Peppa’s Festival

Instagram Post 2/21/2019

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Postscript to my last post about Crown Height’s jerk chicken. At Peppa’s, 791 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, we also picked up a side order of festival, the sweet fried dough that’s a typical accompaniment to savory Jamaican cuisine. These deliciously puffy, light cornmeal and flour dumplings are island favorites (mine, too) and Peppa’s Jerk Chicken may well serve the best I’ve ever had. See second photo for a close-up.
 
 

Battle Jerk Chicken

Instagram Post 2/20/2019

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On our recent Caribbean Crawl in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the judges chewed over jerk chicken, pitting [1] Triple D’s Place, 771 Washington Ave, against [2] Peppa’s Jerk Chicken, 791 Prospect Place. I’ve always been a huge DDD’s fan (huge, because I’ve eaten so much of it), but I also dig Peppa’s so this was a greatly anticipated one-on-one competition.

Both were delicious, of course, but it seemed that the experience wasn’t quite canonical. New recipes? I doubt it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Then I recalled that in addition to classic jerk seasoning, the chicken should be shot through with piquant smokiness. Both seemed anemic in that regard, and that led me to the theory that perhaps in warmer weather only, the chicken is grilled outdoors where billowing clouds of sweet smoke announce its whereabouts, but in winter, it’s cooked indoors so it doesn’t get that ecstatic intensity that I associate with jerk orthodoxy.

As usual, my OCD got the better of me so the next day I headed off to Triple D’s to confirm my suspicions – and to procure a large order to go. Yep, that’s the ticket! (And speaking of tickets, the local gendarmes frown upon streetside gastronomy, so get it whenever it’s available!) Come spring, I’ll arrange a proper rematch.
 
 

Blue Mountain Cuisine

Instagram Post 7/26/2018

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Don’t you love it when you head into a modest, unprepossessing place and get gobsmacked by great food? That’s what went down at Blue Mountain Cuisine, a Jamaican restaurant at 3701 Eastchester Road in the Bronx.

This virtuoso hearty breakfast was definitely something to sing about. It starred delicious stew kidney accompanied by bammy (cassava cakes) and plantain; the role of the bread in this performance was festival, sweet Jamaican fried dough that usually comes in a form less extended than what you see here. And the cornmeal porridge was more flavorful than any I’ve had in recent memory – so tasty that I chugged, rather than spooned, the last of it down: good to the last drop!
 
 

Champion Bakery – Carrot Cake

Instagram Post 7/14/2018

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Since 1977, Champion Bakery has been known for fresh baked Jamaican cakes, pastries, patties, and breads with names like Alligator Bread, Duck Bread, Mongoose Bread, Pinch Bread and Hardo Bread. This Carrot Cake cuts like a pie, crumbles like a cookie, and eats like a cake, but that crispy edge is the real prize. So good that I barely had enough left to bring home to top with Great Nut ice cream!

Champion Bakery is located at 3978 White Plains Road near East 225th Street, Bronx.