Munira Premji

The Birthday Girl
The Birthday Girl

In the Premji household, the birthday person always decides where they would like to go out for dinner.  So Sabrina chose the occasion of her birthday on March 27th to introduce us to Ethiopian food at Rendevouz, a cosy, aromatic, non-descript restaurant on the Danforth.  We were rather unsure of what to expect when we entered the restaurant.  We ended the evening delighted with the experience!

It started with tempting and tantalizing platters of food put before us based on the fine recommendations made by the server.  We had the Cha Cha, a beef dish seasoned with flavourful spices that arrived at our table with sizzle.  The Lega Tica was a lamb dish that oozed with personality. The Vegetarian Combo was a sampling of vegetables cooked to perfection — I tasted lentils, green beans and peas.  Then there was the chicken breast that was cooked to perfection.  The steak was done well.  The platters were meant to be shared and enjoyed.

And… there were no utensils.  Not a fork or knife or spoon in sight!  Instead, there were generous amounts of Injera, a spongy, roti type of flatbread, which we tore strips of and used to scoop up the food from the platter and eat with our hands.

At the end of the meal, we participated in a unique, coffee ceremony which started with the server bringing to the table a hot, sizzling pan of roasted authentic Ethiopian coffee beans and inviting us to take a whiff of the aroma.  Then the coffee was prepared and served to us in small cups, with incense burning in a container nearby to add to the beautiful aroma of coffee.  Absolutely exquisite!

For Sabrina’s birthday, they brought candles and clapped and played “Happy Birthday” loudly on the sound system.  There was something very special and symbolic about eating together as a family from communal platters and sipping sweet coffee in a time honoured Ethiopian tradition.  The coffee was accompanied by a basket of freshly made popcorn, to munch on as we sat back and enjoyed each other’s company.

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As I watched everyone having a great time – Sabrina because she savours new experiences, Shayne for celebrating with his sister, my mom for contemplating how she was going to replicate the dishes at home, Naz for the memories the incense brought her of being in Africa, and Nagib for the enjoyment of being with the family — I realized, once again, how very blessed I am to be a witness to all this. And it is from this place of gratitude that I wish Sabrina the happiest birthday.


Sabrina – you are my biggest joy and I love you with all my heart.  I wish for you adventure and wonderful experiences.  I wish for you joy and happiness throughout your life. May Kidogo be a resounding success! May God’s grace and protection surround you.  May faith guide your path toward your dreams. May hope be a constant light in your life and may love warm your heart every day. Live fearlessly and trust that you have all that you need.  I love you to the moon and back.



  • Anonymous , April 8, 2014

    Happpppy belated Princess Sabrina. I must say you look stunning!! You are a ‘princess’ not because you have a prince(inshallah one day) but because your mom & dad are King & Queen.

  • Lynda and Dave Cavanagh , April 4, 2014

    What a beautiful photo. Sabrina looks like a princess.
    Lynda and Dave

    Sent from Dave’s iPad

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Doesn’t she ever? And you have known her for most of her life!

  • Anonymous , April 2, 2014

    so glad to hear that ,your past experience is history now ,good,!keep looking forward,and always keep that beautiful smile , we love you Mukhiani maa , you are a great inspiration!


    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support Salome. It means a lot to me!

  • Anonymous , April 2, 2014

    Sabrina – Happy Birthday. Munira – thank you for sharing your family with us. Hope and pray for many more happy occasions. Love Yasmin and Mahbanu

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      Ya Ali Yasmin and Mahbanu I have not seen you in a long while. How are you doing? I pray that you continue to lead fulfilling and happy lives and share your wisdom and knowledge with us! Amen to all your prayers.

  • Anonymous , April 2, 2014

    Hey Muni!! Saira Says!! So good to have you back it has been a while. Congrats to the birthday girl may she always be blessed with health, wealth and happiness Ameen:) take care and enjoy the spring!!!

    • Premji Family , April 4, 2014

      I just conveyed your birthday message to Sabrina. It’s so good to have her home!

  • mylegacytoyou , April 1, 2014

    Your ability to create vivid mental imagery in your writing is amazing Munira. I could “see” you there, “smell” the Ethiopian coffee, “taste” the crunchy popcorn sticking to your teeth, and the bitter sweet taste aftertaste! I could hear your laughter, smell the exquisite spices, and feel the heat from the sizzling pan… what a storyteller and what a powerful tool you have!

    Love, Deva

    Happy Birthday Subrina!
    P.S.You do have all that you need to live fearlessly just like your mom says.

    • Premji Family , April 2, 2014

      Hi Deva – – I am just trying to be a writer like you – you have the gift! Got back from Florida tonight. Did you get my emails? I wrote to you while enjoying chicken wings at the hotel lobby. Take good care of yourself and your family. The next two weeks are busy for me. If you are available the 3rd week in April, I would love to see you!

      • mylegacytoyou , April 5, 2014

        Yes, yes, yes I would love to see you Munira! I got the e-mail that your chicken wings sticky fingers wrote. 🙂

      • Premji Family , April 5, 2014

        Ha ha!

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