Delicious Ethiopian Food at Bole
If you're looking for an authentic dining experience "off the beaten path", Bole Ethiopian Restaurant is definitely your type of place.
This little Ethiopian hot-spot is tucked right where you'd least expect it--in College Park next to a cemetery. Yeah, I was skeptical too, but don't let this restaurant's humble surroundings trick you. The warm cuisine and friendly atmosphere inside are way above its appearance.
Even mid-week in the middle of the day the parking lot is full of regulars. Those regulars are mainly taxi drivers who, Beth wisely pointed out, are likely to know best where to find authentic food in their culture.
So for those of you who have never experienced Ethiopian cuisine, let me answer a few questions that I had when I went in.
What does Ethiopian food taste like? There are a variety of dishes, seasonings, and plates that make Ethiopian food unique. Some of them you will just have to experience for yourself, but the way I like to describe it in general is this: imagine that a Mediterranean food truck and an Indian food truck collided, and hard. The result is Ethiopian food! It has all the kick and spice of Indian cuisine with the diversity of Mediterranean ingredients.
So what should I eat? Beth and I both started out with these amazing pastries called Sambusas. They remind me a lot of an Indian Samosa. If you exchange the potato and peas for lentils, jalapeno, and onion you've got it. Be warned though, these things are just as flaky as they are delicious!
For our entrée, we both ordered the Bole Vegetarian Combination. It has an array of different vegetables both warm and cold that have been seasoned a bunch of different ways.
Did I mention that the portion sizes here are excellent?
Okay, last question: What are these little spongy things in the basket?
Those, my friend, are your utensils. That's right! Get ready to get your hands dirty because you are using this naturally protein-packed, gluten-free "Injera" bread to scoop up every delicious thing on your plate. You have likely never tried anything like these little wonders before simply because there's nothing out there like them.
The best thing to remember when trying anything new is to have fun, get messy, and don't be afraid to ask questions.