Monday, May 11, 2009

No Worries In Negril Mon

Grubbing across the Globe
-Jammin' in Jamaica

Finally the post come around. After spending three amazing weeks in Negril, Jamaica I was anything but happy to be back. Since I was a youngin' I always loved trips to the Caribbean and its by far my favorite location on the map. Its amazing how all these little islands that are so close in proximity are so different in food/culture. I first went to Negril on spring break back in 03 and this past trip was my 4th time to the island since then but my first with a camera.

The World famous 7-Mile Beach (Negril)

Jamaica gets a bad rap for being unsafe by some people. Its kind of joke to me when I hear people saying "we didn't leave our resort" I for one would never go to another country and hide in a little commercial real estate development. While some spots in Montego Bay can be dangerous at night and some (not all) neighborhoods in Kingston are downright dangerous, answer me this one question. Who the hell comes on vacation to Chicago and hangs out in the Austin and Lawndale neighborhoods? exactly. When people ask me my favorite vacation destination its a no brainer: Negril, Jamaica.

Just another sunset in Negril at the beach

What makes Negril so special? as the website explains so perfectly "The combination of dramatic rugged cliffs on the West End and miles of pristine white sand beach with crystal clear water can be found nowhere else on the island. Negril is dubbed the “Capital of Casual” as Negrilians carry out business and pleasure efficiently with the least amount of formality. The first visitors to Negril in large numbers were hippies and this helped to create its carefree atmosphere and now Negril is still the ideal place to meet and make friends with Jamaicans. Visitors to Negril feel little restriction and can relax completely on this piece of heaven on earth."

I couldn't of said it any better as the website goes onto explain. "
Aside from the seemingly endless stunning beach and the azure waters off the West End, Negril has many great restaurants and an active night life. There are many interesting tours offered to places outside of Negril, so there is no shortage of things to do. Negril offers a wide variety of places to stay to match any budget. From high end All Inclusives, to hip boutique hotels to small affordable rooms and cottages. Most visitors to Negril return time and time again and it’s no surprise. Nowhere on Earth has that combination of world famous sunsets, great Jamaican hospitality and that special Negril vibe...." Its no doubt a once you go, you know feeling when you make it to Negril, Jamaica.

The drive from the beach to the cliffs

Here is a list of reasons, in no particular order, of why Jamaica is my favorite vacation destination. If you have any other questions or concerns let me know in an email. I have no problem setting up anyone who wants to be, should they make it to Negril.

Reason 1: The Beauty

The drive from Montego bay to Negril is a beauty and Jamaica's landscape is the only of its type with mountains in the middle and beaches surrounding the country making it one of the most beautiful places on the map. Every coastline is a different scene and in the middle you have mountains.

Once you hit Negril you can immediately feel the vibe. With the music playing and groups of people walking up and down the beach everyone is smiling and looking good. You know when you've arrived. The water is crystal clear and the drinks are plenty. Do what you do, Negril is one of the few places that fits both the people that travel to party and the people that travel to relax and do nothing.

Negril's 7-mile beach is always looking good

Jamaica is big with US, Canadian and European tourists...especially Italians and English

Every little things gonna be alright now

end of the beach with the cliffs in the background

Taking a ride thru a local community is one of my favorite things to do on vaca

Negril is flooded with beauty

Orange Hill is one fun little neighborhood

View from my buddy's house

The Dolphin house owned by a German doctor is quite a sight

Looks like the roosters moving in on her

away form the hustle and bustle of the beach are many places to become one with yourself

While the cliffs have a great view the sunsets are just as spectacular on the beach

Tell me this isn't postcard material

After you spend a few weeks you kind of just forget how great they are

The walkway to the beach at night from Bar B Barn

Reason 2: The people & culture

Jamaica is an amazing place to meet people and every time I go to Negril I meet people from every facet of life from the rude boys to the elite of Kingston on vacation in their favorite destination in the country and everyone in between. Not only will you meet some wonderful locals from the island but the people that vacation in Negril know whats up and everything its about so you will meet wonderful groups of people from all over the world. On this particular trip I met some real characters from a bike gang in Duluth, MN, some real players from NYC, our man Patrick from Negril now living in Palatine, IL, restaurateurs from Naples Italy, a couple from Lawrence, KN, spring breakers from Tokyo, railroad conductors from Winnipeg Canada on their yearly vacation to Negril, Jamaicans from Evanston, IL there for the winter, spring breakers from University of Indiana and Wisconsin and a group of 18 people from California in their 50's and 60s with some couples and some singles who were making their 15th trip to Negril and not one of them had missed one trip. Its too hard to explain in words and sometimes pictures do a better job. The locals are amazing people and everyone I met insisted I come over to their place and meet their family's and everytime I went and did it we had a great time.

World Class Hospitality available for all.

I've been to Jamaica four times now and only stayed in two different places and don't plan on staying anywhere new anytime soon. It will always be one of these two places for me. If your planning a vacation to Negril then think very hard about staying at the Bar B Barn if you like to have a good time and great, great service. As I tell friends who are booking vacations its the Bar B Barn or bust if your looking for the best bang for your buck. Why the Bar B? well for starters it has the best bar on the beach during the daytime. Not only are you going to get the best most fresh mixed drinks but your going to meet some great people be it locals or other tourists on vacation. They have chairs for the beach and a zoned off swimming section for guests and patrons of the bar/restaurant. If that's not enough they also have two of the better restaurants on the beach on their property. Read on for more about the restaurants and why the Bar B Barn is so popular with repeat visitors and Jamaican vacationers. So I would recommend the Bar B Barn for groups of single guys and girls and couples who want an affordable place to stay on the beach that still has great service and an amazing location.

It gets no better than this: Bar B Barn is a great location with everything you need.

Unless of course your doing it real big in which I highly recommend staying at the Moondance Villas which I was lucky enough to do one trip. Its a Chicago owned property and they put alot of work into not just the service of their guests but into the community. They just opened a new property in the cliffs that is top notch as far as everything goes. So now you can choose where you like to stay, beach or cliffs, and get the same world class service at both properties. If your going on a honeymoon or a vacation with the family or doing a bachelor party that has no limits to it then stay at the Moondance Villas or Cliffs and let them take very good care of all your needs. When you stay at Moondance its total relaxation and there are no worries on life. Everyting is good mon.

Make sure to say whats up to Sarge, Nedrick and Christina for me

One thing your going to never forget when you go to Negril is the hospitality of all. The people of Negril make sure you want to come back. One thing to always remember is that they live off tourism so your going to get lots of people asking you if you want to do or need a wide variety of things. Beach activities include but are not limited too waverunners, glassbottom boat rides, deep sea fishing expeditions (ask around for Tom) and then there are many day trips to take to places like the falls, Appleton rum estate, the ganja fields, Bob Marley mausoleum and a bunch of other fun things. If you don't want or need anything just tell them "I'm good but thanks for letting me know" Its that easy so don't be worried or agitated. Your in the Caribbean...relax.

If you ever see these two selling their grandmas homemade pastry's along the beach it would be wise to flag them down and get one of each to keep in your room as snacks. The donuts and coconut pies were my favorite but everyone has there own favorite and they sell out quick.

Usain Bolt and the men and women Jamaican sprinters, along with Michael Phelps, were the stars of the Beijing summer games.

That's what's up! You know you love that Patrick. Respect Mon!

The way of life on the island

Another day in JA

The kids in Jamaica are always as happy as can be when walking home from school and you'll see all of them doing it. You just don't see that in Chicago anymore. Little Jamaican kids love meeting people and are so vibrant and social that their energy is contagious. I'm convinced the children of the island are the happiest little kids on earth.

Who wasn't happy when the school day was over?

The kids love getting their picture taken

The adult males like to watch cricket and play dominoes all day

Music is everywhere

Negril is the place for people that party like the Pirates did

Always something going on in the Cliffs

Little bars and shacks to eat on the road are everywhere on the island...make sure to stop in one for a cold beer and food and help out the locals. A little help from you can go a long way for them.

Red Stripe is the most well known Jamaican beer

They also have Red Stripe Light on the island...its as refreshing as water

The men's drink of choice is warm Guinness or overproof rum. The ladies at the clubs like Guinness mixed with Red Bull which is actually not bad.

The music in Jamaica...

No country puts out more music (US and Great Britain included) than Jamaica and Negril is where you have to go to see it. The music is a fusion of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, hip hop with influences from Africa and Trinidad & Tobago all mixed into a few different styles. Obviously Bob marley is one of the most well known artists of all time and reggae is one of the worlds most recognizable styles of music. Reggae fusion is whats popular now such as ragga with deejays mixing reggae with dancehall/hip hop and many other types of music both native and foreign to the island.

All the artists stay at the bar b barn since the days when Peter Tosh used to be a regular and I met a couple big time and a few up and coming stars in the dancehall and reggae world. Negril is the live music capitol of Jamaica and during the spring months the best of the best come out. I went to over 15 live shows and the "Marley Magic" with Stephen Marley, Damien "JR gong" Marley, Ziggy Marley, Julian Marley and a few others along with Capleton and some amazing lady vocals in the background was an absolute stunner. Best show I ever been too by far

The stage at Bourbon Beach (on 7 mile beach) has a musician on it 5 nights a week (December thru March) and the concerts go late so if you don't like noise its best to stay in the cliffs.

The man that started the trend

Signs announcing live shows are all over Negril

Most pupils of famous musicians are everything but talented but the kids of Bob Marley are musically gifted on another level. Please believe me when I say the rest of the shows didn't disappoint either. We saw amazing concerts from Sizzla, Beenie Man, Blak Ryno, Vybz Kartel, Jim Laden and a slew of others. There is literally a live show every night on the beach or in the cliffs and some are huge and some are small size wise, some are for all the people and some you shouldn't go to unless you know what your getting into...I knew.

Capleton (L) Damian Marley (M) and Stephen Marley (R)

This was as live of a show as I have ever been to and I been to some good ones.

We went to a very intimate Sizzla show with maybe 350-350 locals at a pool of a hotel on the cliffs and this was the best small concert I have ever been too. On our way to the show we stopped along the road to answer the questions of a few local rude boys who wanted to know if we were headed to the concert. They gave us some cold red stripe we listened to some 2pac and we were on our way to an amazing night. When I say it was intimate I mean that in every way this concert was bumping and if you don't get the drift of this then move on to the next part of this article because your too old. Otherwise baby...bend ova.

"Were Jamming" from Bob Marley.... Mavado, music is a huge part of Jamaica's culture "ANYWAY!"

Lets just say if your on vaca with your girlfriend you don't want to be attending live music night at Alfred's. If your with a group of friends then get on over there. Just be ready for whats coming.

Every night there's a show in Negril during March

The World Famous Jungle Nightclub

If there's a better club in the world on Thursday nights (ladies night) in March than the Jungle, then let me know...and I'll let you know your wrong.

Hey gyal, Mi will bruk yuh back when yuh come inna mi rompin shop

Once you know "Livin like Soprano king, bada bing bada bing" "bend ova, bend ova"

Reason 3: The Food (Did you see that coming?)

The food of the country is just another reason its a must visit in my book especially for the BBQ men like myself. In a country that takes its arts so serious you better believe that food plays a huge role in the culture of the island. Here are some of the islands signature must eat dishes found around Negril.

All along the beach and cliffs are spots to choose from and none seem to disappoint...just don't go to Burger King

Seafood is super fresh on the island. A fisherman tries to sell his fresh caught pompano fish to the restaurants.

Jamaican National Dishes: Jerk

The men do the grilling in JA and at night the choice of food is Jerk chicken

The art of cooking/BBQing jerk is native to the island and like most Caribbean islands, Jamaican foods are derivative of many different settlement cultures, including British, Dutch, French, Spanish, East Indian, West African, Portuguese, and Chinese. The origins of jerk pork can be traced back to the pre-slavery days of the Cormantee hunters of West Africa through the Maroons, who were Jamaican slaves that escaped from the British during the invasion of 1655. Jerking the pig with the common ingredients of jerk sauce that include allspice, scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, scallions, thyme and many other secret ingredients. Every family has a secret sauce.

Home of the best jerk sauce in Negril

One of the few spots in Negril to get real jerk (Its becoming harder to find everywhere on the island) is at Bourbon Beach along 7 mile beach located next to Bar B Barn. As you can see below the real setup for jerked pork/chicken is not those popular garbage can carts. The carts do however still do a damn fine job. Over at bourbon beach they do it the way they do it at Boston Bay. Its smokey, its spicy and its oh so good.

The Jerk Pit at Bourbon Beach is great for lunch or dinner

As you can see they layer pimento branches above charcoal and then place the chicken on the branches and then use a piece of wood to press the chickens.

When Bourbon Beach is on they are on fire. The have the best jerk sauce I have ever tasted. It is super spicy but still full of incredible island flavor. Its the best sauce I have ever had in any form. They will bottle it up for you to take home if you give them a little notice. I always do.

There are 100s of vendors along the beach and cliffs that sell their chicken late into the night.

Everyone has their favorite

Jerk chicken is the meal of choice at night

Best in the West had some of the best cooked chicken...

...but the sauce was ketchup. Which we don't do in Chicago.

The popular 3-Dives Jerk stand located up in the cliffs

Jamaican National Dishes: Jerked Pork

Jerked pork just might be my deathrow meal. I was first introduced to this special dish by our driver from the Moondance villas a few years back. The first thing that came to my mind was "wow this is the best tasting BBQ dish I have consumed" the second thing that I thought was "I should kick myself in the ass 20 times for missing jerked pork on my inaugural visit. I felt it was my duty to do a review of popular jerked pork stands in Negril and elsewhere. Anthony Bourdain really screwed up when he didn't try any jerked pork on the Jamaican episode. Yo Tony! if your reading why don't you let me be your Jamaican tour guide next time instead of some spelunking cave diving bat turd boys. You screwed up Jamaica bad with that garbage episode. The only bad episode you have ever made in fact. Lucky for the people they have me.

Scotchies has a reputation for some of the best jerked pork and chicken in Jamaica. They have a location in Ochos Rios and Montego Bay. This was my first meal on the island and it was a good one.

Jerked pork from Scotchies in Montego Bay

Scotchies had some damn good pork and the sauce was some of the best I had anywhere but there wasn't enough bones in it and it was a little more like pulled pork than chopped rib tips. Still this is where I would stop on my way to Negril from Montego Bay. Just ask your driver, he'll know where it is.

Stop #2 on the trip was only 45 minutes after our stop at Scotchies. Bigga's (pictured above) jerk stand in Green island (en route to Negril) is famous for its jerked chicken and pork.

Jerked pork from Bigga's in Green Island

Bigga's pork was very tasty but boneless and thus not my style. My buddy thought it was excellent and he knows his food too so I wouldn't hesitate from trying it. We didn't try the chicken.

Jerked pork from Bourbon Beach

Jerked pork from Bourbon beach was also good but not the best. It was also boneless and made differently than their chicken is which didn't make sense to me since they smoke the bird so perfectly. The sauce is the same fire that they use on the chicken. So hot and so good.

Jerked pork from Ragabones

Ragabones aka The Red Dragon seems to be the most popular spot amongst tourists, locals and relocated people for jerked pork. Located in the middle of town its a spot most locals and cab drivers know of and can get you too. It was good but not the best on my search. I had planned to take the 7 hour trip with a local friend of mine to Boston Bay (the birthplace of jerk) but just couldn't leave Negril when we had planned due to some fun stuff going on around town. Negril will do that to you. I changed my flight twice and almost extended it a third time.

The undisputed champ of Jerked Pork in Negril is Ossies smoke shack. This is a place that I have been going to since my 2nd trip and I always fiend for it at least 40 times a year. Here is my favorite piece of pig on the globe.

Ossies is on 7 mile beach opposite side of the beach. Its a cant miss in my book.

The menu at Ossies

many funny signs like this one at Ossies can be found at all the restaurants

Jerked Pork from Ossie's

Think rib tips that are jerked to perfection smoked with the pimento and a hot sauce made with tomatillos to top it off makes this one of the best meals anywhere. Ossie and his wife knows whats up. Amen to them.

close up of perfection

Jamaica has so many national dishes but people might not realize there's so much more than jerk. Hopefully I can help spread the word of just how good the cuisine of Jamaica is. Its not all about jerked chicken and red stripe.

Jamaican National Dishes: Ackee & Saltfish and Curried Chicken

Since the 1700's people from the island of Newfoundland brought dried and salted cod to the Jamaicans in order to trade for rum. So now saltcod is one of the main ingredients in ackee. Ackee was a fruit brought to Jamaica on a slave ship from West Africa in the 1700's. The people of the island often consider it to be a meat kind that can be served with staple or carbohydrate. A lot of people prepare ackee because of its taste, while many also make it a part of their meals because it grows on a tree, which means that it is costless. Majority of Jamaica's population enjoys the taste of ackee and a meal prepared with ackee is highly regarded as cheap, yet delicious.

Ackee is poisonous until it has opened up

Ready to eat ackee

One of the best food stops on the trip was when a friend who we met down there who is from Jamaica and has a house there and in Palatine, IL brought us too his place in Orange Hill for the day.

This little unassuming roadside shack produced two of the best meals on the whole trip and we ate like champs.

Typically eaten for breakfast ackee & saltfish is a great combo of flavors and tastes very much like eggs.

The curried chicken with yams, dumplings and hot bread was better than any dish you'll see in Gourmet magazine or on Top Chef. Jamaicans know how to cook. Most people from the island enjoy cooking and you can really tell in the taste and preparations of the dishes from the roadside shacks all the way to the five star expensive places.

Jamaican National Dishes: Patties

The beef patty is a pastry that contains various spices and usually cooked with beef but it not limited to that. The shell is a flaky texture that is yellow due to the adding of egg yolk and or curry powder and turmeric. Its a very common street food and is usually bought on the go and consumed while heading to work. Its probably the most common lunch eaten by locals and along with s cold ting its all you need and you can get away spending 2 dollars for lunch. You can find patties almost anywhere that serves food and along the road and beach you will find vendors hawking their homemade goods.

The McDonalds of the island...except this place is awesome

Juici patties is Jamaica's preferred fast food outlet. "The Juici Patties chain of restaurants grew out of the efforts of a sixteen year old youth from rural Jamaica to provide self- employment. Jukie Chin started at the age of sixteen years to make Jamaican beef patties in his mother's kitchen and sold them in the family's small grocery store. Two and a half decades later, this enterprise has grown to be the Juici Patties many have come to know and love." Thru Jukie's efforts Juici patty has grown into a full blown franchise providing jobs to the people and giving a great deal back to the community." You wont see Taco Bell doing things like this. Juici patties is loved by all on the island. It is my hope to get a Juici Patties into Chicago near Evanston in the near future. Stay tuned.

Juici patties is located right in the middle of town in Negril.

The Big Mac/Whopper of Jamaica

Gimme some hot Juici love

a typical Jamaican lunch (1 beef patty, 1 Bob Marley and 1 Red Stripe)

The patty man serving his fresh homemade patties on the beach

Juicy J's

Located in the middle of town behind the Scotia bank I found Juicy J's thru one of my drivers. The drivers at Bar B Barn know their food and they were always happy to take me where the locals eat. Juicy J's has a typical Jamaican menu with an array of dishes available right away and a few that take 10-15 minutes to make because its made fresh on site. One of those dishes is the whole fried escovitch snapper. Escovitch is a style of cooking using vinegar, onions, scotch bonnett and spices brought to Jamaica by the Spanish Jews. In Jamaican grocery stores you can also find bottled escovitch sauce to make the preparation easier.

Grubbing in Jamaica: Where the locals eat

Jamaican National Dishes: Whole fried snapper served escovitch style

Whole fried snapper (head underneath) done escovitch style (vinegar and peppers) from Juicy J's. What a meal for under $7 US. Its easy to see why fish is a big part of Jamaica's diet. So fresh and so good when prepared this way with some red beans and rice and pasta salad to cool the palette.

Sweet Spice Restaurant

Grubbing in Jamaica: Where the locals eat

Every meal I ate fell under the "best thing you've eaten lately" category including this succulent curried goat from another locals favorite located near the Texaco called Sweet Spice. The drivers know where to eat and they wont steer you wrong. It was the most tender meat cooked with bones and all included in a rich curry sauce that works great with goat. I'm always happy to eat an animal that's cursed my team of a world series title and some people even offered to sacrifice one for us if we wanted to. In all seriousness though this was superb.

Jamaican National Dishes: Curried Goat

Perfectly cooked curried goat from Sweet Spice. Take that Billy boy.

Bar B Barn

My hotel (The Bar B barn) is run by the Thompson family. I love staying local as I said above and the Thompson family has a bunch of trained chefs and the restaurants on the property are both excellent. There isn't a better run hotel in town and its always better to stay with the locals. This is where you meet people who keep you coming back for life. Sharon, Hope, Tracee and Colin at the bar are the best at their jobs and the staff and family that runs this property is a huge reason I keep coming back to Jamaica. Norm aka The Godfather of Negril, son of the owners and brother to Angela, the GM, is the the man who made me love Jamaica when he took such good care of us on my first visit. Norm has left the island to run a hotel in Dominica and I was sad to hear this but happy to hear he and his family are doing very well.

Just another day at the Bar B Barn Bar

Whats up from Chicago to the entire family over at Bar B: Angela, Joel, Colin, Sharon, Hope, Tracee, Mr. Campbell, Ryan, Lauraine, Chef Leonard and everyone else. We'll be back.

Angela's is located atop the Bar B Barn

Angela's is where almost all of the Italian tourists eat everyday. Its not hard to see why as its run by the lovely Angela and the pastas are all superb (G.M of the Bar B) My buddy with us who lived in Rome explained they aren't very fond of trying other cultures foods but we still met some interesting Italians. The Italians loved partying with us Chicago boys. Never in a million years did I expect this place, which I have been to countless times while there, to have some the best cracker crisp and extra thin tavern style pizza I have ever consumed.

Tavern style pizza better than most places in Chicago's thin crust

Close up of a large Jerked sausage, pepperoni, Bari super hot giardinara (brought from home for the cooks there, they couldn't handle the heat) and green peppers. By week 2 we had them cutting the pizza in squares.

Norm is gone but his energy lives on. I miss that Jamaican box lunch.

The bar at the Bar B Barn (best in the carib) has every drink on the walls surrounding it. Don't see one you like? ask Sharon, Hope or Colin for one of their special drinks. Just be ready to crawl back to your place after a few of these.

Ill start with this

and then go to that

Pina Colada

Sharon Special

Hope Special

Colin Special

and end with a fresh squeezed rum punch

Located underneath Angela's is the Bar B Barn restaurant. You can dine inside but there's no need to do that when they have tables overlooking the ocean. The Bar Barn has great lunch items such as sandwiches and salads that you can sit and eat at the bar or one of the tables outside. For dinner they have a nice variety on the menu with the seafood being some of the best dishes. Fish and shellfish such as fresh lobster, wahoo and snapper are always on the menu. They also have daily specials like jerk chicken which is also very good.

fish n chips for lunch from the Bar B Barn Restaurant...

...Garlic butter jerked lobster for dinner

Sunset at the Bar B

Bar B Barn: Get at it.

Bar food at 23/7

23/7 is a sports bar owned by a New Yorker named John who said F*ck it, I'm moving to Negril. Its located right on the beach and has all the sports needs of Americans and Europeans and they serve really good food late into the night. Its open 24 hours a day. This is the spot to go if your craving some good old bar food. The New Yorkers will be happy to know that they moved a retired pizza lady from NYC out there to cook authentic NYC pizza available late into the night. This is the spot to go if you have a sporting event to watch. Get a nice ice cold beer or mixed drink and say whats up to Rasta man Leo, let him take care of you while you just sit back relax and watch your squad do work. Please note something shady went down here and it is no more.

Always something going on at 23/7

These fried jerked wings were on par with the best of the best from the US

Great burger and homemade fries...sometimes you just need some bar food when your gone that long.

NYC Style Pizza

Jamaican National Dishes: Ital food

Ital food is what the rastafaris eat and its strict vegetarian cuisine making Jamaica very friendly for Vegetarian travelers. I didn't make it to any Ital places this time around but I know that the people know how to make the food taste great because tons of non vegetarian eaters still eat at places like the Reggae man for lunch and dinner.

Popular Ital eatery on the beach

I gave you most of the good spots to eat at on the beach in this report. One advantage the cliffs clearly has over the beach is the food options. The cliffs are filled with so many places to try that come highly recommended that its going to take a few more trips to get to them all. I wasn't disappointed with any of my stops on this trip. Here are some of the places I made it to located in the cliffs.

Chef Teddy @ The Hideaway

Chef Teddy at the Hide-a-way restaurant is the former chef at Kuyaba. Hes a good friend of ours and this man can cook. Go see him for dinner one night and you will feel alright. His restaurant is at the Blue Cave castle in the cliffs. We stayed at the Blue Cave castle for the first 3 nights and it was nice. I hear the penthouse is where its at for a group of people. Everyone that looks into Negril dining options will see that the Kuyaba is one of the highest rated restaurants but little do they know the chef up and left and started his own spot. Those in the know always make it here a few times a trip for an amazing prepared meal. Ive loved conch since the days I was a kid and we went on family vacations to the Bahamas and Key West for the Easter holidays. These conch fritters will likely cause me to not like any other renditions of them ever again. They were the best piece of friend seafood I have had in a longtime. Along with amazing dinners, Teddy has the best breakfast in Negril. The banana cinnamon sugar rum pancakes will knock off your seat. If you want to get silly, have him add some ganja to the mix.

Another Jamaican/Carib dish these conch fritters were the best I have had

Spicy calypso shrimp

Teddy's kitchen style prepared jerk chicken

The best Lobster Thermidor in Negril

Push Cart/Rockhouse

The Rockhouse located on the cliffs is one of the most beautiful restaurants to dine at in the Caribbean. Aside from the world class chefs and menu at this New Jamaican cuisine style of cooking. There might not be a more romantic dinner spot around then a sunset dinner over some of Rockhouses amazing dishes. We never got a chance to eat at the Rockhouse but we had many a drink at sunset at the bar which also does perfectly executed drinks. Make sure to say whats up to Randy the bartender and let him take care of your thirst needs. Hell set you up with something super. Right next door to Rockhouse is the Push Cart, one of my favorite places to eat in Negril. Click here for more info on the food and hotel.

I make it here a few times a trip. Same view as Rockhouse at sunset and great food

Pushcart is located right next door to Rockhouse at Pirates Cave. A "Pushcart" is used for street vending and provides the inspiration for the new restaurant which is drawn from the street food of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Guests can indulge in "peppered shrimp" inspired by road side vending in Middle Quarters, St. Elizabeth where they rush your car with flavorful hot peppered shrimp in clear plastic bags; or try "fish with bammy" like that of vendors in Port Royal; and "homemade jerk sausage" made famous by Jamaica's 'jerk center' at Boston, Portland. The menu will also feature other traditional Jamaican home cooking favorites such as "curried goat", "oxtail", and an array of local desserts sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Jamaican National Dishes: Hot Pepper Shrimp & Braised Oxtails

One of the best parts of the food around the island is the many stalls you will see offering a variety of local specialties. One of the must do things on a trip to Negril is taking a ride thru the countryside and stopping at some of the more well known places for food and fun along the way. The road between Lacovia and the Black River leads thru the amazing picture perfect landmark known as Bamboo Avenue. This place is a foodies dream with stalls of fresh peanuts, drinks and all sorts of food and only 10 minutes down the road lies Middle Quarters, nicknamed "Pepper Shrimp Country", due to the many pepper shrimp vendors who display bright red shellfish in their colorful shells caught fresh that day from the black river. The shrimps are boiled whole in slated and peppered water. Do beware this is a hot dish. Make sure you have some the most refreshing soda in the world, Ting, next to you to cool down the heat. The Push Cart offered amazing versions of both hot pepper shrimp and oxtails braised in red stripe.

Jamaican hot pepper shrimp

Celebration time...Festival bread

Steamed fresh fish with veggies and red beans and rice

Simply amazing are the oxtails braised in Red Stripe

Chicken Lavish

Chicken lavish located up in the cliffs is a legendary restaurant that specializes in a great amount of chicken dishes. Aside from Jamaican settlers there is a good amount of Chinese and Indian locals and the flavors from these countries can be found in the islands cuisine.

One of Negril's most well known eating spots

The best sweet & sour chicken you will have...anywhere.

Fried chicken perfection

Better fries than most spots in the states

Canoe Bar & Grill

One of the best places to sit back relax, catch a contact and eat lunch. Get a beer and a fresh fried whole snapper for lunch and enjoy it on the beach just feet away from the water.

The menu at canoe is very, very reasonable and the food tastes magnificent

Owned by a black American who decided he had had enough of the 9-5 thing

The back bar at La Bella Italia is straight out of the movies...its perfect.

Fruits of the island

As you can imagine Jamaica is flooded with amazing fruits you've never heard of and cant find anywhere in a place like Chicago. My favorite was the Nesberry fruit pictured below. It was like candy but even better. The bartender at Bar B Barn, Sharon, was a real sweetie and made sure to bring us fruits she bought on her way to work and feed us water to stay hydrated as we sat at the bar for days on end enjoying ourselves.

Start every morning in Negril with some fresh squeezed juice

However if you drink coffee folks and I don't but I can still tell you that Jamaica has some of the best coffee on the planet. Blue Mountain Coffee is a classification of coffee grown in the Blue mountains of Jamaica. The best batches of this brew are noted for their mild flavor and lack of bitterness. Over the past 20 years the coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. In addition to its use for brewed coffee, the beans are the flavor base of Tia Maria liquor. Click here to learn more.

Click here for info on this exotic fruit

better than skittles, starburst and anything else in the candy aisle

Jamaica has over 100 types of different mango's

Picture yourself here next winter

Jamaica will be waiting...

Important Links
___________________ Message Board
Everyting Jamaican Message Board
Bar B Barn
Moondance Villas
Jamaica Tourist Board
Jungle Night Club
Bourbon Beach
Weather in Negril Right Now
Negril Calendar of Events

Connect with me on twitter and facebook.


jbo said...

What an irie explanation of the fascination of Negril! The descriptions & pictures are vibrant & immerse one into the culture of Jamaica. Thanks for sharing this. Hope to, once again, see you in Negril; will be residing there in July; Ya mon! Love one, J. Bohdonnah

Seeing the REAL Jamaica said...

You have DEFINITELY been bitten by the Jamaica bug. I saw your blog link in your profile at I'm a mod over there. Your blog post of your trip to Jamaica will have SEVERAL people on our forum watering at the mouth. You look like a fabulous traveler.

Anonymous said...

King T

you da man! mi wanna leave Kingston for Negril right a now

mi hope you us Chicago like dat!

S.A.D Posse

Jamaica Forum said...

Excellent photos and trip report! I'm in the starting stages of planning a trip to Negril for this fall after just coming back from Ochi a few weeks ago. Your photos have me spinning in circles with excitement!

Anonymous said...

was in negril in 2004 - need to get back asap! I always stay up on your blog - keep eating and keep up the good content fam - scott v.

Anonymous said...

Me will quint it up two time and pop yuh cock

When yuh come inna mi ramping shop

who show you that song? yuh luv it!!! come back!!!


Anonymous said...

madd!!! Mi like it!!! mi like it!!!!!! loool when you come back? mi got a special sumone for ya!!!!!


The Spice Doc said...

AAAAaaaaahhh, I love this, love love love. So, I have just moved to Chicago after living in NYC for 9 yrs (I'd sniffed out good food there to no end), where can I get some yummy jerk chicken or goast stew of any of these fine things in your last posting (besides in Negril of course)?? I'm drooling. I love chili & spice, grew up in Thailand and cook hot hot hot. Keep me posted.

Green said...

sunset was so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

irie me bredda, enjoy life u hear, welcome to jamaica, and feel alright~~ bigup!!

Anonymous said...

Great post thanks for sharing your wonderful trip and photos

Caribbean Culinary Tours and Vacations said...

great blog post lovely photos

Jeff B. said...

epic post. well done.

Green said...

OHHHHHH The Jerked Pork looks just so delicious. And, the lobster, goodness. I wish you can ship it to here. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story.



Jeff D. said...

Wow, you're killing me!!! We just left, and I can still taste all the food. We loved pushcart too.. Long time till November to go back. For anyone who has not gone. Jsut go and love everything Jamaica and Negril has to offer. Gonna be my second home soon!!! Great people, great food, just love it.

Jeff D said...

Lobster was out of season, so no locbster, but had everything else!!!

Captain Oil said...

So nice to see you love all the places we do .......Ossie's, Sweet Spice, Burbon Beach, etc....and all those GREAT roadside vendors.

Been going to Negril every year for 30 years and still are finding new places to eat ......... never been disapointed.

Thanks for the EXCELLENT blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to document this. Being a foodie I especially loved the description of the local culinary hot spots. I am looking forward to my first visit in a few weeks!

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for this report. We just got back from spring break and didnt do one thing from food to parties that we didnt get info from this amazing report on. I cant wait to go back. Now I know what you mean. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Just returned from Negril. This makes it our 10th plus visit to our favorite vacation spot. Last two times we stayed at Rooms Negril half way between Roots Cafe and 23/7. Had a great dinner as always at Roots when we decided to have a drink at 23/7. Much to our surprise, the place was trashed and shut down by authorities. We had heard that John from New York was not playing nice with the locals. You know, the wonderful people that help us tourist have the best times of our lives. Evidently when he said F__k it to New York, he was also saying it to Jamaica. Just not right to live in another man's land and treat him with disrespect. This is all so sad because it was a great place to hang out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. This is another great spot in Jamaica. I'm a regular traveler myself and you couldn't have described it any better than this. Great job!!! Go Jamaica.

Jill said...

After 19 trips and reaching the age of 55, we had decided that we've already done the Negril and beach thing enough. That may be true, but you never age out of the food. Now I want to go back.

Anonymous said...

Nuff respect to the Chicagoan! In a few weeks the family and I will be making our second trip to Negril, staying at the same spot as before (Country Country). Our philosophy: if it ain't broke...

Thanks for an awesome post with great pictures that brought back all the memories. We loved Ozzie's and Juici Patties too, as well as Kuyaba and a few more night spots, and will definitely try more places this time out. Great blog!!!

jamaicanrebel said...

LAWD u mek mi homesick!!!!

I am a Jamaican living in Holland and feel so proud when I see people who really get the true Jamaican vibes. We don't only smoke weed...there is so much more to us and you showed that beautifully! Big up and keep up the good work!

Seafood Restaurants said...

What a experience you have!!!great pictures and great story of culture of negril!!!

Rules For Rebels Blog said...

Loved your post. I've been hearing from a lot of longtime visitors, people who have been to Negril 40 and 50 times that the vibe is changing and Negril has many more problems than in years past. Was curious what your thoughts are?

Rules For Rebels Blog said...

This post has stirred up quite a bit of controversey. It wasn't my intent to "hate on" jamaica or tell people not to go there. I simply wanted to start a discussion which would hopefully improve to the tourist board and police taking a more active roll to keep tourists safe in town and on the beach and cliffs.

I felt my post was taken two ways. Some people agreed with me, yes even Jamaicans and tourits with 30, 40 and 50 trips under their belt.

Others however called me names, told me good don't come back, etc.

I love Jamaica, it's by far my favorite travel destination in the world. That said I want to feel safe on my vacation. I know myself as well as others are very protective about Jamaica and its reputaiton because of all the unfair stereotypes about how Jamaica is dnagerous and you can only stay at an AI and don't leave the "compound" lol.

In years past I laughed at people with that attitude however these days it's seemingly like that may not be bad advice.

I think too often people are so quick to jump to the defense of Jamaica that it can lead to burrying our heads in the sand about real issues going on.

Anyohw, I recently read on both facebook and trip advisor another troubling incident that happenned on property at a hotel, conveiently while security was changing shifts. We've been hearing a lot about things like this recnetly.

I did a follow up post regarding this incident as well as the origional post which can be read here...

Anonymous said...

I really liked your review. It was pretty thorough. But I did feel the "Best in the West" review was off. I've been there several times over the years and never had ketchup as the sauce on my chicken. They're jerk sauce is one of my favorites.
And the owner of 23/7 was actually run out of town by the locals. The story is that he insulted a rasta man who was greatly respected. The man ordered a beer when he came in from swimming and the owner was rude to him because he thought he was a freeloader. The rasta man called his people in the hills and they came in like the military and literally ran him out of town.
Too bad. it was a great late night hangout.

SEO Expert said...

things to do in jamaica :- Funtoursjamaica provides quality service to all shore excursions, tours, sightseeing and things to do in Jamaica.

seowebmaster said...

hello ,

i like your blog so much ,is a very usefull blog...i read & learn more about ..

u Find Fun tours jamaica - Negril jamaica tours - You can easily search negril jamaica tours, falmouth, jamaica shore excursions and ocho rios excursions at

Visit Now -

EvaAndersen said...


i like your blog very much. its a very usefull for me...

you can enjoy attractions in montego bay jamaica

Find the best Montego Bay hotels, airport transfers & shore excursions tours at We offer attractions in Jamaica with best price.

Visit Now -


Hi there! great stuff, glad to drop by your page and found these very interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing, keep it up! Organic farm products in Pennsylvania
Food Service Distributor in PA

Well Saxon said...

Hi Dear,

i Like Your Blog Very Much..I see Daily Your Blog ,is A Very Useful For me.

Jamaica ToursFuntoursJamaica is specialized for guided tours, airport transfers, sightseeing & shore excursions in Jamaica with groups seeking a unique vacation experience.

Visit site :-

MY SITE said...

"I am gonna be careful for brussels. I will appreciate when you continue this in future.
Lots of other people can be benefited from your writing. Cheers!"

온라인카지노 said...

Appreciate the effort and information you have given in writing this article .

카지노사이트 said...

I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already! want to learn more? click the link here

바카라사이트 said...

Daebak! that’s what I was looking for, what a information! present here at this website


roulettesitetop said...

Nice article. All the sections of your site covered with great functions. I really like the content and discussions on your site. VISIT: 카지노사이트

casinositewikicom said...

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one!

VISIT: 바카라사이트

Crackshere said...

I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. download obs studio full crack 64-bit windows 7

Aha blog great content and helpful for everyone when you feel free to check my webpage: Zeman said...

Nice blog great content and helpful for youall so you feel free to check my webpage:
Zemana AntiMalware Premium Crack

crackwatch said...

I loved reading your post, a huge fan here. Keep up the excellent work, and please inform me about future articles or share where I can find more information on the topic. CCleaner Torrent


Related Posts with Thumbnails