Have you ever been to Joloff? It is a special place for me. When I was in graduate school I would sit there with my papers, pens, laptop, and eat good Senegalese homecooked food surrounded by beautiful black people, across the street from a Masjid, and I would write, think, ponder, read, and debate with other diners.
It was my place to be a nerd in style. It was also the place that I went to by myself, no one would meet me there. I often turned off my phone, or at least, stuck it in my bag and pretended not to notice it. When the adhan was called across the street I left all my belongings there and went to pray. A stream of street people would join me.
“Pop” is the owner. He is a lovable guy who loves Allah and His Messenger and loves to open his doors to the new and old, bad and good, black and white, muslim and atheist... He is there with his wife and children who come there after school, do homework, help one another, and then help out at the store. Sometimes, since they are just kids, they lay out on the couch, a book sliding out from their hands, dreaming away after a hard day in school.
Recently his restaurant changed locations. For me the shift was sudden and emotional. For him, well, it was more of an existential situation, a story with twists and turns and some major disappointment. Pop waved away the negative. He embraces the change. Joloff is now at a new location. One that feels fresh. It is the start of a new era. I hope you go and make some memories at Joloff.
PS- if you eat meat, try the Dibbi with Joloff Rice, have some ginger drink when you are done, and then plenty of water. NO meat? All their tofu dishes are awesome!