What could BE more glorious than eating spicy, tasty, cheap food with your fingers? Combine that eight-dollar feast with some booty-scootin' music and generous pours of Jack Daniel's, all of it sparkling in the dapple of an overhead disco ball, and that sums up Fasica--the perfect nightclub, and my new favorite Ethiopian joint in downtown Columbia City.

While the $15 cover after 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights may seem steep, the folks at Fasica wouldn't charge it if it wasn't worth it (especially since they charge so little for the awe-inspiring platters of food). Kitfo and tibs are still available between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., providing meaty hangover insurance, not to mention the best late-night snack in the city. Nothing goes better with warm whiskey than Fasica's traditionally prepared kitfo: chopped beef loin, melt-in-your-mouth tender and raw, in seasoned butter and a special secret sauce garnished with house-made spiced cheese.

On a recent slower Tuesday night, a gentleman tinkers with Ethiopian trance on the Casio keyboard, and a couple of fellows are parked at the well-lit bar.

"One more Jack Daniel's," one guy orders.

"Your food is getting cold," the waitress nods at the fellow's Styrofoam clamshell, "and your wife's going to kill you."

"Jack Daniel's," he fatefully affirms.

She sighs. Even lukewarm, I'll bet Fasica's yebeg wot ($6.99) would soothe even the most irate domestic partner. Yebeg wot (lamb stew) is available with the Fasica Combination ($9.99), which includes top hits that easily feed four: fiery rich lamb stew, tempered with lime juice and garlic; yedoro wot, a dish of vivid poetic circular imagery--saucy hot-pepper chicken served with hard-boiled egg; beef tibs, dry strips of beef bursting with flavor from an encyclopedic list of herbs and spices; plus all the vegetarian favorites such as misser wot (red lentils), gomen (spicy collard greens), atklte-alicha (mildly spiced cabbage with potato and carrot), and kike (gingery yellow split peas), served piping hot with piles of injera bread heaped on a mind-bogglingly enormous platter. (A veggie combo platter is available for $8.99.)

For a special occasion, call ahead to schedule Ethiopian coffee service with traditional ceremonies ($15), where a lady clad in traditional costume roasts coffee beans before your eyes, employing all kinds of fancy pouring from elaborate coffee pots into special cups.

Fasica

3808 S Edmunds St (Columbia City), 723-1971. Tues-Thurs, Sun 5:30-9:30 pm; Fri-Sat noon-2 am; closed Mon.

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