Pandemic Takeout 44: Fasika (St. Paul, MN)

I’ve been going on for a long time about how I’ve been jonesing for Ethiopian food. But it took almost a whole year of since pandemic restrictions hit the US before we finally got around to going up to the Twin Cities for some Ethiopian takeout. I’m not sure why it took so long but I’m glad we finally got around to it. In a sad twist, however, the dish that I have most been wanting to eat is one that we did not end up eating at this meal. Why not? You’ll have to read on to find out. Where did we get the food from? Quite appropriately from St. Paul’s Ethiopian institution, Fasika. Despite the missing dish it was a good meal.

I must admit first of all that I had actually been hoping to fulfill my yearning for Ethiopian food at Demera, not Fasika. This because we had enjoyed our meal at Demera more than our last meal at Fasika. More specifically, I had loved the doro wot (the classic Ethiopian chicken dish) at Demera and that was the dish I’d been longing for through the past year. Alas, Demera’s lunch takeout timings didn’t agree with our day: they said the earliest we could call to order would be noon and we needed to be back home not much later than 1 (we live an hour south of the Cities and so that was a no-go). And so I called Fasika instead. This is not much of a step-down, by the way: I’ve really enjoyed all our meals at Fasika.

I called them from the road just after 11 and placed our order. When we arrived at the restaurant at noon it was ready. The server said I should check the order and I said sure. Alas, partly because we needed to get going and partly because there were a couple of unmasked patrons ordering food not too far from me, I didn’t want to linger. The person taking my order had repeated it back to me and there were the correct number of boxes. So after a cursory confirmation that the things on top were what they were supposed to be I buggered off. Of course, when we arrived at home I opened everything up to discover that two things I’d ordered weren’t there whereas one thing I hadn’t ordered was. There was no question of going back obviously but I wanted to make sure we hadn’t paid for things we hadn’t received. This turned out to not be the case. I’m not sure where the confusion with the order arose but we only paid for what we got.

And while we did not get the doro wot, we did enjoy very much everything we did get. And boy, was there a lot of it. We’re finally going to be finishing the leftovers today. What did we eat? The beef combination which includes the spicy key wot, the mild beef alicha and the stir-fried tibs; lamb tibs; chicken tibs and rice (this was given to us in place of the doro wot); fossolia or green beans cooked with carrots; and misir alicha (lentils). Plus an order of four meat sambusas to eat with tea over the next couple of days.

Everything was very good. My favourites were the beef key wot and the lamb tibs. I should say that these arrived swimming in far more sauce than on our previous encounter with it there. I’m not sure what that’s about but it was very tasty anyway. Their lamb offerings have been slimmed down a lot, by the way. They have a new paper menu and it no longer includes any lamb wots or the lamb combination. I also really enjoyed the misir alicha, which turned out to be very similar to Indian preparations of whole masoor dal or brown lentils (misir/masoor—presumably shared etymology).

For a look at the restaurant, menu and food launch the slideshow below. Scroll down for a few more thoughts and to see what’s coming next.

I think the new menus might have to do with prices being raised slightly for the pandemic. I am fine with that—they’re still priced very well for the quality and quantity of what they serve. All of the above including tax and 20% tip came to just over $100.

They are, by the way, open for dining in. There was only one table occupied in the large restaurant while I was there. On the other hand, there was that unmasked couple ordering takeout and hanging out. I do wish people would be more sensible and that restaurants would enforce mask rules. At any rate, if you live within easy reach I recommend calling in an order and picking it up yourself (say no to the slight convenience of delivery companies that charge restaurants predatory fees) and do a better job than me of verifying your order!

What’s next? Probably either Mexican or Indian—the question of Tandoori chicken has been raised again among the younger members of the household.


6 thoughts on “Pandemic Takeout 44: Fasika (St. Paul, MN)

  1. Try Global Market sometime. If u park in back open lot enter thru middle entrance keep straight past the store selling african knick knacks and the first food place on the right named either “Safaari” or “Afican Safaari” is the place i suggest grabbing some sweet yet spicy food. The main resturant is located off Lake St and 4th maybe cant remember but good ol google knows everything…anyways best sambusas in the city by far. The dipping sauce is delightful and the dish I strongly recommend and is most popular is the Mango Chicken. As for ethiopian, Red Sea Restaurant on Cedar Ave westbank area….awaze tibs are banging. Havent had a chance now that im a hermit from pandemic panic but recently an ethiopian restaurant opened up on Hiawatha along the 30’s named Mesob that looks worth exploring.


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