Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ethiopian Breakfast in Burtonsville

You don't have to settle for diner bacons and eggs if you're looking for something more exotic for breakfast.

Eggspectation makes a great breakfast in Ellicott City, but Cafe Oromia in Burtonsville offers Ethiopian options if you run down Rte 29. Cafe Oromia has gradually expanded its Ethiopian menu into a nice, small cafe. They started as a coffee shop, and they still offer a basic breakfast menu with baked goods and a standard "fried eggs and bacon" option (as eaten by Momomom's "won't eat most interesting food" husband).

(Update: Cafe Oromia changed its name to Soretti's Ethiopian.  By 2012, they had stopped doing breakfast, but they do great lunch and dinner.  Check here for the Soretti's posts.)

But there are several Ethiopian alternatives in the morning as well. Start with scrambled eggs with spices and vegetables that are just a Oromia variation on an American breakfast. Go one step farther for Ethiopian wheat grits. Or try a truly traditional breakfast of ful -- the beans and condiments eaten when the sun comes up from the Middle East through Egypt into Africa. I thought the ful was delicious. Warm, creamy and full of flavor from the beans and from the onions, tomatoes and spicy peppers that I stirred around. The beans have the heartiness of oatmeal, but the savory flavors that I prefer even at breakfast.

Cafe Oromia is a really casual place with good coffee. Great if you're stopping quick on the way to do errands or if you're pausing to read the newspaper in peace. (And you can also still order beignets. They're not on the printed menu, but they're whip them up, according to Momomom.)

The stretch of Rte 198 west of Rte 29 offers a few interesting options beyond Cafe Oromia, including Cuban at Cuba de Ayer, Afghan at a branch of Maiwand Kabob, and homemade ice cream at Seibel's.

Cafe Oromia (now Soretti's Ethiopian Cuisine)
15510 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866

NEAR: This is on Rte 198 just west of Rte 29. From Howard County, you take the first exit on Rte 29 south of the river. That exit puts you on an old piece of Rte 29 that passes an Indian temple and a garden center. Turn right on Rte 198 at the traffic light. Coffee Oromia is a block up on the right next to a Maiwand Kabob outlet. There is a sign.

1 comment:

HowICook said...

Cafe Oromia formerly coffee Oromia in Burtonsville is now Soretti's Ethiopian Cuisine. They haven't changed the outside signage or website (though they do have a Soretti at com site that points to the old site). All the indoor signage and advertisements (little postcards) use the new name. The place is still run by the same people. I was told that the place wanted to be a Ethiopian restaurant not a coffee house. So even though they have the same coffee setup, there's no mention of coffee anywhere else. Soretti is the nickname of the lady who does the wonderful cooking.

They've been advertising a $6.95 lunch menu that they honor on Saturdays too. We had lamb wot and vegetable combo today served Ethiopian style on one plate with an extra injera and no eating utensils.

I wish they would unify all the menus (coffee, breakfast, lunch & dinner) and the off menu items and lower the dinner prices a bit. The menu items should reflect the community dining aspect of Ethiopian food and not the single dish mentality of the menus. I'm thinking all small plates served together on injera. They've already lowered the wine and beer prices. This is one of my favorite ethnic dining experiences.