What’s for dinner? Caribbean Black Beans and Memories

Tonight I decided to go with something easy. Fortunately – and totally inadvertantly – I happened upon a dish that brought back fond memories of my favorite restaurant when I was living in Nashville, TN, as a graduate student on a small budget: The Calypso Cafe.

The Calypso was healthy, delicious, and, more to the point, it was cheap. They specialized in black bean dishes, sweet potatoes, some sort of kale side dish, coconut cornbread muffins, rice, and rotisserie chicken.

I remember taking my parents and my sister there, pretty sure they were going to hate it. If not for the food, then for the atmosphere, where 9 times out of 10, you’d end up listening to Bob Marley! Despite the obvious similarities between the two, my folks prefer Willie! Regardless….

My dad, the one I had pegged as the true skeptic, loved it. In fact, on every follow-up visit, when I asked where they wanted to go, he’d say, “Is that little place over by the Parthenon still open? You know, the one with the black beans?”

I haven’t been to the Calypso in years; I left Nashville in 1999.

But, fortunately – for my culinary enjoyment – I have the chance to go back this coming January.

Until then, however, I’ll have to stick with Moosewood rendition of Caribbean Black Beans. Given that I just so happen to be well stocked on kale, rice, cooked yams, and coconut, it shouldn’t be that much of a hardship! 😉

If you ever get over Nashville way, check them out! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! My dad certainly was and having grown up on chocolate gravy (or so the legend goes) and fried catfish it was a bit of a stretch!


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