I had the chance today to go on a bit of a culinary journey. I’d been thinking recently about how NYC food bloggers, myself included, all write about the same places. A new spot opens up, there’s a little hype and a line to get in, and a bunch of us post reports. I guess it’s fun, but those places are almost always in Manhattan, or maybe in an “accepted” culinary hotspot like Flushing or Jackson Heights. NYC is a big place with a lot to offer. My adventure today started here in Crown Heights.
Oops, I mean it started here. I strolled up Nostrand Avenue. I haven’t been there in a while, and some of the old places have shut down or changed names. My destination was a tiny vegetarian Jamaican place called Ras Diggi. This place is so unknown, virtually everything you can find on the web about it was written by me (either in books I’ve written or on sites like Chowhound under my pseudonym JC). Most people don’t even believe me that this place exists. It’s not the easiest neighborhood for strolling. You’ve just got to be street smart about it. I made it all the way to Ras Diggi on Park Place, but they’d just started cooking for the day. The kind woman in the kitchen told me to come back later for their amazing soup with dumplings. There wasn’t going to be a “later” for me today, so I headed to an old favorite veggie spot nearby on Lincoln Place called Caribbean Delicacy, but it was clearly shut down long ago. Strike two.
Just before I got back on the 4 train to Manhattan, I spotted Jamrock Kitchen on Franklin Ave. It wasn’t vegetarian, but something about about this place drew me in. (Dumb luck… hunger?) In places like this, you have to ask what they’ve got. The menu is almost irrelevant. The counter guy gave me the run-down, and then I asked him what was really good. With no hesitation, he said, “the jerk chicken.”
I got it with rice and peas with some extra chicken gravy, and that cabbage veggie stuff on top. The container was exploding with food. I took a seat over at the promenade on Eastern Parkway and tried to work my way through this monster. The chicken was dripping with that zesty sauce, and soon so was I. It had just the right amount of heat to tantalize, and the chicken was falling off the bone. I’m no expert on Jamaican food, but I know what I like. This rocked. Get it… Jamrock? Okay, bad joke. That’s a Ting in the background. If you’ve never had it, let me try to explain. Have you ever had ginger beer and thought, wow, this is SO much better than ginger ale? Well, Ting is SO much better than anything else that might be called grapefruit soda. It’s got kick, and it goes perfectly with Caribbean food. P.S. If you’re still reading, forgive me for deleting some posts lately. I want the blog to be really about food stuff, so even though I write about author TV appearances and foodie events sometimes, I’m just letting those live for a day or two.