Restaurant News & Reviews

Now you, too, can learn to cook Ethiopian cuisine

Mulunesh Belay of Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine in Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Avenue, serves the popular chicken stew known as doro wot.
Mulunesh Belay of Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine in Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Avenue, serves the popular chicken stew known as doro wot. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Ethiopian Feasts

In March, Mulunesh Belay of Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine in Bellingham Public Market, 1530 Cornwall Ave., published “Ethiopian Feast: The Crown Jewel of African Cuisine,” a hardcover cookbook that includes nearly 80 of her original recipes. The book includes detailed recipes and full-color pictures, but it is more than a collection of recipes; it tells the story of the evolution of Mulu (the name she goes by) as a chef, from helping her mother as a 5-year-old by cooking and fetching water and firewood, to her life in South Africa and finally here in Bellingham.

After nine years of running her popular food stand at Bellingham Farmers Market, Belay opened her restaurant in November 2014.

Like all chefs, she draws on the bounty of her surroundings and, in addition to the many classic, traditional Ethiopian dishes there are some Northwest fusion style offerings as well. The book also includes Belay’s personal, full-proof recipe for what she calls the holy grail of Ethiopian cooking: injera.

Traditionally, an Ethiopian family sits around a large platter on which there is a huge round of sourdough flatbread, on top of which are heaped fragrant mounds of spiced meats and vegetables. Rather than using utensils, diners tear off pieces of the injera and use them to scoop up the delicious morsels of food. At Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine, Mulu offers traditional food served in individual-sized portions or on family platters. Everyone is welcome to use the injera to eat or the restaurant’s forks, knives and spoons.

May 18 Tabs and Taps Mulu at Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine courtesy Merrill A. Pete
Ethiopian cottage cheese, potatoes and carrots accompany doro wot (chicken stew) at Mulunesh Belay’s Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine in Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Avenue. Merrill A. Peterson Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

One of the most popular dishes she serves at her cafe is a chicken stew, known as doro wot. Once, she says, she brought some new dishes on the menu in its place, but she says, people “were so desperate for their Ethiopian chicken stew” that she brought it right back.

Merrill Peterson, a biology professor at Western Washington University, was the photographer for the book. He took a class from Belay and wrote up instructions for what he was learning and observing, and it worked so well they decided to collaborate on a book. Bellingham’s Carol Yoon served as a “ghost writer” for Belay to tell her stories.

The book is self-published with a print-on-demand company Ingram Spark and is available at Village Books and on Amazon.

Details on Facebook and by calling 360-927-8714.

May 18 Tabs and Taps Aslan The Living Arrows
The Living Arrows – Traesti Luther, Alexandra Doumas and Loren Schaumberg – perform at Aslan Brewing’s third anniversary block party on Saturday at 1330 N. Forest St. Andy Kosma Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Aslan celebrates third anniversary

Aslan Brewing Co., 1330 N. Forest St., celebrate its third anniversary with music by Maddie Pritchard, The Living Arrows, Mr. Feelgood and the Firm Believers, The Mountain Flowers, and Snug Harbor, plus block party festivities from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

A portion of East Magnolia Street will be blocked off to make space for cornhole, street chalk, facepainting and tie-dye activities. The night will be capped by a performance from the Bellingham Circus Guild. All ages are welcome. Details: 360-393-4106, 360-778-2088.

Farm to Table Dining Event

Pioneer Meadows Montessori hosts its seventh Farm to Table dining event starting at 6 p.m. Friday at Squalicum Boat House, 2600 Harbor Loop Drive. The event features a multi-course meal that showcase some of the the best of Northwest cuisine, paired with craft beers and wines.

Ferndale’s Twin Sisters Creamery will be presenting a wine and cheese pairing to kick off the event. Silent auction items will be featured and the evening will end with a dessert dash. Pioneer Meadows is a not-for-profit, independent school located on five acres in Ferndale that serves about 110 children, preschool through sixth grade. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets or call 360-778-3681.

Spring Fling

Hotel Bellwether, 1 Bellwether Way, hosts its first annual Spring Fling wine tasting event in the Bellwether Ballroom from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday with special VIP access from 5 to 6 p.m.

The premier wine and food event will showcase more than 25 wineries from around the Pacific Northwest along with savory bites from the Lighthouse Bar & Grill, live jazz and an on-site wine store to purchase your favorite wines. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit Skookum Kids. Tickets are $75 per person with limited VIP tickets available for $100.

Featured wineries include Abeja, Bellingar Estates, Betz, Chateau St. Michelle, Cristom, DaMa, DeLille Cellars, Dunham Cellars, Forgeron, Gamache Vintners, Gilbert Cellars, Gordon Estate, Gorman, Hedges Family Estates, K Vintners, La Chantrelle, Long Shadow, Revelry Vintners, Robert Ramsay, Soos Creek, Spring Valley, Terra Blanca, Treveri, William Church and Woodward Canyon. Reserve at 360-392-3100.

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