Tag Archives: Jamaican food

How was Picante for Jamaica Food & Drink Festival?!

Picante is the event on the Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (JFDF) roster that takes you through a world of hot, zesty flavours.

It was held last Friday night at The Ruins, Mona Visitors’ Lodge from 7-11pm.

Suga arrived early, at about 7:20pm to beat the lines and made her rounds.

Coca Cola had tasty cocktails upon entry. They had a creamy cocktail that suited the ladies and a White Rum mix that the gentlemen like my husband, Randy enjoyed.

Select Brands had sweet wines to cool down the spice and a refreshing Stoli Blueberi Lemonade that was the talk of many patrons for the night.

By the entrance, there was National’s Scotch Bonnet Butter Cheddar Popcorn stand with Popcorn bags by Chef Christian Sweeney. It was finished in no time. As usual, he created delightful bites to please the crowd.

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Chef Sweeney also had a menu of Spicy Chicken with Grilled Corn and Chick Peas Salsa. Thankfully it tasted better than it looked. Congrats Chef Sweeney, it was Picante. For those who returned later in the night like myself, Pan-seared Tuna was served instead of the Chicken with the Chick Peas Salsa and it was just as delightful.

Chef Shea Stewart had a menu of spiced Snapper with a Jalapeño, Chili and Scotch Bonnet infused Risotto, however the outcome was mild. The presentation was poor, but it was quite tasty nonetheless.

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Chef Shea Stewart’s Spiced Snapper en Papillote with Scotch Bonnet Butter served with Jalepeño and Chili Pepper infused Risotto Scotch Bonnet.

Chef Dennis McIntosh did a tasty seafood dish, but it was mild as well.

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Chef Dennis McIntosh’s spicy Caribbean Seafood Au Gratin.

Broken Plate’s dish was delicious and flavourful with a touch of spice, but I was still waiting on another dish to make me say, ‘Picante!’.

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Broken Plate’s Mustard Chili Pesto Rubbed Pork Loin with Crispy Bacon Orzo Pilaf topped with Asian mixed greens and Arugula Salad

Disappointing booths for the Night

Before I get to outstanding booths for the night, the majority of Chefs produced impressive dishes. However, there were two disappointing dishes for me. One was definitely worse than the other.

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The Cliff Hotel’s Chef Jonhoi Reid’s Mojo Braised Pork topped with Crispy Pork Belly with Black Bean Corn Yuca Cake, Smoked Scotch Bonnet Salsa Verde, Jalapeño Pico de Gallo and Cilantro Crema.

Chef Jonhoi Reid from the renowned Cliff Hotel in Negril was very personable, but had a sloppy display with Pork that was difficult to chew. I was excited to see Pork stacked on Pork, but the outcome was disappointing. The Black Bean Corn Yuca Cake didn’t save the dish for me, but was quite palatable beneath it all.

I observed that they were serving persons up to 11:20pm, when most Chefs left or packed up. Having so much food left may underscore my thoughts.

Then there was Walkerswood featuring Guest Chef from overseas, Patrick Simpson and UTECH. Sad to say, but it was the worst of the night. The Peppa Shrimp with Curried Vegetable Succotash was spicy a.k.a Picante, but the Pulled Jerk Chicken was terrible. Perhaps, Chef Simpson is unfamiliar with Jamaican sauces, but that sauce did not complement the Pulled Jerk Chicken well at all. It wasn’t spicy and it overpowered it completely.

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Walkerswood featuring Chef Patrick Simpson and UTECH’s Grilled Peppa Shrimps with Curried Vegetable Succotash (Top); Pulled Jerk Chicken on Bammy Round with Pickle Escallion Relish (below); Solomon Gundy Crostini topped with Roasted Corn and Tomato

Winners of the Night for Suga!

Suga had an overall winner, but there wasn’t only one winner for me, there were five Chefs who absolutely brought it to Picante!

Oji Jaja! Best Shrimp of the Night 

Chef Oji Jaja had Seared Scallops, but the hit with most patrons was the Seared Shrimp with roasted pepper Scotch Bonnet sauce and Micro Basil. It wasn’t spicy, but was the best Shrimp of the night for Suga.

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Chef Oji Jaja’s Seared Shrimp with roasted pepper Scotch Bonnet sauce and Micro Basil

Spiciest dish of the Night!

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The spiciest dish of the night hands down went to Chef George Matthews of Summertime Villa (Silver Sands, Trelawny; also cooks at Tryall). I couldn’t even say or scream Picante. My running eyes and nose said it all. Mission accomplished Chef Matthews.

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Chef George Matthews’ Thai Chili Shrimp with Breadfruit poppers.

Culinary Showman of the Night

Chef Mark Cole from The Jamaica Pegasus cooked with a lot of flare, literally. He cooked two dishes, including a stuffed spicy Potato, but he had one of the two longest lines of the night for his Picante style Salmon Hash. It’s jalapeno salsa made you say, Picante and it was delish! Bravo.

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Chef Mark Cole of The Jamaica Pegasus being quite a showman at Picante last Friday night.

Chef Mark Cole’s Menu:

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The Best Dish at Picante

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The other long line of the night with foodie, Sean Morgan looking on was for…

Drum roll…

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Chef Lisa Binns of Stush in the Bush serves up Suga her Picante dish, while husband, Chef Christopher Binns was on the grill.

For the Second year in a row, Stush in the Bush wins at Picante for Suga. We all know you can’t help but love Chris and Lisa Binns and the unique, savoury, delightful food they consistently produce, but without bias, although Chef Mark Cole came close, their dish was the best overall at Picante. Their dish made you hot and cooled you down at the same time with pickled watermelon radishes and pickled cucumbers.

On time/Flowing production – Check
Personality – Check
Presentation – Check
Theme (Picante) – Check
Flavours – Check
Textures – Check
Wow Factor – Check

Snaps for making Vegetarian look good! There were so many flavours and textures on one plate. Absolute perfection. Stush in the Bush showed up once again. Congratulations and Well done.

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Stush in the Bush’s winning dish!

Drinks and Desserts!

Other than more drinks provided by the Appleton Estate Bar, desserts provided were a great way to cool off the taste buds.

Sagicor’s booth with Chef Rebecca Karram had sweet and spicy treats. She did well. I enjoyed all of her desserts. The Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie with a Chai Spiced Milk Shot was a crowd fave.

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Chef Rebecca Karram’s Menu
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Chef Rebecca Karram telling us what she prepared for us to enjoy at Picante last Friday night.

Wisynco’s Haagen Dazs Ice Cream booth was buzzing all night with patrons and when the night was over, they had brawta. They served one item from their menu at different points in the night. The items provided an added crunchy texture to the ice cream, with a touch of spice too.

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Wisynco’s Haagen Dazs Ice Cream booth Menu Items

Kudos to the organizers and sponsors of Jamaica Food and Drink Festival. ALL events were sold out and from what I heard, patrons enjoyed the majority of the events. Persons were disappointed with the smallest event, Crisp because it had less Chefs.

Jamaicans are a fickle bunch. So after a few successful stagings, I think that JFDF should change things up a bit, and replace Crisp with Seafood, perhaps call it Sea Breeze. It could be by Port Royal for a change of scenery or even in Portland or Ocho Rios. The event has been staged in Kingston for some time, but it is Jamaica Food and Drink Festival.

Looking forward to another great year!

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Gabrielle Burgess a.k.a Suga by the Haagen Dazs booth at Picante last Friday night at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge.

By: Gabrielle Burgess

If you liked this Article, follow Suga Lifestyle Online, on Instagram (@sugalifestyle), Twitter (@sugalifestyleja) or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.

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You have to taste these Coconut Drops!

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Ronetta Crooks-Allen of RSS Naturalll Delites with one of her daughters, Shaunell Allen at Christmas in July, a Tropical Wonderland Trade Show put on by THF at The Jamaica Pegasus last Thursday, July 19, 2018.

Suga visited Christmas in July at The Jamaica Pegasus last Thursday. It was the 4th staging of the event titled, ‘Tropical Wonderland Trade Show’ put on by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (THF). It is a Tourism Linkages Network Initiative showcasing unique Jamaican products available for wholesale and retail by local businesses. Products are usually suitable for Gifts, especially Corporate gifting and Souvenirs.

There were quite a few eye-catching displays, however I was particularly impressed by the invitation and pitch from Mrs. Ronetta Crooks-Allen of RSS Naturalll Delites to try her flavoured Coconut Drops. I am not a fan of Coconut Drops, so I was pleasantly surprised with how appetizing her Cranberry flavoured Coconut Drops tasted. I was even more impressed that it was not too sweet or overpowered by the cranberries. The essence of coconut was still highlighted and quite delightful to the palate.

See Contact Information for RSS Naturalll Delites below to give those Cranberry flavoured Coconut Drops a try! Grater Cakes and other flavours of Coconut Drops are available as well.

Stay tuned to see where these yummy Coconut Drops may pop up in the future too! #BuyLocal

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Yummy Coconut Drops and Grater Cakes from RSS Naturalll Delites #SugaEndorsed

RSS Naturalll Delites

Location: 138 Rhone Park Estate. Old Harbour, St. Catherine. JA. W.I.

Ph: 876.486.7469

Email: rssnatural@gmail.com

By: Gabrielle Burgess

If you liked this Promo, follow Suga Lifestyle or like the Suga Lifestyle Facebook page.

10 Foods/Items that Jamaicans love but should avoid if on a diet and why

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1. Mangoes – They have about 31g of Sugar!

2. Condensed milk – Although Nestle is one of the better brands to use, it contains too much Sugar (22g) and Saturated Fat (10%) in just 2 tbsp (130 calories)

3. Escoveitched fish – Too high in Cholesterol (13%) and Sodium (17%)

4. Boiled/Fried dumplings (made with white flour) – High in simple Carbohydrates (Carbs.), i.e. bad Carbs.

5. Rice and peas (made with coconut milk) – High in Carbs. Also high in Saturated Fat from the coconut milk

6. National Bakery Jamaican Spice Bun – High in Sugar (18g), high in Saturated Fat (8%) and high in Carbs. (13%)

7. Sweet Cinnamon Bun – High in Cholesterol (9%)!

8. Beef Patties or any patty for that matter (That all-purpose flour crust!) – High in Saturated Fat (20%), Cholesterol (20%) and Sodium (18%)!

9. That awful, orange French Dressing that you put on your vegetables – High in Fat

Suga suggests you eliminate salad dressing from the diet and use a vinaigrette made with olive oil. Even a little lime juice can add a kick to the flavour of your greens.

10. Cornmeal porridge, Plantain porridge and Hominy corn porridge

Plantain porridge has too much Sodium and Fat; Hominy corn has too much Sugar and Sodium; Cornmeal is very high in Saturated Fat. Have Oatmeal porridge or Peanut porridge instead, but ensure that skimmed milk is used.

Why didn’t Ackee and Bammy make the list?

Bammy – No Saturated Fat or Cholesterol! High in fibre. No sugar, BUT high in Sodium (23%), so avoid if hypertensive or prone to hypertension.

Ackee – Although it is a fruit, it is classified in the fats & oils group because the main nutrient present is Fat (>50% fat). The majority of the fatty acid present is linoleic acid, which is an Unsaturated Fat therefore a ‘good fat’. However, it should still be eaten in moderation. A small amount of oil should be used to cook ackee since a large part of it’s composition is already fat/oil. Ackee also has 0 Cholesterol, 0 Saturated Fat and 240mg of Sodium.

Here are some Food Label tips to guide you in the Supermarket or when using your Fitness apps:-

Calorie free: <5/serving

Fat/sugar free: <1/2g/serving

Low calorie: <40/serving

Low sodium: <140mg/serving High in fat: >5%/serving

Too high in fat: >10%/serving

*For a woman following a 2000-calorie diet with 3 meals and 2 snacks, aim for about 1.2 teaspoons/4.8 grams of sugar per serving and fewer than 12.5 teaspoons (200 calories) sugar per day. Men are allowed a little bit more.

Have a Healthy Day!