Excellent Table’s Spicy Red Lentils (Serves 2)

by Danielle Bussone

This was a very entertaining conversation with Haregewin Bekele. I was never able to divine exact proportions of ingredients from her, however, I’ve listed the ingredients and have prepared this delicious dish following Haregewin’s directions. The amount of berbere spice you choose to use is a personal choice.  I like it quite spicy, you may not.  The proportions  of ingredients of berbere vary but, essentially, it includes cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cloves, black pepper, allspice, dried hot red chili powder (cayenne is fine), fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, turmeric, paprika and salt.



1 medium sized red onion (Shred it into a pulp, similar to the texture of apple sauce)

dash powdered garlic

dash powdered ginger

1- 3 teaspoons Berbere spice (These can be found on line in many locations.  Amazon carries several varieties.)

salt to taste (more…)

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Excellent Table Ethiopian Restaurant, Blacksburg, VA

By Danielle Bussone

Excellent Table, located in Blacksburg, VA, is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant we visited en-route to D.C.  It was our first stop in our short Ethiopian tour of Interstate 81 from Abingdon, VA to the Washington, D.C. area.  Excellent table is a small restaurant squeezed in among others. It is almost exclusively a take-out restaurant, though there is one table for four and a bar with a row of chairs facing the window, which is where we ate.

The food was very good. Excellent Table is a little more expensive than other Ethiopian restaurants we have visited but is still not over the top. The higher prices may have to do with the fact that the owner/chef uses fresh, mostly organic ingredients. She finds organic produce from many sources but prefers to depend on the local Farmer’s Market, which is literally right outside her door. She uses conventional only when organic is not available.  The tofu and lentils are organic as well.  She uses canola oil in her cooking as well as the occasional use of olive oil and grape seed oil for special dishes. Excellent Table is the only Ethiopian restaurant we found within nearly a 150 mile radius of Blacksburg, VA. (more…)

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