Zuma Grocery & Deli

Across the street from the Greenwood Fred Meyer, Zuma Grocery & Deli could hardly possess a less charming location, and the store itself is a bare-bones place crowded with cheesy Ethiopian videotapes—all of which reinforces the impression that this is the real deal. Metal shelves house the essentials: the crêpe-like Ethiopian bread/plate known as injera (made in-house by co-proprietor Mulu Sheferaw), lentils, split peas, the spice blend berbere, green coffee beans, and tea spices; the exoticism of these ingredients is heightened by their nondescript packaging in Ziploc bags and plain plastic tubs. Zuma also offers a limited menu of Ethiopian meat and vegetable dishes to eat in or take away (a veggie combo, $7.50, is tasty and plenty for two, and comes tidily wrapped in injera inside its takeout container). But I recommend gathering your courage and trying your hand at making a stew or two yourself. If you ask nicely, the kind women of Zuma will sell you niter kebbeh, the spiced clarified butter that is the secret to virtually foolproof Ethiopian cooking (a steal at $5 for a 12-ounce tub), and they always seem to manage to inquire about what you're planning to cook and offer a suggestion to make it taste just right. Zuma Grocery & Deli, 129 N.W. 85th St., Suite A, 206-781-8600. GREENWOOD

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