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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Restaurant Week at Gimbilyn

Complementary Drink: Orange Sunrise
As decided by my wonderful voters it was decided that I would be going to Gimbilyn at the the Alhambra Inn  for Restaurant Week. After closing the polls on Wednesday I decided to call Gimbilyn restaurant to make reservations for dinner at Gimbilyn Restaurant. However, it seems that not only you my voters thought Gimbilyn was a good choice, as I was told that they were booked out for the entire weekend! How could this be? This meant that I will not get to sample the menu Gimbilyn had to offer? Nor would I get to go the the restaurant that my voters chose for Restaurant week?

Appetizer: Fresh Garden Greens
I must admit I was disappointed when I was told that they were totally booked so dinner for Thursday evening was definitely out of the picture and possibly for the rest of Restaurant Week. However, I was not in the mood to give up! So I called back and asked if anything at could be worked out for me to dine there for Restaurant Week, but once again I was denied, but this time with a glimmer of hope. The receptionist told me I could call back on Friday to check it there was any available slots. Friday morning I did just that wan with great results as they had two slots, one at 7:00pm and another at 9:00pm! Of course you know I opted for the 7:00 reservation time and it was all set!

Main Course: Pork Passion
The ambiance at Gimbilyn is certainly conducive to dining with it's dimmed lights and open air feel, with both dining inside or outside on a terrace. added to the cozy, enchanting feel was the music in the background, some 80's souls music. The staff at the restaurant was also very pleasant and courteous, especially the waiter that served our table. So, ambiance great, staff great, now what about the food?

Dessert: Tropical Pina Colada Cheesecake
After glancing through the restaurant's menu I had made my selection: for appetizer it would be the fresh garden greens, for entrée I definitely had the Pork Passion and finished off with the Tropical Pina Colada Cheesecake. All this was accompanied by the sponsored drink mix, called Orange Sunrise, which included Appleton V/X. The garden greens was a crispy mixed leafy salad greens topped with slivers of Parmesan cheese and served with a June Plum Vinaigrette. I didn't think the salad was extra ordinary but it was satisfactory nonetheless. My main course the Pork Passion was Grilled Smoked Pork Chops accentuated with a sorrel sauce and served with sweet potato croquettes and seasonal vegetables. This was good, and that's just not because I love pork! The meat was tender, well cooked and the sauce sorrel sauce gave it a sweet flavour. The only thing that would have made it better was if it was a little more deeply seasoned and spicy. Nevertheless, the light flavour was still good and I would definitely have another slap of the pork! The Tropical Pina Colada which boasted a combination of coconut rum, chunky pineapple sauce and toasted shredded coconut din't live up to my expectation but was just OK.

After dinner complimentary Martini
The Restaurant Week menu was not the end of the treats that Gimbilyn as our waiter presented us with coupons to get 20% off Country Style juices, a Virgin Atlantic competition entry form and stamped our receipt for a free mix at the Alhambra Inn's bar. Overall, my Restaurant Week experience at Gimbilyn was a good one and I would definitely dine there again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gimbilyn It Is For Restaurant Week 2010!

The poll result are in and we have an undisputed winner for the restaurant I should go to for Restaurant Week! [Dramatic drum roll!!!] An the winner is... Gimbilyn Restaurant!!! here are the results of the poll, which was officially closed at 11:59pm yesterday.

KRW 2010
Which restaurant should I dine at for KRW
Gimbilyn Restaurant
Grogge Shoppe Restaurant
East Japanese
Hotel Four Season
total votes: 23

So it' soff to Gimbilyn Restaurant to sample their Restaurant Week menu, cuisine, service and ambiance! Thanks for your participation and your votes, I really appreciate it. Look out for my review of my Restaurant Week experience at Gimbilyn Restaurant in my next post!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wine, Spirits and Food Galore!

Tasty dessert from the Jamaica Pegasus booth
On Sunday November 14, 2010 the Jamaica Pegasus launched its two day event that features a culmination of wines, various spirits and food samples dubbed as the Jamaica Pegasus Wine, Spirits and Food Festival. I was invited to partake in this wonderful event that had a mixture of two of my favorite things, food and alcohol by the Director of Marketing of the Jamaica Pegasus, Prudence Simpson. I was thrilled when the invitation was extended to me to wet my palate with all the offerings! So with belly in one hand and my trusted camera in the next I was off to the Jamaica Pegasus! So what did this festival had to offer?

The Appleton Estate booth
I arrived at the Jamaica Pegasus at 4:30 pm and was greeted in the lobby by the wonderful Prudence Simpson who ushered me to the Jamaica Pegasus Grand Jamaica Suite, which was already a buzz with activity. There were several colourful and alluring booths neatly arranged in the large suite beckoning to the eyes. The booths raged from several wine & spirits companies to an array of food distributors and manufacturers, as well as the Jamaica Pegasus' own booth.

Santa Carolina Wines
I started off with the Jamaica Pegasus booth which offered a selection of pastries including my favorite, Black Forrest cake! After indulging in the pastry, I was off to moisten my palate with some wine. My alcohol consumption started off with Trivento Argentina which had a great assortment of wines, that I thoroughly enjoyed! I then made my way to the Tastee booth, then to the Worthy Park Estate booth where a lovely young lady made me a mix that included Rum Bar rum.

CB chicken ham
Next it was to the Mandingo booth, where I was a bit disappointed that Maliah Michel wasn't there, but the ladies there were enough to keep me occupied and to cheer me up with a mix! Next it was more wine at the Santa Carolina booth, food at Geddes Grant, more food at the Hunts booth, met a friend at the Nirvana booth, ate more food at the CB booth! But it didn't end there, oh no! I had Sex In The Sun at the Wray & Nephew booth, had another rum mix at the Appleton Estate booth, more food at the Celestial booth. I then topped it off with some Jablum Coffee with White Rum from the Jablum Booth and some soy ice cream from Country Farmhouse!

Nexus in performance.
But the festival wasn't only about food and alcohol, it also had live entertainment and giveaways! The performing arts group named Nexus gave an awesome and very entertaining performance which ad the crowns attention throughout their entire performance! I had never heard of Nexus before, but they certainly made a good impression at the Jamaica Pegasus Wine, Spirits and Food Festival! The Jamaica Pegasus also pleased it's audience with several giveaways including a weekend for two at their hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, the wine, the rum mixes, the food, meet and greeting and of course taking lots of photographs! The festival end Monday November 15, so if you haven't gone yet you should check it out! Definitely something you should mark on your calendar next year too!

For more photographs of the festival visit my facebook fan page album Jamaica Pegasus Wine, Spirits and Food Festival. Remember to "Like" my page!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time To Live Local, Eat Global At KRW 2010

Every November for the past six years several of Kingston's eateries offer their culinary creations to the public at a discounted rates in what is called Kingston Restaurant Week (KRW). This well anticipated culinary experience, under the theme "Live Local, Eat Global", begins today Saturday November 13 and runs to Saturday November 20. The participating restaurants offer a three course meal consisting of appetizer, a main course and to top it off a dessert all at a price lower than their normal price. However, over the years the popularity of KRW has grown to include even more restaurants in the city of Kingston, and even beyond to include Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The restaurants are grouped into four categories based on price ranges, namely:
  • "Tasty" $1,450
  • "Savory" $1,750
  • "High Rollers" $1,750
  • "Delectable" $3,300 and
  • "Epicurean" for $3,800
I have been eating out during restaurant week from the inception in 2004, but due to budgetary concerns I have been limited to the Savory category. This year I wanted to elevate the luxuries for my taste buds and try the Delectable, but alas, I am even in more financial constraints this year and will be limited to the Savory Category yet once again. I am a bit disappointed about not going to one of the restaurants in the Delectable or Epicurean category as I was looking forward to try the talk of the town, Susie's Bakery & Coffee Bar or the restaurant overlooking the city, Strawberry Hill. So confronted with my immediate reality I have gone through the Savory and High Rollers for possible restaurant that I have not tried as yet and came up with a few choices. The choices are:
However I am still not sure which of these participating restaurants I will try for KRW. This is where you my values readers come in, yes I am relying on you to help me choose where to go for KRW. I will do this by a a vote, the restaurant that gets the most vote by Wednesday November 17 will be my choice for KRW! So here is your task: Check out the menus of the four restaurants that I have chosen and vote for the one you think I should dine at for KRW below. As easy as that!

I will provide a review with pictures of the restaurant that you choose, which will highlight my entire dining experience, including: ambiance, service and the quality and taste of the food. But just don't take my word for it, go out and enjoy KRW and let me know your experiences. Happy, discounted, dining!

I Tested the Kingston Beta

Members pose for a photo at Kingston Beta 17 floor Jamaica Pegasus
I have heard about Kingston Beta for a while now and have been been invited to their meetings before but for one reason or the other I never got the chance to attend. So This time I made it my duty to be present for their November meeting, especially since this was their last meeting for 2010. But what in Kingston Beta? And why would I be interested in going to their meetings?

Michael Campbell of Virtual Mall Jamaica making his Pitch
According to the Kingston Beta website, it is a bi-monthly networking meeting and a startup pitch forum where both Jamaican and Caribbean tech, internet, mobile, business professionals, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts can learn, network and gain inspiration from others in the varied industries. Well as a budding entrepreneur and photographer, such an event would of course spark my interest and would be very advantageous to me! After all, I would get to network with individuals in many of these industries in a bid to introduce my services. It would also give me the opportunity to see what ideas and businesses are out there and to gain some experience and encouragement from those who are successful business people. Also, it would be a very good opportunity for me to work on refining my event photography skills... sshhh, nuh tell dem! Now I wonder to myself, why didn't I make it to these meetings before? [slap self in the back of head]

L-R: Chris Mills, Monique Powell of Roaming Donkey and Gordon Swaby
I consider my experience at Kingston Beta to be a good one, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus, as it lived up to what it was all about. I got to learn of new businesses that are now on the market in the stages of breaking out to be successful ventures as well what help there is out there for those wishing to venture to the route of entrepreneurship. There were pitches (or presentations) from Roaming Donkey a online guide with a difference; Virtual Mall Jamaica, a local online shopping website featuring local companies; and ICT4D, a "Jamaican-based network organization established to define, promote and facilitate the use of information and communication technology in the development process." I also got to do a little networking, which I hope will pay off, and of course I took a lot of photographs of the event. It was not all just pure talking as there were several giveaways as well as wonderful finger food which I did enjoy! To learn more about Kingston beta you can visit their website and follow them on twitter @kingstonbeta. The next Kingston Beta meeting will be in January, which I will make every effort to attend! Will you be there?

For more of my photos of Kingston Beta November 11, 2010 you can view them on my facebook fan page in the folder Kingston Beta November 11, 2010. Please remember to "Like" my page!!!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Doubtful Tomas

Early projected path of Tomas
Just a few days ago all eyes were on the eastern Caribbean as a young hurricane called Tomas tore through a few of the Leeward Islands and almost completely destroying the entire St. Lucia. According to the the weather  website projected path Tomas had Jamaica lined up like a sniper looking through his aiming lens on his rifle. Jamaica was projected to receive a direct hit from what would be a category 3 hurricane called Tomas!

However as time passed Tomas seemed to loose some of his confidence and was downgraded to a tropical storm, but had the potential of regaining strength to a category 1 hurricane by the time it reached the vicinity of Jamaica. But that was not all, as it seem Tomas changed it's mind about a direct hit and was projected to head north between Haiti and Cuba, but was supposed to skim the eastern end of Jamaica as a strong tropical storm or category 1 hurricane!

Line outside Pure Water store Kingston Jamaica
With this sigh of relief, but still a heightened sense of preparation Jamaicans began to get ready for a similar downpour of rain like with our recent visitor Nicole, but this time with even some storm force winds! On the day before the storm people could be seen shopping for supplies! Even yours truly got caught in a line at the pure Water store getting some purified water even 2 days before the projected date of the storms arrival. Jamaicans were taking no chance with Tomas and got prepared to some extent.

The day of the storm the anticipation filled the air and this was also evident on Twitter as tweets were flying all over about Tomas expected approach. The countdown continued, the anticipation grew, the satellite image showed an ever closer approach... but... wait... Where was the rain? Where was the wind? Where were the outer bands? Where was Tomas? The hours went by, but all I could see was overcast skies, but no rain and no wind! As I checked the storm track I saw Tomas wobbling east of Jamaica, like an insecure, doubtful child! Finally the rain started, it seems it was here... What! It stopped! That was it? As the night went by, it all seemed that Tomas was a figment of the satellites imagery and our imagination. Tomas passed by Jamaica without even a good shower or puff of wind. The only evidence of Tomas we had was the overcast skies, a few short showers and the satellite imagery.

I am not complaining though, I am happy and give thanks that once again Jamaica was spared a disaster. Especially after how Nicole battered us with endless downpours. We braced ourselves, but never go hit. However, it's never a disadvantage to be prepared and those 3 tins of mackerel and corned beef I bought will certainly be eaten in the coming weeks! Jamaica missed another direct hit, yes we were bypassed by doubtful Tomas.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Farewell Cool Ruler

Image from

The man dubbed as the Cool Ruler, an icon in the Jamaican Lovers Rock music, Gregory Isaacs has passed. This great Jamaican musical icon succumbed to his fight against lung cancer on October 25, 2010 in London at the age of 59.

Gregory Isaacs forty year musical career produced several hits such as Love is Overdue, Out Deh, Sad To Know, Big All Around, Rumours and my all time favorite Night Nurse. Like most great artistes he had his fair share of problems, due to his well known abuse of cocaine and subsequent run in with the law. Nevertheless Isaacs still managed to continue to produce hits and to have a successful career. He was also a staple and well anticipated performer at the Heineken Startime show which featured artistes and songs from the 70's.

Gregory Isaacs was certainly a great artiste and a powerful force in the Jamaican music and entertainment industry. Another great Jamaican icon has passed.

Enjoy my all time greatest Gregory Isaacs song, Night Nurse, below.