Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant's Recipe for Injera

So many of our friends have asked for our injera recipe, especially after our video with Melody Kettle of Hot From The Kettle. Here's the recipe - it's a preview of the cookbook Berekti is currently preparing for publication!

2 Large bowls with lids
Small measuring cup
10-12 inch heavy nonstick flat or shallow skillet or nonstick frying pan; must have lids
Round rattan charger or placemat (minimum 14 inches in diameter)
Clean white cotton tablecloth

2 cups teff flour
11 cups cold water
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup barley flour
Pinch of fenugreek powder (optional)

Mix 2 cups of teff flour with 6 cups of water in a large bowl, using your fingers to break up any lumps. The batter should be smooth and almost runny. Cover and set aside.
The batter for Injera is very temperature sensitive. If the temperature in the house is hot, allow the batter to ferment for 2-3 days. If the temperature is mild, allow 5 days of fermentation. If the temperature is cold, allow 6 or more days for the batter to ferment. If the batter is not fermented well, the Injera may stick to the pan when you cook it. Check the batter after the 6th day: if all the water has risen to the top and is separated from the batter, then fermentation is complete. If the water has not separated, allow to ferment for another day and check again.

After the batter has fermented, in a separate bowl, mix together self-rising, wheat, and barley flours, and fenugreek powder with 5 cups of water, using your fingers to break up any lumps. Pour into the teff batter and mix well. Cover and set the batter aside at room temperature for 24 hours. Afterward, refrigerate for 4 hours. Drain off any water that has separated from the batter into a small measuring cup and set aside. Mix batter well – it should be smooth and runny. If the batter is too thick, use the drained water to make it thinner. If the water is not needed, discard.

Preheat skillet or frying pan until hot enough that water droplets sizzle on the surface. Stir the batter, and ladle one-half cup into the measuring cup. Start pouring the batter into the center of the skillet, and continue pouring in a circular motion until the batter covers the pan. Cook until bubbles or “eyes” cover 80% of the injera and cover for 30 seconds. Remove cover and check the injera; if the edges are curling, the injera is done. To remove injera from the skillet, carefully lift one edge and slide the charger or placemat underneath and pull the injera onto it. Carefully slide injera onto the tablecloth to cool.
Stir the batter well, and repeat the steps mentioned above for each injera until the batter is finished.

For leftover Injera, store in tightly closed container. At room temperature Injera can last up to 2 days but it is best to refrigerate it.
Making injera requires patience and may take a few tries before you get it right.
Note: The batter may have a fermented odor but this is part of the process.
For a less fermented or “sour” Injera, reduce the fermentation time from 5 days to 3 days. This type of injera is known as afleña injera. It is also good for people who have trouble digesting fully fermented Injera.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant Introduces New Vegan Chocolates to Dessert Menu

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ is proud to announce the addition of a new vegan option to its line of premium, all-natural desserts – the Mesob Ethiopian Vegan Chocolate Collection.  Debuting on Thursday, December 16, 2010, the handmade gourmet chocolates are filled with a dairy-free dark chocolate ganache infused with a selection of exotic Ethiopian spices, coffee and tea – Berbere, Hibiscus, Kemem Shai and Ethiopian Coffee.

The chocolates are made by Chocolate Legends, owned by New Jersey artisanal chocolatier, Sherri Hiller. She introduced Mesob owner Berekti Mengistu to her gourmet chocolate line and worked with the restaurant to develop a vegan chocolate collection.  Hiller’s special collections have been featured at Delicious Orchards. This is the first vegan chocolate specialty Hiller has created for a restaurant.

Berekti met Sherri Hiller, through Marketing Manager Vickie Smith-Siculiano, who was familiar with the unique offerings of Chocolate Legends.  Says Berekti,  “I was excited to have our own chocolate collection, with our Ethiopian spices and flavors. Having them especially made to fit a vegan diet was perfect for us as many of our diners are Vegans.  These chocolates will fit perfectly on our menu of fresh, all-natural, no-preservatives added foods.   We listen to our customers and want to create the best experience for them.” 

Gift boxes of these chocolates will also be available at the restaurant, which has plans to expand the varieties to include other authentic Ethiopian flavors.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

History of Eskesta - The Traditional Ethiopian Dance

With recent interest in our up close and personal live Music and Eskesta Dance event at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ, we wanted to share some history and background about the Ethiopian dance that is gaining much attention recently.  We want to thank Martina Petkova for her research in helping us to answer this question for you

The Ethiopian term “Eskesta” means “Dancing shoulders.”  It is often practiced in the Northern parts of Ethiopia (Amhara group) where the indigenous tribes of Amhara, Wollo, Gondar etc. are still performing the dance of Eskesta. The motives and characteristics of the dance are often interchanged during the dance by the performers of the variety of war songs, hunting songs, Shepherd songs, love songs and work songs. The best dancer is appointed to the leader of the group and respectively the best singer.

The eskesta dance transmits ideas, religious beliefs, historical events, ancient stories, emotions, thoughts, through a ritual of shoulder dancing and body movements performed on a certain musical background. One of the main dance motives and movements that are implemented in the ritual of performing of Eskesta are as follows: the Shepherd and his herd, religious commitment and praying (Coptic dance, Jewish roots) and as a matter of meditation.

The extraordinary diversity of dances is a result of different cultures and people, often organized horizontally (grouped in space) in comparison to the European people who are vertically stratified. According to some analysis, the Ethiopian dances are not divided according to their function, but according to their uniqueness and individuality. Therefore, there are over 150 unique dance movements across Ethiopia and its regions.

The theme of Eskesta can be described as follows – expressing certain emotions and impressions from the life through a typical body movement dating back to an Ethiopian tribe (Amhara region), performing these mainly with their heads and shoulders. These significant movements are having a great impact on the Ethiopian indigenous society as a whole. Some of the ideas and themes in this dance are actually inspired from the relations between the genders, work life and religion.

It also is said that this dance was invented because of the snakes. Ethiopian people were often observing the “dance”/movements of the snake, shaking in the same way their neck. On the other hand, in the sphere of indigenous Ethiopian music the influence of the rattlesnake while shaking its tail (the sound it produces) has created a certain way of singing as well.

Furthermore, other symbols and rituals that can be described are these connected with the costumes which each dancer wears. They are often made of woven cotton called “gabbi” or “netella” and painted with different colors depending on the gender of the dancer.

Eskesta is a dance performed both from men and women with their head, neck, chest and shoulders, shaking in specific ways; the music played during the dance is often produced with the traditional Ethiopian instruments like krar, flute, drums and mesenko. The dancers sometimes sing or in some places of the dance utilize the silence in order to stress out some prevailing moments of the dance. There are however some variations depending on the areas in which this dance is performed – Wollo, Gondar or Gojjam.

Historical context – Ethiopia is a widely diverse country with over 80 unique rich ethnic, cultural, custom and linguistic groups. One of the most significant areas in Ethiopian culture from which actually the other spheres developed further is the literature, representing Hebrew and Greek religious texts into the ancient Ge’ez, modern Amharic and Tigringa languages. This cultural heritage shaped some of the Ethiopian dance motives. However, the unique step and rhythm creates a certain motive of “mosaic culture”.

Similar dances can be found in Western Africa, where indigenous dances are performed with head (with sort of tie on it) and arms, especially in the tribe of Conakry, Guinea.

The dance Eskesta brings the dancer into a certain role of history and story-teller, who actually expresses and draws with his/her body the cultural traditions and life. The dance, as well the music and singing are serving as symbolical messages and influences on the Ethiopian society.

Interpretation ethics – while enjoying the Eskesta dance accompanied by the music one can truly start travelling back in the time. These music and dances are dating 3000 years back in the African history – so unique and undiscovered from us, the Europeans. In this context, one can think of the religious variety implemented in the dances and music in Ethiopia as a whole – Orthodox Christian and Muslim motives playing the role of shaping the culture and traditions of this nation.

Eskesta is very interesting to be observed – dancing in the beautiful Ethiopian nature, within the herds of animals making Eskesta an very expressive type of dance. Eskesta itself is providing positive emotions to the public and in the same time creating deeply spiritual atmosphere in which the observer cannot find his/herself easily. Namely this cultural confusion serves as the one that hinders us exploring the dance fully. Ethiopian dance is not something we, the Europeans can understand. Behind the apparent body shaking there are situated deeply cultural and hereditary connotations.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winners Announced in Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant’s “7 Words for 7 Years” Contest

We are excited to officially announce eight winners who created inspiring quotes for our 7 Words for 7 Years contest!

There is a First Prize winner and 7 Runner-up winners in our first-ever creative contest today.  The contest, which ran for 2 weeks, celebrated the our 7th birthday, when we first opened our doors on October 28th, 2003.

Entrants were asked “How much can you express about your Ethiopian food experience in just 7 words?”  Over 200 7-word creations were received via entries that included both e-mail and in-store written entries. The creative entries varied between prose, poetry, modified haiku, alliteration, and acrostics.  All demonstrated creativity, sentiment and connection to the restaurant.

The restaurant contest winners were selected by a committee comprised of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant staff members, including owners Berekti and Akberet Mengistu.  The winner received a $25 gift certificate for Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, and notoriety as the first-ever and only Mesob “7 Words for 7 Years” contest winner. Runners-up received $10 certificates.

The Winner
“Essence of love is Mesob’s secret ingredient.”

Deborah Kanter, a holistic wellness educator from Montclair, NJ, who submitted the winning entry says, “From the first time a friend took me to Mesob, a positive energy permeated the physical surroundings and the food as well, I knew that the energies came from the love that those who created and served the food brought to their work and subsequently to those dining there…What a wonderful dining experience—as if the excellent food…weren’t enough!”

The Seven Runners-up
1. “Come Hand Feed Your Soul at Mesob”
D. Excelsior Kutney, customer since 2004, and also a haiku poet, says inspiration was immediate.  “The Mesob dining experience inspired my seven words by going beyond merely nourishing the body, and beyond simply feeding the soul.  Mesob leaves your soul feeling hand-fed, which makes perfect sense since you eat with your hands at Mesob.”
2. “Anticipation Beckons Savory Succulent Homemade Handheld Deliciousness”
Jennifer Smith-Miller, an active fan in the Mesob Facebook community, who also reintroduced a new item to the restaurant menu with her requests and correspondence e-mailed her entry. “When I think of Mesob, my palate starts to get excited, begins to water in anticipation of the deliciousness to come.” says Ms. Miller. “I already can imagine holding those tender morsels in my hand, that were just freshly made, and can't wait for the food to arrive!”
3. MESOB… Many Ethiopian Specialties on Bread...yummm”
Leslie Debbas submitted this entry, a creative acrostic spelling the restaurant name and says, “From the first day that I ate at Mesob I have been a truly devoted customer! There is nowhere else in the area to enjoy such a unique dining experience as well as such exotic flavors.”
4. "Mesob - Visit Ethiopia without leaving Montclair NJ!"
Runner-up Dr. Audrey Longson, submitted multiple entries, as the restaurant did not want to limit participant creativity.  She says, “My husband and I are major foodies and love to travel the world together in search of new and exciting cuisines.”
5.  “Tasty stews on porous bread - hunger absorbed”
Runner-up Karen Gooen says, “I love the injera at Mesob--it's spongy and light, and it absorbs the flavor of each of the delicious stews…it absorbs my hunger as well, leaving me perfectly sated.”
6. “Mouthwatering Ethiopian Succulent Outstanding Blissful Wonderful”
Kier Bowers was chosen among multiple hand-written restaurant entries.  He says, “I enjoyed my first Ethiopian dining experience. The food, service and ambiance are pleasurable as well as memorable!”
7.  “Mesob Yum!  Palate Loves Aromatic Cloves. Exotic!”
Catherine Brown was not available for comment on the inspiration for her winning creative acrostic for “My Place.”
Vickie Smith-Siculiano, Marketing & PR Manager for Mesob created the first contest for this small, suburban local restaurant that she has also been a fan of since they first opened their doors.  “I know the deep connection that a patron can have with a favorite restaurant because for Mesob, it was also within me.  I am also thrilled to engage restaurant patrons in social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the restaurant blog and News and Events on the new recently redesigned multimedia website.”
Berekti and Akberet Mengistu, owners of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant who are also sisters, feel that sharing Ethiopian culture is very important to enhance the dining experience and charm of their eclectic art-filled restaurant.  A new art display soon to debut will contains all the words of all entries to this contest.  Berekti Mengistu says, “We loved reading what people think not just about Ethiopian food, but also the experience you can find at Mesob.  We did not realize the power of just 7 words.”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is Halloween like in Ethiopia?

BOO! Happy Halloween!

Did you know that the Ethiopian holiday, Buhé (boo HAY) is similar to Halloween in the United States? Buhé is celebrated on August 19th (or 20th during leap year) which is during the rainy season in Ethiopia. On the night before Buhé, households get injera ready in the fermentation process for baking the next day.

On the evening of Buhe, groups of children go from door to door asking for injera. They sing a song called "Hoya Hoye" along with other songs and jump up and down until they get their treat. Unlike the Halloween here in the United States, Ethiopian children do not dress up in costumes.

During the night each house lights small bonfires of twigs and everyone gathers around the flames. Parts of this celebration are said to come from the story of the Lost Children who wandered away and were found by torch light and given injera to eat.

Injera is a traditional Ethiopian flat bread generally made from several different flours including teff, whole wheat flour, barley, rice, and/or corn meal. This bread can take several days to make. The dough is left to ferment from one to three days creating a bread that tastes similar to sour dough bread. This bread is then cooked on a hot griddle on one side only. Injera is a very thin bread with a soft texture that is perfect for scooping up soups and stews.

Check out Melody Kettle's segment with Hot from the Kettle" on Baristanet, for a peek inside our kitchen at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ, to see how we make injera. We also share a recipe with you!

Have a spooky Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hilarious Halloween video featuring our Mesob staff & special guest

Our spooky new Halloween video...featuring Mesob's very own Shewita, Mahlet, Arega and Amanuel... & special appearance by 7'1 Celtics guard, Shaquille O'Neal!

Shaquille O'Neal makes a special guest appearance, and as a guard on the Celtics, he makes a great 7'1" appearance!

With our monthly brunch falling on Halloween this Sunday, October 31st, we hope you join us and try our new Pumpkin Kita special!

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Please share with your friends, and let our Mesob staff know if you like this!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Tasteful Experience and Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant

A Tasteful Experience, at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, NJ, 2009
 Mesob is proud to be a featured restaurant in the signature fall event, A Tasteful Experience, to benefit the Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation.  The event will take place on November 8, 2010, at Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, NJ.

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant will specially prepare and donate food and staff time for the evening, alongside 40 of the area’s finest restaurants, caterers and purveyors of spirits.  The event will raise funds to benefit Clara Maass Medical Center programs and services.

The evening of exotic culinary delights and wine will allow guests to sample Ethiopian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Irish, Mexican, seafood, and continental cuisines as well as gourmet desserts.

 “We are delighted that so many outstanding chefs will be participating in this year’s event,” said Jane Newman Kessler, CFRE, vice president, Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation. “Michael Carrino, owner of Restaurant Passioné and winner of Food Network’s “Chopped” will be participating for the fifth year, as well as owner of CulinAriane and Bravo’s “Top Chef” participant Ariane Duarte, and NBC Today Show featured chef Ryan DePersio of Montclair’s Fascino, and Berekti Mengistu, Owner of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ, featured on ABCNews Neighborhood Eats.”

“I am proud to be part of ‘A Tasteful Experience’ once again” says Mengistu, owner of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant.  “This is a very worthwhile cause, and we strongly believe that eating food should make you feel good.  We hope that people join us for a charitable event that does just that – make you feel good.”

Food and wine aficionados can attend the Main Event, beginning at 7 p.m. for $95.  For the VIP Experience, guests can purchase a ticket for $150, which offers early admission at 6 p.m. and a luxury swag bag.  To purchase tickets, visit www.claramaassfoundation.org or call 973.450.2277 for more information.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Live and Become - A Poignant Movie with Ethiopian Culture & History

If you want to see a glimpse into the history of Ethiopia, we highly recommend you check out "Live and Become."  We hope that it will make your Mesob Ethiopian Dining experience much more heightened (ex.  Ethiopian coffee pots (jebenas) and injera (Ethiopian bread.)

Ths movie is based on real events, this epic story of a Christian Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses.

You can read a New York Times review by Stephen Holden.

You can also rent this film on Netflix.

An uplifting but tragic story at the same time.  Have you seen this film?  What did you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant Launches “7 Words for 7 Years” Contest

Happy 7th Birthday Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant!
Our first-ever creative contest for Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ's 7th year in business.     

How much can you express about your Ethiopian food experience in just 7 words?  Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant wants to know how much the Ethiopian food and experience inspires you.

Mesob is seeking entrants who want to share their experience with the rest of us.  Seven words.  No more, no less.

Entries can be in a creative sentence, or in a 2-3-2 catchy 7 word sequence (Much like the 5-7-5 Haiku non-rhymed verse genre).  An example of this might be “Eat meat. Or go vegan. Eat Ethiopian.”

Entrants are encouraged to dispense sentiment and wisdom.  But please no profanity.  Entries can be submitted in person at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, or by e-mail to Mesob@saywowmarketing.com.

The “7 words for 7 years” contest coincides with the 7th birthday of the Montclair, NJ restaurant, which opened its doors October 28, 2003. 

A sharing of Ethiopian culture is part of the charm of this eclectic restaurant.  Berekti Mengistu, one of the two Ethiopian sisters who own Mesob, says, “We want to share just more than Ethiopian food with our community, but also our culture.  Our recent Ehiopian music and dance event opened up more culture to our community.    We would love to know what people think not just about Ethiopian food, but also the experience you can find at Mesob.”

The contest runs for over two weeks starting Thursday, October 14, 2010 through Friday, October 29, 2010.

The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate for Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant. The winner will also gain notoriety as the first-ever and only Mesob “7 Words for 7 Years” contest winner.

Start writing.  Send your comments.  And win!

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant is located at 515 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair, NJ.  For reservations or more information, call 973-655-9000 or visit Mesob online at http://www.mesobrestaurant.com.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

History of Ethiopian Coffee

The earliest historic records of coffee were between 575 and 850 A.D.

Legend has it that a young Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi, saw his goats jumping around and acting frisky after eating some red berries from a bush.

Kaldi tried some of the berries himself. He amazingly felt awakened and began to dance around with his goats.

So coffee was discovered in Ethiopia...by a goat!

So, next time you enjoy an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, think of the dancing goats who we must be be thankful for!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

As Seen on TV - Ethiopian Beef Stew Recipe (Tibs Wet)

Here is the recipe for Tibs Wet prepared daily at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ. This recipe was shared on a recent appearance on WABC7 Eyewitness News Neighborhood Eats.


Heavy-bottomed medium-sized saucepan
Wooden spoon

3 cups chopped shallots or red onions
2 cups vegetable oil
1 medium tomato minced (optional)
1 cup Ethiopian hot pepper
1 tsp ground nigella seeds
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp Ethiopian spiced butter
1 lb beef cut in cubes
2 cups boiled water
1/2 tsp false cardamom
Instructions: Sauté onions over low heat, stirring until translucent and soft. Add oil to the onions, stirring gently to mix well. If you choose to use tomato, add into the mixture at this point. Add Ethiopian hot pepper and salt (to taste) and mix together. Add garlic, ginger, and nigella seeds, mixing well. Stir occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes or when oil starts to rise to the surface and the mixture is a deep, rich, reddish color add the meat. Cook for 10 minutes and add boiling water. Add butter and false cardamom, cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
(Copyright ©2010 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Traditional Ethiopian Music and Dance Will Kick Off Vegetarian Awareness Month at Montclair Restaurant


Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant to feature Ethiopian Music and Dance group on U.S. tour to Celebrate Global Vegetarian Awareness Day

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, a family-owned restaurant in Montclair,  NJ specializing in Ethiopian cuisine, will kick off Vegetarian Awareness Month with traditional Ethiopian music and dance on October 1, 2010.

The restaurant will also feature a completely vegan menu for the occasion, and introduce 2 new vegan specials to celebrate the start of Vegetarian Awareness Month. A new pumpkin stew, Duba Quanta, and Portobello Mushroom Stew, Ingudai Quanta will be featured on the menu for the first time.  Ethiopian jerky is traditionally made with beef, but patrons can enjoy these dishes prepared vegan style.

The one night only performance at Mesob will feature Zena Bel Band, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and two Ethiopian dancers. True to the tradition of the wandering azmari musicians from the Ethiopian countryside, the colorful performers will dance and play their instruments as they move throughout the restaurant.

The evening of Ethiopian music will feature the traditional drum "kebero" played by Asrat Ayalew, five-string acoustic violin, played by Kaethe Hostetter, evoking the "masinqo," a one-string bowed instrument, and vocalist, Selamnesh Zemene, specializing in the “azmari” style.

Joining Zena Bel Band will be two top Ethiopian dancers, Melaku Belay and Zinash Tsgegaye, of the Ethiopian dance troop, Fendika.  Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant was able to book the group for this Vegetarian Awareness month kick off, as the musicians and dancers are on their first North American tour with the well-known Boston- based Debo Band.

Berekti Mengistu, one of the two Ethiopian sisters who own Mesob, says, “We want to share just more than Ethiopian food with our community, but also our culture.  Many of our patrons are vegetarians and may not be aware that all of our vegetarian dishes are prepared vegan style.  This is because our Ethiopian vegetarian dishes evolved as Ethiopian Orthodox Christian fasting days restrict us from eating animal products.  Vegetarian Awareness Month is a perfect time to share our rich culture – not only with a special menu, but with our special music as well.”

A sharing of Ethiopian culture is part of the charm of this eclectic restaurant.  In Ethiopian culture, an "azmari bet," is a place where people come to listen and enjoy traditional Ethiopian music.  For this evening, Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant will become a vegan “azmari bet” something rarely seen in the U.S.

The Global Vegetarian Awareness Celebration music and dance event will have seatings at 7 and 9 pm.  Reservations are required.

Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant is located at 515 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair, NJ.  For reservations or more information, call 973-655-9000 or visit Mesob online at http://www.mesobrestaurant.com.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ethiopian All You Can Eat Buffet and New Year Celebration

Catering at Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair NJ

NEWS RELEASE – for Immediate Release                              September 2, 2010

All You Can Eat Ethiopian Buffet to be Hosted by Montclair, NJ Restaurant

Mesob Restaurant to ring in the Ethiopian New Year with its annual New Year Celebration September 11, 2010. 

September 2, 2010 –  Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant, a family-owned restaurant in Northern NJ specializing in Ethiopian cuisine, will host its annual all you can eat buffet on Saturday, September 11, 2010.
Mesob created the annual buffet event to celebrate Enkutatash, an important New Year festival for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, which include many of the restaurant’s regular customers, as well as the owner’s family and restaurant staff.

The restaurant will feature a fully catered spread including vegan dishes, meat and seafood dishes, and the 2 popular salad dishes the restaurant offers.

The all you can eat meat and seafood menu will include shrimp tibs, doro wat (chicken), doro tibs (chicken),  yebeg aletcha (lamb), tibs wat (beef), minchet aletcha (beef).  The two popular Mesob salad creations to be served include Ye’Mesob selata and Ye’Dinch selata. 

All vegetarian (vegan) dishes served at the restaurant will be offered at the buffet, including gomen (collard greens), tikile gomen (cabbage and potatoes), atkilt wat (green beans and carrots), miser wat (split lentils), buticha (pureed chickpeas), ingudai tibs (portobellos)and kik aletcha (yellow split peas).Because Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant offers vegan dining,

Enkutatash is an important festival in the lives of Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains the sun comes out creating a beautiful clear fresh atmosphere. The highland fields turn to gold as the Meskal daisies burst into flower. For this reason, Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant will line its floors with grasses and yellow flower petals.

Berekti Mengistu, one of the two Ethiopian sisters who own Mesob, is very excited to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year with family, friends and restaurant patrons. “We want to share just more than Ethiopian food with our community, but also our culture.  That is why one of the happiest festivals is the perfect opportunity to open not only our doors but our menu.”  A sharing of the Ethiopian culture is part of the charm of this eclectic restaurant, located at 515 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, NJ.

David Corcoran, in his New York Times restaurant review says, “There is one thing you will certainly not want, and that is to leave.”

The New Year Celebration event and all you can eat buffet event will have seatings at 5, 7 and 9 pm and reservations are required.

Mesob Restaurant is located at 515 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair, NJ.  For reservations or more information, call 973-655-9000 or visit Mesob online at http://www.mesobrestaurant.com.

Friday, August 20, 2010

ONE NIGHT ONLY Ethiopian Music at Mesob Restaurant October 1st!

Zena Bel Band is a three piece group, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group is the result of the continuing collaborations of two Ethiopian azmari musicians, and one violin player from Boston's Debo Band, a ten-member collective influenced by 1970s-era Ethiopian funk. Zena Bel Band's members first came together when Debo Band collaborated with some traditional musicians while on tour in Ethiopia in May 2009.

The traditional drum "kebero" is played by Asrat Ayalew, while Kaethe Hostetter's five-string acoustic violin evokes the Ethiopian "masinqo," a one-string bowed instrument. Selamnesh Zemene, the vocalist, sings in a variety of traditional Ethiopian styles. Her mother and grandmother both having been azmari singers, she is steeped in this tradition, which often incorporates humor and improvising during its performance. The azmari are traditionally wandering musicians from the countryside, who sing, play, and dance for money. With witty lyrics rich in innuendo and double entendre, Azmari musical traditions have been documented in a few volumes of Ethiopiques, the renowned CD series out of France.

Zena Bel Band plays familiar folk songs that most Ethiopians vehemently cherish. The trio's repertoire includes the beloved "Tizita" and "Ambassel," songs by Bezunesh Bekele, Birtukan Dubale, and Maritu Legesse, and some regionally specific songs that display the rich variety of Ethiopian traditions. They also play some original songs by Selamnesh and her husband, who is also an azmari

The music is by turns dreamily mesmerizing, circular, heavy, exhilarating, compelling and whimsical. Selamnesh's sure and powerful voice reaches across political borders and musical backgrounds. Kaethe's masinqo-like 5-string violin playing presents an innovative, modern ambiance. Asrat's kebero provides the project's strong backbone, as he highlights the contour of the songs while offering propulsive verve.

Joining Zena Bel Band on some numbers are Melaku Belay, Ethiopia's top dancer, and his dance partner, Zinash Tsgegaye, both members of Fendika who, along with Zena Bel's members, are on tour with Debo Band in September of 2010. The physical home and performance venue of the Fendika group is "Fendika Azmari Bet," artist-owned and operated by Melaku. In Ethiopian culture, an "azmari bet," literally meaning the "House of the Azmari," is a place where people come to listen and enjoy traditional Ethiopian music. Under Melaku's direction, Fendika completely revolutionizes the artistic world of Addis Ababa by creating a home for music that presents a symbiosis between tradition and modernity. In special projects and collaborations, Fendika's traditional azmari music has continually shifted and reinvented, while being enriched by Ethiopian-influenced jazz and rock bands from abroad, including Imperial Tiger Orchestra (Switzerland), The Ex (the Netherlands), le Tigre des Platanes (France), Debo Band and Ukandanz (France), among others.

Zena Bel Band is exemplary of the vibrancy of the Fendika scene in Addis Ababa, where cross cultural exchange has encouraged the development of new groups and projects. This is Zena Bel's first North American tour and they are thrilled to bring their music to new friends, and introduce a new take on the tradition of which they are so proud.

"Enjoy Yourself!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

VIDEO: Today's Ethiopian Children's Holiday, "Buhe"

Buhe is an Ethopian children's holiday, usually celebrated August 19, much like the American Halloween. “Hoya Hoye” comes from a children’s song chanted during a holiday.

Kids travel door to door in groups singing this traditional call and response. They pound walking sticks to the beat and take turns singing praises in rhyme to earn coins and dough. This custom is much like the American tradition of children going door to door and saying "Trick or Treat" to receive candy and treats.

Every Ethiopian knows this song regardless of tribe. Normally, people also celebrate it with lighting a few wooden torches commonly known as "Chibo" in their houses after returning from the church ceremony that is held, that is much larger.

Berekti Mengistu, owner of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ wants to share her rich Ethiopian culture with you, to enhance the experience of eating Ethiopian food and injera that we all love.

Will you please share your comments and thoughts with her here for her first blog post? She'd love to hear from you!