- HOME PAGE AND TIMELINE
- RESTAURANT REVIEWS
- SPECIALTY MARKETS - CULINARY ARTICLES - INFORMATION
- COMPETITIONS - EVENTS - SHOWS - TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
- APPETIZERS - EVENT PLATTERS
- SALADS - ASPIC - CHAUD FROID - COLLEE
- SOUPS - STEWS
- SANDWICHES - BURGERS - HOT DOGS
- VEGETABLES - THE DAILY BEANS
- ASIAN NOODLES - GOURMET RAMEN - KOMEX CUISINE
- PASTA - EGG NOODLES - PIZZA - CALZONE - STROMBOLI
- BEEF - STEAKS
- SEAFOOD - FRESHWATER FISH
- CHICKEN - GAME HEN - TURKEY
- PORK - HAM
- VEAL - LAMB
- BBQ - CHILI - SOUL FOOD
- WILD GAME - RABBIT - DUCK - GAME BIRDS
- SAUSAGE - OFFALS - LIVER - Pâté
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The China Star Buffet is located at 4595 Charleston at the intersection of Decatur in Las Vegas. There are several China Star Buffet locations in the Las Vegas Valley.
Charleston and Decatur is a huge busy shopping area in Las Vegas. A giant department store and a home improvement store is located at the plaza. Several different restaurants are located in this area. The China Star is the only Chinese buffet in this shopping area. During lunch and dinner hours, the China Star can become quite busy with hungry shoppers who are looking for a bite to eat.
It has been a few years since I have dined at the China Star Buffet. The China Star was my first experience with a Chinese buffet in Las Vegas. The food has been quite good every time that I have dined at the China Star over the years.
Because I am settling into a new apartment, I am making many trips this week to home improvement stores. Modern department stores and home improvement stores have acres of floor space and it is easy to work up an appetite while shopping. Placing a Chinese buffet in a shopping area like this was a good business decision.
Because of the current economic recession, many good bargains can be found in Las Vegas restaurants. Two for one specials a reduced price specials are easy to find these days. The China Star reduced its price for lunch to attract more business. The price of the reduced price lunch buffet at China Star is comparable to the price of lunch at a fast food restaurant. Given the choice, a better lunch can be had at China Star, when compared to low quality fast food!
The menu items had changed since the last time that I dined at the China Star buffet. Because of the reduced lunch price, fewer exotic items and expensive seafood items were offered on the buffet. However, the quality, freshness and flavor of today's lunch items were still very good!
California style sushi was what I had for my first plate of food. The sushi items were all cooked and none were raw. The flavors were quite good and the buffet sushi looked quite nice!
My second plate had a few fried items. Fried chicken wings with Korean hot sauce, sweet and sour chicken, a Shanghai egg roll, a nice crab rangoon and kimchi was a nice selection for my second course. The kimchi was fresh and not wilted from age. The fried food was crisp, piping hot and not greasy at all. The fried food was a delight to eat!
My third plate of food had a seafood theme. The crab stuffed scallops on the shell were remarkably good tasting! The clams were simmered in a thin sauce. They were very tender and juicy with a very savory good flavor. The fried mussel cheese crisp was a very nice tasting creation. The two vegetables, bok choy and mushrooms, were perfectly cooked.
My third course was a plate of vegetables, BBQ pork and a chicken specialty. The vegetables were cooked, so they still had a healthy crunch to them. The BBQ pork was tender and full of classic Chinese BBQ flavor! The chicken specialty was curry battered and quickly fried. The chicken had a pleasant spicy flavor!
What I was most impressed with, was the temperature of the hot buffet items. I literally had to wait for the buffet food to cool down, before taking a bite! That means that the food is being sold fast enough, so the food is constantly being cooked fresh through the business hours. That also means that the food is being held at a safe temperature. The hot food was well above 135 degrees on the buffet and that guarantees safe food to eat!
The China Star Buffet features a Mongolian grill station on the buffet. I skipped getting a plate of Mongolian grill food today, but it is a good choice too. You simply select what raw items that you would like cooked and then hand them to the chef. The chef cooks your food with your choice of sauce on an old fashioned Mongolian grill. You cannot get food cooked any fresher than that!
Many of the items on the buffet were simple Shanghai style specialties. Most of the buffet food was standard Chinese American cuisine. I am used to seeing a large selection of fresh fruits at the China Star buffet, but there are problems with the food chain at this time. A listeria outbreak in Colorado has been discovered in the most recent melon crop. The pathogen outbreak is quite serious and it has caused many Las Vegas restaurants to take melons, especially cantaloupes off of the menu. Better safe than sorry is a good motto in the restaurant business!
Canned fruits have temporarily taken the place of fresh fruits on many Las Vegas menus. Needless to say, canned apricots, canned lychee and canned pears replaced the fresh fruits today. The only two fresh fruits on the menu were grapes and watermelon, because those two fruits do not come from the origin of the listeria outbreak.
I chose a simple dessert platter of spiral cake, fruit and freshly made tapioca pudding to end my lunch. I was comfortably full by the time that I finished dining at the China Star. If it looks like a lot of food for one meal, then please do not think that I am a hog! I am a one meal a day kind of diner and I probably will not eat again, till late tomorrow!
Once again, I had a pleasant good tasting meal at the China Star Super Buffet. The food was piping hot and very yummy! I can honestly recommend the China Star Super Buffet as a great place to casually have a great multi course meal of well prepared Chinese food. At a reduced price, the China Star Super Buffet is quite a bargain! Delicious! ... Shawna
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
So big and yummy!
After I first moved to Las Vegas, about eight years ago, my first few months were spent looking for bargain food around town. I moved from Florida to Las Vegas with only about six hundred dollars the first time around. The winter season in Florida was when the money was made. Every spring, thousands of restaurant employees were laid off in Florida, due to the slow business of the summer season. I finally had enough of starving every summer in Florida! I packed a few bags and moved to Las Vegas.
After moving to Las Vegas, I saved money each week and I was living on a shoestring budget. I built up a nest egg rather quickly. Eating cheaply was the key to saving money. I found every possible way to get free comped food at casinos. Local restaurants also offered bargains on food that could not be found in Florida. Before long, I found that dining out in Las Vegas restaurants was cheaper than dining at home!
There are Mexican restaurants everywhere in the Las Vegas valley. North Las Vegas is where the highest concentration of Mexican restaurants are.
A couple friends and I had just got through with eating an "all you can eat" spaghetti and meatball dinner for $2.99 at the old Poker Palace Casino in Las Vegas, when I first noticed the Rigo's Taco restaurant next door. I stood there, looking at Rigo's Taco, while flashing back to my childhood in Los Angeles! Rigo's Taco looked like the Mexican restaurants that we used to dine in when I was a child. I asked my friends if the food was good at Rigo's. One of my friends said that he had eaten there before and the food was very good. So, I planned to come back to North Las Vegas in a few days and try the food at Rigo's Taco.
My first experience at Rigo's Taco was a hectic good one. Rigo's is always very busy. That is a good sign! Almost none of the employees or customers spoke English at Rigo's Taco. For a Mexican food restaurant, that is a good sign that the food is authentic!
I dined at Rigo's Taco several times over the years. I have had appetizers, burritos, tacos, tortas and whole fried tilapia at Rigo's in the past and every meal was a good one!
Today, I decided to have one large meal to eat for the entire day. I was very hungry, so I wanted a big dinner! In Las Vegas, a Mexican burrito is usually a large entree. Rigo's Taco does not serve a small skimpy burrito. It is huge!
The menu at Rigo's is written in Spanish. The clerk speaks very little broken English. It is best if you understand what the item is that you are ordering, before going to the counter to place the order, if you speak no Spanish! Rigo's is busy and the people waiting in line behind you may start to lose their patience, if you ask for a translation of every word on the menu! It really helps if you know a little bit about Mexican cuisine, before going to a restaurant where the clientele is mostly non English speaking. Other than the menu item words, the only Spanish words that you need to know are "please and thank you!"
Rigo's Taco is located at 2737 North Las Vegas Boulevard at the intersection of Belmont. Rigo's Taco is next door to the old Poker Palace Casino.
The outside of the building at Rigo's Taco is clean. The dining area is clean and well maintained. The cooks in the kitchen obviously take pride in their cooking and the kitchen is also very clean. The atmosphere is pleasant. Rigo's Taco is a family style restaurant.
I decided to order a Burrito al pastor for dinner. Al pastor translates to the style of a shepherd. A large pork roast is marinated for 1 or 2 days and then it is placed on a vertical spit. A large slice of pineapple is placed on top of the pork roast. The spit slowly turns, as the pork roasts all day, till it becomes fully cooked and very tender! Pieces of the pork are cut from the roast and then coarsely chopped. That is how the al pastor burrito filling is made!
As you can see in the pictures, this huge burrito is loaded with juicy al pastor style pork! The burrito is served with crispy tortilla chips and refritos. Honestly, this burrito is enough food to feed two or three people. I was very hungry, so it was just enough food for one!
A salad bar that is full of sauces and condiments sets next to where the food orders are picked up. Escabeche, fresh jalapenos, chopped onions and cilantro, limes, radishes, salsa verde and salsa roja are self serve items in the salad bar at Rigo's Taco. You can really turn a burrito al pastor entree into a very healthy meal!
Like every time that I have been to Rigo's Taco in the past, my experience today was a pleasant one! The burrito al pastor was so very good tasting! I honestly recommend Rigo's Taco #8 to anybody that wishes to have great Mexican food at a reasonable price. The food is what Rigo's Taco is all about! Deliciously authentic! ... Shawna
Delicious Salvadoran comida!
I was in a mood for some street vendor tacos by dinner time yesterday. My Fatburger for lunch was finally starting to give way to hunger. I got off of the highway a few exits early, so that I could drive home on a street that had a high amount of restaurants per capita. Good old Rainbow Boulevard in Las Vegas has one restaurant after another for several miles in parts of town.
Sitting at a stop light, I glanced to the right and I noticed a sign for a Salvadoran restaurant. I thought to myself, this is not Mexican street vendor food, but it will be a good choice!
The San Salvador restaurant is located at the intersection of Smoke Ranch and Rainbow in Las Vegas. The restaurant has a small clean dining room and it does a good local to-go food business.
The atmosphere of the San Salvador Restaurant is definitely south of the border, friendly and very pleasant. A latino soccer game was on the television and it was an exciting game. The famous sports announcer that yells a loud two minute long stretched celebration "goal" word after every score, made my evening meal fun! Listening to the game in Spanish and hearing the announcer go off with the extended goal word caused me to laugh a few times!
The San Salvador restaurant specializes in authentic Salvadoran cuisine! There is one page on the extensive menu that is devoted to Mexican cuisine. Salvadoran cuisine is like Southern Mexican and Central American cuisine. Stews and soups are more common in this region. Tortillas are not thin and they do tend to be thick like sopaipillas.
Papusas are a traditional signature Salvadoran snack. Papusas are like a very small flat grilled gordita. There is only enough filling in a papusa to flavor the nixtamal. Nixtamal is an ancient style of ash treated corn meal. Papusas are nearly always served with fermented cabbage on the side.
There were several different papusas on the menu to choose from. I chose the mixed papusa (papusa revuelta) as my appetizer. The mixed papusa had beans, cheese and meat in the filling. It was freshly made and hand crafted! The papusa was warm, light and very tasty! The accompanying fermented cabbage was still slightly crisp and very refreshing!
For my entree, I ordered one of my favorites. Mojarra Frita! Mojarra Frita translates to a quickly fried small whole fish. Mojarra is sometimes a baitfish in the caribbean, but in Mexico and Central America, mojarra it is commonly tilapia. My mojarra frita was a scaled, gutted and slashed whole tilapia that was fried, till the outer meat turn golden brown and crisp! All the flavor and moisture of the fish are sealed inside with this method of cooking!
Tearing of thick chunks of the tilapia meat and dining with a fork or fingers is one of life's simple pleasures!
The accompanying bottled sauce in a squeeze bottle was also made by the chef at the San Salvador Restaurant. It was a very nice lightly seasoned tomato and pepper sauce! Rice and refritos accompanied the mojarra frita. The rice was perfectly cooked and it had a nice light flavor! Lettuce, tomato and lime wedges also were on the plate. A squeeze of fresh lime adds a nice cool refreshing flavor to the fried fish.
The tortillas were made with nixtamal and they were textured like a nice thin flat bread. Placing some fish, sauce, lime, lettuce and tomato on a tortilla is a nice way to eat mojarra frita too.
My experience at the San Salvador Restaurant was a good one! The authentic traditional Salvadoran food was freshly prepared and it was very good tasting! The waitress was friendly and very helpful with describing the items on the menu.
Salvadoran menu items that I might suggest are Sopa De Patas, Sopa De Res, Lengua Ranchero, Caldo 7 Mares and Camarones a la Plancha! Everything looked good on the menu!
I honestly highly recommend the San Salvador Restaurant to anyone who wishes to try some great authentic traditional Salvadoran cuisine! Very yummy and satisfying! ... Shawna
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The majestic Fatburger! Awesome!
Fatburger is one of my favorite great old fashioned burger stands in Las Vegas! Fatburger has many locations around town. One of my favorite locations is on the Las Vegas Strip across the street from the Monte Carlo Casino. The Fatburger location on the Strip is a 24 hour business that draws a large crowd of Las Vegas party animals in the early morning hours. That is a wild bunch of burger munchers!
After chef school today, I decided to get a quick lunch on the way to shopping for a new printer at a store across town. I decided to stop into the Red Rock Casino to see what I could find for a quick meal.
The Red Rock Casino is located on Charleston at the very west end of the valley, near the entrance to Red Rock Canyon. The view of the valley and the west mountains is breathtaking at that altitude. The drive up to the west end of the valley is enough to make the ears pop, just like a plane ride!
The Red Rock Casino is a Station Casino Company luxury resort. The casino building is very modern and the architectural style is very pretty! The casino was designed to fit in with the style of the surrounding neighborhood.
Once inside the casino, I glanced at a few restaurants and their posted menus. The only restaurants that I was interested in, at the time, were only open for dinner hours. The Red Rock Casino has a nice food court area that is near the bowling ally and movie theaters. That is when I saw the bright neon light sign for Fatburger!
The Fatburger menu is very simple. The small 2.5 ounce burger is called a Baby Fat. The medium 5.3 ounce burger is called a Fatburger. The large 8 ounce burger is called the Kingburger. The Double King Burger weighs 16 ounces. The Triple King Burger weighs a whopping 24 ounces! That is a huge burger!
Cheese, chili, fried egg and bacon are offered as extra toppings. Grilled chicken sandwich, turkey burger and veggie burgers are also on the menu!
Fatburger is famous for their hand made old fashioned onion rings and steak fries too. Best of all, is the Fatburger milkshakes. The milkshakes are made the old fashioned way with hand scooped ice cream! That is the only kind of milkshake that I will drink. My favorite flavor at Fatburger is the Maui Banana Milkshake.
I skipped the milkshake today, because the Fatburger was more than enough to put my diet in a holding pattern! I chose the medium size Fatburger for my lunch order.
While waiting in line to place my order, the burger cook noticed me waiting my turn. He walked over to me and he asked me what I was going to order for lunch, so that he could immediately start cooking my burger as I waited in line to place my order with the cashier! That is the old fashioned professional touch that Fatburger is famous for! I was truly impressed. That cook was on the ball! This is how a good burger stand should be.
I placed my order and I told the cashier that the cook already had my Fatburger on the grill! Everybody was smiling, including me!
Every item at Fatburger is cooked to order. There are no heat lamps or microwave ovens at Fatburger! All the ingredients are of the finest quality. The ingredients are fresh and not frozen! Fatburger takes pride in their great food. Fatburger has been voted as the best burger stand in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years in a row!
When my Fatburger was finish cooking and handed to me, my jaw dropped! The Fatburger looked awesomely good. I was looking at an old fashion big juicy burger with a fried egg hanging out and smelling the nice aroma of western beef chili. All I could do was give thanks and smile from ear to ear!
I hadn't seen a burger this good looking, since I lived in Las Vegas a few years ago. The chili and fried egg topping was my choice of extras. The chili and fried egg topping is also a favorite of Las Vegas party animals in the wee early morning hours!
That first bite of my Fatburger was seventh heaven! I really was enjoying the moment. This was a great tasting perfectly cooked burger on an old fashioned hamburger roll. Lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles are the standard toppings. That added to the appeal of my Fatburger lunch.
Fatburger is a great old fashioned burger stand. The kitchen at every Fatburger has an open view kitchen with stools and a counter top for those who like watch the burgers being cooked. That creates an old fashioned atmosphere that cannot be beat.
Like the sign says, "Fatburger - The Last Great Hamburger Stand!" Fatburger is the Las Vegas yum! Highly recommended! ... Shawna
Yummy! I sure have been making up for lost dining time in Las Vegas this week!
After two years of putting up with one bad restaurant after another in the Chicago area, the food in Las Vegas restaurants has become even more appealing. To give you an idea of what this means, I dined in over 50 different restaurants in the Chicago area and only two of the restaurants were worthy of a review in my blog.
There were good reasons why nearly every restaurant that I tried in Chicago was not reviewed in my blog. Health code violations, dirty dining area, poor service, very poor quality food or a combination of all of these problems gave me good basic reasons to not recommend most Chicago restaurants. I would never send a blog reader to a restaurant that serves bad food or food that is unsafe to eat! I must have set a new record on the amount of times that I suffered from severe food poisoning while dining for two years in the Chicago area! I reported each restaurant that made me ill to the state bureau of health and nothing was ever done about my complaints! It is like the Illinois and Indiana government could care less about the safety of the general public that dines in restaurants.
Food safety and cleanliness in the restaurant cannot be stressed enough! A clean safe restaurant should not be just a manner of pride. It should be the minimum standard!
I am certified by the state of Nevada to safely handle food, just like all others in the Nevada restaurant business. The chef school that I am attending is training me to pass the national health code standards, so that I may carry a five year national food handlers card. The national health card is the most difficult health card to obtain! The standards are very high. Nevada casinos have been requiring the national health card upon employment! Nevada truly has the highest health standards of any state in the nation. Nevada tourism depends on a good food reputation!
I have been delighted to dine in one clean safe restaurant after another, since I have returned to my home in Las Vegas. Being busy with school and setting up my apartment has caused me to dine out more than I usually do. My home kitchen is still not ready to resume cooking blog recipes as of yet. My blog readers do like to read Las Vegas restaurant reviews. I did promise to do more reviews of the restaurants away from the Las Vegas Strip that the locals prefer.
Today I made my first visit to the Las Vegas Strip, since I returned to Nevada last week. I thought that a Monday lunch buffet at Bellagio would be a nice choice for a restaurant review topic!
Bellagio became the marquis of luxury in Las Vegas several years ago. The standards of Bellagio are very high. Some of the greatest chefs in the world have restaurants in Bellagio. The decor and atmosphere at Bellagio is of the very highest quality!
The outside of the building is beautiful to see. A large lake is part of the front of the property. Water shows with huge booming water fountains that are set to music are one of the main attractions of Bellagio. Thousands of people watch the fountain shows daily.
The atrium at Bellagio is another prime attraction. Bellagio spends millions of dollars each year decorating the atrium for each change of season. No other resort spends that kind of money, just to give their guests such a fantastic viewing opportunity! I posted a few pictures of this years fall display at the Bellagio atrium above. As you can see, no expense is spared and the quality of the atrium seasonal display is of the highest quality!
The buffet at Bellagio is one of the finest buffets in Las Vegas! The Bellagio buffet was the first to start the trend of gourmet buffets. I have mentioned before, that a quality Las Vegas buffet can be compared to a tasting menu at a fine restaurant!
The Bellagio buffet chef designed the buffet menu to offer classic cuisine as well as very modern creative cuisine. I have dined at the Bellagio buffets in the evenings and the menu items are remarkably great. A high quality true Beef Wellington is one of the chef's signature evening buffet offerings! Beef Wellington is a very expensive entree to prepare.
Like most of the fine Las Vegas buffets, the lunch cuisine tends to be seasonal and also a bit more casual. If the weather is hot outside, then the food tends to be a bit lighter. Colder weather outside may cause the chef to offer more heavy winter food. This week in Las Vegas has had temperatures that have reached one hundred degrees. Much of yesterday's lunch buffet food at the Bellagio buffet can be compared to the offerings that I pictured in the Aria lunch buffet article that I wrote last spring. The weather at both times of year was nearly identical. In both cases, the emphasis was placed on lighter warm weather fare!
I started with a cold assortment of food from the garde manger station at the Bellagio buffet yesterday! Nice Italian and mediterranean cuisine is one of the themes at the Bellagio buffet as you can see on the plate with the assortment of chilled offerings. Two very different seaweed salads are also on the same plate. The smoked potato salad was a very pleasant surprise. The flavor was very yummy! The couscous salad is refreshing in warm weather too.
On the second plate I had a petite portion of a very nice Thai chicken salad, hand made hummus and fresh baked breads!
The third plate of food had a few comfortable entrees on the plate. The chef's BBQ ribs had a very nicely made barbecue sauce that did not come from a bottle or a can. Everything at the Bellagio buffet is hand crafted and not pre-made!
Broccoli rapini, roasted chicken with a very light herb gravy, mussels marinara and an oven roasted potato are also on the plate!
I had a choice of fine sushi, asian cuisine and Italian pastas for my next plate of food. I chose to dine on a plate of simple old fashioned food with a very nice beef slider! Classic shrimp cocktail, roasted beef with horseradish and braised mushrooms were the nice simple items that I preferred for this lunch plate at the Bellagio buffet that day. Except for the slider, this plate of food was reminiscent of the old days of Las Vegas. To me, sometimes a plateful of simple old memories can be one of the best dining experiences of all. Creating your own thematic plates of food can be fun at a good Las Vegas buffet!
Dessert time! The pastry chef at Bellagio does prefer to offer petite offerings of simple old favorites for the lunch buffet. I chose a double white chocolate cookie, a cheese cake, a chocolate ganache filled eclair and and very nice strawberry pastry cream tartlet that was adorned with a sprinkle of edible silver!
Nevada is the Silver State and many Las Vegas chefs adorn desserts with pure silver. Silver is quite healthy for the body's nervous and immune system.
The quality of the desserts was very nice! Good desserts are like the grand finale after an afternoon of dining on tasty Las Vegas buffet food!
The Bellagio Buffet is not only recommended by myself, but it is one of the most highly recommended buffets by Las Vegas residents! The Bellagio is a high quality destination of its own, that must be seen and experienced by visitors to Las Vegas. My monday afternoon lunch at the Bellagio buffet was a very pleasant experience! Yummy! ... Shawna
Monday, September 26, 2011
Delicious authentic Ethiopian cuisine!
Ethiopian Yebeg Alicha Fit Fit is a spicy lamb stew pre-mix and vegetables are added later in the recipe.
Injera is an Ethiopian bread that is flat and spongey. Natural airborne yeast is used to ferment the injera dough like a sourdough starter for a few days. Injera has a sour a sourdough kind of flavor. Teff flour is the traditional Ethiopian flour for making injera. Buckwheat, wheat and corn flour are sometimes blended with the teff flour. The texture of injera is light and spongy. Injera is perfect for picking up bites of food on a plate!
The Cottage Cafe is located at the intersection of Naples and Paradise in Las Vegas. The restaurant is one block away from the Freezone and it is very close to the Las Vegas airport. The Cottage Cafe is very popular with the Las Vegas Ethiopian taxi drivers. The location near the airport makes the Cottage Cafe a perfect choice for one last fine meal of great Las Vegas food on the way out of town!
I first noticed the Cottage Cafe while driving taxi in Las Vegas. I noticed many taxis parked at the restaurant everyday. One thing that I learned while driving taxi in Las Vegas, is that the taxi drivers know where to get a great value on well prepared food that has its origins in the taxi drivers home countries. Just like how my Filipino taxi driver friends told me where to get great Filipino food, the Ethiopian drivers told me about their favorite places to dine on their style of home cooking!
The first time that I had lunch at the Cottage Cafe, I ordered the vegetable curry with injera. The curried vegetables were perfectly cooked and it was my first experience with injera bread. That was a very nice vegetarian lunch experience that day!
The pace is always unhurried and relaxing at the Cottage Cafe. The music that is played in the dining room is a very nice mixture of laid back jazz renditions of Ethiopian and African style music. Live music is played in the dining room on special nights. African and Ethiopian art adorns the dining area. The Cottage Cafe has a very pleasant and comfortable atmosphere.
The tea and coffee are both rich and delicious! Ethiopia is the home of coffee. A good rich cup of coffee is a taxi drivers dream come true! The cups of coffee are huge at the Cottage Cafe.
I was greeted at my table by a beautiful Ethiopian waitress. I was in awe with her naturally charming manner. Ethiopians, for the most part, are very religious and polite. They like people who are polite and respectful. My conversation with the waitress about the menu items and Las Vegas topics was the start of my night's delightful dining experience.
It was fun chatting about Ethiopian cuisine and I let her know that I was going to tell my friends about the restaurant. I didn't tell her that I was posting my experience at the Cottage Cafe in my recipe blog. I usually say something about my restaurants reviews to the featured restaurant well after posting the article in my blog. The reason is that I don't want the food to be prepared in any special way other than how the food is prepared for the average customer!
The waitress was very helpful with explaining the menu items. The menu is printed in Ethiopian language with English language descriptions. Traditional Ethiopian cuisine, like much of African cuisine, is made with old fashioned slow stewing methods. The Ethiopian spice mixes are not typically what is used for european and American stew recipes. A spiced butter is often used in Ethiopian cuisine. The Ethiopian stews have a very nice exotic flavor!
I liked the sound of the simple Yebeg Alicha Fit Fit with Injera for my Saturday night dinner! The stew was described as spicy. I like spicy! The waitress informed me that the menu item that I chose was mildly spicy, as if she knew that I may prefer to order a much spicier menu item. She was correct, but I chose to stick with my first choice.
The Ethiopian lamb stew arrived at my table with the freshly made warm injera. Injera bread is usually made to order!
If you dine at the Cottage Cafe, the first thing that you will notice is there is no knives, forks or spoons on the tables. The food is eaten by picking the food up with torn pieces of the injera bread, which are held between the fingers. This is the traditional way to eat Ethiopian food! I have mentioned before, Las Vegas restaurant food is not watered down for the masses. When in Las Vegas asian restaurants, you better know how to use chopsticks properly, because silverware is not an option. Many Las Vegas African and Arabic restaurants require the customer to know how to politely dine with their fingers.
The Yebeg Alicha Fit Fit was perfectly prepared! The flavor of the lamb stew was rich, savory and exotic. The lamb was very tender after being slowly stewed. Like most African stews, the bones are attached to the meat, so the flavor of the stew becomes even richer.
The injera was perfectly made too! The very light spongy texture of injera is very appealing. The large round injera is cut into wide strips and each strip is tightly rolled, so the injera stays warm. Unrolling the injera and tearing palm size pieces of the bread, then picking up pieces of the stew to eat is truly one of life's simple pleasures!
A simple salad accompanies the stew and it also is eaten by picking it up with the injera. After the first few bites of food, it is easy to become an expert at using injera instead of silverware!
As with any food that is eaten with fingers, it is important to cleanse your hands thoroughly. Dirty fingers are taboo, just like dirty silverware!
My experience at The Cottage Cafe was very nice, just like every time that I have dined there in the past. The food is always good at this Ethiopian restaurant and it is one of my favorite Las Vegas restaurants. I honestly highly recommend The Cottage Cafe to anyone who would like to try authentic old fashioned Ethiopian cuisine!
At The Cottage Cafe, it is okay to eat with your fingers! Yummy! ... Shawna