Sign of the times

(Graffiti on a bridge in Pittsburgh. Photo by Robin. 2006)

I’m lazing around this afternoon, still trying to recover from this cold and stay cool in this heat.

Summertime is moving in, that’s for sure. And upping the ante by throwing in some humidity to spice up the heat.

I need to move further north. I’m not a big fan of heat. Or humidity. Especially humidity. Bring me the cold, the chill, the frosty. Anything but heat and humidity. A pox on global warming.

Last night’s outing was a blast. I probably already mentioned that in the previous post. What I didn’t mention was that the friends we met up with are people I’ve met via the magic of the internet. I know there are folks out there who will think that’s weird. I don’t mind weird (as those who know me well know well). Actually, I might have thought it weird a decade or so ago. But since then I’ve had the opportunity to meet, in real life, people I’ve gotten to know fairly well through online journaling/blogging. It started with a quit smoking support website (the now defunct Quit Smoking Diaries, aka QSD). When QSD died out, some of us (our little core group) moved on to a variety of places until we eventually settled in somewhere else where we still chat pretty regularly. The original group has grown a little, as we’ve had the chance to “meet” and get to know some of the other people who were at the new place before us.

LH and her husband, BD, traveled here from England and are making the rounds of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. I’ve met LH once before, when M and I were in London. K and her husband live in Philly. I’ve met K before, too. I had not met BD or K’s husband prior to this meeting. I’m very glad M and I were in the area for this visit. We’d have missed it if we’d been in the Bogs.

I know there are some dangerous things about the internet and there are some not-so-nice people out there. I’ve been lucky. I’ve managed to meet some amazing and fabulous people via this medium.

I’m looking forward to the next meet-up, whenever that may be. The Big One is planned for 2009, but I’m hoping there will be some little meet-ups between now and then.

M and I are heading to New York City early tomorrow morning. I’ll be back next week with a report on our fun and adventures in the Big Apple.

The Jamaican Jerk Hut

(JJH. Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Robin. May 2007)

Last night M and I went to Philadelphia to meet up with friends for dinner. We had a wonderful evening. It was great, great fun.

We had dinner at the Jamaican Jerk Hut (JJH) on South Street. They don’t have their own website so here are the details:

Jamaican Jerk Hut
1436 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-8644

The photo I took doesn’t do it justice as it’s missing the best part. The JJH is mostly a take-out place during the winter months. Once the weather warms up, they serve food in the garden area.

It’s a nifty little place. To the left, where you see the chain-link fence, you walk into the “garden” area which is really just a grassy empty lot. There’s a little sign that reads “Stay on the path” and a boardwalk pathway through the garden area. There are a few picnic tables set up outside. At the back is a wall where various vines and trees are being allowed to wildly grow. There’s also a veranda area, which is where we had dinner.

It’s a great place to meet up with friends. Groups are comfortably seated (we had a party of six). Dress is casual (always a plus with me).

It was hot yesterday evening (around 90 degrees when we arrived), but there was a nice breeze blowing through the garden and nobody seemed to mind the heat. In fact, it was almost perfect weather for dining outdoors in a Jamaican themed restaurant. Very tropical.

The reviews I’ve read online complain about the service being slow. It’s true. The service is a little slow by most people’s standards.  However, don’t take that to mean inattentive.   Our waitress was perfectly attentive, there when we needed her but not hovering over us all the time.

We were there to spend time with friends, not be rushed through our meal. I thought the service was just right as it allowed us plenty of time to talk and laugh and enjoy each other’s company, as well as some nice wine. The JJH is a BYOB place. They charge a small corkage fee, but it’s very small compared to some places we’ve been to.

The food, in my opinion, was excellent. I had the Jerk chicken breast platter which came with Jamaican cabbage, rice and peas (pigeon peas), and plantains. The chicken was tender, juicy, smoky, and delightfully hot and spicy. The side dishes were quite good, too. The cabbage wasn’t overcooked, still retaining some crispness. The rice and peas had a nice flavor. And the plantains were yummy. All portions were more than generous.

Two of our friends had the vegetarian sampler platter. Both commented on how good everything was and how each dish had a distinctly different flavor, something that’s not always the case with vegetarian stews as it seems like some chefs use the same spices over and over again so that everything on the plate tastes pretty much the same. I sampled a little of the cornbread which one of our friends ordered. I’m not a big fan of cornbread, but the JJH’s cornbread could turn me into one. It was moist and slightly sweet with obvious kernels of corn throughout.

I’m sure it’s fairly obvious by now that I highly recommend the Jamaican Jerk Hut. Next time you’re in Philadelphia, give it a try.