A Sandwich a Day: Kitfo Sandwich at Jebena Cafe in Seattle, WA
In this great nation of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
The best sandwich is the kind that's actually two sandwiches. Order the kitfo sandwich at Jebena Café, a cozy, mint-green-hued Ethiopian café in North Seattle, and that's just what you'll get: two demi-baguettes, stuffed till the sides bow out with an entire McDonald's worth of ground beef. They are available in half-orders as well, presumably reducing your meal to just one forearm-sized loaf of French bread, bursting with spiced meat, which, depending on your preference, can either be raw or cooked. (Jebena Café generally serves with the meat cooked, but will do in the traditional raw style as requested.)
Kitfo, often described as 'Ethiopian steak tartare,' is a raw meat dish, lightly warmed by mixing in spiced butter. It's usually served with buttermilk cheese as a cooling companion, the crisp bread and minced onions add to the cheese in this sandwich, as foil to the piquant spice and soft meat. The crusty white bread, jam-packed with kitfo, is a departure from most Ethiopian meals, normally served on injera, a soft, teff-based bread. The textural contrast and the crossing of cultures combine for a sandwich that's refreshingly unique—and uniquely delicious.
About the author: Naomi Bishop is a Seattle based food writer and marketer. Find more of her musings on her food blog, TheGastroGnome, where she claims that being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. You can also follow her explorations of cooking and culture around the world at @GastroGnome.