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Eat, Drink and Celebrate:RW2014

Published:Thursday | November 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM
During Restaurant Week you can also have your bill burnt courtesy of First Global.
Woodbridge Wines all around as sponsors Select Brands provided complimentary red and white wines for the night's festivities
There was no break in the active blogs as Jamaica Yellow Page's as everyone was presented with a battery pack
Gimbilyn at Alhambra Inn's Tucker Chicken Florentine: creamed callaloo and cheese layered with delicately seasoned chicken breast, topped with a mixture of parmesan cheese and crunchy Panko bread crumbs, baked in individual size casserole dish until golden brown. Served with chunky garlic mash potato and cinnamon baked plantain.
The active blogger bus participants. From left: Rachel Callaghan of Shift Interactive representing First Global Bank, Shereika Myers, Brand Assistant of CPJ, Yanique Lambert, Social Media Manager and Blogger, Stephen Charoo, writer of Recollections of a Foodie blog, Trishauna Kirlew, Category Manager of CPJ, Stephanie Scott, SSCO and Restaurant Week conceptualiser, Rashade St. Patrick, writer of the blog Kingston Belle, Monique Solomon, of the blog Irie Diva, Stephanie Koathes, staff writer of LOOP and The Gleaner's Lifestyle Writer Krysta Anderson.
Appetising cream cheese crab sticks from Northside Kitchen
Something extra from Northside Kitchen came in the form of tasty sushi rolls
Jamaica Yellow Pages' Toni Oliver (Social Media Coordinator) shows off her new pairs of glasses for the camera
Deep Fried Phonix Wings from Northside Kitchen
Yanique Lambert, a social media manager and blogger, being assisted by CPJ's bartender in making her very own mixed drink
Double the pleasure, double the fun with not one but two serving of Finlandia Orange Frost
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RW explosion of flavour: A night of mouth-watering fun restaurant hopping on Blogger Bus

Restaurant Week kicked off last Friday and, by Monday, it was in high gear. In saluting local food bloggers and writers, the Restaurant Week team invited a select few to a night of scrumptious deliciousness on the Blogger Bus.

As a treat, they were given the opportunity to dine at not one, but three restaurants, savouring the dishes at each stop.

Mouth-watering dishes,

fine wines and sweet desserts, topped with prizes and surprises, encapsulated the tour, creating a true Restaurant Week experience.

The specially invited bloggers gathered at the home of Market Me team, but before we did, we were required to download the Jamaica Yellow Pages app.

With our boarding passes in hand, we headed to CPJ to start the evening with cocktails.

Finlandia Orange Frost and St Remy's Midnight Spell mixes all around, accompanied by CPJ jerked pork sliders, sent the taste buds into a stimulating mingling frenzy. Prizes in the form of free bottles of Finlandia and St Remy were awarded to the swift and smart. And those interested in learning how to make the mixes made an event out of it, with cameras close by to capture those priceless moments. It proved that some had better keep their day jobs.

COCKTAILS AND APPETISERS

First came cocktails, then appetisers, and we were off to Northside Kitchen for some flavourful indulgence. With a lengthy wait, the bloggers got acquainted and reacquainted. Deep-fried Phoenix Wings and Cream Cheese Crab Sticks reigned supreme for the evening, and just when we thought it was all over, we were given a taste of both Japanese and Chinese cuisine, with Northside Kitchen's signature spin on sushi - cooked and raw from Japanese- and Chinese-prepared chicken with broccoli and lobster Cantonese style. Jamaica Yellow Pages presented everyone with an innovative portable battery pack, and an Eve basket was awarded to one lucky person who found a special paper under their plate.

MAIN COURSE, LOVELY WINES

The dinner party continued at Gimbilyn at Alhambra Inn, where we received a crash course in wine and food pairings from wine connoisseur Debra Taylor of Select Brands, before taking our palates on a voyage of sweet and dry wines. Paying attention was worth it, since the reward for the correct answer to a pop quiz was a bottle of wine and not just a sip.

With that aside, palates were opened for the delectable choice of Tropical Grilled Pork Chops - marinated grilled pork chops, drizzled with a mango barbecue glaze and topped with a spicy pineapple and papaya salsa, served with roasted sweet potato and vegetables; Tucker Chicken Florentine - creamed callaloo and cheese-layered seasoned chicken breast, topped with a combination of Parmesan cheese and crunchy Panko breadcrumbs, served with chunky garlic mashed potatoes and cinnamon-baked plantain; Grilled Salmon with Tamarind & Ginger Glaze - salmon fillet with a tamarind and ginger glaze topped with a fruit salsa, served with jasmine rice and vegetables; Governor's Choice - their signature sirloin of roasted beef, sliced and served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables; and Vegetarian Red Peas Balls - seasoned red peas, mashed and rolled into balls, simmered in a rich coconut sauce, served over steamed bammy with vegetables.

All present were then informed of the collaborative efforts for the Something Blue challenge. Flow, Copperwood and The Gleaner Company teamed up to tantalise patrons' taste buds by having diners guess the main ingredient of their top secret blue sauce, which was served with succulent morsels of Copperwood pork. Lucky winners will walk away with an iPad Mini and gift bags. Tomorrow, Something Blue will be at Fromage, and on Saturday, it will invade the Second City at Pier One.

FINAL STOP: DESSERT

With the main course now over, the bus made the final stop of the night at Red Bones. We were given a tour of the beautiful venue before sitting under the stars to enjoy dessert via candlelight. Bread pudding, sweet potato pone, and a decadent double chocolate cake, accompanied by our choice of tea, courtesy of Tetley Teas, satisfied our sweet tooth. By the end of the night, three other major prizes were given away.

The biggest surprise of the night, however, came when it was time to pay the bill. With Lyndsey McDonnough of Market Me declaring that she was not

the one footing the bill, we all looked around in confusion, until we got wind of First Global's Burn the Bill promotion from representative Rachel Callaghan. For 2014, the bank's first year sponsoring Restaurant Week, First Global will pay the bill of the first person who attempts to pay for their meal with a First Global Visa card. And so we had the opportunity of having our

bill burnt.

Orbitz and The Gleaner also pitched in, providing blogger diners with gum and two months free of ePaper subscription, respectively.

Alas! With full stomachs, it was time to reboard the bus and head back to where it all started. The night was over for us, but you still have three more nights to indulge in the most gastronomic week of the year: the Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com