Thu | Jun 29, 2017

Eat Around Jamaica: Grand Port Royal Hotel Marina & Spa ...

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2015 | 10:00 AMRandy Bowman
Annamele Johnson just made Randy Bowman's day with the two dishes.
And the OG is ready! Bartender behind the concoction Okeito Giscombe pours Randy Bowman a glass.
With fresh vegetables to choose from, making those delectable dishes is an easy feat.
General Manager Molech Brown has Randy in stitches while sharing an old tale associated with the hotel.
And the sauce is almost ready. Just a few more moments to simmer.
Chef Maxine McDonald dices tomatoes ahead of preparing the scrumptious dishes.
And the OG gets the sign of approval. Randy had a taste and loved it!
The good-to-the-last-drop lobster thermidor.
Seasoned and cooked to perfection – the Royal Snapper Rundown.
Hallelujah! Lunch is served.
Chef Maxine McDonald took the time to explain what makes her dishes so finger-licking good.
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With the Caribbean Sea as its backdrop and the cool and gentle breeze easing the heat of the blazing sun, The Grand Port Royal Hotel, Marina and Spa was the perfect reprieve from the office. I was there to enjoy the scenery and, of course, the food. Today, Eat Around Jamaica comes from The Gleaner's backyard, Kingston.

Before digging into the delicious fare, I chatted up General Manager Molech Brown, who told me about the constant improvements the hotel has been undergoing.

No long talking, I was hungry, so I quickly wrapped up our convo and he invited me to the kitchen to meet Chef Maxine McDonald, who was busy preparing the seasonings for the dishes she had in store - my kind of woman, she wasn't wasting any time.

She hinted she was planning to do seafood, and even though I sometimes get an allergic reaction to fish, I didn't care if I was served just that. Based on how fast and professional she was moving, I could tell she meant business - and I liked that.

While I waited by the bar, Okeito Giscombe kept my company, with promises of his signature concoction - the OG - made with Baileys Irish Cream, Myers's Rum, vanilla ice cream and milk. Just the thought made me salivate, but I had to wait until after lunch.

Speaking of lunch, before I knew it, Miss Maxine had plated her scrumptious dishes. Based on the look and smell, I knew I was in for a treat. A double-dish treat it turned out to be! Waitress Annalee Johnson made my day as she walked out of the kitchen with a bright smile and not one, but two plates.The presentation was out of this world. I could not wait to dig in.

I forgot my table manners and started with the lobster thermidor. OMG! I kid you not: this was the best tasting lobster thermidor I have ever had! It was just right and I felt it down to my toes! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that. The sauce was creamy and good to the last drop.

 

GASTRONOMICAL FIESTA

Next was the Royal Snapper Rundown. As the name suggests, this sauce is unique to Port Royal, and according to Miss Maxine, whom I had to have words with, it was simmered over a slow heat.

It tasted as though it had taken forever and a day to prepare. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, I found it difficult to believe she did all this single-handedly in such a short time.

Words can no longer describe the gastronomical fiesta that was happening in my mouth and stomach. I had to pinch myself a few times to ensure I hadn't died and gone to food heaven. Hallelujah!

And then came Okeito Giscombe asking if I was ready to enjoy his 'cake-topper'. Oooh, yes, I was ready! I watched in awe as the young man who was bartending for less than six months seemed to have already mastered the craft. With finesse and passion, he carefully whipped up the OG! I really shouldn't have asked for more. But I had to.

With a full stomach and the view of a lone fisherman slowly rowing in, I requested some alone time, sat by the marina, and took a nap. Talk about an afternoon well spent!

randy.bowman@gleanerjm.com