Meskerem, St. Louis

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s trying new food. I love finding new restaurants, dishes, and cuisines to taste. When on a trip to St. Louis this week, my husband and I could not think of anywhere to eat. We’d tried the tourist attractions, restaurants off the beaten path, and St. Louis traditions. But nothing looked good.

So while we were driving around near Tower Grove Park, we spotted an Ethiopian restaurant. Neither of us had tried Ethiopian food before, and the place we had planned to go was closed on Mondays. (Is everything in St. Louis closed on Mondays? It always seemed that way when I went to college there.)

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When we walked into Meskerem, there were about three other families there. The waitress took our drink order almost immediately, and brought out our waters quickly. I noticed that the menu (which was listed as gluten free friendly on Urbanspoon) offered gluten free injera, made entirely of teff. Much of the food is gluten free as well, but be sure to ask. We ordered a platter for two and it was out, hot and fresh, in only a few minutes.

Ethiopian cuisine is eaten with the hands and pieces of injera, which was a new experience for us. The food was flavorful, slightly spicy, and definitely interesting. The platter we ordered contained two beef dishes, a chicken dish, and two vegetarian dishes made with lentils. I really enjoyed all of it, but was especially fond of the lentil dishes. My husband preferred the chicken dish, but we finished all the food, which is pretty unusual for us.

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After the meal, I checked out the drink menu and ordered a glass of “Ethiopian Honey Wine.” The waitress said most people can’t drink more than one glass of it, and I can see why. It tastes nothing like any other wine I have ever tried. It’s very sweet, with a bitter aftertaste, which was really interesting. The wine was almost “earthy.” I probably won’t order it again, but I’m glad I tried it.

Next time we are in St. Louis, we plan to try the Somalian restaurant we saw down the street, but when we get a chance we will definitely check out Meskerem again.

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