Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To start off the trip, I researched a bunch of places to try in Vegas that's reasonably priced and fun for the whole family. This trip my Dad decided to tag along and we had to change our plans drastically. I mean it's fun that he comes along, but he also comes with baggage. Ms. Lin and I were WRACKING our brains out trying to find places that are cheap and good. For those of you who frequent Vegas, you KNOW that for great food there it will cost you an arm AND a leg. By chance I came across Merkato, an Ethiopian restaurant off the Strip. Word to the wise, having a car in Vegas will be extremely helpful in getting around. ESPECIALLY in the sweltering heat of the summer! When we arrived around 10-11PM it was still 110 degrees. Needless to say it was hot and stuffy!
We ordered the Merkato Derek Lamb Tibs that were fried pieces of Lamb tossed with Jalapeños and Onions. I liked the texture a lot, even though it was a little on the dry side. It's lightly flavored and tasty. We decided to get Mahberawi that included YeBeg Wot, Tibs, and Vegetables. The YeBeg Wot is Lamb cooked in Garlic, Onions, Purified Butter, and "Berbere" peppers. I always love to eat the Injera that is soaked in the sauce. It's also not a very spicy dish, which is good for my stomach. The Tibs was Beef with Seasoned Butter, Fresh Tomatoes, Awaze, Green Pepper, and Onions. This was tasty and they added another dish to the platter that was almost exactly like the Awaze Tibs, but without Tomatoes. We also ordered the Balageru that was Special Cubes of Beef prepared with Onions, Garlic, Red Pepper, and Purified Butter. This tasted just like the Merkato Derek Lamb Tibs, but with beef and more meat! How can you go wrong with something fried! I really only ate the Tibs because they were flavorful and not too spicy. The fried texture was dry but good, except I started getting really tired of chewing. Don't worry, I took a break and persevered! ^_^
Just as a quick refresher to those who have never had Ethiopian food, Injera is the spongy bread that they eat. It's meant to help pick up the food since you are suppose to eat with your hands and it helps mellow out the strong flavors of the food as well as compliment the taste. Ms. Lin waned to order the Kitfo, the Ethiopian version of Steak Tartar. It's Lean Chopped Beef minced, blended, and delicately seasoned in Hot Spice MitMita. This dish is usually spicier and you must like raw meat. Unfortunately, Ms. Lin had to remind our Dad that it's raw meat! So he stopped eating. At first he thought it was just cooked meat so he ate it without any complaints. Of course Ms. Lin forgot that he doesn't eat meat unless it's well-done! She needs to take her Gingko-Biloba! She basically had to eat the rest of the Kitfo by herself. I did try to help her, but I am not that big of a Kitfo fan.
All in all it was a nice way to start off the Vegas trip. It fit the criteria of our Dad. We also wanted to expose him to different cultures and he has never had Ethiopian food so it was a totally different experience for him. I do think restaurants in Little Ethiopia in LA tastes better, but the food at Merkato was still pretty good. If you come to Vegas and want to try something new or expose others to a different dining experience, then keep this place in mind. The service was friendly and you can tell by looking at the people who dine there that it suits the pallette of Ethiopians. Always a good sign! ^_^


855 E. Twain Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89162
(702) 796-1231
Merkato Ethiopian Market & Cafe on Urbanspoon


Kat said...

Hopefully this will tide the "BumbleBees" over ^_^. I will try to do more posts as soon as possible! It's almost 4AM, so I need to sleep soon. I will try to do more posts after my MRI and dinner. Hopefully it won't take long so I can get back early to catch up! I am trying to force Ms. Lin to post more, but you know how hard it is to get her to post! >_<#

Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm so excited to see new posts! I was kind of tired of always seeing the baby seal every time I got onto your website. It was weird because we both don't usually read blogs EVERYDAY but because we couldn't wait to tell you that we went to Nagao and found great macaroons and chocolates at Boule Beverly Hills, your blogs were missed. We also couldn't wait to find out what you tried in Vegas.

Kat said...

Aww thanks so much for reading my blog. I hope you like it! Sometimes I just ramble on about stuff. I also saw your post on Nagao. I'm glad you liked it! It's not great like Sushi Sam's, but for the price it's pretty decent. Especially since it's located in LA and near Malibu. I really want to take the time to go back down to Malibu for some fresh seafood! ^_^ If you love high-end Omakase's, I have a lot of recommendations and places I would like to check out. I say forget the older siblings, we young'uns can go out and check out the great sushi bars in LA! ^_^

Anonymous said...

They'll appreciate it too because we would have already scoped out LA before they come down! Are you on Yahoo Messenger? I'm on a lot because our office uses it for internal communication. My screen name on yahoo messenger is s(my last name)75. See you on-line sometimes!

Ms. Lin said...

For the record, I just have to say that I was the one who researched and found Nagao. ^_^ It was very difficult to find a good Japanese restaurant that opens for lunch on Saturday (as you have found out). Glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

My comment got erased!!! Was just saying that Merkato is named after the largest market in the world located in Addis Ababa...makes me want to travel there again! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Ms. Lin, I should have called one of you about the sushi bar, actually if you two were in LA, we could have ALL gone to Beverly Hills together. After looking at the 7th sushi bar on Yelp that does NOT open for lunch on Saturday, I finally started perusing Kat's blog. I thought Kat only had Asakuma in the West LA area, but then I found Nagao, thanks Ms. Lin! Next time, stay in LA :)

Kat said...

Yes Ms. Lin did the research b/c she wanted sushi. She owes me though! I waited FOREVER for her to get off her crappy United flight. As a sweet & devoted sister, I got up super early to buy her fresh baked YUMMY goods! You should check out Cream Pan! DROOL DROOL! I need to go again soon, but Tofu is leaving me this weekend! =*( Darn him! If we were in town, we would have loved to join you! I actually think I can find a bunch of other places open for lunch, but I don't think Yelp would help. They are more like local secrets. I miss Beverly Hills, but I don't miss parking there... especially on a weekend! @_@

Kat said...

Oh no! How did your comment get deleted Ms. BumbleBee?? That's weird, I didn't delete anything... hmmm... Funny you mention Addis Ababa b/c while we were eating dinner we talked about who could name the capital of Ethiopia. Then this lead to a world geography discussion. Wow, how little we know. O=) Ms. Lin's probably going to protest to my comment now! **beeeee honest**

Anonymous said...

Haha, too funny. World geography is hard...are you trying to tell us that Ms. Lin did not know what the capital was?

I'm very intrigued by this Cream Pan place...your sis was just raving about it the other day, along with Donut King (or was it King of Donuts?) in NYC.

Ms. Lin said...

OK, Kat - you are the one who didn't know the capital of Ethiopia! Granted you already admitted that your world geography sucks. Mine is much better than yours - I knew where the capital for Ethiopian is!! Don't try to give people the wrong impression!

Kat said...

Ms. Lin does know more about World Capitals than I do because she is more well-traveled and stuff. To be fair, that does NOT say much since I freely admit that I suck at World Geography. I do dominate in State Capitals, but that's all. I've never taken Geography, so all the information I remember is from Grade School. =9

Cream Pan! YUM YUM! I drool thinking about it! Ms. Lin owes me for the Donut King. Every time we are in NY, I am the one who walks far far away to pick it up for everyone! She has never been. She just uses me and abuses me! **sob sob sob** After she watched the Bobby Flay challenge, she wanted to try it so she sent me on a hunt. The Tres Leches Donut is to DIE FOR! I can't wait to go back to NY for it! I think I have photos of it too, but I am so back-logged on NY. Maybe if I finish Vegas, I will do a special back post for you! ^_-

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