The Travel and Adventure show would have been the last place I would have thought I would discover the secrets of Sweet Mango Cafe on New Hampshire Avenue. You surprised too? Well, it was where I would learn what mannish water consisted of, how to get to the “real” coconut milk and how little I really know about jerk chicken. Shamefully, McCormick’s is as far as I have reached for a jerk chicken recipe (*Hey, don’t judge…I am not a fan of spicy food to my defense…). After taking in about two pieces of some of the spiciest, but succulent chicken thighs, I realized why Sweet Mango has maintained its spot as some of the best West Indian food in the DMV. It was time to take this show on the road…back to New Hampshire Avenue.
Hot, sweaty and filled with scents of curry and plaintains make you feel like old times spent in Jamaica upon entering Sweet Mango. Trying to ignore the steam flowing from the open kitchen, I had my first time with mannish water. Ever fell
in love with someone who was completely wrong for you but you couldn’t fight the desire?? Besides an ex-boyfriend or two, mannish water makes my top five. I could literally eat the goat dripping soup on a daily basis. Dumplings and a few sprigs of thyme round out the soup so maybe this as a meal a day could work, right?? Not stopping there (*Hello, my name is Johnna and I have no food self-control…), I continued on to the curry goat matched with the typical companions, cabbage and plantains.
The real treat, however, came from my new friend, Sous Chef Bobby Sims (*pictured above), who schooled me on how I knew nothing about red beans and rice. Sunday’s are his days to whip up a fresh helping of white rice, kidney beans, freshly squeezed coconut milk and some other ingredients I’m keeping to myself. A word often overused and despised by food writers but I must say it: Delicious. I mean delicious on a level that can only be described by saying this rice accompanied every lunch dish I had that week…kind of like when you were a kid and Kid Sister/GI Joe had to go everywhere with you…yeah, that kind of desire.
Needless to say, I give thumbs up for visits to Sweet Mango. Quick, steamy and…though overused, I will use it here: good food.