Dishes from Exec. Chef Mario González at the Iberostar Chef on Tour Series

Last weekend’s Iberostar Chef on Tour in Rose Hall, Montego Bay featured its very own Executive Chef Mario González. Chef González is known as a culinary artist and his dishes reflected just that.

The Star Dish of the night for Suga Bear, Tina Davis from Montego Bay, was the Mango Ravioli, Salmon tartar, Tamarind reduction and Himalayan salt.

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Photo credit: Tina Davis

The Red Snapper with beurre blanc sauce and Mexican white mole looked divine as well.

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Photo credit: Tina Davis

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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OPA’s New Location at Devon House for Suga’s Pre-Birthday Dinner!

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OPA Greek Restaurant’s Owner, Alexx Antaeus serves Gabby from Suga Lifestyle(R) Birthday Baklava, while friends, Christopher Lai and Gillian Jackson look on.

Two Tuesdays ago I visited OPA’s new location at Devon House, which is on the right side after you enter through the front gate. Persons are familiar with that area formerly known as the Devonshire.

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The Restaurant was quiet and cosy. I loved the ambience outdoors, similar to a deck in the backyard by the garden. Despite that, we sat indoors. Diners were present but it was not a full house.

The staff were quiet but professional and welcoming. I suppose they were a balance in personality to the owner, Alexx Antaeus who is quite eloquent but warm and friendly.

The menu still consists of Greek favourites from the old location such as Grilled Fish and other Entrées, Pizzas, Pastas and Salads. Not much has changed in that regard. However, the menu has expanded to include additional Mediterranean cuisine options such as Paellas and more.

We ordered a Starter that consisted of 4 Greek Dips served with homemade Pita Bread ($10.35US/$1324JMD) that they make fresh daily with extra virgin olive oil. The Dips were Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic), Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese), Revithia (Chick peas, scallions, lemon juice) and Skordalia (garlic, potato). They were all quite tasty and appetizing but I enjoyed the Feta dip the most.

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Pikilia #1 – 4 Greek Dips ($10.35US/$1324JMD+tx+serv. charge)

Alexx took our orders by memory and not by hand, which was quite impressive. He offered assistance to anyone who had difficulty deciding what they needed to order and also wanted to put our orders in quickly to the kitchen. He gave us a heads up that they may take a little while.

Well a little while was an hour. Usually we would have gotten ourselves worked up and probably left already, but some of my friends were visiting and we had a lot to catch up on before they left the next day. The Appetizer dips could only go so far and we were sipping on some vino from their list, which seems to have a decent range and selection as usual. We tried the Lamb Gyros Stix ($7.75US/$992JMD) too. That was a small but succulent serving of well seasoned Lamb.

Not only do I respect that we were given the heads up on the wait, but we were checked on periodically and given a joke or two to keep the atmosphere light, like our stomachs at the time.

Finally, attempting to have a healthy night, I had the Psari Sharas (Fresh Grilled Snook basted with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I’ve had that dish before at Opa, so it wasn’t anything new, but the good quality in taste remained the same and it was just the right portion served with Skordalia (a purée with potatoes etc.) and Greek salad ($20.30US/$2598JMD).

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Psari Sharas (Grilled Fish) – $20.30US/$2598.JMD+tx+serv. Charge

My friends explored other dishes that they enjoyed such as the Gyros entrée of Lean ground Pork served with Tzatziki, Greek salad, Potatoes and Pita ($19.50US/$2495JMD), Shrimp Penne Pasta with minty cream sauce ($23.40US/$2995JMD) and the Kotosouvlaki entrée consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast on a skewer served with Pita, Greek salad and Tzatziki (19.45US/2489JMD).

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Top: Gyros entrée -Lean Ground Pork (19.50US;$2495+tx+serv.charge); Below: Shrimp Penne Pasta ($23.40US/$2995JMD+tx+serv. charge)

There was only one unhappy camper who ordered the Kotsi, a slow-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic served with sautéed vegetables and potatoes ($27.30US/$3494JMD).

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Kotsi – Lamb Shank ($27.30US/$3494JMD +tx+serv. charge)

Some persons may say they get small servings at OPA, but it really depends on what you order. My friend did not expect such a huge Lamb Shank. While that would make the usual person happy to dig in, being quite petite in size, it was daunting for her.

When Alexx checked on the table a little after we started eating, he asked her what was wrong and she explained. Without hesitation he wanted to know how he could make her happier and she agreed with his suggestions of converting the dish into a Lamb Pasta with her preferred tomato sauce and Penne Pasta. He returned quickly to the table with the transformed dish that he whipped up in the kitchen himself and even gave her some to go in a box so it wouldn’t be too much for her at once. She now joined us as an impressed and satisfied diner.

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Voila! Lamb Pasta!

In discussion with Alexx, we were made aware that they source their meat locally from The Meat Experts Ltd. That is a good look. Meat Experts operates out of St. Ann and they have been making quite a name for themselves with their local, high quality, hormone-free meats.

Then just when we thought Alexx couldn’t be a more hospitable host, he asked if we were dining to celebrate an occasion. He was told my Birthday was coming up and he shared that his was coming up the day before. Fancy that.

He returned with a few members of staff and demanded that everyone get their cameras out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, while he presented me with complimentary Baklava dessert (Filo layered with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey). That was a kind gesture. I enjoyed all the love and the Dessert.

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Baklava

I get the feeling something may have been awry with the kitchen or staff that night so I would not let the long wait smear my first experience at the new location. The food was authentic and delicious and I appreciated the great service otherwise. So I will return.

I especially have to have some Drinks by the adjoined Reggae Mill Bar, also owned by Alex, since we missed out on it the last time as we wrapped it up early on the week night.

Who’s joining me?

OPA Greek Restaurant
Location: Devon House. Hope Rd. Kingston Jamaica
Ph: 876-631-2000; 876-550-2000
Website: http://www.opajamaica.com/
Instagram: @opa_jamaica 

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat @ 12pm – 12am (Closed on Sundays)

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Kingston Yoga Fest is this Saturday, June 24 at the Spanish Court Hotel!

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KINGSTON YOGA FEST is this Saturday, June 24 at the Spanish Court Hotel.

YOGA classes will be ALL DAY, starting from 6am and Showtime starts at 7pm with an amazing line-up of Reggae Artists.

Check out the website, http://www.kingstonyogafest.com for information on Tickets, the Schedule, Performers and more.

All Day Passes to include both the Yoga Classes and Music/Spoken Word Concert are available and Students get a special rate.

Contact Information:

Ph: 876-773-1577 (JAM); 310-497-7270 (USA)

Email: kingstonyogafest@gmail.com

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Seaside Dining at Las Vegas Cafe in St. Elizabeth!

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Sunday before last, Suga Bear, Randy Burgess stopped by Las Vegas Cafe in St. Elizabeth for Lunch at 2:30pm.

Parking was sufficient and décor was rustic with a touch of old tavern accentuated by the view of the seaside.

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There were a few other guests, both locals and tourists.

The staff were not necessarily courteous but they weren’t rude or inattentive either. So they could improve on their Southern hospitality.

Las Vegas Cafe specialises in Seafood. If you order Fish, you are given the option to choose your fish.

Randy ordered Coconut Garlic Shrimp with Steam Bammy ($1800JMD tx incl.) and his friend ordered Coconut Garlic Conch with Steam Bammy ($1800JMD tx incl.).

Even though their dishes were done to order, it did not take an extremely long time to arrive. The Suga Bears enjoyed their Lunch. The Shrimps were noticeably fresh as one would expect from St. Elizabeth and well seasoned. The Bammy was well steamed with a texture that was just right and the sauce had a good balance of Coconut and Garlic, with neither overpowering the taste of the Seafood.

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Value for Money? Suga Bear, Randy rated Las Vegas Cafe a 3/5.

If traveling through the South Coast, I think it is safe to take a detour or stop by Las Vegas Cafe for a tasty and filling serving of Seafood.

Las Vegas Cafe 

Location: 70 Crane Road (Close to Salt Spring), St. Elizabeth. Jamaica

Ph: 876-965-9648

Opening Hours: 11am-11pm

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Discounts for All June Bugs at Chocolate Dreams!

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Chocolate Dreams is treating every June baby!

Join Gabby from Suga Lifestyle and stop by their Devon House or Loshusan locations for yummy treats to celebrate your special day!

***Provide your ID to prove you are a Junite and get 15% off!

***Call 876-906-1173 for Special Orders

Have a Fabulous Birthday Month! Junites rule!

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Try this Healthy and Tasty Quinoa Salad!

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Photo & Recipe Source: @BigScoopFood on Instagram

Quinoa is a great source of Protein and is also a Healthy Carbohydrate. So it contains an adequate amount of fibre to help keep you fuller for longer.

For a fun, healthy Quinoa Salad, try the following:

● Quinoa as your base

● Cherry Tomatoes

● Black Olives

● Black Beans

● Kidney Beans

● Cauliflower

● Coriander

*** You can add a light, olive oil-based vinaigrette and squeeze a touch of lemon or lime juice for a touch more flavour and freshness

Recipe Source: –

Instagram: @BigScoopFood

Food & Beverage Company

Food, Nutrition & Health; Nutrition Media; Everyday Tips

Email: bigscoopfood@gmail.com

Endorsed By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

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