I stopped into the Red E on Killingsworth for some espresso and ran into an artist friend of mine who, upon hearing I was in search of "off the chart healthy food", insisted I walk just a few doors down and eat at the E'Njoni Cafe. I had probably driven by the E'Njoni Cafe at least a hundred times and somehow missed it (funny how you can do that in your own neighborhood) and was taken aback when I walked through the door: the buttery and bold colors, the intoxicating smell of spices cooking, beautiful and very authentic African art work on the walls. What a gorgeous cafe!
I sat in a comfy booth spot and started to peruse the menu. If you know me at all, you know that I have a tendency to only crave 'super foods'-- the brightly colored, high antioxidant, uber-health food. The menu was like a personal Angela favorite food list from lentils to yams to mustard and collard greens. As I was struggling to pick just one dish, a gorgeous and very charming woman appeared at my table.
Sonya is one of the most genuine, friendly people I have ever encountered. We immediately clicked as we shared our interest for healthy foods and healthy living. She told me of her father back in Africa who is turning 80 next year but doesn't look a day over 50 due to a long life of eating healthy foods and exercise like running and yoga. We agreed that you are, indeed, what you eat-- and that a large percentage of people will sadly never experience the quality of life they could have due to a bad diet and little exercise. Personally, I think that once you start to eat good-for-you-foods, you will never look back because the way your body feels when you eat poorly is just unbearable.
Sonya walked me through the menu and chose several items for me to try. To start, I had the hummus with pita and a very tasty Tematim Salata which consisted of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. The main meal was the Hamli Dorho which is chicken cooked with spinach in berbere (pepper) sauce and was absolutely incredible! The spice level across all the foods was near perfect-- the spices were a complement to the dish, not overpowering at all with attention to creating a very well balanced dish. I sampled all of the vegetables which are all organic power-foods and would have made a wonderful meal all by themselves:
Hamli - Assorted greens cooked garlic and ginger
Timtimo - Red lentils in berbere sauce
Aater - Split peas cooked in curry sauce
Alitcha - Curried mixed vegetables
Keysir - Beet stew (beets were new to me and were a wonderful new experience!)
Meats and produce are organic and the offerings are traditional African with a great deal of the beer, wine and coffee being sourced from different parts of Africa. I had the Hakim stout which was pretty good. I'll be trying the wines next time-- which will be soon!
The E'Njoni Cafe is, hands down, the best Ethiopian food I have had in Portland. Hold on. Let me rephrase that: its some of the best food I have had in Portland-- it just happens to be Ethiopian!
From their website:
E’Njoni cuisine includes Ethiopian and Eritrean foods, inspired by the Mediterranean and North African influences. Healthy and wholesome dishes are prepared daily with the freshest meats and vegetables from local organic farms. Traditional herbs and spices are grown and prepared in clean, earth friendly environment in Eritrea and Ethiopia, North East Africa. Imported African and Mediterranean beers and wines, authentic Ethiopian coffees as well as delicious European desserts to accompany your delectable dishes.
The word "E'njoni" is a swahili word, meaning "you are most welcome, come and stay". It is in this spirit that we invite you to the E'njoni Cafe.
910 N Killingsworth St | Portland, OR 97217 | (503) 286-1401