Tag Archives: Jamaican cuisine

Do you have your Tickets for Jamaica Food & Drink Festival?!

The Caribbean’s No. 1 Urban Food Festival starts this Saturday!

All days should be a treat. If you must choose, check out where your favourite Chefs and Restaurants will be on http://www.jafoodanddrink.com. Picante and Crisp are stacked with Suga’s faves.

Hope you have secured your tickets! If not, here is the information you need:

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Schedule, Venues and Costs for Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF)
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JFDF Ambassadors on Instagram and JFDF Ticket Outlets

Enjoy 7 World Class Food Events at 7 Iconic Kingston Venues.

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Executive Chef Mark Cole from The Jamaica Pegasus that cooked divine dishes for President Barack Obama, Prince Harry and Princess Ann – CRISP!

There was a Sneak Taste on Tuesday at The Steak House on the Verandah, Devon House which had its opening last Sunday. Check out a few of the highlights!

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Bar B Que Pig Tails served with a Ginger Mango glaze on a Bammy Crisp topped with Crumbled Bacon by Chef Débè-Ann Lange-Chen of Cutting Edge Gourmet- PORK PALOOZA!
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A thrilling Five spiced Baked Salmon Fillet with a Sesame Chill Glaze from Chef Evrol Ebanks of Rainforest Seafoods – CHOPSTIX!
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Colin Hylton’s Malaysian Spiced Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mahogany Glaze, Toasted Shaved Coconut and Sushi Rice Balls – PICANTE!

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Cheesy, Vegetable Casseroles for the Win from Black Orchid Restaurant!

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Two Saturdays ago, I went to Black Orchid Restaurant, upstairs in Eden Gardens to redeem my Fine Vegetarian Cuisine Special for two.

My husband, Randy and I had the Fine Dining Restaurant to ourselves that night at 8:45pm.

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Décor at The Black Orchid Restaurant

Our host/waiter for the night that emerged from the Tulips Restaurant downstairs was quite hospitable.

He took our order of Moussaka and Vegan Pasta, then realised instantly that they did not have Eggplant for the Special we already paid for.

Moussaka is a layered eggplant or potato-based dish that sometimes includes ground meat. Many versions have a top layer made like a custard. In Greece, the dish is layered and typically served hot. In Turkey, it is served warm or at room temperature after being sautéed and served like a casserole. The Arabs usually eat it cold.

Our host reassured us that they had a competent Chef who had experience working with the Cruiselines and that he would come to speak with us shortly. Chef Xavier got an idea about what we expected, i.e. the layered eggplant casserole and the Vegan Pasta, also with Eggplant and Parmesan. He told us that he knew what he would do for us even though he didn’t have Eggplant or Squash, but other vegetables.

To our surprise, about half an hour later, our host arrived with not two, but three dishes! I got both the Vegan Pasta and the Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Randy had a Cheesy Eggplant Casserole as well, but his was a combination of other Cheeses since he told the Chef he didn’t mind which Cheese was used. Chef Xavier looked like he also found a small amount of Eggplant stashed away and had just enough to put in the Casseroles, but not the Vegan Pasta.

The Casseroles had a mixture of eggplant, other vegetables and potatoes in a freshly made tomato sauce layered with cheese. While the Vegan Pasta had a mixture of vegetables as well, topped of with grated parmesan cheese. All dishes had distinct flavours that pleased us both.

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R-L (Top row): Piña Colada; Vegetable Pasta; (Bottom row) – Vegetable and Cheese Casseroles

I just planned on having the Vegan Pasta and tasting the Casserole but as I had a little of both, I had a lot of both. Chef Xaver did an exceptional job. Cheat Day times two!

I really appreciated them extending such a courtesy when they saw we were not going to get what we expected. They actually exceeded our expectations.

Our Blended Drinks were delish as well!

I can’t speak to other items on their menu, but if you are ever feeling for Cheesy Casserole Dishes, go to Black Orchid and pray that Chef Xavier didn’t sail away in a Cruiseline Kitchen.

Black Orchid Restaurant

Location: Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa @ 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston

Ph: 876-946-9977

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Hidden Spot for Jamaican and Vegetarian Cuisine Lunches!

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Photo credit: Stephen Greig

Healthy Bites is located at a house in Trafalgar Park, close to NCB Atrium where you can pick up your Lunch.

Vegetarian meals such as Lentil Stew and General meals, typically of Jamaican cuisine such as Ackee and Saltfish, usually range in cost from $450-$650JMD. I love when places don’t drench your Ackee in oil. Healthy Bites is definitely a clean eating option. I am promoting healthy food today but if Fried Bammy is your choice for a side option, go for it.

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Photo credit: Stephen Greig

The Menu varies each day and they offer large enough portions that are tasty.

You can customize your Lunch based on the sides you desire and they are open to suggestions. They are also considering Delivery.

Healthy Bites

Location: 3 Circle Close (Trafalgar Park, close to NCB Atrium)

Ph: 876-296-4119 (Ruby Porter)

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Food and Service at Jamaica Liquor Warehouse’s Deli is still up to Scratch

It was a pleasure to return to Jamaica Liquor Warehouse for Lunch 2 Saturdays ago and still experience good quality food and service.

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Crushed Green Plantain Bruschetta with Feta Cheese – $700JMD

Their tasty, Plantain Bruschetta is a delightful starter that can be shared.

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Lentil Stew with Pumpkin rice pilaf and Garlic sautéed vegetables – $1350JMD

The healthy, Lentil Stew was delish. The Pumpkin rice pilaf was dry though.

They altered the Crispy Fried Boneless Chicken Breast ($1750JMD) on the menu to a Grilled Chicken Breast for my other half, which he was satisfied with. It was served with Garlic mashed potato and sautéed vegetables.

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Frozen Mint Lemonade with White Rum

Their Mint Lemonade was a Refreshing Creeper!

The Bread pudding was no Fromage Bread pudding. It was missing that gastronomic crumble on top. But it’s texture was phenomenal and it went down even smoother with the ice cream on the side. Two thumbs up!

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Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

Jamaica Liquor Warehouse, Deli & Bar

Location: 17 Lindsay Crescent, Kingston

Ph: 876-925-9427

Opening hours for Deli & Warehouse:  Fridays: 11am – 12 midnight;

Saturdays: 9am – 12 midnight;

N.B. Kitchen closes an hour before 12 midnight

Tuesdays to Thursdays: 11am-10:30pm

Sundays: 11am-8pm

***Closed on Mondays***

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Suga’s Visit to another Uptown Spot for Jamaican Cuisine, 8 Spices Restaurant & Bar

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Last Thursday night at 9pm, I finally got around to checking out 8 Spices Restaurant and Bar on Grosvenor Terrace. It has been opened for a few months now at a spot where I have seen many Restaurants come and go.

I went with my partner in crime, Randy and we had the Restaurant all to ourselves.

They definitely went all out with the Jamaican décor, branding the walls, columns and furniture with Jamaican colours and sayings, but it was tastefully and creatively done. Just one small thing and it didn’t come from me. The Jamaican flag probably should have been ironed before it was hung up. Other than that, everyone should visit and guess the amount of ‘red money’ on the bar counter for a chance to get your meal free!

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We chose to sit at the most creative table of all, the one with the glass tabletop and Jerk drum beneath.

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We ordered everything at 9:15 because we knew the Fish was done to order and would take some time. We were told 20 minutes.

We had the Jerk Chicken Breast Skewers marinated in their Signature 8 Spices Jerk Marinade as a starter. It came to the table in reasonable time. The Chicken Breast was well cooked, tender and juicy and went well with their sauce. I was most interested in the sauce since they seem to market their sauces heavily that have been made in-house. The sauce did not have a particularly unique flavour, but it was a fine mix between sweet and mildly spicy.

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8 Spices Jerk Chicken Skewers – $700JMD

We had a long wait for the Roasted Fish. I do not think establishments should tell diners that the Fish that is done to order will take 20 minutes if they know they can’t deliver. Most of them do that but usually get their other main dishes out in 15 to 20 minutes. Then the wait for the Fish is usually half hour or more. The wait for this Fish was close to 45 minutes. We appreciated the update at 25 minutes that it was taking longer than expected.

They had a special on the Fish that night. It was a 2lb Fish so costed $500JMD more than the usual cost of $1700JMD quoted on the menu. The Roasted Fish was a fleshy, whole red Snapper marinated in the 8 spices marinade giving it a spicy flavour. It was stuffed with pumpkin and okra. Mad props to the Fish but the big winner on the plate was the Steamed Bammy. Randy was mesmerized and could not stop talking about it. When proprietor, Melissa Dukharan-Constantine came over to check that everything was ok, he was raving about its rich, creamy sauce and she smiled and said it was their secret recipe.

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8 Spices Roast Fish (2lb) – $2400JMD

I had the Ginger Garlic Shrimp with fried green plantains. The plantains were steaming hot but the Shrimps were cold. I called our pleasant hostess/server’s attention and she took it back immediately and was genuinely apologetic. It came back out steaming in no time to make me a happy diner.

The Shrimp was sautéed in ginger and garlic stir fried onions, sweet peppers and carrots. So I found the salad to be unnecessary, as I did with the Skewers. It’s my personal opinion but I think the veggies could be used more economically for dishes that do not already contain cooked or steamed vegetables.

I enjoyed my dish. The Shrimp was savoury and I loved that the essence of ginger was present without being overpowering.

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Key Lime Pie

We topped things off with Dessert. We shared a slice of Key Lime Pie. It was flavourful but had a consistency closer to a Cheesecake than a Pie.

After our Entrées, we were both sniffling in a good way from all those spices. So I am looking forward to returning and trying their Curry Goat and Stamp & Go served with spiced Papaya Chutney. Randy is looking forward to trying their Blood Fiah Wings to see if their ‘Killa Peppa’ Hot Sauce is as hot as they say it is.

There are many other Jamaican favourites with their own twist on the menu to pick, choose and refuse. I hear they have some interesting Cocktails too.

Our Hostess/Server, who I understand is the Supervisor, Robyn was a sweetheart. I am sure we gave her a few jokes but she was so hospitable that she felt like a friend to us and she was quite attentive. Thanks Robyn! We enjoyed and will return. #sugaendorsed

8 Spices Restaurant and Bar

Location: 7 Grosvenor Terrace. Kgn. 8

Ph: 876-581-3427; 876-668-7656

Instagram: 8spicesrestaurantandbar

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Suga’s Birthday Dinner at the Marriott!

My husband, Randy wanted to treat me to Dinner for my Birthday a few weeks ago. I preferred to go somewhere that I hadn’t been before, so I checked my list and chose the Courtyard by Marriott that is by Emancipation Park.

On Saturday, June 10 at 8pm, we arrived at the Marriott to pleasant greetings and clean, modern décor.

I immediately noticed that there was access to televisions in the seating booths. I was happy I could see the races from the Racers Grand Prix up close and did not have to cut dinner short or keep walking to the Bar counter to see the races properly.

We ordered soon after we browsed the menu and everything arrived to the table like clockwork.

Soups, Salads, Appetizers, Snacks & Sandwiches

Randy had the Chef’s Soup of the Day, which was a Vegetable Soup ($5.50US). It was a big serving that was tasty and he enjoyed it.

I had the Zesty Fried Shrimp with a flavourful Passion fruit sauce for $12US.

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Zesty Fried Shrimp with Passion fruit sauce

They have Salad Options that range from $9.50US to $12.50US and Appetizers such as Quesadillas, Wings and thin crust Pizza that range from $6.50US to $10.50US. They also offer Sandwiches and Burgers a bit less than $16US.

Entrées

I had the Smoked House Bliss that included Smoked Salmon, Smoked Chicken and Smoked Turkey tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce ($23US).

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Smoked House Bliss ($23US) – Smoked Salmon, Chicken and Turkey in Alfredo sauce

I appreciated the fact that my Alfredo sauce was light and I loved the pronounced flavours of the Smoked Meats in the Pasta, which were not lost in the sauce.

I enjoyed my dinner with a Hummingbird, which was not on the Drinks menu, but the Bartender agreed to make it and did a good job too.

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Classical Duo ($30US) – Garlic Shrimp and Braised Beef Ribs with a Red Wine sauce

My husband also lucked out with the Classical Duo ($30US) consisting of succulent Garlic Shrimp complemented by a delightful sauce and deliciously seasoned, Braised Beef Ribs with a Red Wine sauce. He enjoyed his main with a strong Rum Punch.

Other Entrées included a variety of Pastas with costs ranging from $15.50US to $23US and a variety of Rib dishes ranging from $22US to $30US. There were also options such as Garlic Shrimp ($29.50US), Grilled Salmon for $25.50US, Pork Chops ($25US), Hoisin Glazed Snapper ($18.50US), Southern Fried Chicken ($19.50US) and most interestingly, Spiked Over-Proof Curried Goat for $22US.

Desserts

More Birthday Dessert for Suga!

The pleasant lady in charge who seemed like the Maître d’, came to our table mid-course, wished me Happy Birthday since she took the reservation and also ensured that service was going well. She then told us that our Dessert would be Complimentary for my Birthday and we should enjoy and return to the Marriott soon.

Randy and I shared the Oreo Cheesecake, which was divine!

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Oreo Cheesecake ($6.50US)

Other Dessert choices on the menu included Cakes, Puddings and Fruit medleys that ranged from $5.50-$6.50US.

Suga’s Endorsement

Marriott is pricey but totally worth it. The food was delicious across the board with good presentation and our waiter, Andrew was very attentive and courteous throughout our courses. #sugaendorsed.

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A happy Birthday Girl, Gabby from Suga Lifestyle dining at the Courtyard by Marriott with her husband, Randy Burgess.

Courtyard by Marriott

Location: 1 Park Close. Kingston 5. Jamaica

Ph: 876-618-9900

Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/kincy-courtyard-kingston-jamaica/

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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A Restaurant you can Dress Up and Go To in the Capital of Casual, Negril!

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On the last Saturday night of April, Bongos Restaurant saved the day for me and my husband’s Anniversary Dinner after a mix up with Reservations at another Restaurant in Negril.

Bongos is located at the modernly refurbished, Sandy Haven Resort on the popular Negril Strip.

We were relieved to still have somewhere elegant to dine. There was a choice between indoor dining and outdoor dining on the terrace. We decided to stay indoors, where the lights were turned down low, but a bit too low. The ambience was not affected too much though. Seating was comfortable and the décor was unique. There was a Bar and Lounge area indoors as well.

The members of staff were courteous and knowledgeable of the items on the menu.

The menu had a wide range of items that represented a fusion of European, Asian, African and of course, Caribbean cuisines. Prices listed in US were subject to 10% tax and 10% gratuity.

Appetizers, Soups and Salads ranged from $7-$10US.

I had the tasty Jerk Shrimp Brochette ($8.50US) and my husband had the Crab and Corn Chowder ($8US), which had a rich flavour. My Brochette could have done without the lettuce on top though.

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A) Crab and Corn Chowder – Crab meat sautéed with fresh corn and onion in a garlic cream sauce drizzled with a spicy chili oil; B) Jerk Shrimp Brochette ($8.50US) – Shrimp tossed with fresh tomato and onion on top of a garlic bread drizzled with mango balsamic syrup

For Entrées, there were Vegetarian and Vegan options such as Vegetarian Paella, Mixed Bean Stew, Vegetable Linguini and more ranging from $12-$30US.

Other options included Fish any way you like it ranging from $17-$23US depending on size, Curried Coconut Lemon Shrimp ($18US), Asian Stir Fry Beef Sirloin ($17US), Jerk Chicken Pasta ($16.50US), Cuban Pork & Bean ($20USD), Bongo’s Seafood Paella ($19US single/$35US double) and more.

It wasn’t Lobster season but I had a craving for any type of Surf and Turf, which wasn’t on their menu. The waiter and the Chef collaborated to make me happy and offered me the Filet Mignon with large Shrimp Skewers.

My husband ordered the Filet Mignon on its own.

Although the wait was extremely long, we had a year of marriage to reminisce on as well as exciting thoughts for our future and the wait was worthwhile when the food arrived.

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A) Surf & Turf – Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Shrimp Skewers; B) Herb Crusted Filet Mignon ($30US) – Grilled Beef Tenderloin served with sautéed vegetables, cajun potato wedges drizzled with mango mushroom demi-glaze.

Our cuts of Beef came medium rare, as requested. So we were pleased with the tenderness and succulent juices and flavours emerging from the Beef.

We were too full for Dessert but we enjoyed a few drinks from the Bar. I have had better Mojitos but the blended drinks were on point.

I recommend Bongos Restaurant for a decent place to dine in Negril if you are not famished or in a rush. The wait may be long but you have the leisure of having a good chit chat over a few drinks in a lovely ambience until delectable food arrives.

Bongos Restaurant @ Sandy Haven Resort

Location: Norman Manley Boulevard. Negril, Jamaica

Ph: 886-957-3200

Opening Hr: 6pm

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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