By Rosemary Parkinson, Freelance Writer
To market, to market. Detective Cognac goes shopping for fruits at Sav-la-Mar market. - Photo By Rosemary Parkinson
WHEN THE GLEANER sent me an e-mail from one 'Detective Cognac' from Los Angeles saying 'this is for you' I thought 'strange' I've never been to Los Angeles so why would a member of the police force want me? Well, weirder things have happened in my life and it was my editor who sent the message so I decided to reply to the gentleman.
Turns out that Detective Cognac is in fact Chris Cognac, a real detective with the Hawthorne Police in Los Angeles. He is also a Food Reviewer like myself for the Los Angeles Breeze and last but not least has been an avid fan of my reviews! I was taken by surprise and, then, was even more than thrilled when he announced a visit to Jamaica for his usual holiday. Jamaica, is his most favourite place in the world so we have even that in
I picked up Detective Cognac and his wife and brought them into Negril for a day of 'travelling with Rosemary' and a night at Country Country Resort remember I mentioned him with the MacDonald's Jerk Burger on the Fast Foods story? Well, I have been looking forward to sharing the rest of the Detective's stay with you.
Once we had finished running through the town of Montego Bay 'shopping', we arrived in Negril. After settling into 'The Honeymoon Suite' the couple went straight to Arnella's Bistro Bar and had themselves some mean concoctions prepared by Kenroy, the Barman! Meeting up with a group of ladies from Los Angeles had the Detective in his element with Martha happy as a lark downing 'lightening rum'! After the perfunctory dip in the water, we took off for a tour of Negril and the West End going through the hills, back down onto the main road towards Sav-la-Mar and straight to Malcolm X Bar. Now this is a rum bar and a half I have just never seen anything quite like it in all my 'rum bar' days. Absolutely hilarious. Owner 'Pablo' has managed to cover every inch of this watering hole with every imaginable type of poster, memorabilia, lights you name it, he has it. One day I'll do a full story on him it's worth it, believe you me! As we arrived, the Appleton came out, a large bowl of ice made into pieces big enough to fit the glasses with a good ol' ice-pick and the drinking began in earnest. What is the best part about a Jamaican Rum Bar once the rum is pouring? Dominoes, of course. The Detective was at a loss here dominoes was not his forte so it was 'The Food Reviewers' against 'The Police' (an off-duty officer and Martha, his wife of Cuban descent, and a 911 Los Angeles Emergency Operator). Detective Cognac
may be a good food reviewer but he messed up my game of dominoes and we were beaten unmercifully!
Next it was straight to 3 Dives. It takes a policeman from Los Angeles to show me a place in Negril! Right next to Xtabi is this little spot with the most incredible grilled lobster you could want three lobsters cut in half, garlic butter sauce, rice and peas and salad knocks you back J$1,000 believe it or not. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Remember though 3 Dives is chock-a-block with people so get there early. By the time we arrived, lobsters were coming out 'en masse'. There was not an empty table so we sat with two ladies already 'digging in' and guess what? One of them was from the New York District Attorney's office (had spent some 13 years on the streets as a police officer) and the other also worked for the police. Can you imagine?
Next morning bright and early it was straight to Sav to meet with Inspector Fletcher and several members of his force. We had such a wonderful time dig the photo of Cognac in 'pepper uniform'! From there it was 'to market, to market' how could I have guests from as far as Los Angeles and not introduce them to 'Cheap Charlie' and my boys at Sav market. 'El detectivo' was in his element eating sugar apples, chomping on watermelon and generally just enjoying (apart from a little incident from a rather horrifically rude 'higgler' who cursed poor Cognac for taking shots that might have included her for the Los Angeles Breeze. When are we in the Caribbean going to realise that there are reporters who want to portray our islands overseas as 'user friendly' taking time to go out there and see the real Jamaica! Ah! Well! Lady Higgler, a mere 'please do not take a photo of me' would have sufficed instead of all the abuse you meted out! Shame on you and I bet you call yourself a Christian too!). Anyhow, the visit to the market had tummies growling and there was no way (as far as I was concerned) this Detective was going to leave for Montego Bay without a 'cookshop' visit.
On Rodney Street, we stopped at Sea Wind Restaurant for some grub. Mr. Morgan cooks most of his food outside on a wooden fire and the Detective was thrilled. We had Pork Hock, Stew Beef all served with dumplings, peas and rice, green banana, yam, veggies. It was absolutely scrumptious the Detective and I topping off ours with raw chopped scotch bonnet (hence his red face in photo!). Our meal was not only excellent but cost us J$140 each!
Thank you Detective Cognac for writing that e-mail. We will be keeping in touch so the real Jamaican story continues to spread further we are expecting the entire Los Angeles Hawthorne police to come on down and see us!
Rosemary Parkinson writes from the island of Barbados. Thank you Matthew at The Web Cafe for your invaluable help sorting out photos and generally teaching me about computers and all their little idiosyncrasies!