We Jammin’

We jammin’……… I wanna jam it with you…. We jammin’…. I hope you like jammin’ too” (Bob Marley)

 

Fellow LEOS, it is our season. Happy burf’ day to each and everyone of you! What did you guys do for your birthday? Cook out, birthday party, or did you go somewhere? I decided to head back to Jamaica for my birthday last week and it was everything I wanted. Let me explain.

 

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I took a direct flight from BWI to MBJ, and yall have to explain to me why the ham sandwich flights are so high to Jamaica. I paid almost $600 and I booked months ago! Ok enough of my venting, Landed in Jamaica and I met my cousin in the airport. We jumped on the shuttle and headed to our resort “Grand Palladium.”

 

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Grand Palladium is actually located in Lucea, Jamaica and not Montego Bay. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the resort from the airport but the ride there was very scenic. In route to our resort our driver was very comical and pointed out some need to know things and areas. Once we got to the resort they informed us to stop at the first desk to get our welcome drink. I passed on the drink because I knew it was probably mad strong (not a big drinker and it was too hot to be drinking) and I was hungrier then thirsty anyways. I checked into the hotel and met my homie there (who actually planned the trip) and her girlfriend and we all went to eat. One of the things I liked about the resort was the many places to eat on the grounds. I had a taste for anything jerk, and or curried and they did not disappoint. I ended up with a huge plate of curried goat over white rice and some fruit. Yall that curried goat was EVERYTHING. It was perfect.

 

After stuffing our faces, my cousin and I headed to the room to change into our bathing suits and hit the water. I walked into the room and to my surprise, I had balloons and a banner reading “Happy Birthday Anita.” Yall I felt like a little kid, even though I turned 30 it felt good to have my day recognized and the resort gave me a bottle of Appleton Rum.

 

Now, let me be 100 with yall, the beach was not impressive. The way/location of the resort to the beach is not a good one and actually there is no real beach unfortunately. Sigh but it was all good, I headed to the cabanna to get us a non-alcoholic fruity drink and sat up under the huge straw umbrella to unwind and enjoy the ocean breeze.

 

The next day, we planned to venture out into Jamaica via shuttle and head to Negril’s Margaritaville, light shopping, and Ricks Café. We planned our trip through one of the tour guides named “Andrea” and she was absolutely awesome. She made sure that whatever we wanted, whatever we needed, she delivered. If she was unable to do so, she would try her best to find someone who could. If you wanted some Guinep fruit, she would get some for us. If smokers wanted some blow/ganga/sticky/bobmarley/weed she knew who to go to.

 

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I believe it took about an hour to get to Margaritaville, when we got there it was not very crowded and we secured a table. The restaurant is right on the beach and yall, the water was absolutely beautiful. It was hot as balls outside but ya girl had to get out there and get some pics.

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The food wasn’t impressive so my cousin and I shared a platter and didn’t want to eat a lot anyways because our last destination was Rick’s café anyways. We stopped for about an hour to do some light shopping, and then we pulled up to Rick’s Café.

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As soon as we got off of the shuttle, I had about two men tell me they wanted to put babies in me and another that wanted to marry me. Lol Jamaican men are hilarious, I had a few offer me weed but I’m not a smoker and this was all before I even step foot into Rick’s Café lol.

Rick’s wasn’t too packed but it was jumping. We took a look at the cliff and the gorgeous water below and it was just breathtaking. Did I jump you ask, nope. Because I didn’t want to die on my birthday lol, and I am just a beginner swimmer anyways. For lunch I had the Escovitch Red Snapper and it was EVERYTHING. The people were very friendly and the DJ was pretty nice on the ones and twos.

Dunn’s River Falls

Andrea managed to get my cousin and I a shuttle to Dunn’s Rivers Falls last minute. I told you she could get stuff done! It took about an hour and a half to get there and along the way we saw where the fastest man Usain Bolt is from.  Andrea also told us about the legend of the “White Witch.” But what really caught my attention when she was dropping knowledge on us about the different herbs, and medicines Jamaicans use to live long and healthy lives.

 

 

 

Dunn’s Rivers Falls is absolutely beautiful! Our guide was hilarious and he made sure that we kill ourselves going up the waterfall. Now don’t underestimate going up the falls, because it will certainly put you on your back. There are several little holes and slippery spots along the way so definitely wear water shoes.

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All in all, I had a terrific time in Jamaica. The food, the culture, and bringing in my 30th. If you’re looking for a nice resort to unwind and kick your feet up with lots of restaurants on the facility, then Grand Palladium is it.  DON’T be afraid to jump on a shuttle and actually explore the island.

 

Hole in the Walls

If you’ve ever attended a black southern barbeque, you may have heard a catchy tune flowing from the speakers.  The song talks about heading out to an establishment that one may not regularly go to for whatever reason.  It may look a little funky, may not have the best décor but you were somehow drawn to it.  But after spending sometime there, they actually loved it and didn’t want to leave.  Does this tune sound familiar? I am talking about Mel Waters’ “Hole in the wall.”  There is a line from the song that I absolutely love that states
“I walked into the room, with my nose in the air, It’s seven in the morning and I’m still in there” (Material Things, 1999)
Oh I think we have all had a similar experience when we talk about hole in the walls.  I would like to take the time to list a few of my hole in the wall restaurants that I have had the liberty of enjoying and not wanting to leave over the course of my travels.  I would like to call this blog post “Hole in the Walls.”
Being a fellow Charlestonian I have had my fair share of seafood.  Fish, scallops, clams, crabs, shark and the list goes on and on.  But there is something that I really like to have when I come home to the Chuck and it’s called “Garlic Crabs.

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What are garlic crabs you ask?  Well let me fill you in on how I think it is prepared lol.  I believe the blue crabs are steamed very well and the shell is removed.  The crab is then drizzled and or dipped into this very succulent garlic/buttery sauce that just makes the crabs oh so good!  It sure as hell beats drowning your crab with Old Bay Seasoning. (Take that Marylanders)
Why do I like these so much?  Well, when I come home and grab a plate of this it just reminds me of home and puts a spin on how we Charlestonians prepare our crabs.  How can you get your hands on these babies?  Well, on Savannah Highway there is a little seafood store called “Ravenel Seafood” .” It’s a little blue store/ restaurant where you can get yourself some garlic crabs.  But before taking the drive out there, be SURE that you give them a call to see if they have crabs available.  This is a very popular dish in the Chuck and they tend to sell out.

Ravanel Seafood
Second on my list of hole in the walls in a restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee called ” Hungry Bear BBQ” . This little restaurant is small and seats maybe about thirty people but my God do they have some awesome BBQ.  The restaurant is located off of East Parkway and in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains.  Why do I like this restaurant?  It’s because of their small hometown, backwoods atmosphere.  There restaurant is decorated with the history of the area and a few trinkets of what TN is known for.  What did I eat when I was here?  I had some ribs, baked beans, string beans, and a roll.  The ribs LITERLLY slid off of the bone and it I want to bet that their sauce was probably homemade.  Their service was very warm and inviting and if I would’ve ordered more food I was most definitely not going to leave.

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Third hole in the wall on my list is a jammin’ little Jamaican spot in Cocoa, FL called “ Jerk Flavas.” I visited this restaurant on a weekend trip to Cocoa Beach, FL recently and was determined to support a black restaurant while I was in the area.  After some googling and reading of the reviews, I decided to give this place a try.

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I pulled up to the restaurant and it was small and cute. It’s tucked away in a little neighborhood and if you drive too fast you could easily pass it.  The restaurant opened at 11 am and to my surprise when I walked in FOOD WAS PREPARED!  I chatted it up with one of the employees and told her what I wanted and she was not stingy with the portions honey!  I got an order of oxtails, mac n cheese, cabbage, rice, plantains and banana vanilla cake. To wash it all down I finished it with a ginger lemonade, and if you have not had ginger lemonade definitely get some.

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What I liked about the restaurant was that it was ran by a family.  You could tell they were related by the way they spoke to each other and how they vibed with one another. Another reason why I liked this restaurant is because it’s black owned.  Many black owned restaurants are slept on and not given a chance because they compete with the chain restaurants.  However, these restaurants lack the love that a black owned restaurant puts into their food.  Don’t debate me.

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In conclusion, I myself thoroughly enjoy looking for a hole in the wall restaurant when I travel. Above, I provided three pretty tasty examples and hope that if you’re ever in the area that you would give these restaurants a try.