Tag Archives: dinner

Hajarie, the Teapot Hit the Spot!

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Suga visited Hajarie last Saturday for Lunch at about 3:30pm. Hajarie has been open for about a month now at what I would like to call the Phoenix Avenue Complex of Eateries. Hajarie is not entirely new, but they have expanded their repertoire. They are familiarly known as The Teapot that used to be located in Sovereign Centre. A Suga Bear used to go there frequently for their refreshing Teas.

Persons have the option of comfortable indoor or outdoor dining with a scenic garden view.

I was pleasantly surprised by the detailed, exquisite décor upon entering. Volcanic rock wall tiles and light fixtures made of full bamboo. Impressive.

We were seated instantly by our pleasant, professional waitress. I observed two groups of content and comfortable diners that included a Birthday celebration. A new place pleasing big groups was a good sign already.

I appreciated the well-tailored Menu. It offered suitable variety without overwhelming options.

My husband, Randy and I started off with the Soup of the Day ($400JMD) that was a Pepper Pot Soup. It was rich in taste with the expected level of spicy.

Our dishes came out like clockwork with a little time to talk in between. Just how I like it. We had the appetizing Smoked Herring Salsa ($650JMD) that complemented our preferred side of Eggplant Chips well. The Olive wood and mother of pearl plates were a fine touch.

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Smoked Herring tossed with a fresh combination of tomato, cucumber, scotch bonnet pepper served with biscuits or preferred side option ($650)

Randy had a delish, flavourful sautée of wild mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil pesto tossed with freshly tien lettuce and julienne tomatoes. It was to all be served on a grilled flatbread but for some reason it was on a tortilla. He didn’t mind, however his only fault was that the olive oil was a bit overpowering in the pesto and I agreed. We informed the waitress.

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Sautéed Mushroom ($1200JMD) with added Shrimp ($600JMD)

My Avocado and Chickpea Wrap with added Chicken was perfection even though they didn’t have whole wheat tortillas. The Wrap was a sweet combination of grilled plantains, balsamic marinated cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and chickpea.

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Avocado Chickpea – wrapped ($900JMD) with added Chicken ($400JMD).

Paninis are their other choice for Casual dining, while Pastas, Salads, Kebabs and Seafood dishes serve as their Entrée options.

Hajarie serves Wine by the Bottle only.  We opted to have their refreshing White Berry and Lemon Mint Iced Teas ($400JMD each). Ginger Honey was the other option.

We didn’t have Dessert, but their Brazilian Banana Cake is highly recommended by local Chef Anthony Fleming and I need to be there the next time they bake the Apple Cinnamon Torte!

So one can eat healthy, unhealthy or a little bit of both at Hajarie.

Hajarie – The Teapot has truly evolved. Spectacular décor with an ambience to unwind, Good service, Delicious food and Refreshing teas, Decadent desserts and Reasonable prices, all in one month. Bravo and Keep it up! Hajarie may be a hidden gem, but not for long. #SugaEndorsed

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Suga at Hajarie (The Teapot Ja) last Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Hajarie (The Teapot JA) – Tearoom • Winebar • Bistro

Location: 9-11 Phoenix Avenue. Kingston 10

Ph: 876-634-9937

Instagram: hajarie_theteapot

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Suga’s 411 on Vietnam 4U!

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Suga waited a month to visit Jamaica’s 1st and only Vietnamese Restaurant located in Manor Centre.

Coincidentally, I went two Saturdays ago, which happened to be the Saturday following its marketing publication on Thursday, August 24 in one of our local papers, The Jamaica Observer.

It was a bad day. Positives? All their dishes such as Spring Rolls, Rice, Vegetable, Beef and Chicken dishes, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches and Dessert cost less than $800JMD. So, I was only impressed with their reasonable prices and modern decor. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. I was approached by two young ladies after I left, who asked my opinion of the experience and expressed their dissatisfaction.

I found the contrast of views to be interesting between them as foodies, and a member of the Chaine des Rôtisseurs (International Association of Gastronomy, IAG) who also dined there that day. The ladies believed that, since they are just opening everything should be on point, versus the IAG member who was quick to opine that you cannot judge an establishment within their first month of opening.

I agree with both views, but not entirely. I know of Restaurants that have gotten it right within the 1st month of opening. Nirvanna Indian Fusion Cuisine, Great Escape – Runaway Bay, Jamaica Liquor Warehouse Deli, Cellar 8 and Hard Rock Cafe – Montego Bay are some of those Restaurants, just to name a few.

Since it can be done, what excuses do the Restaurants that don’t get it right have? When is it suitable not to judge and to tolerate teething pains?

It is suitable to tolerate teething pains when the owners are willing to seek general feedback via all mediums whether face to face, over the telephone or via direct messaging. Also, when the owners are willing to have respectful, balanced discussions with dissatisfied diners and are inclined to accept honest, negative feedback and suggestions so that they can prepare themselves with solutions to turn things around as quickly as possible.

Vi Nguyen, one of the founders for 4U Vietnam Restaurant spoke with Suga, and is excited about bringing something new to the Jamaican market and would like to guide her staff to do their best to improve the Restaurant everyday.

Obstacles and Outlooks

● Lack of Owners’/Managerial Presence

It is critical for an owner to oversee their Restaurant for at least the first 3 months after opening, put in the marketing and stress test the Restaurant. Nguyen, who does not live here and has a different career overseas, got a taste of Jamaican reality. It was a reality check in terms of how long things can take to get going in Jamaica because of various regulations and just how slow the overall process is to open an establishment compared to the USA and Vietnam. It definitely surpassed her time here of 4 months, so she had to leave shortly after the opening to return to work.

There was also unexpected difficulty in getting visas for overseas staff members, which include another Chef and Manager.

She will return to Jamaica in about a week and four other members of staff from overseas, with experience in Vietnamese cuisine should be arriving in November.

Overwhelmed staff members leading to an increased shortage of staff

After my visit, where they were one server short, a new server was trained and employed to replace the previous server.

Shortage of Ingredients, thus lack of authenticity compared to Vietnamese Restaurants overseas, a limited menu and being unable to offer certain options at a late time on a busy day

A huge shipment of ingredients and supplies is on its way. There is a consideration to eventually buy land here and grow various ingredients such as lemon grass as well.

Why is lemon grass short in Jamaica? Despite the global demand for lemon grass essential oil and the relative ease with which the plant grows in Jamaica, it is not produced commercially.(Jamaica Observer, May 20, 2012)

***Note that one of my brothers’ favourite cuisine in the States is Vietnamese, so I had no choice but to experience it several times and I enjoyed it. Clean, healthy and fresh eating with kicks of herbal flavour. I am looking forward to having this plan realised.

Will they take the risk of Participating in Restaurant Week this November?

Yes, but they will only be doing the Lunch Special, which is the most manageable option.

It was a pleasure speaking with Vi Nguyen. It was refreshing to hear how genuinely passionate and eager she is about her plans to improve the Restaurant. I hope they overcome the various setbacks by December and persevere, as I think there is a lot of potential for the Restaurant to improve and possibly grow into a franchise here in Jamaica.

Good luck to Vi Nguyen and the team. Suga will visit again.

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Gluten free Pho with Chicken (Small) – $650JMD

4U Vietnam Restaurant

Location: Khemlani Plaza, Manor Centre. Kgn. 8

Ph: 876-616-8367; 876-305-0943

Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-8pm; Fri- Sat: 11am-9pm; Sun: 2pm-9pm

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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The Neatest Beggar’s Purse from Jean-Georges!

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Photo: Dorothy Wang

Dorothy Wang had dinner at Jean-Georges in Beverly Hills two weeks ago and said her Beggar’s Purse was the cutest and fanciest she has ever seen. Suga agrees!

It was filled with Ossetra Caviar and Vodka cream, tied with a chive and topped with a gold leaf.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a famed French Chef that is known to craft his dishes with blends of French, American and Asian influences.

His Fine Dining Restaurant, Jean-Georges in Beverly Hills has 3 Michelin stars! Jean-Georges is also in New York, overlooking Central Park.

Jean-Georges Restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Location: 9850 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, Ca. 90210 USA

Ph: 310-860-6566

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Check out this Christmas Dinner in July!

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Instagram photo: @thekitchenista

I have been following Angela Davis on Instagram, who is a self-taught home cook, recipe developer, private chef and author located in Maryland, D.C.

She had a Sunday Dinner Party two weekends ago, titled ‘Christmas in July’. It was also hosted by Clinton Mitchell and his wife. There were 12 guests, who were a mixture of followers, friends and clients that hit it off quickly and had rave reviews, using the hashtag, #KitchenistaSundays on Instagram.

The Dinner was the Feast of 7 Dishes with an Italian Seafood theme. The prelude included Crostinis with anchovy butter and radishes, an Italian Seafood salad, a Vegetable salad and stuffed Clams.

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A slow roasted pistachio crusted Salmon followed for the main course. A guest said it was the best Salmon they have ever had.

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All of that was topped off with Roasted figs along with whipped goat cheese and a Lemon Olive Oil Cake.

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The Kitchenista also did a live Pasta making demo that streamed on twitter. You can check her website link below for more information, get added to her mailing list for upcoming events and check out some of her recipes as well.

For all my Suga Bears in DC, don’t wait till I get there. Send this Kitchenista an email so you can taste her magic because there will be more Kitchenista Sundays!

Kitchenista Diaries

Location: Maryland, Washington DC

Email: Angela@kitchenistadiaries.com

Website: kitchenistadiaries.com/

Instagram: @thekitchenista

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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TGIF from Toscanini Italian!

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Toscanini’s Lobster Thermidor

It’s Lobster season alright and Suga indulged in Toscanini’s salivating, flavourful Lobster Thermidor three Fridays ago.

Note that their vegetables are farm to table and the seafood is freshly caught. Owner, Lella Ricci usually has first pick on the Lobster!

For my Kingstonians, take a drive out to Toscanini Italian for Lunch or Dinner. It’s only an hour away now and definitely worth the trip and the price!

Toscanini Restaurant & Bar

Location: A3 Highway, Tower Isle. Ocho Rios

Ph: 876-975-4785

***Prices***

Appetizers range from $5-$20 USD. 
Pastas range from $16-$32 USD.
Other main courses range from $22-$45 USD.
Desserts range from $7-$9 USD.

Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays-12-2pm; 7-10pm (Closed on Mondays)

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Delightful and Healthy Salad from 100!

 

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Guava Chicken Quinoa Salad

Healthy Protein, Carbs, Veggies and a little bit of Fruit all in one dish!

100

Location: 100 Hope Road. Kingston 6
Ph: 876.665-3BET (3238)
Instagram: 100hoperoad
Facebook: 100 Hope Road

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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TGIF! Pizza from Cellar 8!

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Cellar 8’s Greek Pizza – kalamata olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, mozzarella, basil and pesto sauce (Vegan option available)

The Pizzas at Cellar 8 are great with or without a few drinks. I enjoyed my Greek pizza two weeks ago and Suga bears rave over their Down South pizza as well.

The Down South pizza has sweet, tangy South Carolina sauce with ham, sugar, cured bacon, caramelized onion and sharp cheddar.

Enjoy some delish appetizers and entrées this weekend accompanied by a few drinks at Cellar 8! #sugaendorsed

Cellar 8 Wine Bar

Location: Shop 10, Upper Manor Park Plaza

Ph: 876-613-5934

Opening Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 4pm-11pm

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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