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Tuesday July 22, 2014
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African Crossroads

 

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After that appetizer, it's hard to imagine ordering a pasta dish. We did, though, learning, when we inquired about the origins of Somali-style spaghetti, of the half-century of Italian rule that began in the late nineteenth century. The colonists are gone now, but they left their traditions behind; the spaghetti, heavily cloaked with a slightly spicy tomato sauce, was tasty if not exceptional. We paired it with beef, which the sisters sliced thinly, pounded, dredged, and pan-fried--a crisp contrast to the soft noodles. We also ordered the creamy spinach pasta, a rich dish lightly scented with tart tamarind and curry spices, that we had topped with chicken. My brother particularly favored that chicken cutlet, dredged and pan-fried in plenty of butter until it was crispy but still moist inside--the best rendition of the ubiquitous chicken breast any of us had eaten in a long time. I'm not sure I would go out of my way to order either pasta again, but at $9.99 for a filling plate, both are great bargains.

The crispy beef and chicken also show up in even more admirably priced sandwiches ($4.99) that share space with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes inside a round of wonderful house-made chapati bread. More interesting, though, is the minato, a family creation of sauteed spiced ground beef, vegetables, potatoes, cheese, and hard-boiled egg encased in a soft dough--almost the texture of a thin Chinese bun--and baked. I am not a fan of ground beef, but I loved this sandwich (and its $3.49 price).

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