Chicago (WLS) – The ingredients are sort of familiar, but it’s the spices – as well as the eating technique – that can cause some confusion in Ethiopian restaurants. But at Demera – a lively, welcoming Ethiopian restaurant in Uptown – newcomers can test the waters with a traditional messob, or sampler platter.

“They get to try a little bit spicy, a little bit mild; veggie, lentil. They can have greens, spinach, beets and carrot, lamb, if they want to try small kitfo -steak tartar – they can have that,” said Tigist Reda, the chef and owner of Demera.

That kitfo is usually served with a freshly-made cottage cheese, as is the doro wat – a traditional chicken stew, always served with a hard-boiled egg – that’s embedded in a bracing sauce that begins with a mountain of chopped onions, which have to be slowly cooked down, until they’re caramelized; spoonfuls of garlic are added, along with chili powder and berbere, an intensely-seasoned spice blend. Read more