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May 30, 2013

Alice Eats: African Safari Store and Deli

IMG_568378 North St., Burlington, 658-0004

An exceptional lunch yesterday necessitated that I write a very special Thursday Alice Eats today. Tomorrow, you should give African Safari Store and Deli a try.

Perhaps, you say, I shouldn't pin my hopes on 78 North Street. I got very excited at the beginning of the year about the Panamanian food being served at Cool Runnings. Both that and the store were soon gone, but I'm praying that African Safari sticks around.

Why? It's the only place other than farmers market to get prepared Somalian food. It's also the only way, save Tuesday Ethiopian nights at ¡Duino! (Duende), to eat finger-licking, teff-flour injera bread.

IMG_5685And everything I tried yesterday, including the injera, greatly exceeded my expectations.

I usually expect injera to have a spongy, fluffy texture not unlike an edible towel. This bread was stretchier and softer than what I'm used to, but retained the little jab of acid at the end of every bite.

And there were three folded rounds of the stuff. More than enough for one meal.

That was despite how voraciously I downed the goat stew. The curried meat was on the bone and coarsely butchered, but so tender in the delicious, mild sauce that I sopped up every bit of it and the accompanying lentils with my injera. I had been losing hope for the popularity of goat in Burlington, but if locals get a taste of that stew, the meat might still gain wider acceptance.

I was equally impressed with what the cook behind the counter told me was jerk chicken. The boneless pieces were dark enough to be the Jamaican dish, but upon first bite it was obvious that this was a very different bird. The tender fowl tasted more like intense, slightly spicy tandoori chicken than a fiery jerk marinade.

The whole meal was $10. With flavors that dwarf the prices, you can be sure I'll be on safari again very soon.

Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to alice@sevendaysvt.com.

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