Date night at Linda Jean’s

Nothing replaces dining out together at a much-loved Island restaurant.


In case you didn’t hear, The Times’ office was completely flooded, not once but twice. The first time it fried my computer, the second time it took out our server and the backup computer I was working on. Currently, I’ve got myself set up on the last machine in the office with the capabilities to run the programs I use as a designer. It’s old, it’s slow, and I have spent more time staring at the rainbow spinning wheel than I imagined was tolerable. I’m making the best of it, but when work gets behind, I have to dig deep inside myself and practice patience.

Last Wednesday, I was sitting watching my cursor slowly inch across the screen, and then the spinning rainbow wheel, and out of nowhere, copy editor Barbara Davis (or B. Davis or boo, as I call her), is standing next to my desk. Good golly, I thought, what does she want from me, and I hope she catches a glimpse over my shoulder of this computer moving very slowly and chooses her request from me VERY wisely.

I turned to her, irritated, and asked her what she needed. She looked at me and said, “You helped me with making the two Valentine’s ads to put in the paper last week, and you did a magnificent job. Linda Jean’s does date nights on Saturday nights — the whole shebang, appetizers, entrées, desserts — and I wanted to treat you as a thank-you.” I was so flattered, and felt spoiled she would do that for me. I was also wondering if she meant it for me and her, or for me and my boyfriend.

I had heard about Linda Jean’s winter specials through Instagram and Facebook, but hadn’t gone. I hadn’t been out to a sit-down dinner on the Island in a number of years, and it wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to do.

After receiving the gift, I immediately alerted my boyfriend that we had plans Saturday night to go out to dinner. I sent him the deets about the Saturday date-night special, and he was pumped — he LOVES Linda Jean’s.

When I got home from work, I showered, stared at my closet, paced about the house, and realized I was experiencing anxiety. I hadn’t been out to dinner in so long. He picked me up around 6:45 pm, and I hopped up into the passenger seat of his truck. Maybe it was the perfume or touch of mascara, but I felt like a freshman going on a date with a senior in high school. We drove into town, he nailed the parallel parking job, we hopped out of the truck and strolled up Circuit Ave., hand in hand, and we were feeling good.

We walked into the restaurant, and there were little white lights, white candles, and other Valentine’s Day–themed decorations all around. The ambience was cozy, comfortable, warm, and inviting. We stood at the hostess stand and waited to be seated. We waited. And waited. I felt my boyfriend’s hand on my back; he could sense my anxiety building up, even though I didn’t move or speak. He said, “Sweetie, do you want me to go see if I can find someone?” I remembered the rainbow spinning wheel on my work computer and said quietly, “It’s OK, I can be patient.” And we waited.

The waitress eventually saw us, and kindly let us pick whichever table we wanted. I chose the half-booth that faces the windows out to Circuit Ave. We sat on the same side, me being closest to the wall and him on the outside.

The Saturday date-night special wasn’t limited; you are able to pick from the entire dinner menu, along with the evening specials. For me it was a tossup between the Thai Chili Salmon and the Shrimp Scampi off the specials sheet. I decided on the scampi over angel hair with a toasted piece of ciabatta. My boyfriend, Ben, chose the Jerk Pork with Rice, and black beans and slaw. There was no discussion over selecting the calamari for an appetizer — after six years of dating, that’s one of our favorites.

We were both eyeballing the Hot Honey Fried Chicken Sandwich on the menu (I needed french fries), so we added that to the order even though it wasn’t included in the special.
After we ordered, we waited for food to be prepared. What a strange feeling, sitting and waiting. When I cook around my house, I am doing 10 things all at once. To sit and just wait reminded me of the spinning wheel on my computer at work, and reminded me to be patient. Somewhere in this mini-meditation, gazing out the window and talking to Ben, dinner came to our table in no time, piping hot, colorful, and plated beautifully.

He cut the fried chicken sandwich in half and ate that first; I went right for the french fries and fried calamari while my pasta cooled a bit.

The calamari was lightly breaded, crispy, and not one bite was rubbery. I looked over, and half the chicken sandwich was gone; he said it was delicious as he wiped the juices off his hands. Now that my scampi had cooled, we both dug into our entrées. I found the Shrimp Scampi simple, and the flavors were not too aggressive. On the other hand, I sampled a couple of bites of his Jerk Pork with Rice, and those flavors were dynamite — a flavor explosion! I made it about halfway through the scampi, setting aside just the right amount of shrimp and pasta for a nice leftover meal alongside the other half of the chicken sandwich. He finished the jerk pork.

We ordered the turtle cheesecake to take home for dessert. We paid our bill using the homemade gift card Barbara gave us, and walked back to the truck.

I eagerly asked my boyfriend what his favorite part of the dinner was. I thought he was going to say the pork, but he said, “Going out to a nice sit-down dinner and being with you was the best part; we don’t do that often, so it was a nice treat.”

He dropped me off at my place, and I felt a sort of contentment I wasn’t sure I’d felt in some time. Maybe it was that I didn’t have to do the dishes, but it felt like something more. I think that rainbow spinning wheel was teaching me something, a lesson in patience that I can apply in other areas of my life.

Linda Jean’s is located at 25 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Winter hours are 7 am to 2 pm, Monday through Wednesday, 7 am to 8 pm Thursday through Sunday. Be sure to check the Facebook and Instagram accounts for fun winter specials, or call 508-693-4093.