Archives – November, 2007

Erica’s Cafe – Review

Info:

West End Road – Garden Side across from Rockhouse.

Food:

Erica’s Lobster dishes are the mainstay of this little gem in the Negril cliffs. Grilled Lobster all over Negril is so often tough and/or lacking in flavor, few people really know what to do with it. At Erica’s the lobster is tender, buttery and the lobstery deliciosity just explodes in your mouth.

We had a wonderful soup to start things off, then out came the lobster. We were a party of four the first night, and eight the second night. Yes, I broke my “one meal per trip” rule, it was that good! The Grilled Lobster, must have been cooked slow on low heat, it was tender and shot through with buttery flavor. We also shared Erica’s Curried Lobster, though my preference is a spicy curry, the almost Thai-Style coconut milk infused curry was really beautiful.

Drinks:

I didn’t go for the fancy foo-foo drinks, but the Red Stripes were cold and plentiful, and unlike a lot of places in Negril they kept them coming.

Ambiance:

I must admit to driving and walking by Erica’s many times over the years and passing without a second thought. When we pulled up I thought, “Oh, this place! I always wondered what this place was…” The warmth and home-y-ness of the place is apparent as we took our seats.

Now, both times we were there with Negril royalty, the first night it was Susan and Petrona from The Blue Cave Castle (Susan took Dad and I out to dinner), and the second time it was for Queen Trudy’s birthday dinner, so I’m not sure how this ambiance will stand up when next I go there with other lowly commoners.

Service:

The service was quicker than most in Negril. Friendly, but not all over you, and as I wrote above the cold Red Stripes kept coming. There was no empty bottle doing the head-waggy-whip-around looking for the server thing so often needed in even the better restaurants in Negril.

Value:

The value the first night was awesome, Susan treated. The second time, I don’t remember the exact price but that doesn’t really matter I remeber the value. I remember being full, happy and buzzed, driving up to Seastar thinking I must have underpaid my share of the bill, since I was only 2000J lighter and we all chipped in for the Queen of Negril’s dinner.

Notes:

Erica’s is one of those places in Negril that you can take newbie friends who will be so impressed with the experience that they think you are “like totally” plugged in to the town. I plan to use this to my advantage on future trips. I wish there was a website to promote, I can only say to try it. You won’t be dissappointed.

4.5 Angels

Bon Appetite,

Vinny :)

5 Comments November 23, 2007

Getting there…

Life has been such a whirlwind since coming back from Jamaica. I’ve been writing in flashes of insight and memory, but coherence is eluding me. I’ll be on the subway, something will pop into my head, and I’ll scribble furiously in my journal trying to catch the essence of my thought before it slips away. That’s the way this trip report is unfolding, so I’m just gonna start posting in bits and pieces. A story here, a review there, and surely there will be some mindless rambling. I apologize in advance.

Uncharacteristically I’m going to begin with a rant:

Sangster International Airport just keeps getting nicer and bigger, and dare I say, more Americanified every trip. Normally I’d have my driver friend Clive pick us up at the Airport, but on this trip his phone just rang and rang, so I figured we’d save a few bucks and hop the J.U.T.A. to Negril.

I’ve done this quite a few times in the past. It’s the “I don’t want to haggle as soon as I get off the plane” solution. You may have to wait up to an hour, but it’s easy and there’s time to grab a beer while waiting. This time we walked up to the new-fangled J.U.T.A. booth and the J.U.T.A. uniformed guy starts telling us the $20US service wasn’t available since there were only two of us, and the minimum ride to Negril would be $80US.

He was full of crap and I told him so. Sure it was about 6PM by this time, and it seemed we were the only ones from our plane looking to utilize this mode of transportation, but I never remember getting a discount when they shoe-horned a dozen of us in the van for a mid-day trip.

There was a woman behind the counter giving me the “don’t listen to him” look, but when I asked for help she wouldn’t intercede. I was trying to keep my cool. This was my Dad’s first interaction with Jamaicans, and I didn’t want to start this vacation on a sour note. I was about to go outside and cut a deal with any of the thirty drivers right outside the door, but I was pissed that he was working us over and decided to push the point. I even wrote down his name if only to excoriate him in this forum, but I lost the damn slip of paper. 

Finally after about fifteen minutes of him pretending to ask this and see to that he came over and said he found a driver, but for the base rate he would only take us as far as the Negril roundabout it would be another $20US to get us to the Blue Cave Castle, and I quote, “Way up in the cliffs.” I told him the Blue Cave Castle was only 1.2 miles from the roundabout, hoping he didn’t know the actual mileage either, and that if he wanted a bribe just to ask for one, but to just cut the crap!

I asked him if he knows Clive from Negril, not my friend Clive, but the other Clive who runs the J.U.T.A. station out in Negril. I told him I was going to call him to straighten things out. “Can I borrow a celli?” I asked. I guess that made an impact because he started dragging our bags towards the parking lot.

Truth be told, I’ve only met Clive once when my friend, the other Clive, had to stop by the J.U.T.A. office on one of our many trips to or from Negril. I felt like an ass for pulling the boss card, but I wasn’t going to let this guy beat me. I always say, “If he was a good hustler, he’d be working the beach not the airport.”

We headed out of the airport in a nice comfortable van, with a very cool driver who immediately began to tell us what a jerk the guy we were dealing with was, but he was working the tip by then. I told him the deal and that I wasn’t a cheap bastard, I just felt we were being taken advantage of.

The night time drive to Negril took well over two hours due to traffic and road damage from thirteen straight days of rain. When we got to The Blue Cave Castle I tipped the driver well. I ended up paying the same amount as originally quoted but on my terms. One: he was a good driver and the trip took longer than expected. Second: there wasn’t the usual “just got into town” ganja purchase to compensate for since that usually puts a few bucks in the driver’s pocket.

All in all we took it in stride, Dad was no worse for wear, and at the end of the process we were at The Blue Cave Castle looking out at a gentle sea and up to a starlit Jamaican sky.

Peace :)

Vinny

Leave a Comment November 17, 2007

Finally Fixed! Posting Today!!

Before going Negril a few weeks ago I made a special website banner, and I planned to make the switch with my first post from Negril. I still don’t know exactly why, but when I made the changes my site blew up! It didn’t take me too long to get it to display properly, but took me till this morning to get the posting part working.

I’ve posted a bunch of pics in my Gallery, click the link above.

I have tons written so I’ll be posting beginning tonight.

Kan-Ze- Jah

Vinny (~~)

1 Comment November 3, 2007


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