Central Deli and Coffee, 1831 Central

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According to my tightly structured plan, today’s lunch site is Kim’s Vietnamese. Pulling up in front, I observe tightly shut blinds. Posted in the window is a handwritten sign informing the world that due to retirement, Kim’s is now closed. I would swear it was open just last week…alas.

Next in line up the street is Central Deli and Coffee, a non-descriptively named East African eatery of unassuming appearance. Upon arrival the only person visible is a red-vested man sitting in a booth. I later learn he is one of the owners. After perusing the menu, being a non-meat eater, I need help figuring out which items are suited to a vegetarian who eats fish but not seafood. The red-vested man suggests fish and rice, so I order fish and rice.

After taking a seat in a booth by the front window, I observe a man coming in, dressed in sports jacket, jeans, and an orchid color dress shirt. He spots the writer and does a double take. Perhaps not too many slightly past-middle-age women of Scandinavian ancestry eat here? As the gentleman eats his food, he carries on a conversation with his phone on full-volume speaker, which bothers me not at all. Thereafter, several other customers enter, still leaving me as the only woman, and only person of non-East African descent—and I feel perfectly at home. As to the furnishings and décor, there are a total five booths and two tables covered with a pleasant dark-red printed fabric, which nicely coordinate with the booth upholstery and the wall color.

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Fish and Rice

In just the right amount of time for me to check out the place and begin writing, delivered to the booth is a heaping plate of lightly coated white fish cooked to a nice crunch, on a bed of saffron rice with raisins and tiny vegetable bits, topped with mild onions sautéd in a spice that had turned them a pale orange. Iceberg lettuce and a container of SPICY avocado green-colored dressing accompany the main course. After a bite of incautiously dressed salad, followed by many sips of water, I discover that a tiny dab of the dressing is great on the fish. The meal comes accompanied by a whole banana, which I find charming. All in all, the food is delicious. I would return, and I would again order the fish and rice.

(On my way home I stop at Aki’s Bread Hus for a post-lunch treat, selecting two cookies—a snickerdoodle and an oatmeal raisin. They are dangerously yummy.)

More to come next week from Maya Cuisine!

 

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