The Door does it again
QUEEN'S, New York:
EVERYTHING about the Children Of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Inc 21st anniversary celebrations was distinctly Jamaican.
The people, the clothing, and wow! the food, a taste with an apt description from the Colonel's corner, finger-lickin' good.
There was plenty to go around, actually more than enough at the main event, Saturday night's dinner and awards, plus a welcome reception the previous evening for guest of honour, world renowned sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown.
The 100-200 metres athlete - with a vast and glittering medal haul totalling 17 from Olympic and World Championships - was recognised for her work as a philanthropist.
Since 2009, she has been a UNESCO ambassador, championing gender equality, specifically in sports. The woman popularly referred to by her initials, VCB, also works a Veronica Campbell-Brown Foundation that provides full scholarships to girls.
For her, it gives great pleasure and delight to make such offerings.
For those who shared her moment at COJO's dinner and reception, the servings were of a similar order - sumptuous.
"Mmmh, mmmh, the jerk chicken taste good, man," reacted a guest at last Friday night's reception at The Door, the popular Jamaican restaurant in Queens.
To make the evening more special, actor 'Jookie Jam' (real name Stede Flash), who also features in a play aired on local TV with Shebada, numbered among the serving staff.
"Yea, man," said a guest, "it's to die for."
Approval, whether in words or a headshake, passed around the table like cards in the native Jamaican game, 'pass 'roun donkey'.
Chicken, of course, was part of the main course. Appetites had already been whetted with salt fish fritters, spinach dumplings and the good ol' rolls that work with everything, everywhere.
Then there was vegetable salad, with dressing to enhance the taste, plus sautÈed vegetables - carrots and string beans done at the perfect temperature, not too hard, not too soft. Palatable.
Fish is not always easy to prepare for such a liking. This one - escoveitched - at The Door for VCB's welcome reception was. It went as quickly as the dishes were laid out on the table.
So was the oxtail and the well-cooked gungo peas, a favourite on the offerings that also
included a nicely balanced cooking of macaroni and cheese.
To wash it all down, or just to pep up the stomach, a cup of coffee came in handy, especially with temperatures in the 40s; as well as wine, red and white; along with properly flavoured fruit punch, orange juice and lemonade.
For those in attendance at both functions, it was a treat.
COJO's 21st annual gala at The Hilton hotel, JFK, was a ball with plenty more people ... and food.
A cocktail reception served off the proceedings, with long lines leading to the many tables decorated with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres; jerk chicken, jerk pork, curried goat, escoveitched fish, pastries, pudding and cake, plus bun and cheese patties. And there was an open bar.
Appetites were fully open by the time patrons at the charity event transferred to the ballroom, where the real appetiser, spring salad with goat cheese or field greens with walnuts and pomegranate dressing, were served.
In the room full of tables, there was hardly seating space. If there was any in the belly that the cocktail reception and entree hadn't filled, the entree and dessert were sure to fully address that void.
Shiitake salmon with honey lavender sauce, French cut chicken with lemon thyme sauce, a starch of the day, seasonal vegetables, bread basket and rolls and butter were on menu for the main course, while for dessert, those with a sweet tooth got a real taste in the cheesecake.
Freshly brewed coffee, the Blue Mountain brand that was served with much steam, complemented the wholesome servings that provided the perfect blend to make COJO's anniversary event distinctly Jamaican.