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:
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.
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.
● Lucky Strike Seafood Bar and Grill – Their Seafood bowl is always a hit. My husband approves!
● 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.
● I Love Paella – Rich, flavourful Tapas! From Valencia with love. Bravas, Croquetas and Empañadas cooked right in front of you.
● 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!
● 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.
● Rolly Polly – Ice cream for adults and kids. I enjoyed my topping of Bailey’s rum cream on my Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. Delish!
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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Coffee producers and baristas were out in their numbers last Saturday at the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Marketplace in Newcastle, St. Andrew.
Many booths had hot coffee to keep patrons warm in the fog, such as Cafe Blue, Stoneleigh (Mavis Bank 100% Blue Mountain Coffee), Toyota Coffee House, Starbucks, Perk Up and Country Traders Limited (Coffee Roasters Blue Mountain Coffee).
Cafe Blue also had their Milk and White Chocolate covered Coffee beans that I enjoy.
My husband enjoyed the smooth, hot brew offered by Perk up, from Flamstead Estate. Perk Up had a soft launch at the Coffee Festival, as they are planning to enter the market more competitively. They are currently at a few cafe outlets, including Shelly’s Cafe at U.T.E.C.H.
Deaf Can Coffee Baristas were there, brewing at 3 different tents including Cannonball Cafe and Jamaica Toyota Coffee House.
I was impressed with Cannonball Cafe that uses Jablum Coffee. They were the only ones I saw that offered Frappes and Coffee Martinis. I had the Caramel Crunch Cafe Frappe for just $300JMD. They had Paint and Sip for $1500JMD along with a free Espresso Martini overseeing a picturesque view too! There were cold brews from Cafe Blue and Stoneleigh, but I prefer Frappes. Even though it was a cool atmosphere being up so high, the sun was still fully out and I warmed up after walking around the venue.
Cannonball’s coffee infused desserts were a treat too! My nieces and I enjoyed their Coffee and Chocolate Brownies for a steal of $100JMD, Mini Eclairs with Coffee infused cream ($300JMD) and Coffee Bread Pudding with Coffee glaze ($300JMD).
Cannonball Cafe can be found in Barbican (Loshusan Centre), New Kingston (Barbados Ave.), Manor Park (Lower Manor Park Plaza) and Sovereign North Plaza.
Restaurants other than Cafe Blue that are on the Blue Mountain Culinary trail were out, such as Belcour Lodge with their line of Preserves and Blue Ridge Restaurant and Cottages. Blue Ridge had a tasty Coffee Cake for $300JMD.
The experienced and poised hostess, Emprezz kept the patrons well-informed throughout the day and presented prizes and surprises, hosted short interviews and more.
The suits of Tourism came out, shook hands and spoke to the patrons. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlet along with his entourage, as well as Adam Stewart, Chairman of The Tourism Linkages Council were there. The council has been making great strides, developing projects to increase our influx of visitors to Jamaica via the Gastronomy network, Shopping, Health and Wellness, Sports and Entertainment and Knowledge. The Jamaica Coffee Festival Marketplace branched out across all these networks, with major focus on the Gastronomic Network. Key initiatives and Projects such as development of a Blue Mountain Coffee experience, strategic partnerships with other networks and the promotion of food festivals were all achieved. Kudos to them and the great turn out of patrons to support such an important initiative. Tickets were sold out!
If the endless amount of coffee wasn’t enough, Tarrus Riley entertained the crowd for over an hour!
CB Chicken, Copperwood Pork and Best DressedChicken were out to feed the masses. The Best Dressed Booth was quite popular with their Gourmet Hot dogs, loaded fries and more. I enjoyed their Jerked Chicken.
Island Blue, which you normally see in our hotels, displayed and sold their Jamaica Coffee Liqueurs from Baronhall Estate, Coffee Beans, Branded mugs and more.
Kande’s Delights had long lines for ice cream including coffee flavours of course.
Various Arts & Crafts exhibitors were about, but one of the Skin Care exhibitors, I Love Sweetness Coffee Scrubs grabbed my attention with their body scrubs, scented soaps and skin tonics. Their representatives were quite knowledgeable about their products and marketed them well.
There were representatives and Informative pamphlets from Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) on the story of Jamaican Coffee. Jamaican Coffee Recipes were available too.
Hollywell provided information on tours and events, signing persons up to receive information on events in the future too. They also had persons chatting up a storm about their Coffee Rice and Peas cooked by ‘Natural by Nature’ in their community.
Congratulations to the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Team. Great initiative, efficient use of space and well executed event. #SugaEndorsed
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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TGIF! Remember that the Jamaica Blue Mountain Festival starts today!
The Coffee Industry Players in association with JACRA and RADA will be busy hosting workshops.
Do not miss The Festival Marketplace! It should be a cultural experience showcasing not only our local coffee and coffee-induced products, but our talented crafty artisans, dancers, singers and more, headlined by Tarrus Riley!
The shuttle departs hourly from UTECH starting at 9am and Tickets cost $1000JMD for Adults and $500JMD for Children under 12 and Students with ID. The Festival ends at 6pm.
> Cafe Blue (Sovereign & Irish Town)
> Cannonball Cafe (New Kgn, Sovereign North, Manor Park)
> Toyota Coffee House: 93 Hope Road
Take a drive along the Blue Mountain Culinary trail. It has some cosy spots with spectacular views and food. See the list with numbers on the flyer below, call and make your reservations today!
They are all quite a treat, but if you like local cuisine, Crystal Edge is the place. If you have a sweet tooth, Cafe Blue is just next door with exquisite desserts by award-winning baker, Nadine Burie.
Blue Ridge is far up, but worth the trek. Savoury food and good service. Their presentation is also one of a kind.
Support Brand Jamaica and our flagship Blue Mountain Coffee this weekend in Newcastle, St. Andrew!
***Prices for the Nyam & Scram and Morning Bites Categories do not include Beverages and G.C.T***
Here are my recommendations for Breakfast and quick Grab & Go Bites:
Morning Bites – Kingston
> Cannonball Cafe is the only establishment listed this year although Breakfast can be sourced at a discounted price from Brew’d Awakenings as well.
Cannonball has decent Breakfast deals for less than $600JMD at all locations – Loshusan (Barbican), Manor Park, New Kingston and Sovereign North.
Nyam & Scram (30% off) – Kingston
100 at 100 Hope Road would be my primary choice for this Category. Nothing is new on their menu but they have tasty items that are well-known at a discounted price.
The Jerk Chicken Cocowich is consistently good and you get their signature Jackpot Dessert to go with it for $1670JMD!
You could also get their delicious, cheesy Flatbread and Soup for $1169JMD or two other options for less than $2000JMD.
4U Vietnamese Restaurant in Manor Center should be a decent spot, but I would go during the week to avoid the crowd on the weekend.
I recommend their Sizzling Plate of Beef, with which you get Soup and Dessert for $1200JMD. Ask for the Chili Sauce if you want more spice!
Ali’s Jamaican Cuisine on Annette Crescent has some Spicy Curried dishes with Roti for less than $900JMD.
I love Kushites Vegetable Cuisine at Eden Gardens on Lady Musgrave Road, but I believe they are more for fine dining and are too pricey for the Nyam & Scram Category. The same goes for Fromage Brasserie in Marketplace.
Oasis on the Oxford on the other hand is too expensive for mediocre food and poor service.
Jo Jo’s Jerk Pit and More on Waterloo Road is a good food spot, but their service is slow on a regular basis. So imagine Restaurant Week! I tried them once for RW but would avoid doing so again in the future.
I went to Nirvanna Restaurant and Lounge last year for this category. The menu is similar so the dishes should be tasty and filling. You should get value for your money. They usually have good service with a full house, but to be on the safe side, I had called in my order ahead of arrival last year. It worked out well, so you could do that too if you have a tight lunch hour.
Brew’d Awakenings as mentioned earlier, is simple but has decent Breakfast bites and other choices such as a Salad or Panini for $800JMD.
Triple T’z Eatery on Annette Crescent has a good reputation amongst my Suga Bears, so I would give them a try where value for money is concerned. You can get two Meats and sides with Soup and Dessert for $1200-$1300JMD.
Enjoy and be sure to give Suga your Feedback!
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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***Prices for each category include choice of Appetizer, Main Course and Dessert. Beverages, GCT and Gratuity additional.***
There are many options, but just a few stand out for Suga based on reputation, service, previous experiences including RW experiences, their RW Menu, usual serving sizes and value for money.
The Palms at C&C South Beach and Tamarind Indian Cuisine.
Menu stand outs for C&C South Beach are their Smoked Salmon Salad Appetizer, Washington Palms Pork Chop and Seafood Thermidor main courses. Their options for Dessert should please everyone. Keep in mind that South Beach usually has large serving sizes.
Menu stand outs for Tamarind Indian Cuisine include the Non Veg Platter, which is a combination of assorted chicken tikka, sweet chilli shrimps and sliced Szechuan fried fish, as well as the Green Thai Curry with your choice of chicken, fish or shrimp accompanied by Naan bread/rice and Tiramisu for dessert.
I still haven’t made it out to Rib Kage at The Serengeti Bistro, Hope Zoo, but I have gotten good reviews. It could be safe to take a chance on them.
> Montego Bay
The new Hard Rock Cafe and the oldie but goodie, Pelican Grill are the best choices hands down.
> Ocho Rios
Evita’s Italian Restaurant is usually good and fairly new kids on the block, Great Escape Restaurant at Runaway Bay have been doing well. I had a good time at Great Escape for RW last year and their menu has not really changed Definitely value for money.
> Old Harbour
Kaluga Cafe should please RW diners.
Dragon Court Restaurant has been consistently good over the years.
> Montego Bay
MVP Smokehouse has a decent menu to explore.
Smoked Marlin has delicious food and an inviting menu with value for money, but I question their ability to provide good service with a RW crowd. Good risk to take though. I suggest you go with fun company.
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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