There are parts of Jamaica Plain that are nice, trendy,…safe. I do not live in those parts. Okay, where I live is not particularly dangerous (I think), but I’m relatively confident that I walk past small drug deals on a regular basis. I also have reason to believe that some of the restaurants near me might acquire income through the sale of certain goods that are not for digestive consumption.
And so we have restaurant #2 on Centre Street. Yely’s Coffee Shop.
Several months back, as I was walking home from the T (the subway in Boston), I looked up and noticed that one of the windows (the one on the far left in the picture) misspelled “coffee”. So if you thought I misspelled the title of this post, it was actually very intentional. At first, I thought maybe one of the letters had just been peeled off or something, but that cannot be the case since there is no gap between the words “coffe” and “shop”. They forgot an “e”, plain and simple.
Also, I don’t know why Yely’s calls itself a coffee shop. I don’t think they sell coffee.
What they do sell is Latin American food. I’m not sure which country in particular this food originates from, but it certainly fits in with the neighborhood.
And so I enter. Now remember, my rule is to ask the person who takes my order for a recommendation. Well, I faced a dilemma here. As I was waiting in line, I noticed that the guy taking orders did not seem to understand English very well. He seemed to be responding more to what the customers were pointing at than to what the customers were saying. So I began to doubt whether he would know what I was asking for.
I speak Spanish. Not fluently, by any means, but conversationally. I easily could have asked him what food he preferred, but I choked! I got nervous. I have seen people who don’t speak Spanish as a first language try to look cool by trying to speak in Spanish, and I always think these people look, well, rather foolish. It’s like these people are trying to show off, but it just comes across as ridiculous, especially when the person they are trying to talk to speaks English perfectly well. I didn’t want to be “that guy,” so, in my nervous panic, I just pointed to some things that looked good.
Then, when I moved down the line to where I was supposed to pay, the woman asked if I wanted anything to drink. I noticed some juices behind the counter and I asked, in Spanish because I am very inconsistent, “What kind of juice is that?” The woman did not look at me as though I were an idiot, nor did she act as though the fact that I were speaking to her in Spanish was anything but normal. She immediately answered that one was cherry (I’ve never heard of buying cherry juice before!) and the other was passionfruit. I chose the latter. The sum total was $13. And what did I get?
A big helping of seasoned rice, some strips of fried pork, a half-lime for adding flavor and some fried plantains. Oh, and the passionfruit juice. The rice was surprisingly flavorful and mixed well with the pork. The pork, which tasted good, especially with some lime juice squeezed on, was a bit hard. I don’t mean tough. I mean hard. At first, I was a bit concerned that I was trying to crunch down on bone. I got a bit worried about chipping my teeth. But getting past that, it was quite delicious. The fried plantains tasted as fried plantains always taste. Nothing special there. And the portions were great. I was able to stretch the food into two meals.
Probably the highlight of the meal, though, was the passionfruit juice. It was sweet, but not too sweet, with a familiar yet exotic flavor. I had a hard time not drinking it all at once. What’s more, it had that really small ice like they have at the Sonic fast food places. Call me crazy, but I love that ice!
So this was another good meal. Nothing mind-blowing, but solid. I would go back. Oh, which reminds me. Did you notice how I titled this post “Part I”? Well, since I didn’t actually ask the guy who took my order what his favorite was, I’m going to go back and bring out my Spanish. Stay tuned, this restaurant is—just like the end of every Pokemon episode—TO BE CONTINUED…