Sunday, May 26, 2013


 every year around this time, the THRTA (trinidad hotels, restaurants and tourism association) has a grand competition to select the National Culinary Team that will represent us at the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in miami. it's a big deal. t&t happens to be the most winning team, so the expectations are high and the demands tall. that's why they engage in a series of practice dinners that the public can attend. it's a great opportunity to operate under competition conditions and raise some money to help with the expenses of taking a team to miami. they were cool enough to invite the bloggers' table to check one out and we gladly accepted.

the team is made up of some of the best in the industry. 
Sabrina Rosales of Sabrina Exotic Chutneys - Vice Captain
Janelle Ollivierre of Hilton Trinidad - Alternate Chef
Adrian Cumberbatch of Magdalena Grand Resort - Chef
Cheryl-Ann Shortt-Charles of TTHTI - Pastry Chef of the Year 2013
Jeremy Lovell of Courtyard by Marriot - Chef of the Year 2013
Naomi Lovell student Chef - Junior Chef
Karlina Permell of Hilton Trinidad - Alternate Bartender
Raymond Joseph of Courtyard by Marriot - Team Captain

and of course, Clinton Ramdahn of Martini Makers - Bartender of the Year 2013

behind the scenes, the team worked the kitchen to prepare a full meal under competition conditions.
so corey of learning patience, melissa of trindad lookbook, the trinichow and myself sat down to see the type of work the team was doing thus far. because it's a competition, we couldn't take pics of the menu or blog openly about the dishes and their ingredients. so this entry is more pretty pics than anything else.

for starters, there was this take on pepper roti. probably the best course. at least the best course in my books.

the team's bartender gave a display that looked like part mixology, part chemistry experiment.

the attractive end result was very unique. some refinement needed though. flavors were overpowering.

shrimp 2 ways was next. interesting. an innovative use of the ingredient. it was a very brave move, but an interesting local spin on the ingredient. the presentation was nice though. 

truth be told, i wasn't a fan of the main course that night. conceptually all over the place. and the presentation didn't scream please eat me. but the individual ingredients were well prepared, so i wasn't that scared. 

dessert was visually appealing. but not appealing enough to make a dessert skipper like me me dive in. as i'm no dessert fan, i didn't think my word on it would be that powerful anyway. the rest of the table didn't seem impressed enough to encourage me to try it either.

all in all, i wasn't as impressed as i was last year, but that's what practice is for i guess. the ingredients were well prepared, but the concepts sat in the shadows of the executions. i'm curious to see if they will tighten it up for the big fund raiser coming up at the hilton again on june 17th. i'd say join them. it would be an interesting stage of the journey, but a most delicious way to support.

Monday, May 6, 2013


before corey introduced me to peche patisserie, i thought the picton street set up was just a spot for fresh bread...

some of the best croissants around... 

 and fancy desserts and cakes.

so when i met up with trinichow, sarina from trinigourmet, sharon from my chutney garden and for the second time at peche corey from learning patience, i was glad i didn't have to wonder how much desserts i would have to struggle through. the baskets of herb olive fougasse and focaccia bread was extra evidence that this wasn't going to be a dessertathon. 

 we started out with one of the things i can't get enough of but hardly ever have... oysters. one platter was oyster rockerfeller made with roasted cream herb, shallots, spinach and topped with panko crumbs. 

and a platter of fresh raw oysters. 

i had the rockerfeller on top of the cheesy focaccia. very nice. i could do this often.

some of the bloggers who shall remain nameless (*cougheverybodyexceptsharonandmecough*) weren't really into oysters, so it was more oyster lovin' for sharon and myself. i had mine as recommended. a lil horseradish chimichuri, a squeeze of lime and a generous splash of tabasco sauce. p.s. i will eat both of these everyday if i could. seriously. 

next we were served a smoked salmon and egg salad made with mixed artisan greens, feta cheese, parmesan crisps and a honey garlic vinaigrette  

of course i neglected the eggs and focused heavily on the delicious smoked salmon. oh yeah, that's another thing i can't get enough of. 

salad number two was my introduction to paneer, which i understand is an indian cheese. it was interesting. a nice light flavor that went well with the mixed greens and passion fruit vinaigrette. . 

our host suggested that we try them together, because they actually compliment each other. who am i to argue right? couldn't get me to have the egg though. 

as usual, sarina's dietary restrictions got her something special. she had the egg norwegian. poached egg in an english muffin with a lemon and paprika hollandaise, smoked salmon and parmesan brulee. i hear it is highly nom worthy. i took my usual peep and even as a  mostly anti-egg man, it looked delicious. 

back to the folks getting the regular line up, snow crab legs were up next. they came next to butter cassava, greens and a herbed garlic and chardonnay butter. 

not bad, but i'm not a huge fan of snow crab legs. a lil too much work for me. but these were not bad at all. i don't think i would order it or crave it when i'm in the mood for crab, but it was workable.  

for the main, we sampled a tandoori shrimp dish made with atlantic jumbo shrimp marinated in tandoori and served with basmati rice and greens.

i tasted the shrimp before, so i just took one to remind me of the flavor. tasty. spicey but not hot. cooked just right. 

the floral iced tea was recommended. good recommendation. a nice blend made with fresh flowers and other secret ingredients that result in a refreshing brew. i used it as a little break between the main course and the desserts... as if i was going to partake! haha! 

sooo...out came the desserts and the ladies went wild. i tried to hide behind their euphoria to avoid the "you don't want any q?" that always comes. more for them is the way i see it. it started with a blueberry and saffron cheese cake served on an almond pecan streusel base.

this chocolate one escaped me. didn't get the name, but it was all chocolate so the reviews were great. 

the chocolat seemed to be the favorite on the table. 60% belgian couverture chocolat mousse infused with creme de cacao and grand marinier ganache. as if that wasn't enough niceness, all this was sitting on an amaretto soaked almond sponge with vanilla bean syrup. 

the gateau opera is an attractive, seven layer composition of  roasted almond sponge soaked in amaretto syrup, house made coffee extract buttercream and ganache, finished with cocoa glacage. 

the pannacotta was a little less celebrated than the others on appearance because of its simplicity. but to me, french cream infused with cardamom and white chocolate sounds like a simple delight. 

for the bonus round, there was creme brulee. a surprise at the end that stole the show. i wasn't able to escape this one, so i had a taste and was glad i did. not overpoweringly sweet, but silky with a rich creamy flavor. it didn't convert me to a dessert lover, but i could appreciate how people could trip over this. it tasted like a breezy, relaxing sunday afternoon. who could say not to that?

all in all, the revisit of peche patisserie was an enjoyable one not only because this time i was with more friends, but more so because this time i saw more variety. i'll be putting it on my list of monthly treats. 

Friday, May 3, 2013



"BOY! HOW YOU SO LUCKY?!" is something i've been hearing since i could understand english. winning raffles, getting discounts, free tickets, play whe... you name it. the only thing that i'm yet to do is hit a lotto jackpot. and when i do, i don't think i would be that surprised. maybe that's why when my friend (and managing director of mango media; the most awesome PR firm in my books.) judette extended an invitation for corey, trinichow and the rest of the bloggers' table to come to the launch of the new samsung refrigerators with digital inverter at courts megastore, with the promise of a chance to win one, i was thinking "aye! a chance to lime with muh fellow bloggers and have a time again. competition... meh."

when we got there, assistant marketing manager lohanna sinclair was already in full presentation, talking about the brilliant new creature comforts the fridge offered. things like easy open doors, free sliding shelves for easy access, easy access water dispenser and the bomb removable auto ice maker, efficient enough to handle big parties they say. ok, NOW i'm paying attention. one can never have enough ice at a house lime. at least not at my house limes.

but the big deal is the ultra silent digital inverter compressor that adjusts to all sorts of situations. regulates fluctuating current (and jah knows t&tec starts and stops current in my area as if they are trying to help us play a game of musical chairs or something), adjusts temperature settings automatically for changes as minor as if something hot is placed in the fridge, and conserve energy to help with the electric bill. they are so confident about its efficiency that the compressor has a 10 year warranty. 10 years of fridge is plenty i think.

so after the rundown of how awesome these new machines were, they called for the bowl that had all our names in it. guess what? "QUINCY... ROSS... EAT AH FOOD?" who say new fridge? wasn't really expecting that one. after all, in usual quincy style i confirmed the night before after being reminded by corey (which is usually how these things happen. i forget, corey reminds me some hours before, i say "oh right! that's what i had to do today."). soon i shall put the fridge to the test and see if it's really all that it's cracked up to be. and of course i'll review it to let you all know. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

wine in the lotus position

if you don't know about lotus wares yet, yuh need to know about the spot. i knew about it a while now, but i really don't know what to call it. i just describe it as the spot you have to go to if you really want to trick out yuh pad. 

the items here are anything but ordinary. good quality. really impressive stuff. but even more impressive is the prices aren't what you would think. i eh sayin charlotte street kinda low prices, but good value for money. glasses you want to display long before you serve in them.

loads of wine stuff like the corkcicle. oh! what's a corkcicle? answer = click here.

dishes that look more like artwork than anything else.

scented candles in all sorts of interesting flavors.

and all sorts of different pieces.

things that could give you ideas.

but anyway, i went there the last time around for another thing that happens at lotus (part of why i can't explain what the place is in just a word or two), wine appreciation. why? because a man as spontaneous as myself can end up drinking anywhere from the neighborhood rum shop to a 5 star restaurant according to how the breeze blow. a little wine knowledge can help to make the vibes right sometimes. 

so lisa from aries services hosted a session with mucho wine info. types of wines, types of grapes, regions, how to read labels, we even went through some local restaurant wine lists. good stuff.

and for the practical part, lisa paired 5 wines with 5 flavors available at lotus wares (see? another thing you can find there. great food items like sauces and pastas).

so we had:
potel-aviron julianas with a spicy corn relish
chateau caronne st gemme with cherry berry jam
late harvest sauvignon blanc private reserve with an old farmhouse chutney
santa cristina toscana rosso with a mango peach jam
houge gewurztraminer with an apple jalapeno jelly

the gewurztraminer was my stand out. mainly because it's kinda dry but fruity. good to go with curry and geera and such. The spicy corn relish from stonewall kitchen was also outstanding for me. real nice.

long story short, lotus wares is a spot to check out. start by checkin their page on facebook (don't by shy to click like). then head down for the full experience.