LOMA LINDA: Ayda Ethiopian Restaurant is finger lickin’ good

BY LAURIE LUCAS / STAFF WRITER
The Press Enterprise
Published on June 8,2015
Updated: 4:43 p.m.

Veggie platter, lower corner; beef and injera bread, center; and veggie platter, far corner, which will be topped with the beef strips. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER , SHEILA BOYT
Veggie platter, lower corner; beef and injera bread, center; and veggie platter, far corner, which will be topped with the beef strips.
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER , SHEILA BOYT

Here are six reasons why you might enjoy dining at Ayda Ethiopian Restaurant in Loma Linda:

1. Admit it. It’s fun to eat like a child with your fingers. You’re actually supposed to dig into all Ethiopian food without utensils, which are optional.

2. Ayda, at 24940 Redlands Blvd., is owned by two gracious, friendly sisters, Ayda and Konjit Danel from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Ayda Danel cooks and Konjit Danel serves.

3. Ethiopian cuisine should appeal to vegetable, meat, coffee and especially fiery spice lovers. Berbarie, a combo of powdered chili pepper and other seasonings, is an important ingredient, as is kibbeh, a clarified butter infused with ginger, garlic and several other spices.

4. This intimate cafe that seats 24 is decorated in popping yellows and reds, colors culled from the country’s flag. The walls pay homage to the homeland, hung with photographs and pictures of national heroes and historical scenes, distinguished Ethiopian humanitarians and musical instruments. The atmosphere is a cross between quaint and exotic.

5. It’s unusual to find a restaurant today that doesn’t numb your eardrums with high-decibel noise passing for music. But my dining companion and I were greeted at Ayda by the sounds of silence, which remained blissfully unbroken throughout the meal.

6. Every other Saturday, the sisters conduct an on-premise coffee-roasting ceremony from 2 to 4 p.m., designed for families.

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