not make this trip any less of a surprise.  Tasked with the role of choosing a restaurant for a follow up to the night’s earlier Linner, I managed to pull Desta out of thin air.  Luckily, Ms. Vennerable [sic] is a fairly adventurous eater and an avid fan of all things Ethiopian.

There’s a reason why I haven’t talked a lot about the dozen or so Ethiopian eateries in and around the metro-Atlanta area.  In my three or four experiences with the indigenous African fare, I have found the food to be passable at best (the word barftastic comes to mind).  Mind you, not a single one of these meals has taken place in the last three-years and none of them at a location anywhere close to the state we all know as Georgia.

desta ethiopian kitchen - le plate de kiftoAs with most every regional cuisine, there is a deep and rich history behind Ethiopian food.  It’s one I am in no position to comment on.  So not only have I had bad run-ins with it, but the situation is exacerbated by my ignorance.  Still, I think this position actually works in our favor.  While there is something to be said for my rantings that are backed by a more substantial knowledge base, there is something charming in my ignorance.  If you’re still with me, it is a safe bet that when most people are asked to rattle off their favorite cuisines, Ethiopian is probably mentioned more in jest than as a serious response.

Off-color humor aside, I relished in the ability to walk into a place with little more than a cursory knowledge of the food and simply just taste.  As luck would have it, the reputation behind Desta seems to be earned.  Perhaps your experience will mimic mine.

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