Saturday, August 13, 2011

Deep Fried Dissatisfied

The second stop on Tim's Summer Tour II '11 was Indianapolis, where I went to the Indiana State Fair.

There I saw cows, a bull with huge hanging testicles, the world's largest boar, eleventy different kinds of roosters, bunnies, and baby ducklings. I also saw a Lego model of the Indianapolis 500.

Not the world's largest "bore," although he didn't seem to do much.

But the thing that left the biggest impression on me, literally, was the food. I ate a fried corn dog, fried vegetables, a deep fried Twinkie on a stick, and a fried elephant ear. Most of it was crap, and didn't even taste good.

Could it be that I've outgrown eating fried stuff on a stick? That all the cooking and eating organic, local stuff over the past year has altered my tastes?

All I know is that I felt like bloated bag of fried crap the rest of the day and never wanted to eat anything else ever again, ever.

Until dinner.


I really wasn't very hungry, but it was dinner time and some of us were hungry. So we went to an Ethiopian place in some strip mall in Indianapolis, which may be the strip mall capital of the world.

Abyssinia: The actual place we went

I'd only had Ethiopian food one other time, in Greenwich Village in NYC about two years ago. I'd enjoyed it and was eager to try it again.

It appears that Ethiopian cuisine is the perfect antidote to fried fair food on a stick. The two styles of food may be as far apart from each other as possible. The only similarity is that in both cases, you don't use any utensils.

What I love about Ethiopian food:
  • The whole table shares one massive plate, piled with lots of little dishes.
  • You take this awesome spongy, sour bread and use it to pick up the food.
  • The sour bread is the perfect contrast to spicy beef, lamb, chicken, spinach, potato, bean, veggies, and other little dishes.
  • All the food itself sits on a piece of the bread on a platter, so that when you're done you just eat the bread that's been soaking up all the spicy juices.
  • What can I say? It just tasted really, really good. How do you explain that?
The bread is called injera, and it looks like the foam you put under carpet. But it tastes divine.

Maybe it was the contrast to the fair food I'd had earlier, but it was the best meal I'd had all week. Maybe all month, and possibly even all year. Certainly in the top ten this year.

I think I've found a new favorite ethnic food.



chocolatechip said...

You should know that the only place I've ever seen teff for sale (the grain that injera's made with) is the food co-op in Urbana. So if you want to try making injera - lucky you! I'm not sure if you're interested in trying, though. It might take more than 29 minutes.

Tim said...

It might take more than 29 minutes.

Very funny, cc. :)