Instead of going to Jamaican this summer, we brought Jamaica to us. My dad and grandmother came to visit us in Florida from Kingston. While I was excited about the visit, meal planning was giving me a headache. Cooking for my grandmother is easy because she can appreciate a good meatless meal and loves taking a break from her own cuisine. My dad, on the other hand, is not as open to new foods. Like most Jamaican men I know, a meal is not complete without meat and gravy, rice and peas, and fried plantains. To assuage his appetite, we found a lovely restaurant on Busch Boulevard where Muslims businesses thrive in a tight cluster. The Trinidadian owners were wise to market themselves as halal, since the typical fare available for Muslim diners is Middle Eastern and Indian/Pakistani cuisine.
We enjoyed our favorite foods from Trinidad like doubles, roti, and dhal, while our relatives feasted on curry goat, ox-tail, and jerk chicken. Needless to say, everyone was left satiated. We kept finding excuses to return and made a grand total of three visits to the modest eatery in a three-week span. The only damper to the delicious dining and warm service was their use of Styrofoam and plastic plates and utensils. The Trinidadian auntie occasionally peaking through the kitchen curtains cooks up a storm in such timely fashion that the dishware may be the least of her concerns. Regardless, the environmentalist in me can’t help but notice these things.
If you’re in the Tampa Bay, stop by Caribbean Crown. Everyone is sure to find something irie!