Aleks over at Veranda on P on 11th and P St., NW in Washington, D.C. invited me to come over and try his spit-roasted lamb – this isn’t actually the photo, but it looked almost exactly the same sans lamb head. I showed up a bit on the late side at about 7:30 after the “good parts” according to Aleks had already been eaten – the leg thigh, and other meaty portions..I actually thought that was great because that meant the flavorful stuff was still available – kidneys, lungs, heart, liver and gut! Unfortunately, Aleks gave away the kidneys, it would have been my first lamb kidneys – I’ve had beef kidneys in the past. After having a few Hoegardens, fresh cooked stewed liver and lungs were served – a very simple preparation and very tasty, although there is that slightly gritty/muddy/meaty taste that I guess you have to acquire.
I was sharing this dish with an Ethiopian gentleman named Tesfera – he told me that eating the innards of a lamb is a ritual in his country. He mentioned that he occasionally cooks for himself some liver, heart and other good stuff with just a bit of sauteed onions and a little pepper, maybe 15 minutes of cooking. When I asked if heart didn’t stay a bit chewy with such a short cooking time, he said that was part of the pleasure! Interestingly, he was drinking Cognac during the whole process – he said that in Ethiopia there is a honey wine (I’ve had it), but that he much prepared Whiskey or Cognac. This is just another example of how customs cross borders. Italy had major influence on Ethiopia and Tesfera explained how the best Ethiopian coffee was prepared in Italian Espresso machines.
Call this another multi-cultural experience, but this is exactly why it’s fantastic living in an international city like Washington, D.C. – I get to meet people from all over the world and break bread with them. Now, if we could all stop fighting over mundane details and politics, and focus on learning and friendship..
I am – Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler