Name That Smell, JP Edition

Every morning, my whole street smells like chicken. Starting around 7 a.m, the poultry aroma flows through the neighborhood, taunting us all. It’s infuriating.

The problem is not any bias I have against chicken. I love it. It’s just that that as soon as the scent hits my nostrils, I can’t eat cold cereal. I want my breakfast fried and in a 10-piece bucket.

After a few months of settling for eggs, I decided to investigate. There’s no shortage of great Latin eateries in my neck of Jamaica Plain, and any one of them may be roasting meat at any given time—El Oriental De Cuba, La Pupusa Guanaca, Tacos El Charro.

But the culprit was Alex’s Chimis, a hole of a place on Centre Street. The place was stark—no menu, wall-to-wall ceramic tile, a couple of tables. It reminded me of a public restroom. (So does Kingston Station, for that matter, but they get a bye for being trendy and having truffle fries.)

Motioning toward the giant rotisserie, I said I wanted uno—no one spoke English—and some Spanish rice with pigeon peas and plantains too, por favor. A cleaver-wielding gent hacked the meat to pieces, threw it all in a takeout container, and off I went.

It was damn good. The chicken was tender and salty; the plantains heavy and sweet. And yes, I’ve been back. I just hope they’ll start opening for breakfast.