I think the name Rendez Vous goes back to when this was an Italian restaurant, a history embedded in the floor, which has a mosaic map of Italy. But the name is perfect; this is a rendez vous where Ethiopians in the heart if Little Ethiopia gather to enjoy jazz and soccer in the background and beautifully-prepared Ethiopian food in the foreground, and where Anglo's like me can sample one of the world's great cuisines.
In my book on Food for City Building, I talk a lot about how cities can build on the social and intercultural functions that flow from food, and it seems this place resonates perfectly with that theme. There's so much to learn -- not only about how to eat low on the food chain with spices to enliven peas and lentils, but also how families and friends can literally share food from the same plate (rather than each person with their own plate), eat with their fingers (rather than distancing themselves with utensils) and enjoy such a range of tastes in one meal (instead of salad, potatoes, peas and pork chops). And to have coffee as the place of coffee's origin designed it -- as a ceremony, not something to gulp down, is also a special treat, especially when it's offered with popcorn, which came to Africa from South America in the 1500s when the food cultures of two hemispheres had a rendez vous.
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