"I accidentally ate the whole thing."

"I accidentally ate the whole thing."
A journey through food

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mesob- Rome, IT

I finally tried Ethiopian cuisine for the first time… in Rome. This may seem a bit odd- Ethiopian food in Italy? But after three straight weeks of nothing but pasta, bread, and pizza, I needed a change of pace. Making the trek to the outskirts of Rome to try the food at Mesob ended up being exactly what I needed.

Now, when I say it was a trek, I am really not exaggerating. It took my roommate and me three modes of transportation to get to the address I had found. After taking the metro, wasting some time looking for the tram stop, finally finding it, then taking the tram to what was an unknown part of the city to us, we still had to walk another ten minutes. Finally, we reached our destination. And what did we find? A parking lot entrance and a convenience store that had a sign saying they were closed until mid-February.

Initiate freak out.

After about five minutes of walking up and down the street convinced the restaurant was somewhere near that we has simply missed, we realized that that was exactly the case. For when we wandered further into the parking lot next to the convenience store, we found a quaint red-orange building tucked away with windows through which we saw whicker tables scattered throughout a dining room. We had found Mesob.

We got there pretty much the second the restaurant opened (turns out it was a good thing our commute took so long) so we had our pick of tables to sit at. I immediately fell in love with our surroundings. The room was small and cozy with off-white walls accented by warm reds and purples in the curtains and paintings that hung on the walls. Gina and I were hungry from our journey and decided to order an appetizer to share, followed by our main meals, a meat dish for her and a vegetarian one for me.

Now, here’s the thing, I am not going to be able to give you much detail about the dishes we ate because I do not actually know what they all were. Most of them were pureed concoctions whose ingredients were unidentifiable (and since the menus were in Italian, my grasp of what we were eating was limited). I can, however, tell you how they tasted. (*Spoiler alert* they were all good).

Our appetizer was a simple salad with falafel and a phyllo dough pouch filled with a yogurt-like sauce with pesto for dipping. The falafel was good, although, falafels are never a favorite dish of mine (I usually find them to be too dry for my liking). I preferred the yogurt filled dough. The pesto had a punch of chili spice to it which went perfectly with the cool yogurt sauce.

When the main dishes came out, I knew it was going to be a “shemomedjamo” type of meal. My plate had six different portions of food, two of which were complete mysteries to me. One was an orange puree of some kind with unexpected spiciness. The other was a yellow concoction that was not quite as pureed as the first and had my favorite flavor out of all six dishes. Of the other things on my plate, one had eggplant, another had mushrooms, the third was carrots and cabbage, and the last contained a leafy green similar to chicory or chard (sorry, but that's about all the detail I can give).

My favorite item was definitely the injera bread that all the mixtures were laid on top of and that we used to scoop up the food. It was spongy and delicious. And best of all, I got to eat with my hands! Somehow I think doing that makes the food taste better.

Once Gina and I had reached the point of not being able to fit a single morsel more of food into our stomachs, we embarked on our long and confusing journey home (it took a couple attempts to find the correct buses and then a bit of walking on unknown streets to get back, but we found our way eventually). I don't believe it is a trek I will be making again until after the weather warms up, but one I will, nonetheless, be making again. How can I not after becoming that full on good food for only 15 Euro?

1 comment:

  1. Laura,
    'Spongy' really is the most apt description of Ethiopian bread. I remember the odd texture was something Sam and Robert found unappealing when we once tried Ethiopian food in Washington, D.C. Fun to try, however, I think.
    As for dry falafel...I say shame on restaurants for trying to pass off that powdery, dry premixed stuff as falafel. I invite anyone to come and try mine, which is made from scratch with all fresh ingredients and deep fried. The result is a crispy coating outside, soft and garlicky inside, never oily or heavy, and topped with my own fresh hummus. I do hope you can try some well-prepared falafel one day and will be converted to the real thing.
    Looking forward to hearing more about the great food you're enjoying.
    Love, Marilyn