Friday evening I took a good friend of mine out for his belated birthday, always wanting to explore new worldly places we haven't been to, we decided we'd try some Ethiopian food at Queen of Sheba on Henderson Blvd in South Tampa. I've never tried Ethiopian Food, never even heard of what type of food it was. We were greeted by a very nice Ethiopian woman as we entered, and they prepared a table for us. Walking through the place, I was reminded of the NYC type restaurants with dim decor, and small intimate tables scattered about tow separate dining areas, with African theme throughout. There were many Ethiopian or people from the African area dining, so I know it must be good. The server explained the menu, and how the meals are prepared, we ordered a hummus like Appetizer, and Lamb and Chicken Tibs for our main meals. The appetizer was a very creamy and spicy hummus, that came with a very interesting very soft and spongy flat bread..DELICIOUS! They continues to bring out this bread(called injera)...We had some Iced Teas for drinks, which were also very unique with a Cinnamon and spice flavoring, no sugar needed...our meal was served on one big plate, the Chicken Tibs tasted like stewed chicken with spices, very moist and tender, and the Lamb Tibs were tiny pieces of Lamb again in spices and rosemary with onion, in the middle were traditional greens, cabbage and very spicy Lentils which I personally didn't care for...the best part...no Utensils...the owner came by with a big smile and showed us how to eat with the injera, scoop it up, and then also eating the injera that the food was served on which soaked up all the juices from the meal...EXCELLENT!! I really felt like I was in another world...one note is it would have been nice to here some background music from the African area, would have given it a more authentic feel...next time I go(which I hope to be soon), I will be sure to try the Ethiopian Wines made with honey, and also the Coffee ceremony.(Incidentally I learned the Coffee was actually discovered in Ethiopia town called Kaffee).
Saturday we went over to a friend that had a condo on Indian Shores for the weekend. About a 30 minute ride across the Bay and Pinellas County we were welcomed with beautiful and warm clear Gulf waters in this small island town is one of about a dozen that line the Pinellas County coast line from Clearwater Beach to the North and St Pete Beach/Pass-a-Grille beaches ot the South. Its about 3 miles of sandy beaches with small mom and pop type Inns amongst some high rise condos, some great restaurants and small stores, mini putt putt...was very relaxing laying on the rafts in the Gulf, and using the Condo pool right on the Ocean. We were all discussing how lucky we are that just outside of Tampa is another world of beach front towns, no traffic, no toll roads to Indian Shores. For dinner we drove a few miles south to Madeira Beach at Dockside Dave's...known for their Black Grouper, they had specials on Hawg Snapper and Halibut...the Snapper was large and very tender and moist, Halibut was two pieces fried, we also tried their cole slaw and Fired Mushrooms, both very good and homemade. Extremely friendly service from a young guy who recently moved down to Florida to get his Captain's license and start a Charter business. A trip back to the beachside condo for sunset made for a perfect ending to the day, watching the sun just melt into the Gulf waters.