"I love living here. We have so many cool places to eat." That's what Jane said about four bites into our lunch at Tigi's (Tee-Jee) on Saturday. This place somehow manages to offer interesting, fresh, and tasty dishes that remain accessible to the American palate. Tigi plays host, waiter, and cook, with a huge smile and repeated stops by the table to ask "How is your food?" (You know how my food is, Tigi. You know.)
First - How do you get there? Tigi's is located in the strip behind the Dunkin' Donuts across from the Normandy Shopping Center (next to Howard County Animal Hospital). I have already had one friend (who loves Ethiopian food) drive up and down Route 40 looking for Tigi's, only to drive to Burtonsville to fill the need (not kidding).
Second - what is Ethiopian food? Starting with the most basic explanation - hand food. Most meals are served on an Injera (a slightly spongy pancake), which you use to eat the spiced vegetable and meat servings heaped onto the platter (and I mean heaped). Tigi's menu can be found here, but I noticed that the online listing does not include some of the combos that are available to try multiple dishes at once.
I ordered the meat and veggie combo, which was about $19 and could easily have fed 2-3 people. This included Doro Wot (spiced chicken), Yebeg Wot (spiced lamb), and Minchet Abish (stewed beef). On the veggie side, I ordered Fosolia with carrots (string beans) and Shiro Wot (split peas and chick peas in a spicy sauce). Jane ordered the Yebere' Tibs (spiced beef with tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos). Tigi also brought out some Vegetable Samosas (fried pastries) on the house, which had chick peas, jalapenos, and onions inside. All of the dishes were surprisingly fresh and had distinct flavors even in combination.
Eating Ethiopian food is just fun. It is a great bonding experience for friends, families, and couples alike. You spend a lot of time asking "What's this?" and "Is it as spicy as that?" (Ethiopian food is spicy). I have not yet perfected my Injera skills (my hands were bright red at the end of the meal), but what I lack in experience I make up for in curiosity.
As Jane said, I love living here. We have so many cool places to eat. It is so nice to add "Ethiopian" to the list of amazing Mexican, (authentic) Chinese, Thai, Korean, Italian, French, and Indian selections that are within a five mile radius of our house.