Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adventures in Raw

That's not pork.

Justin got back into town from Alabama today. He'd had a rough excursion and arrived in Philadelphia to some bad news about his job situation. I decided that morose son of a bitch needed some company and we headed to Dahlak for dinner.

Yup, Ethiopian. I know you're thinking "there's no Ethiopian pork dishes". Well, you're thinking right. There's nothing on Dahlak's menu that I have negative emotions toward. On the contrary, it's got one of my favorite things.

Raw beef always looked delicious to me, but it wasn't something my mom would ever have let me try as a kid. When I came across a Vietnamese style carpaccio at one of the places down on Washington Ave, I went nuts for it. The chewy slices of raw beef wrapped around a wad of basil, fried garlic, and crushed peanuts, smothered in lemon juice became a staple on my pho eat outs and pick ups. This got me started, trying every raw beef dish I came across. Of course, you don't often see rawness on your average menu. Perhaps restauranteurs don't want to take a needless risk. Thankfully, the folks at Dahlak have no fear.

Ketfo (sometimes spelled 'kitfo') is shredded up beef seasoned with spice infused butter which gives it a nutty taste that goes perfectly with its gooey texture wrapped in spongy injera. The sheer volume of a full serving at Dahlak will leave the inexperienced adventurer positively tripping. I get it every time i eat there.

Once we'd ordered, Justin said something that intrigued me. He said he couldn't really handle raw beef dishes. It wasn't the taste, it was the thought of what he was eating. All his life, his parents had told him that eating raw meat will make you sick. He feels about raw beef how I feel about pork.

I realized that I too had always been told not to eat raw meat, and yet eating it for the first time didn't phase me at all. I didn't think about what I was eating too much, or picture the animal in my head like I do with pork. Considering that eating raw beef is likely more risky than eating pork health wise, it's amazing how much stronger my aversion to pork is.

Now I eat both. Look at that.

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