What We're Ordering Out This Week: Falling Back in Love with Ethiopian Food
Since Covid-19 is still here and restaurants continue to stress alternative options to dining in, we’ll bring you each week a roundup of takeout meals recently enjoyed by dining editor Timothy Malcolm.
Lucy Ethiopian Lounge
Recently I picked up yet another spicy dish to sample, this time the gomen wat from Lucy Ethiopian Lounge in the Sharpstown area. Gomen wat is chopped collard greens served with a spicy barbecue sauce that'll coat your mouth with a kind of earthy chili pepper heat, plus a side—in this case, potatoes—and your choice of rice or injera, the traditional East African spongey flatbread. Of course, get the injera.
The dish reminded me of one of my favorite restaurants ever, Lalibela, an Ethiopian eatery in Mount Kisco, New York that closed just this month. It's where I first interacted with Ethiopian cuisine, seeing handfuls of meat stews and vegetables laid out onto the injera at a round table so my friends and I could share in the experience. We're getting close to a time when we can all share in these experiences together once again; I can't wait. Until then, I'll get my gomen wat to-go as a veggie-friendly dinner option.
Sunday afternoon at Cool Runnings is busy. The staff diligently prepares orders of jerk chicken, curried goat, and oxtails. The food is fit into Styrofoam containers with rice and beans, cabbage, and more sides. It's is piled up high—no inch of the box is left naked.
The jerk chicken isn't very spicy; more, it's blooming with fiery undertones. You can taste the preparation. The rice and beans are perfectly salty so you keep shoveling it in your mouth and don't realize you're finished in minutes. Cool Runnings is the closest thing in Houston to being in Jamaica, with flags flying across the entire strip center, dub music going in and out of your ear, and this smoky, earthy, soulful food making your Sunday wait completely worth it.
Parked up at Long Point and Gessner in Spring Branch, Seoulside specializes in Korean fried chicken wings with a range of sauces, from sticky soy garlic to honey butter, and from lemon pepper to K sauce, its version of a hot sauce that doesn't play around. Grab some rice dotted with furikake for a side dish, and be sure to have the daikon at the ready.