Saturday’s Caribbean Carnival parade in Petworth (which I mentioned here) can be described in one word: HOT. It was another day of record-breaking heat, but that didn’t stop crowds of eager parade goers from coming out and showing their support. The entirety of Georgia Ave. was lined with spectators old and young: families set up lawn chairs and ice chests, groups of teenagers tried to act cool out on their own, and kids ran around and cooled off with water balloon fights.
The temperature wasn’t the only part of the parade that was hot. Bright, colorful floats, punctuated by scantily clad, feather adorned female dancers, solicited some hollers from the crowd. Reggae music blasted from the most ginormous speakers I’ve ever seen, pulsating through the street.
I was (literally) a hot mess by the end of the parade, but couldn’t leave without trying Sweet Mango Cafe’s infamous jerk chicken. Conveniently located across from the Petworth metro, residents tell me it’s hard to walk by and not to be seduced by the potent scent of jerk chicken wafting out of Sweet Mango Cafe.
I ordered a medium-size white meat jerk chicken with rice and beans and cabbage ($7.99) and a side order of plaintains ($2.00). The chicken packed a ton of flavor into every bite, due in large part to the fiery jerk seasoning that coated the exterior (and left me licking my fingers for more). Aside from the spice, the chicken was tender and moist, with just the right amount of smoke from the grill. My only bone to pick (no pun intended) was the bones; some of the pieces were mostly bone and cartilage and not a lot of meat.
The sides were also tasty. Rice and beans soaked up a lot of the chicken juices, which complemented the dish well. Cabbage was less than memorable, but the plantains–those were money.
The sweltering day ended with us collapsing on our couch, chugging down several glasses of water, and catching the end of the World Cup match. And to end this post, a video to sum up my feelings about the meal and that day in general:
3701 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20010