RW - A night of mouth-watering fun restaurant hopping on Blogger Bus
Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Writer
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.
specially invited bloggers gathered at the home of Market Me team, but
before we did, we were required to download the Jamaica Yellow Pages
With our boarding passes in hand, we headed to
CPJ to start the evening with cocktails.
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.
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.
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.
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
The active Blogger Bus participants: 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 Krysta Anderson.