The family behind Baltimore Avenue’s Eritrean restaurant and bar Dahlak is working with a neighborhood-based developer to open Pentridge Station, a family-friendly pop-up beer garden and social space, in southwest Cedar Park.
There are no two ways about it: African food is tough on dilettantes. It’ll confront you with vegetables you’ve never heard of, meat that runs from tough to tender to straight-up cow skin, and starches that bewilder your attempts to choose a utensil. And for eaters not seeking already-acquired tastes of home, Philly’s African restaurants can be hit-or-miss. But no other realm rewards the adventurous with more fascination and deliciousness.
Start baby-step-style at Kilimandjaro (4317 Chestnut Street, 215-387-1970), which despite its East African namesake serves Senegalese food, including a mustardy, sweet-onion-draped yassa chicken that’s among the best in town. Grilled lamb chops dressed with sweet peppers and onions are what to get at Sahara (6528 Woodland Avenue, 215-727-0812), where the cooking is Malian and the portions are huge. And now that you’re already smack in Philly’s Africana epicenter, try African Small Pot (6505 Woodland Avenue, 267-713-7603), run by a globe-trotting Mauritanian who does right by thiebou dien — which you could think of as paella with twice the concentration and spice.
When I lived in DC for a short time during grad school, I once voluntarily ate three full meals at the same Ethiopian restaurant in Adams Morgan in one weekend. The last time I visited DC, I breakfasted at a different Ethiopian joint at 9am on a Tuesday – alone, not surprisingly. So even though I rarely get to Baltimore Avenue (the food-phobic boyfriend thinks artichoke hearts on pizza is exotic), it’s still my favorite place to eat in the city.
Tomorrow, three Ethiopian restaurants are participating in the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll. But Gojja, Dahlak and Queen of Sheba are just a few of the 25 restaurants and shops that will set up on their stoops to sell nibbles, drinks and products for $1 each in a street-festival-like atmosphere from 5:30-8:30pm. Other restaurants include Aksum, Dock Street, Elena’s Soul and Vientiane Café.
The party (which runs along the avenue from 42nd to 50th streets), is sponsored by UCD and takes place three times this summer, with tomorrow’s being Stroll #2 and the last one being held on September 20.
We have our first winner, Stephanie Huang who posted a photograph ofÂ an Oreo-cheesecake-stuffed-between-two-pancakes-with-maple-syrup-whipped-cream-and-crushed-oreos-on-top from Philly Diner at 39th and Walnut. Oh my!
Stephanie gets a $25 gift certificate to Dahlak Eritrean Bar & Restaurant.
Keep entering your pics and you’ll be eligible to win tomorrow’s random drawing.
University City’s Dining Days, where participating restaurants offer special menus for $15, $25, or $30, starts today. Among the highlights are Penne which serves up a $25 3-course dinner featuring prosciutto wrapped salmon or for the budget conscious there’s Dahlak where 3 courses will only run you $15 for authentic Ethiopian food.
University City Dining Days [Official Site]
Our favorite happy couple, Mark and Audrey head to West Philadelphia’s Baltimore Avenue for a truly cool cheap date. The pair get iced coffee at Satellite Cafe, then Vientiane for a Southeast Asian dinner, followed by free Friday night jazz in Cedar Park. They end the evening with cheap beers at the dive bar in the back of Dahlak, an Ethiopian restaurant on Baltimore Avenue.