Archives for March 2017

International Women’s Day 2017

This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, Menbe will be donating 10% of all her restaurant’s sales on March 8th to the Family Justice Center of Richmond. The Family Justice Center has been a cause close to Menbe’s heart for a long time. Menbe donated $15,000 when the center first opened their doors in 2015 and then $20,000 last year. She also hosts multiple fundraising events for the center at Salute throughout the year. Menbe hopes that on this International Women’s Day the community rallies behind the Family Justice Center and helps raise funds for such a vital organization.

Why does Menbe support the Richmond Family Justice Center? After years of physical and verbal abuse and over 8 months pregnant, Menbe found herself alone in the streets of Rome. She had just snuck out of her home in the middle of the night, fearing for her life. She eventually wandered into a women’s shelter ran by the Mother Teresa Sisters, where she later gave birth to her son, Christian. “When I was being abused, I stayed; I had nowhere to go, no one to help me. With a space like the Family Justice Center, I know where to bring women who need a way out of an abusive relationship.” Menbe knows that organizations like the Family Justice Center of Richmond can be the difference between life and death for some women and that’s why she does everything she can to make sure that they have the funds necessary to carry on their amazing work.

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Why Italians Love Prosecco

Why I always drink Prosecco before dinner
by Menbere Aklilu

March 2017

In my recent trip to Italy, I had the chance to have dinner with some old friends. I had actually worked as a maid, cleaning toilets, washing dishes and cooking for their family just after Christian was born. It was in their kitchen that I learned many of the recipes that I serve at Salute today. We spent hours at the table, reminiscing. It was there, at a little trattoria in Rome that I realized that the one thing I miss the most about living in Europe is the ritual of eating. In Rome and most of Europe, eating involves hours at the table with multi-course meals where good wine plays a supporting role to food. Here, in America, I feel we rush through meals, always too busy to slow down and enjoy life.

One of my favorite dining rituals is the aperitivo. In America, people drink martinis before dinner, but this does nothing for the palette or the digestion. In Italy we always start dinner with an aperitivo, they’re meant to stimulate the appetite and prime the senses for the meal. The aperitivo is a sort of statement, it says “I’m here to eat. I’m here to enjoy myself and my company and I’m in no hurry.” Some common aperitivos are Gin and Tonic, sweet vermouth with soda water over ice, and of course my favorite, Prosecco.

Nothing says I’m ready to enjoy a great meal with good friends than a glass of chilled Prosecco. I always taught Christian, my son, that a good Prosecco is meant to clean out the taste (both physically and mentally) of the day and prepare the palette for the evening. It marks the shift from daytime worries to an evening of friends and family. Great Prosecco is normally light, frothy, clean and airy, and often times has a touch of sweetness, which helps in preparing you for your meal.

Next time you sit down for dinner with your friends and family start off with a glass of Prosecco and see how the worries of the day wash away and don’t forget: a tavola non si invecchia!

–  Menbere