Tag Archives: Mediterranean cuisine

Family, Friends & Foodies Unite for the Love of Food at Kingston Kitchen!

Kingston Kitchen had Hope Gardens buzzing with activity last Saturday. It was a great event for family, friends and foodies to unite for the love of food.

The event was well supported, probably the biggest staging I’ve ever seen. The logistics and execution of the event was quite commendable.

Just a few drawbacks for me. One bar was not enough for the event and amount of patrons. It was overcrowded to say the least.

I also believe that our Gastronomy network via the Tourism Industry should have been involved with the event to incorporate tourists from various hotels on the north coast of the island. Kingston Kitchen’s Night Market would have been an eye-opening experience for them to see so much of our culture in one area and in one night. The event would also expose them to Kingston, as many tourists are unaware of the many cultural activities, beauty and places to go that exist in Kingston. For the next Kingston Kitchen, I would like to see them in bus loads!

There were so many vendors to pick, choose and refuse from, Suga and husband went with a hit list.

Here is a reminder of what Kingston Kitchen had to offer in addition to entertainment for adults and kids:

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I am proud to say my husband, Randy and I succeeded. We definitely took note of places to try in the near future as well.

Suga’s Breakdown!

MUST-STOPS AND GLAD BAG BUSS

● Stush in the Bush A variety of unique Sauces, Spreads and Preserves made with love. Always a crowd pleaser.

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Lisa and Chris Binns doing what they do best at Kingston Kitchen last Saturday, July 7, 2018.

● Lucky Strike Seafood Bar and Grill – Their Seafood bowl is always a hit. My husband approves!

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Randy Burgess and wife, Suga a.k.a Gabby from Suga Lifestyle at Kitchen last Saturday

● Street Food Saturdays – Fresh mint Lemonade, Street corn and more. They kept patrons coming all night!

Fish Pot – Flavourful, peppery Fish soup. Great gas buster to prep for food galore.

●Simo’s Bread and Catering – Pastries, Soursop Popsicles, Dessert, Sauces, Seasonings. Excellent spread as usual from the main hands of it all, Christina Simonitsch.

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Delicious Mini Cronuts, Pastries, Sauces and more from Simo’s Bread and Catering at Kingston Kitchen last Saturday.

● I Love Paella – Rich, flavourful Tapas! From Valencia with love. Bravas, Croquetas and Empañadas cooked right in front of you.

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Scott van Bonnet – New kid on the block from Blue Diamond Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. They had tasty Turkey and Lamb Wraps. Loved the infused flavours.

Coming soon to Kingston, Ocho Rios and Negril. Can’t wait!

● Topp In Designz Limited – Foodie Gear galore!

Suga had to cop this shirt!

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DISAPPOINTMENTS

Gypsy House Tapas!

I have never thrown away food at Kingston Kitchen, but there is always a first. Trust me, I tried my best to eat their Seafood and Meat stacked Paella, but I just couldn’t get past the dry rice that nearly choked me and lack of flavour. It was horrible. Chef Enric’s, I Love Paella still stands as the place to go for authentic Valencian Paella.

Soup King

They didn’t have any Soup for over an hour after the start time of the event. They seemed to have gotten things going later on in the night though.

SATISFYING STOPS #SugaSnaps

Lyming at Walkerswood – Mannish water, Curried Goat and more. Jamaican cooked food that goes right to the heart and makes you feel at home.

● NCR Sheep Limited – Tasty Lamb sausage.

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Rolly Polly – Ice cream for adults and kids. I enjoyed my topping of Bailey’s rum cream on my Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. Delish!

PLEASANT SURPRISES

Gustazos Booth 

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Suga had a ball in the Money Machine to grab as much cash as possible in a short period of time to go towards her Gustazos Account credit.

Patrons enjoyed their small giveaways, boomerang photo booth and money machine! Fun addition to the event.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES #SugaSpieswithHer4Eyes

> Fromage Bistro and Brasserie, Cafe Dolce, Pita Grill, Deaf Can! Coffee, Chocolate Dreams, Until We Eat Again, Cannonball Cafe, Pink Apron Jamaica, Tea Tree Créperie and Sip ‘n’ Go Juice Bar.

Suga didn’t get to stop by the usual crowd faves mentioned above, but I could see that they continued to please!

PLACES TO EXPERIENCE IN THE NEAR FUTURE #SugasRadar

> Eatopia Jamaica, WTF Burgers and 25 Wafflerie

Kudos to Director Leisha Wong, Melanie Miller and their team for their hard work, efforts and a well executed Foodie affair. #SugaEndorsed

Until the next one!

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Lunch Specials are Happening at Hajarie, Phoenix Avenue!

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Hajarie has an ongoing Lunch Special from 12 – 3pm. Take advantage and get your Lunch Special to go for $700JMD or get 20% off select Pastas.

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You can even top your meal off with Dessert. They are offering 50% off their house special Ice Cream.

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Go get these delish Lunch Specials while you can!

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

Location: 9-11 Phoenix Avenue. Kingston 10

Ph: 876-634-9937

Instagram: @hajarie.jamaica

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Suga takes a Culinary trip to Valencia in Jamaica with I Love Paella!

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Suga’s Ratings for I Love Paella

Date and time of visit: Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 1:00pm

No. of diners: 3

NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum and the criteria has been altered since it is a Pop-Up Kitchen

Parking: ★★★★★

Service: ★★★★☆

Speed: ★★★★☆

Food quality: ★★★★☆

Serving amount: ★★★★☆

Plating: ★★★★★

Value for $: ★★★★★

SuGa Endorsement:  ★★★★☆

Comments: 

Rich flavours were present throughout the dishes. Pleasant, courteous Chef. Superior service, speed and food quality. Serving amounts were adequate for a reasonable cost, as some meals were shareable. Chef Enric is from Valencia and he represents! Suga and friends enjoyed authentic Valencian Paella.

Suga’s Breakdown

From what I know, Chef Enric Escriva has been on the Jamaican culinary scene since January last year. Until he gets a suitable spot for his restaurant, he has been catering and doing Pop-up kitchens. I Love Paella is currently and temporarily in what used to be Cafe Nita’s space on Phoenix Avenue. So there is limited indoor and outdoor seating. The latter is the more comfortable choice with the hope of good weather.

I met two of my girlfriends for lunch around 1pm. Chef Enric greeted us politely and took us through the menu in which all prices included G.C.T. They did not have a Drinks menu, but basic drinks were available including wine, a simple white and red. We ordered a bottle of Chardonnay. They also have a Party Menu for groups.

The starters ranged from $850 – $1400JMD in cost, with some being shareable. Starters included Calamari, Tortillas, Croquetas and more.

We shared Bravas, a classic Valencian dish made from Fried Potatoes, a spicy brava sauce and allioli.

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Bravas ($850JMD)

We also enjoyed the Empanadas, freshly made artisan stuffed pastries. The Chicken Empanadas were stuffed with smoked paprika chicken and served with brava sauce. While the Black Bean Empanadas were stuffed with spicy black bean and served with allioli sauce. The sauces were on point!

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Chicken Empanadas ($850JMD)

We went specifically for Paella so that’s what we had. The Paellas are done to order, cooked and served in the traditional Paella pan that can serve 2 – 3 persons. However, prices shown on the menu are per person ranging from $2250JMD for the Vegetarian Paella to $3250JMD for the Seafood Paella with black rice from the squid’s ink.

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Seafood Paella ($2950JMD) with King Prawns, Squid, Mussels and Rice.

That Seafood Paella was as delicious as it looks with just the right amount of spiciness.

They don’t just serve Paella though. There are other mains available such as larger Tortillas and Empanadas ($1600JMD), Calamari sandwiches ($2400JMD) and Mediterranean salads ($1900JMD).

After all that spice, our palates demanded a bit of sweet. We completed lunch with Churros and Dark Chocolate. Fantastic ending to our lunch.

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Chef Enric serving Suga and friends some Churros with Dark Chocolate

I Love Paella Pop-Up Kitchen

***Reservations recommended***

Contact via Social Media messaging or Ph: 876-404-2867

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By: Gabrielle Burgess

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TGIF to this Grilled Octopus from Byblos Miami!

Byblos Miami had a saucy Ribeye that looked salivating at the Wine and Food Festival two weeks ago in Miami.

Check them out and check out their Signature Grilled Spanish Octopus!

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Grilled Spanish Octopus from Byblos Miami (Instagram Photo: @byblosmiami)

Suga wishes we could get that quality Octopus in Jamaica. Thankfully, Miami is not too far away.

Enjoy the weekend Suga Bears!

Byblos Miami Mediterranean Restaurant

Location: 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA

Ph: 305-508-5041

Website: http://www.byblosmiami.com

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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OPA’s New Location at Devon House for Suga’s Pre-Birthday Dinner!

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OPA Greek Restaurant’s Owner, Alexx Antaeus serves Gabby from Suga Lifestyle(R) Birthday Baklava, while friends, Christopher Lai and Gillian Jackson look on.

Two Tuesdays ago I visited OPA’s new location at Devon House, which is on the right side after you enter through the front gate. Persons are familiar with that area formerly known as the Devonshire.

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The Restaurant was quiet and cosy. I loved the ambience outdoors, similar to a deck in the backyard by the garden. Despite that, we sat indoors. Diners were present but it was not a full house.

The staff were quiet but professional and welcoming. I suppose they were a balance in personality to the owner, Alexx Antaeus who is quite eloquent but warm and friendly.

The menu still consists of Greek favourites from the old location such as Grilled Fish and other Entrées, Pizzas, Pastas and Salads. Not much has changed in that regard. However, the menu has expanded to include additional Mediterranean cuisine options such as Paellas and more.

We ordered a Starter that consisted of 4 Greek Dips served with homemade Pita Bread ($10.35US/$1324JMD) that they make fresh daily with extra virgin olive oil. The Dips were Tzatziki (yoghurt, cucumber, garlic), Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese), Revithia (Chick peas, scallions, lemon juice) and Skordalia (garlic, potato). They were all quite tasty and appetizing but I enjoyed the Feta dip the most.

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Pikilia #1 – 4 Greek Dips ($10.35US/$1324JMD+tx+serv. charge)

Alexx took our orders by memory and not by hand, which was quite impressive. He offered assistance to anyone who had difficulty deciding what they needed to order and also wanted to put our orders in quickly to the kitchen. He gave us a heads up that they may take a little while.

Well a little while was an hour. Usually we would have gotten ourselves worked up and probably left already, but some of my friends were visiting and we had a lot to catch up on before they left the next day. The Appetizer dips could only go so far and we were sipping on some vino from their list, which seems to have a decent range and selection as usual. We tried the Lamb Gyros Stix ($7.75US/$992JMD) too. That was a small but succulent serving of well seasoned Lamb.

Not only do I respect that we were given the heads up on the wait, but we were checked on periodically and given a joke or two to keep the atmosphere light, like our stomachs at the time.

Finally, attempting to have a healthy night, I had the Psari Sharas (Fresh Grilled Snook basted with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. I’ve had that dish before at Opa, so it wasn’t anything new, but the good quality in taste remained the same and it was just the right portion served with Skordalia (a purée with potatoes etc.) and Greek salad ($20.30US/$2598JMD).

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Psari Sharas (Grilled Fish) – $20.30US/$2598.JMD+tx+serv. Charge

My friends explored other dishes that they enjoyed such as the Gyros entrée of Lean ground Pork served with Tzatziki, Greek salad, Potatoes and Pita ($19.50US/$2495JMD), Shrimp Penne Pasta with minty cream sauce ($23.40US/$2995JMD) and the Kotosouvlaki entrée consisting of Grilled Chicken Breast on a skewer served with Pita, Greek salad and Tzatziki (19.45US/2489JMD).

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Top: Gyros entrée -Lean Ground Pork (19.50US;$2495+tx+serv.charge); Below: Shrimp Penne Pasta ($23.40US/$2995JMD+tx+serv. charge)

There was only one unhappy camper who ordered the Kotsi, a slow-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic served with sautéed vegetables and potatoes ($27.30US/$3494JMD).

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Kotsi – Lamb Shank ($27.30US/$3494JMD +tx+serv. charge)

Some persons may say they get small servings at OPA, but it really depends on what you order. My friend did not expect such a huge Lamb Shank. While that would make the usual person happy to dig in, being quite petite in size, it was daunting for her.

When Alexx checked on the table a little after we started eating, he asked her what was wrong and she explained. Without hesitation he wanted to know how he could make her happier and she agreed with his suggestions of converting the dish into a Lamb Pasta with her preferred tomato sauce and Penne Pasta. He returned quickly to the table with the transformed dish that he whipped up in the kitchen himself and even gave her some to go in a box so it wouldn’t be too much for her at once. She now joined us as an impressed and satisfied diner.

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Voila! Lamb Pasta!

In discussion with Alexx, we were made aware that they source their meat locally from The Meat Experts Ltd. That is a good look. Meat Experts operates out of St. Ann and they have been making quite a name for themselves with their local, high quality, hormone-free meats.

Then just when we thought Alexx couldn’t be a more hospitable host, he asked if we were dining to celebrate an occasion. He was told my Birthday was coming up and he shared that his was coming up the day before. Fancy that.

He returned with a few members of staff and demanded that everyone get their cameras out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me, while he presented me with complimentary Baklava dessert (Filo layered with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey). That was a kind gesture. I enjoyed all the love and the Dessert.

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Baklava

I get the feeling something may have been awry with the kitchen or staff that night so I would not let the long wait smear my first experience at the new location. The food was authentic and delicious and I appreciated the great service otherwise. So I will return.

I especially have to have some Drinks by the adjoined Reggae Mill Bar, also owned by Alex, since we missed out on it the last time as we wrapped it up early on the week night.

Who’s joining me?

OPA Greek Restaurant
Location: Devon House. Hope Rd. Kingston Jamaica
Ph: 876-631-2000; 876-550-2000
Website: http://www.opajamaica.com/
Instagram: @opa_jamaica 

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat @ 12pm – 12am (Closed on Sundays)

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Authentic Mediterranean Cuisine from Aladin Restaurant

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I revisited Aladin Restaurant for dinner a little over a month ago because it is one of my husband’s favourites. The last time I visited was before the expansion of the dining area. It’s quite a cosy spot now.

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Lentil Soup sprinkled with toasted Pita bread and sumac ($500JMD +tx)

 

Service was quick. We ordered at 5:15pm, our Lentil soup came out at 5:25pm and our entrée right after.

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Marinated sliced Chicken and sauteed onions topped with parsley, sumac and pomagranates sauce served over mini pita slices with humus and salad.

I had the Chicken Shawarma ($1450JMD + tx) and my husband had the Beef Shawarma ($1500.00JMD+tx). Both were well seasoned and had that Mediterranean kick to them. They were tasty, filling dishes. Persons without big appetites are sure to take a doggy bag home.

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Layers of freshly seasoned Beef slices, marinated with vinegar and special spices, topped with onions, parsley and sumac along with a serving of hummus, salad and pita bread.

Aladin is a simple, comfortable oasis in Liguanea Plaza where you can order lunch or dinner online for pick up or before you dine for even quicker service.

Date of Visit: Saturday, November 5, 2016

Time: 5:10pm

Aladin Restaurant

Location: 134 Old Hope Rd. Shop #14. Liguanea Plaza. Kingston 6.

Ph: 876-970-1291; 876-321-4572

Website: http://www.aladinrestaurantja.com

By: Gabrielle Burgess
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Suga does lunch at Chez Maria

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Chez Maria Restaurant

Lebanese & Italian Cuisine

Ph#: 876-927-8078; 876-430-3822 (Digicel)

Address: 80 Lady Musgrave Road. Shop #3. Kingston 10

***Menu on Website

Website: http://www.chezmaria.webs.com

***You can now order online for delivery at http://www.myquickplate.com

***Like them on Facebook: Chez Maria Restaurant

Date and time of visit: July 9, 2016 @ 3:30pm

Suga’s Order for party of 2:

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Chicken & Vegetable Soup: $340

Smoked Marlin appetizer: $940

Jerky (Jerked Chicken Pizza): $1650

Filet Mignon with Creamy mushroom sauce: $2400

NB. Ratings fill 5 stars maximum

Parking: ★★★★★

Ambience: ★★★☆☆

Decor: ★★★☆☆

Comfort: ★★★★☆

Service: ★★★★☆

Speed: ★★★★★

Food quality: ★★★★☆

Serving amount: ★★★★★

Plating: ★★★☆☆

Value for $: ★★★★★

Suga Endorsement: ★★★★☆

Suga’s Comments:

Love the options of indoor and outdoor seating. Quick service. Large serving size. Tasty, spicy pizza. Filet Mignon slightly overcooked for medium rare but mushroom sauce was delicious!

Nice variety of flat bread pizzas to order for take out or delivery.