Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Langano Skies - Hopefully healthy Ethiopian

When Z and I decided to call our blog "Loosen Your Belt," we really weren't kidding... both of us have gained a bit of weight since our eating adventures began. So after my Curves circuit last night, we decided to head to Langano Skies for some good Ethiopian fare (full of healthy veggies to accompany my new workout routine!).

We entered the restaurant around 7PM, and were quickly seated and provided with menus and glasses of water. Previous excursions to the restaurant have taught us to expect slower paced service... there is generally one server and one person in the kitchen preparing food. However the quality and portion of the food always makes up for this, and the place is comfy enough to sit, relax and enjoy a pot of Ethiopian tea or coffee while you wait for your meal.

In accordance Z ordered a pot of coffee ($6; enough for two people) and I ordered a pot of tea ($3.50). The coffee always takes a bit longer to make, so you have to be patient, but the thick, black liquid that eventually arrives is fantastic. Not big on coffee, I love their pots of Ethiopian tea - the aroma is wonderful, something like cinnamon or cloves, and it is a warm and lovely accompaniment to any meal there.

Because the dishes at Langano Skies are presented in such a way that is designed for sharing, we ended up ordering three dishes (or types of Wot): Z chose the Kaey Wot ($11.50; beef cubes cooked with onion and spices), I chose the Gomen Wot ($9.50; Spinach cooked with onions and garlic and served with Ethiopian cottage cheese), and we both selected the Atekilt Aletcha Wot ($9.50; carrots, potatoes and cabbage cooked with onions, garlic and curry).

About half an hour passed before our food arrived, however we weren't really amiss, as I previously mentioned. Three generous heaps of Wot were served on a plate over a layer of Injera (like a sour-dough crepe), along with a plate of about 8 rolls of Injera (the utensils used to enjoy the tasty food in front of you!). They kindly kept the meat seperate from the veggie offerings, and Z happily ate up the tasty Kaey Wot - slightly spicy, a beautiful and rich red-brown colour, this is Z's standard whenever there. The Gomen Wot is always filling - great heaps of wilted spinach and a generous portion of cheese, not really spicy, but good and hearty. The Atekilt Aletcha Wot reminded me of a good plate of roasted veggies. However the spices had taken them to a different place, and the curry added a beautiful golden colour to everything.

After we had gobbled up our tasty meal, we decided to share a dessert (Afterall, I did stop at Curves on the way!). I read somewhere, probably in one of many Anthro textbooks, that dessert is not customary after your meal in Ethiopia, but Langano Skies has kindly come up with a dessert menu to satisfy our sweet teeth. We settled on the Lazy Daisy Cake ($6) - a recipe from the 20th century, it consists of a vanilla cake batter, with milk poured over just before baking, and a topping of bruleed coconut and brown sugar. The warm cake with its freshly bruleed topping was perfect on our first really cold evening in Edmonton, and the smell of the coconut, brown-sugar and vanilla melting together was heavenly.

Once again, Z and I had a lovely meal at Langano Skies and will most definitely be back. The portions are a great size, and if you can get away with one order of Wot per person, it is easy to leave for under $15 each (The communal style of dining makes this more than accessible.).

If you have never tried Ethiopian food, I would suggest going with a couple friends and each choosing a dish for some variety, or heading over for lunch when they offer Combo Platters (a variety of four smaller portions of Wot with a bit of salad; ~ $14). However you make your way to Langano Skies, you won't be disappointed.

Langano Skies: Ethiopian Restaurant
9920 Whyte (82) Avenue780.432.3334
T-W(4:30-10) Th (11-2:30; 4:30-10) F (11-2:30; 4:30-11) S (12-2:30; 4:30-11) Su (12-9)

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