I don’t know how long we’ll be able to keep up our Wednesday nights out. Maybe we’ll have to substitute another day. Or maybe we should just eat out all the time to make up for 30 years of home-cooked meals. Now we have the paper version of Fearless Critic-Houston we have lots of places to try, and our BCM colleague, Dr. Ricky’s word for it (who knew?). But tonight Rick W. had a place in mind, Lovey’s Island Kitchen, 146008 South Post Oak at Fuqua. Don’t web search for it – all you’ll find are some health department inspections from a previous owner. We had to circle around to get to it, coming over from Hiram Clarke and the Wareloft (Rick and Therese’s stunning green abode). We passed about 7 churches, a hub cap store, 4 car mechanics, and circled through a neighborhood with high fences.
The complete lack of cars out front was not a great sign. Neither were the bars on the window, or the sign on the kitchen window that said they had cheese burgers and French fries. But the colors were right, the rich yellow, red, green of the Jamaican flag. We peered at the menu taped to the window, where you ordered your food, and then listened to what the cheerful woman behind the counter told us they actually had.
That reminded me of the restaurant we ate at in San Cipriano, near Cavriglia, in the Chianti hills southwest of Florence. We didn’t even know they had a menu since they always told us what they had. There it was one or two risottos, usually cheese or asparagus, a pasta, usually penne, and several pizzas, and for a vegetable in the spring, usually chard. Here in south Houston in November they also had chard. We chose between goat curry, tripe curry, oxtails, and chicken, ordering the first three, and a fruit drink, a malted drink, and a ginger beer. Small was huge, and large could have fed the four of us.
We waited for our food in a booth. They seemed slightly surprised we were going to eat right there, with the family, the grandmother, the grandson drawing numbers on a white board, others of unclear relationship. As we waited we saw why an empty restaurant stayed in business. It was a take-out place, and people came in to pick up orders and take them home. The manager asked me if we were missionaries in Jamaica. I just said no, we were biologists and political scientists. I didn’t share that we were actually evolutionary biologists and political scientists. Her mother was the cook, and she also brought us our platters of food, taking the time to personally hand us the napkin-wrapped silverware instead of slapping it on the table.
I loved my tripe, though the manager herself told me she didn’t much like it. It was silky and almost sweet with a rich curry sauce, similar to the sauce on the bony goat. The oxtails had a darker treatment that was also delicious. The rice had a few red beans mixed in, but was bland, even undersalted, unusual in a place like this. The chard was delicious. It maintained a little crispness and had twigs of an herb, possibly thyme mixed in. After reading the calorie count on my malt, I treated it like dessert, sipping occasionally. For four peole with drinks, the bill was $44. I’d go back, maybe get an extra serving of chard, and find someone to split with. Also, I’m curious to try their fish.
Our find, delicious Jamaican food.
Order at the counter.
Get the goat curry.
Oxtails, rice, chard.
I chose curry tripe. Yum!