2 Days left to enter Rotaract Club of Kingston’s Annual Inner-City Art Competition!

If you know any untrained artists in inner-city communities, please advise them as quickly as you can about this great opportunity for a start or further development of their career. Contact information is on the image above. If unclear, feel free to email sugalifestyle@gmail.com.

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UTECH wins again at NKRC’s 4th Annual Wing Sauce Competition

Scenes from NKRC's annual Wing Sauce Competition held on Saturday, March 7, 2015
Scenes from NKRC’s annual Wing Sauce Competition held on Saturday, March 7, 2015

In other parts of Kingston last Saturday, Suga was asked to host NKRC’s Wing Sauce Competition, which is also a fundraiser with proceeds going towards their Community Service Projects. The competition was held at Red Stripe’s playfield on Spanish Town Road. I was amongst great company as Jahson Peart from Pop-Up Gourmet Jamaica and Amanda McCreath from Gourmet Jamaica were the other two judges.

There were 9 teams on the day including 6 Rotaract clubs, 2 Rotary Clubs and 1 independent team, all with creative names for their sauces and exciting team names as well.

It was a hot day out but the teams came out with their members and supporters in full force. Well except for one lone ranger from Rotary Club of New Kingston (A Jus Me One). Thankfully he was supported by a few of his club members towards the end of the competition. Teams were observed from start to end.

All teams were asked to highlight 3 ingredients in their sauce, Otaheite Apple, which was the secret ingredient that was revealed to them on the day, as well as the mystery ingredients, Red Stripe Sorrel Beer and Rosemary. Club support, their sales pitch, theme and decor of their booth as well as plating and of course the taste of their wings were all scoring criteria. However even with high scores for all of that, if they failed to highlight the 3 ingredients and show some originality with a great tasting sauce, which carried the majority of the points, they would finish with a very low score.

Teams were also asked to incorporate Yaad Flava sauces that were being promoted that day such as the The Yaad Flava Spicy Ketchup, Pimento BBQ, Molasses and Jamaican Jerk Gourmet Blend sauces. Suga has promoted Yaad Flava on this website before when introduced to them at Sovereign Supermarket, so knew that if not scantily used, they could easily overpower the originality of the teams’ sauces. They have a very strong, sharp flavour and really shouldn’t even be used with anything else. They are great on their own.

All teams showed remarkable effort whether they placed in the top 3 or not.

The Rotaract Club of St. Andrew looked the most professional, all uniformed in team shirts and black aprons with a member who delivered a sales pitch in an all black suit. The taste of their sauce was lovely and it was impressive that the taste aligned with their sales pitch of it being sweet then spicy, which is not easy to pull off.

The Rotaract Club of Liguanea Plains did very well across the board, finishing 4th. Their plating was very impressive apart from the overload of Rosemary, sauce was delicious and required ingredients were highlighted.

New Kingston Rotaract Club boasted culinary style, hotel-like plating. THE best plating in the competition, even being presented on different levels.

Tristen, who finished 5th also looked very Professional in Chef jackets and scored high points for use of the main ingredients.

The Rotaract Club of the University of the West Indies Mona, who finished 3rd, had cheerleaders, tonnes of crowd and member support. They had impressive plating, originality and their sauce was delicious.

Interestingly, the sauces from the two Rotary clubs  (Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal and Rotary Club of New Kingston) were the least exciting of the bunch. But it was a fantastic look that they participated with good spirit. They were entertaining, creative with their sales pitch and had a good theme.

Second place winners, Rotaract Club of Kingston aka 50 Shades of K, were quite entertaining and creative. Impressive plating. The best decor. Originality was off the charts and their sauce had a nice, sharp taste with the essence of required ingredients.

That leaves us with the winners. All the other clubs failed to highlight ALL 3 required ingredients effectively. However the Rose Grillaz from the Rotaract Club of University of Technology were the clear winners with their Rosella Soiree sauce. The only team whose sauce actually had the colour of the secret ingredient, Otaheite apple. When asked how they did that. One of their chefs confidently broke down their preparation process starting with how ‘dem draw the apple’, continuing to talk about straining and measuring etc. They clearly had it down to a science. Not surprising right? Because they have a Food Lab and this is their 3rd consecutive year winning. Perhaps it should be called the UTECH Wing Sauce Award of Excellence next year with a member of their Hospitality crew on the judging panel. A team with absolutely poor plating and decor walked away with the trophy. They were confident that they were the sauce boss and their skit with cheerleaders informed us of that. Overwhelming support was there for them as well.

Suga was really impressed with the effort put out by all teams, their competitive nature, their interest to do post mortems and of course originality and creativity of their sauces. Congratulations again to the winners, Rotaract Club of UTECH and hope to see you and more clubs next year!

How was Le Diner en Blanc Kingston ?!

Scenes from Le Diner en Blanc Kingston on March 7, 2015
Scenes from Le Diner en Blanc Kingston on March 7, 2015

The big event has come and gone. How was it?! Suga’s sources spared no details. Suga’s prediction came through that a decent evening would subside from a chaotic start. At least one socialite kept it real saying, ‘Rocky start, fantabulous ending’ on her instagram post.

Firstly, we have to talk about the venue, Emancipation Park. The instant reaction of many, including myself was really?! Nowhere better? Disappointing. That scene is part of many Jamaicans’ daily routine during the work or exercise week. So some desire a change of scenery. But, surely the promoters must have put tremendous thought into the venue and that should be respected. So let us think where else in Kingston could be used as a venue that is public and somewhat monumental or historical? There are not many choices. Devon House, Downtown Waterfront and Port Royal have been done. Not to mention the overused Hope Gardens/Hope Zoo. Where does that leave us? The Bob Marley Statue, Ward Theatre or National Heroes Park? Ward Theatre back in its heyday yes, but definitely not now. Eyesore. By the Bob Marley Statue may have required too much work and money. Closest candidate may be National Heroes Park, but Securityyyyyy! Yes. A lot would be required.

So back to Emancipation Park. The use of spectacular lighting had a gorgeous effect. The addition of little white fences and of course the people who stuck to the theme, dressed in white from head to toe, feathers, masks, hats, umbrellas, other accessories and more. Fashion and style ‘did tun up, way up!’ Not to mention the tasteful table decor and accent pieces brought. Great Effort, awesome job. The park has not had an event like this. Totally revamped. Unfortunately, the Secrecy factor was not realised. But who would expect that in Jamaica?

So, venue revealed. Transport to the venue was smooth. Then chaos. Persons had difficulty accessing their tables and chairs. Someone in particular had their table taken and they didn’t get their chairs for about 45 minutes so they were left to stand.

There were poor logistics with people accessing food and drinks as well. When they eventually obtained their food, it was cold and some got the wrong orders. Furthermore, check out the dish in the picture above. That was gourmet food? That was catered? That was what people paid for? People do better from home. But yes, it was one of the dishes prepared by Colin Hylton, Pork Belly. Worse, who wants cold Pork Belly? Wow. Risky. At least the Chicken dish was good. But, if the promoters did not market and weigh so heavily on catered food by renowned chefs etc. and stuck to the basic picnic theme of carrying your own food, this exquisite event would not have left such a bad taste in some people’s mouths.

However, there were positives. After people got settled in there was a good vibe and people enjoyed themselves. Despite poor logistics of accessing tables and chairs, long food and drink lines, crowd management was impressive and persons did not feel like they were confined in a small place with ~900 people. Someone said they felt as if they paid to go to a fun wedding.

It was especially evident that the majority enjoyed the festivities toward the end of the night. Sparkles were lit and balloons were released into the air. Some described the evening as ‘magical’ as it should be. Music was given a fair by those gifted with recognising quality versus others who thought it was great. Good range though, from mento to techno to soca to dancehall.

Le Diner en Blanc. A lot of hype that was not lived up to for persons that pay keen attention to good quality and detail. Even though the promoters have a lot to learn from and thus adjustments to make for the next staging, there is certainly a lot of potential for the event. A partyholic said it was ‘a nice change from the usual party scene’. Of course it was, it is a totally different kind of event compared to our ‘lacklustre sessions’. A comparison should not even be made, but can you blame him. A hype was built around catered food, sponsors and an all white theme. There were long lines for food and drinks, so perhaps an all-white Frenchmen party?

Putting all that aside, the event definitely had a different feel to it, the all-white made a big impact on the elegance and ambience of the event and persons, well most, were able to put the shaky start behind them and enjoy their night. Some would go back and some wouldn’t. Sad for such an event for people to have said they actually would not go back. However, you can’t please everybody. Kudos to the promoters for eventually pulling off one of the most highly anticipated events in Jamaica for a long time. There must have been loads of pressure and clearly a lot of skepticism faced. The vision in terms of what the event is intended to promote globally, was a little more than half accomplished. One of Suga’s sources gave it a pass. Friendship, Heritage and some Effort was achieved. Our monumental, Emancipation Park was completely transformed. Most importantly, Joie de Vivre (The Joy of Living) and Magic were completely fulfilled. Take it to Montego Bay next year, not Trident Castle, Portland 🙂

Carrying Dessert for Diner en Blanc? Try this Apple Caramel Trifle

Apple Caramel Trifle
Apple Caramel Trifle

INGREDIENTS

1 box of Cake Mix (spice, yellow, pound cake)

1 Container of Cool Whip or 2 Small Containers

1 large box of Vanilla Instant Pudding

1 jar of Caramel Topping Sauce

2 cans of Apple Pie Filling

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DIRECTIONS

1. Start by preparing the cake. If you choose to use store-bought then you can get started right away, otherwise wait until your cake has cooled before starting to layer the trifle.

2. Prepare your pudding and chill. The instant pudding is recommended because it is easier and faster.

3. Begin your layers. Start with the cake at the bottom so that it provides a base. It makes it easier to serve.

4. Add other layers. Here is the breakdown:

1 – Layer of Cake

2 – Drizzled Caramel Sauce on top of the cake

3 – Layer Vanilla Pudding

4 – Layer 1 Can of Apple Pie Filling

5 – Layer of Cool Whip

Repeat and Top it off with Cool Whip and Caramel and enjoy!

Recipe found with Cookpad (http://cookpad.com/en)

(Original url: http://www.allthecooks.com/apple-caramel-trifle.html

 

 

Wing Sauce Competition!

Not attending Diner en Blanc this Saturday? Looking for something simple, fun and casual to do? Consider supporting, non-profit organization, New Kingston Rotaract Club’s 4th Annual Wing Sauce Competition at Red Stripe Playfield on Spanish Town Road. Suga Lifestyle will be judging to assist them with deciding who is the real Sauce Boss!

 

Gloria’s come a town?! No, it’s Sea Deck in Orchid Village Plaza, Barbican!

For a restaurant that opened mid-last year to be so good but off the radar, it must be a hidden gem. I was instantly impressed as I stepped into the restaurant last Saturday night at about 7:50pm. Lovely ambience and cosy decor with even a fish pond full of beautiful koi on the left side where my friend and I were seated. The hostess and waitress were polite but not pleasant.

Main dishes were ordered, then with a change of heart we wished to order appetizers as well. We felt stranded at sea, beckoning for a waitress with none to our rescue. Luckily the catch of the day came within a few minutes. Seafood freshly cooked to order, taking just under 20 minutes, really?! Awesome. I ordered the Shrimp in garlic sauce with Mashed Potatoes ($1800JMD+tx). No complaints about the Shrimp, they were delicious. The Mashed Potatoes were a bit tough. Got milk? The Steamed Fish was HUGE for just ($1500JMD+tx) with a side of Bammy. It was perfect, bursting with flavour. Definitely more than value for our money. Maybe Chef and Restaurant owner, Yan Yao who has been a restaurateur for almost 15 years was responsible for that unique, burst of flavour.

So, great night, but I could do without the live DJ. The table beside us shared the same sentiment and asked for the music to be turned down, then it was tolerable.

The restaurant also offers other meat varieties and even vegetarian dishes. However, the front of the menu couldn’t be more accurate, ‘Sea Deck – Finest Seafood Dishes in Town’. Suga Lifestyle cannot wait to return and taste the other seafood varieties they offer such as King Crab, Mussels, Lobster, Conch, Squid and more.

Opening hours – Sundays to Thursdays: 12 noon to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays: 12 noon to 11pm.

Ph. : 876-702-4032

South Beach Cafe, now C&C South Beach Cafe is revived!

I have been invited to C&C South Beach Cafe twice in one month after a long while,  so I knew something had to be different. They are now under new management and their presence was definitely felt. The hostesses that meet you from the parking lot are extremely polite and friendly, in a genuine way.

Last Friday night after being seated, my beau and I were neglected for a little while, so called for a waitress. We were told one would be coming shortly, then immediately came Shara who apologised profusely that she was not aware we were seated. Thankfully, Shara is one of a kind, a comedian in fact.

We ordered and the food came out soon after. My order of Burger Sliders was missing the fries, but Shara continuing to be full of jokes and fun, made me forget quickly that any issue arised and ensured that the fries came soon after. The Sliders were tasty and I loved that they didn’t just heat up frozen meat. It was obviously freshly cooked. They also got me to eat the small vegetable salad that accompanied it because of the tasty vinaigrette. The Chicken Quesadillas were not as spicy as advertised but had a lovely flavour as well. Happily, we made the right choice in Cocktails. The Mai Tai (Dark rum, Light rum, Pine Juice, Orgeat Syrup, Lime juice) was good, but I preferred the Caribbean Surf (Blue Curacao, Appleton, Vodka, Pine juice) that was refreshingly good. I was also impressed with the fact that the Blue Curacao did not overpower the drink, making it taste too minty or like menthol as some other bars do.

There is a wide range of dishes on the menu and most items seem to be reasonably and appropriately priced. What should be noted is that the prices on the menus issued at the bar already include GCT and there is no service charge. High-end dishes have high-end prices. For instance, entrees range from a Chicken Mushroom Marsala at $1650JMD to a Grilled Fillet Mignon at $4500JMD. Therefore, in alignment with prices at more reputable establishments. Was that the smart thing to do so early? We will see but they are clearly setting a high standard for themselves. Not perfect yet, but hey, neither are the others. Grilled Fillet of Atlantic Salmon ($2750JMD), Lamb Chops and Lobster Thermidor ($3800JMD) and Linguini Primavera ($2250JMD) are just a few of the other entrees on the menu. Cocktails range from $500-$750JMD.

Mr. David Thompson, Marketing Executive along with two others calmly but efficiently supervised the area and also checked if everything was ok.

Also, it is evident that parking is not sufficient in front of South Beach but you don’t have to park on the side of the road. Parking has been made available at a nearby, suitable venue up the road, from which they now provide a shuttle service. Suga likes the changes and will be returning soon and definitely asking for Shara.

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