I went to Wine With Me in Negril by the Beachcomber Hotel about 3 weekends ago for some vino.
I liked to visit when it ran its course in Montego Bay, so I was happy to hear a few months ago that it reopened.
My husband and I had checked it out early on the Saturday night, but they only offered light plates of food. We decided to have dinner up the road and promised the extremely polite hostess that we would return later that night. I didn’t get her name, but she was the reason we made a special effort to return at 10:30pm before their closing hour.
Since we were coming from one of the few Restaurants you could dress up and go to in the Capital of Casual, I was quite pleased that I could go straight to Wine With Me feeling comfortable, looking Cocktail chic.
It was a cosy environment, furnished with modern décor and lighting.
All the persons that were having drinks earlier left, so we got all the attention to ourselves from the waitress. I can see they are likely to have good service regardless of the fact though.
The Chef got wind of why we had left earlier. He made us aware that he is the same Chef from the one that was in Montego Bay and that they are looking to expand the menu to include heavier dishes similar to what they had before such as Lamb chops, Fish etc.
They had a wide selection of Wines. Of course, a limited selection if you chose to have it by the glass. A glass of Wine costed about $7/$8USD +tx. With regards to prices for the Wine and Small Bites, they are fairly comparable to other local Wine Bars but transportation and other costs are taken into consideration. In order to offer the finest selection of Wines and artisan and gourmet Cheese in the small town of Negril, they are brought in all the way from Kingston. Prices are also quoted in US dollars, as most places in Negril due to the fluctuation of the dollar.
We enjoyed our vino and cigars on the outside terrace and we look forward to returning when they have expanded their menu and to also check out their Charcuterie platters.
Wine With Me is Suga Endorsed for a classy, cosy and intimate spot for drinks and small bites on the busy Negril Strip.
Wine With Me
Location: Norman Manley Boulevard, Rutland Point. Negril, JA
Opening hours: 6pm-11pm
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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If you have been wondering why the road on Hillcrest has been packed with cars at night, it’s because The Haven at Hillcrest is open! It opened a few weeks ago and has been getting a lot of patronage so far judging from the past 2 Fridays I have visited.
They have Foodie Fridays, which is not surprising as the managers, Karen Darby and Byron Purkiss are foodies at heart. Two Fridays ago, I had the pleasure of having Roast Fish (1lb) made by Miss Mae from Hellshire with a serving of Festival and Bammy for $1500. It took a little while to get to me but I was not disappointed and didn’t expect to be. Delish! Freshly caught, well seasoned and topped off with the right amount of pepper.
Last Friday they had Fish Tacos, Chipotle Beef Burgers and more. They have hosted Oyster nights on Saturdays too.
Until they get a Resident Chef, a Pan Chicken man is on property, thus food is always available. Decent Pan Chicken too. I had my share last Friday for $450 within two minutes of ordering.
I am sure The Haven at Hillcrest has a lot more in store and what better timing to head there during the Christmas season with family and friends. Stay tuned to their Facebook page, The Haven at Hillcrest to keep up with the nightly activities. Rustic Chic décor, large space, diverse crowd and affordable food and liquor. The Bartender, Andrew also makes you feel at home.
There is a new Bar in town that the uptowners of Kingston are raving about. Cellar 8 Wine Bar! Its location in Upper Manor Park where Training Camp used to be, is close to home for most of the persons who were quick to stop by last weekend.
Suga visited last Saturday evening with husband and friend and was delighted to see the tasteful, modern decor from ceiling to floor. There was comfortable seating downstairs and a lounge area upstairs.
Service was on point all around. If we followed our waitress, we would have tried everything on the menu and drank out the bar as well.
One of the teething pains for them though, is the Wine List, which probably should have been their priority seeing that they have named themselves a Wine Bar. Just about 6 Wines were listed on the menu with reasonable prices by the Glass ($700-$950JMD) and Bottle. However, there was an entire wall with Wines to choose from that you were encouraged to walk over to if you desired to do so. If persons were seated by the wall you would not want to invade their privacy or space though. They explained that this issue would be sorted out soon.
Spirits were offered by the cue. V/X for $1100JMD, Overproof for $1200JMD and Johnnie Walker for $1800JMD to give you an idea.
Cocktails were also on the menu such as Mojitos ($800JMD), the Classic Martini ($900JMD) and more.
Persons can go for dinner as well with dishes that pair well with Wines such as Lamb Chops ($2100JMD), Basa Fillet ($1700JMD), Steak ($2500JMD), Pastas ($1400-$1800JMD), Pizzas ($1000-$1200ZJMD) and on the lighter side, Salads ($1000-$1100).
A friend was not happy with her Basa Fillet, which was communicated to her waiter and the Manager. It was described as slippery and slimy, served in small bites with a lot of skin on it, all overpowered by the cream sauce. Apologies everything could not be sugar-coated folks.
The portion of Steak served to her other half was described as quite small for the cost.
With that aside, feedback from others was extremely positive. They not only salivated over the food but it was refreshing to have it come out so fast after ordering in a room full of people. I was very happy to experience and observe that and I hope they keep it up.
Of course, if you didn’t just go for just drinks or dinner, after a couple glasses you are ready to order some tasty bites. Their Signature dish, Oxtail Tacos screamed out at me from the menu and I had no regrets! Delish!
We also had the Chimichuri Angus Beef Sliders that was fantastic as well.
Wedges, Wings, Mac and Cheese, Pork Sliders, Fine Roasted Thai Shrimp and more in the range of $450-$1700JMD were offered too.
The wide variety of options on the Menu were listed with the Prices subject to G.C.T.
A bar close to home is both a good and bad thing, but I think this one is here to stay. I will be returning for sure.
Word is, last Friday night was so full, everyone could not be seated. There was no need to worry though, because there was a lot of standing room. They enjoyed the vibe, their drinks and conversation. Most importantly, conversation. I was quite pleased that the music was low so I could have and enjoy a good conversation, which is lacking at many bars nowadays.
Cellar 8 Wine Bar was described as being ‘So New York!’.
Have fun checking this one out!
Cellar 8 Wine Bar
Location: Shop 10, Upper Manor Park Plaza
Opening Hours: Tuesdays-Sundays, 4pm-11pm
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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Pelican Bar is a rustic bar that was built from wood by a fisherman, Floyd Forbes in 2001 on a sand bank in the middle of the sea. It is half way between Black River and Treasure Beach.
Of course it was named after the flocks of Pelicans that used to rest on the sand bank.
It is now an established attraction as the hotels quickly recognized what a nice get away it is. Local fishermen will ferry you over from Black River and Treasure Beach, that are about 20 minutes out.
Suga enjoyed the Catamaran Cruise about a month ago with Island Routes from an hour and a half away. The boat was anchored about 2 minutes away from the Bar and we were carried over the low waters by a small motor boat that would collect us in an hour.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the local fishermen that took orders for fish and drinks from the bar. They keep it simple as they are literally out in the middle of the sea so options are limited. For food, the only meal of the day was Brown Stew Fish and rice an peas. Rice and Peas? Yes. Asking for a side of Bammy was a special order. That’s it. As a tourist attraction and for the experience, I found $15US for the food to be quite reasonable. Tourists mostly enjoyed Rum, Red Stripe Beer and Heineken and the food was ready by the time you explored a little and had a drink.
A man walked around that would etch your names in the wooden floor of the bar, who I am sure collects a lot of tips.
Some tourists did a bit of swimming and snorkelling and collected sea eggs and sea urchins while I enjoyed chilling in the water, chatting and drinking beer. Before we knew it, it was time for those who came by Island Routes to head back to land.
It was not an oh so spectacular place but it was all about the experience and it was definitely an opportunity to get away, relax and enjoy the simplicity offered. One thing that could really amp up what they had to offer? It’s St. Elizabeth, so they could get some Shrimp aka ‘Peppa Swims’ at that bar!
Awesome, Picturesque Beach Day. Lovely spot to enjoy with family and friends. Explore Jamaica! Suga endorsed.
Yesterday was the 3rd staging of Fathers who Cook by Lodge Portmore at Ham Stables in Portmore from 12 noon to 4pm. The cost was $4000JMD for Adults.
The event was a Charity event in aid of Clifton Basic School, George Lee Foundatiom and other Masonic Charities including the Green Frog Gray Elephant Foundation. The Green Frog Gray Elephant Foundation raises Autism Awareness.
The ticket entitled you to 3 Meats, Staple (side orders) and a Drink. However food such as Burgers, Soup, Dessert and Snowcones came with your band as well. Drinks including Premium liquor were on sale.
Suga reached early before noon. I sipped on drinks and chatted with family and friends until food was ready at about 1pm. Service was quick and easy and there were hardly any lines. It is best to come to these types of events early. I was told that it was more organized this year so even for persons that arrived at about 2:30/3pm, shuttle service was provided by distant parking, entry to the venue was smooth and a second line was created for collecting staple, plates etc. All ladies, whether Mothers or not were given a rose upon entry and they did not run out. There was an endless supply of buckets with fresh roses. That was a nice touch.
Some advertised cooks were a no show this year but there was more than enough food for everyone and quite a variety. Highlights for Suga were the Roast Fish from Ellis and the Lion Fish from Huntley Watson. They were spicy, meaty and tasty!
Paul Robertson’s Lamb that is a hit every year sustained its high standard but was in high demand so finished quickly. So did the Pork Hock and Beans. Since I missed out on the Pork Hock when I was circling the tents again, I had Pork Belly, which was tender and had a delicious sauce.
Andre’s Shrimp Kebabs stayed a bit too long on the grill but had a nice flavour.
I was stuffed so missed out on Evon Lyn Cook’s Curried Goat, but next time.
The Dessert Station had assorted Cakes, Ice cream, Sorbet, Hershey’s Kisses and Ferrero Rocher. I am happy I caught the Cappuccino ice cream, whicj was delicious before that crazy rainbow one came out.
Cal’s syrup definitely had a presence with their Snowcones. What a blast from the past for Suga. I enjoyed my Strawberry Snowcone.
There were no horse or pony rides but a Magician and Singers provided good entertainment as well as music from Stokey Love.
Sponsors were Jamaica Broilers Group, Caribbean Broilers Ltd., Fidelity Motors Ltd., IGL Ltd., Smart Mobile Solutions, Genus Pharmacy, Rights Bakery, Wata, Coca-Cola, Tru-Juice and JAA.
Jamaica Automobile Association signed up persons for a Free 6-month Membership for 24/7 Emergency Roadside and Accident Assistance including All-island coverage and Security but not Towing services.
Well done Lodge Portmore. Would Suga attend again? Maybe not consecutively but will make a trip out there another year.
Goddard Catering Group also known as GCG Events are THE Caterers to watch! Up to last week Thursday, many did not know who or what was Goddard. How did that change? GCG hosted what I considered as a launch titled, ‘Destination: Delicious!’ last Thursday night at the Ruins, Mona that was Simply Outstanding, fully representing their brand.
Fidelity Motors Ltd. is a part of the Goddard Enterprises Group of Companies and GCG often works together with Tai Flora Luxe. So on the outskirts of the event, a car was on display followed by a beautiful table arrangement and lounge area decorated by Tai Flora.
GCG and Tai Flora pair beautifully together, as GCG not only caters for Corporate and Social events but for Weddings as well. They describe themselves as expensive but based on Suga’s experience with them, I absolutely disagree. For the complete package that they offer, for instance if you also require their Bar Services, they provide all the necessary glassware, ice, flatware, cutlery, disposables and service staff for an unbeatable price. Not to mention that they come fully equipped with their cooling trucks, electricity and more. To add icing to the cake, they are partners with Pop Up Gourmet Jamaica, which means that once you have your Pop Up Gourmet Advantage Card you get a 10% discount. Depending on the size of your event, that could turn out to be up to $30,000 to $50,000 or more off of your bill! My Gosh, where have they been all along? They have been around for many years Suga Bears. After successfully catering for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007, they saw the need to raise the bar on catering services throughout the region, leading to the birth of GCG Events in 2008, an affiliated company of Goddard Catering Group and a member of the Goddard Enterprises Group of Companies. Some persons who know of them may also familiarise them with the airport or airport/airplane food. But when you taste their food, you would have no idea. They are thus familiar with the importance of punctuality as well.
They do a lot of Overseas Weddings and Funerals. Funerals?! Yes, because when persons land at the airport where their office is located, all they have to do is ask for GCG to take care of everything for them and work with their budget stating how much a head they can afford. The headache they thought they would have is usually gone once it reaches into GCG’s hands as they seem to be an excellent team. It is likely that you would communicate with Jasmin Ramsay or Cheridah Douglas who are the epitome of quick, efficient communication, quality service and the ability to deduce the needs of their customers, often without even having to ask.
To the general public, GCG probably started to visually creep into the Events market since the 1st Epicurean Escape in 2012 held at Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, close to Ocho Rios, Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay. The Festival featured some of Jamaica’s finest including Chef Ravi Anne, Chef Dennis McIntosh, Chef Theo Smith, Chef Christopher Evans, many others and most importantly, GCG’s current head Chef, Daniel Schwietzer. Since then they have been taking their time filtering into the Events market even more.
Executive Chef Daniel Schwietzer is Swiss and discovered his love for cooking from his Uncle who had a restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland. He knew very quickly from then that he wanted to be a Chef. He traveled across Switzerland where he learnt French and Italian cuisines, Los Angeles, California and then finally to Jamaica 25 years ago! He has served in the capacity of Executive Chef at Morgan’s Harbor Hotel, Temple Hall Estate, Plantation Inn and for the past 19 years, Goddard Catering Group Jamaica Ltd.
So what did Chef Schwietzer and the other Chefs as well as Bartenders have to offer at Destination: Delicious held last Thursday? It was quite a spread. Suga arrived at about 7:45pm. The event was slated to be from 6:30pm to 10pm so I arrived when things were about to be in full swing. Invited Guests were greeted with Sangria and I was just in time to hear Chef Schwietzer be introduced and have him take us through all the stations where he was sure to display his passion of fusing Caribbean and European cuisines.
The Cocktail station had Roasted Tuna with balsamic glaze drizzled over micro greens, Bruschetta with jerked cream cheese, escellion and wine, Rice noodles with Salmon, usually paired well with white wine and Ceviche drizzled with lime juice and some country pepper. The Ceviche and Tuna Appetizers impressed Suga.
The Soup station had Red peas, Manish water and Pumpkin soup with Spicy Banana Bread croutons that enhanced the flavour. All were tasty, but the Manish water was the hit for the night.
There was a Salad station to top off wetting the appetite. I loved the general use of fresh micro greens as I am in total support of the local farm to table concept.
Then for the meat lovers, the Beef and Pork station were kicking where the mango salsa complemented the Beef Tenderloin well and the coffee rubbed and chocolate infused methods were a delightful enhancement in flavour.
The Flat Bread station had THE most toppings including pesto, smoked marlin, fresh mozzarella and mushrooms, basil, micro greens, you name it!
There was a live cooking, Pasta station with Seafood pasta and a Dessert station where for Suga, the highlight was the Apple crumble. It was delicious.
Wines, Cocktails and Premium Spirits galore were offered.
The most outstanding for Suga was the tender, fresh, succulent cut of Beef! Perfection.
The Chefs were personable and pleasant, especially the men who had a charming flair to their service. Well done Goddard. Well done.
Executive Chef Daniel Schwietzer and Gabrielle Williams from Suga Lifestyle
I thoroughly enjoyed the night and expected nothing less. It was evident that persons were pleasantly surprised, impressed and pleased with the high standard and quality of service, food and drinks that GCG presented. A lot of power players in the Events industry were present and I am sure they will be key to future events and persons that GCG will cater to.
There is currently a breakdown across the service industry, Wedding vendors in particular, with regards to efficient communication such as getting quotes to customers in a timely fashion, following up with customers etc., but GCG is coming full force now and they will be at Dîner en Blanc this Saturday and other events to come. You won’t have to look out for them too hard because they will be Simply Outstanding!