Let's enjoy some Ethiopian food at Le Petit Valentien!
Hailed as "one of my favorite Santa Barbara restaurants" by many Santa Barbara locals and visitors alike, Petit Valentien offers ethnic food at its finest!
Here is one review which acts as the perfect summary of many others: "Undoubtedly one of the most charming eateries in our Eden by the Beach. The food is always well up to par and you can't beat the charming location in La Arcada, yet just a tiara's toss from State Street. During my career I've eaten at some of the world's top restaurants, particularly in Paris and London, but for the menu and the price, Petit Valentien is hard to beat."
Here's an excerpt from a review in the Santa Barbara Independent:
Sekkardis Alemu Serves Ethiopian Weekend Lunch
Serkaddis Alemu, despite having lived in the U.S. for nearly two decades, remains Ethiopian at heart. She admits, “If you sit with any Ethiopian for long, don’t be surprised if the discussion ends up about food. To know the food is to know the people.” She’s helping Santa Barbara know both the food and the people, serving Ethiopian lunch on the weekends at Petit Valentien, the restaurant owned by her partner, Robert Dixon.
“I love the dishes when my mom says to me, ‘Why do you do it like this?’ It’s a 2,000- to 3,000-year-old culture that’s been doing things the same way, passing recipes from mother to daughter, for centuries. I like changing them, like introducing two recipes into one. The dead recipes, well, that’s not a pleasing word, but what I’m trying to do is resurrect the recipes our grandparents made.”
For example, “We do chicken; traditionally, it’s a very spicy dish. So we do it with a homemade cottage cheese that helps cut the heat.”
The menu is new each week, generally featuring four or five vegetable offerings and three meat or fish. Alemu is particularly pleased with the ingredients she gets to work with, from fresh Farmers Market okra and eggplant to spices from Vices & Spices.
Then there’s injera, crêpe-like flatbread that Alemu quickly points out “is not bread; injera is injera. We make bread and call it dabo.” To make injera,, she sources teff, a species of lovegrass, from Idaho. “To tell you how to make injera would be like telling you how to cure the hiccups,” she says. “Everyone has their own way, and you can use up to five types of flour. The bottom has to be like a crêpe” — remember this is food no more than a quarter inch thick — “the top like a honeycomb texture to bond with the stews you make.
Even if the venture turns out to be a huge hit, don’t expect it to expand too quickly. “I think of it as a special something to do on the weekend,” she says. “Petit is a hidden gem … and the response has been immensely wonderful so far. Santa Barbara had the thirst for Ethiopian food, and we’re quenching it.”
Stuff yourself with savory Ethiopian stew made by Serkaddis Alemu at Petit Valentien. You can see their Ethiopian menu here.
We will only have room for 10 people at this special event, so please RSVP as soon as you are certain you can join us!
See you on Sunday April 13th !!