Reflections on Stripmall Eating

Monday, December 05, 2005

He Who Feels It, Tastes It

Name: One Love Cafe
Location:6417 Rising Sun Avenue
Personnel: Bethany, Me
What We Ate: Complimentary Cornbread, Jerk Chicken, Cabbage, Rice and Peas, Fried Fish, Macaroni and Cheese, Collards. One Ginger Beer.
Condiments: Tartar Sauce. I think this was an American appurtenance, but I'm not one to turn down mayonnaise in any form.
Bill Total: $24.50
Observations: Though technically not in a strip mall, One Love Cafe is in a strip of restaurants and stores on Rising Sun Avenue. I've been looking for a good new jerk for sometime (the reigning favorite is Taste of Home in Cobbs Creek). I heard about One Love but I was somewhat skeptical. The name sounded iffy, like it could be a Rainforest Cafe kind of theme park restaurant/"retail concept," only Caribbean, with eternal blue sky painted on the ceiling, drinks in coconuts and bad reggae. Not hardly. One Love was the real deal and it's one of the better suburban finds in recent memory: The jerk chicken was saucy, tender and brightly spiced with cinnamon and hot pepper; the mac and cheese had the impressive girth and crispy crust of a kugel; the cabbage, cut in ribbons, was fried to a buttery softness without melting to mush. "I love the Northeast," I said to Bethany as we got in the car. That was before we hit the quagmire of Roosevelt Boulevard's 15 lanes, none letting us turn left. But still.

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