Sheba is a
charming Ethiopian restaurant near the corner of Broadway
and 17th street in downtown Sacramento. Queen Sheba is a neighbor to several other ethnic
Ethiopian food is
more communal than almost any other type of ethnic food.
The hallmark of Ethiopian cuisine consists of sharing food
on one giant plate and using injera-- a spongy, sour,
pliable flat bread-- to scoop up the various shared
dishes. Enjeera is a part of almost every meal for
Ethiopia’s middle and upper classes. Prepared much as it
was 1,000 years ago, enjeera is both an eating utensil and
a surface for other foods to lie on. It lines the giant
plate, soaking up the sauces and spices of the various
dishes piled on top. The eating of this lining, or “tablecloth,”
signifies that the meal is officially over, thus completing the
communal Ethiopian dining experience.
Zion Taddese and her brother
Eskinder opened Queen Sheba Restaurant on Howe Avenue
in August of 2003, and moved to the current location on
Broadway in December of 2005. Together, the siblings offer friendly and
attentive service along with spicy, flavorful dishes that
follow the traditions of Ethiopian dining. You can enjoy
the famed honey wine, Tej, which Ethiopians often make
themselves, with its unique taste that complements the
spices in the food. Combination plates on the menu allow you to
sample different dishes arranged symmetrically on a giant
plate. One of these dishes is Gomen, which consists of
cooked spinach, collard greens, onions and garlic. Gomen may remind
you of collards in soul-food cooking. Then experience Misr Kik
Wot (wot simply means “stew”), a satisfying dish made
with lentils and spices. Other examples of traditional dishes
include two similar-tasting choices, Doro Wot and Gored
Gored. Doro Wot is a popular dish, with chicken leg and
hard-boiled egg, served on a dark bed of simmered
vegetables and spices. It has the color, consistency and heat of
a fiery chili. Gored Gored consists of cubes of beef
in a mixture similar to Doro Wot, spiced in Ethiopian fashion
with berbere. Berbere, a mix of at least a dozen spices, including
paprika, ginger, cardamom, hot chilis and turmeric, gives
many Ethiopian foods their distinctive flavor.
Queen Sheba offers many delicious,
traditional dishes for you to enjoy, including a number of
Vegetarian and Vegan options. You'll end your dining experience by eating
the large “tablecloth” Injera, which will have soaked up the
sauces and spices of the various dishes. Finish up with some
coffee; coffee drinking has a great significance in Ethiopia, ceremonial in nature. Beans are freshly roasted,
ground, and brewed, and then served in tiny cups with sugar (but
no milk). Drink three cups for a blessing! The flavors and
customs of Ethiopian dining will provide you with the experience
of food from the "cradle of civilization".
Who Was The Queen Of Sheba?
Throughout the ages, the
legendary Queen of Sheba has
evoked images of beauty, wealth and power. Few women
in history have captured our imaginations so
strikingly, yet cloaked themselves in such mystery.
Her story has been woven into the folklore and
traditions of both Eastern and Western cultures. Yet for all the
exotic tales, romance novels, and colorful theories
about her, she remains an enigma. Archaeologists
have yet to learn the Queen of Sheba's proper name.
In Arab lore, this queen
was named Bilqus or Balkis; in Ethiopia, Makeda (also
Magda, Maqda and Makera), meaning 'Greatness'. Years
later, the historian Josephus referred to her as
Nikaulis, Queen of Ethiopia and Egypt.
We are most familiar with
the Biblical record of her meeting with King Solomon
of Israel (thought to have occurred around 950-930
B.C.). On hearing of his wisdom, it is said that the
Queen made the journey north to Solomon's courts "to
test him with hard questions." The conference proved
a success, culminating in the two monarchs bestowing wealth
and good favor on each other.
The meeting of King Solomon
of Israel and the Queen of Sheba had significant
repercussions upon the fate of the middle
east.According to Arabic traditions, the Queen
(known to Arabs as Bilqis) ruled with the heart of a
woman and the head of a man, and worshipped the sun and the moon.
The matriarchy of Sheba (believed to be early Ethiopia)
has inspired writers, artists and readers for
Sheba or Saba, whose name means Host of Heaven and
peace, was Abyssinia. Located in southwest Arabia on
the eastern tip of the Red Sea, Sheba occupied
483,000 square miles of mountains, valley and
deserts in the area of present day Yemen. Some historians
claim that Ethiopia, on the western end of the Red Sea, was
also part of Sheba's territory.
Despite the mystery that
surrounds her, it is believed that Sheba earned respect
from her people for her benevolent leadership and
the wisdom she gained through her commitment to
learning and spiritual development. She was also
revered for her kindness to her people and her
capacity to live by her philosophical and religious principles.