July 7, 2012
It has been quite some time since I have posted on my blog. I have good reason for that but, if I tell you I have been traveling, since that is about all I do, that just does not seem like a valid excuse.
On my last blog post, I was just arriving at on the island of Barbados. We were off the city of Bridgetown when I received a call that required me to immediately head north to the U.S. I guess even when you are in paradise, life still finds a way to get in the way. Within five hours of my last real post I was on a Cessna Skymaster headed north. That plane took me to San Juan, PR where I got on the next available commercial flight to Florida.
I spent nearly three weeks taking care of unplanned business in the United States and, it was great to go back home for a short while but, I am glad to be back in the islands. While I was in the U.S. I travelled from Miami to Mississippi to Louisiana to Oklahoma City and back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and then back to the western coast of Florida where I visited with friends. The business I had to handle was unfortunate but, as always I made the best of my travels. I found a couple of great places to eat, but one in particular eatery sticks in my mind and, I know I will go back there on my next visit home. I was in the city of Biloxi, Mississippi during the last week of June, riding down Pass Road toward Keesler Air Force Base. I was almost at the point where you have to turn right, cross the RR tracks to bypass the base itself when, I saw a converted storefront with a boldly painted sign that said Caribbean Jamaican Restaurant. I admit that is not a very original name but it looked like a spot you might find in Jamaica. On the outside there were posters of Bob Marley and the Jamaican flag and other things that hinted that there might be a Jamaican national inside. As I opened the door to go into the small restaurant of maybe ten or twelve tables I was greeted by a booming voice with a deep island accent. “Welcome to the Caribbean.”
I picked a tabe and a seat near the back and then took the menu from the hand of the owner / chef. Suddenly I felt like I was in the islands. It was early in the evening and the four members of my party were the only ones in this fine little establishment when we arrived but, that changed as the evening went on. We started with Red Stripe beer for each of us and a bowl of seafood gumbo which we all shared. That was admittedly one of the top three or four bowls of gumbo I have ever consumed. After gumbo there was another Red Stripe and we basically ordered and shared half of the items on the menu. We shared jerk wings, curried chicken, ox tail, peas and rice, cooked cabbage and fried plantains. There was more food than I could have eaten in a week. We had originally ordered curried goat, but the truck had not arrived with their latest food order and goat was temporarily off of the menu. I really wanted it and the next time I go to Biloxi I will definitely order it. Even without the goat but I will tell you that meal was one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed. The Oxtail was fabulous. The meat was swimming in a wonderful rich gravy sauce. The ox tail alone would have been meal enough for me but we shared that and everything else. The cabbage was as good as in any Irish pub I have ever been in and the plantains were delicious. I am a huge fan of curry and the curried chicken was second to none. All-in-all, this was one of the best meals I have ever eaten at any price. Oh and did I tell you, the entire meal with beer was $60 and change. On the WFR rankings scale it rated a full 5 Caribbean stars. If you find yourself in Biloxi going deep sea fishing, golfing, gambling or if you are just there to visit the new Jimmy Buffett Margaretville Casino, don’t miss the chance to enjoy the best Jamaican food anywhere. Go to the Caribbean Jamaican Restaurant on Pass Road in Biloxi and you too will feel like you are sitting somewhere just south of Cuba in the Caribbean Ocean enjoying the best of Caribbean cuisine.
Now that the fourth of July is behind me, I have found my way back to paradise. I am sitting at a little beach bar in Ponce, PR waiting for a plane to take me farther south, to a little island I fell in love with more than twenty years ago. I am off to Martinique.
To quote Jimmy Buffett:
“Well now if I ever live to be an old man
I’m gonna sail down to Martinique
I’m gonna buy me a sweat-stained Bogart suit
And an African parakeet
And then I’ll sit him on my shoulder
And open up my trusty old mind
I gonna teach him how to cuss, teach him how to fuss
And pull the cork out of a bottle of wine.”
I am getting older and this island has been calling me for much too
long and I will be back down there in that corner of paradise by
Sunday. I raise my glass of rum to paradise in front of me, paradise
behind me and to my father who taught me how to enjoy it. I wish you
all were here. I am sorry you are not, but I am damn glad I am.