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Monday, June 14, 2021

The Jerk Shack, Little Jamaica and Actual Actual Jamaica

Roger Crombie grew up enjoying and dealing at his household’s jerk store in Clarendon, Jamaica. In San Antonio final summer time, he turned that lifetime of expertise cooking the distinctive grilled meat of his homeland into Actual Actual Jamaica, the North Aspect restaurant he owns with fellow Jamaican Jodi-Ann Brown.

She makes the stews and curries; he’s accountable for the jerk, a group of spices, sauces and methods as ubiquitous in Jamaica as barbecue is within the States. It’s successful story that grew from a meals truck wrapped within the brilliant yellows and greens of the Jamaican flag, a flag that additionally evokes Little Jamaica Meals on the Northeast Aspect and The Jerk Shack on the West Aspect. Collectively, they transport San Antonio to Jamaica, 1,500 miles away, however shut sufficient to style.

All three eating places have been collaborating in Black Restaurant Week this week. Initially scheduled to finish Sunday, the occasion’s been prolonged via March 7, and Little Jamaica and Actual Actual Jamaica will take part in that prolonged date.

Black Restaurant Week consists of 30 Black-owned eating places, meals vans and different distributors. They’re donating $1 from the sale of particular dishes to the San Antonio Meals Financial institution, a donation matched each weeks by the Tim Duncan Basis, Spurs Give this week and the Valero Vitality Basis subsequent week.

Shrimp with potatoes and a chayote vegetable medley in coconut cream pepper sauce is a particular providing on the Jamaican restaurant The Jerk Shack.

Mike Sutter /Employees

The Jerk Shack

It’s truthful to say that The Jerk Shack shook me awake in 2018 with the fiery cooking of Lattoia Massey, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, and who goes by the nom de guerre Chef Nicola Blaque. It wasn’t simply me. GQ journal named The Jerk Shack one among its Finest New Eating places.

Her char-grilled jerk hen ($15 per pound) nonetheless bristles with pepper and herbs, and that may be sufficient, if that’s all there was. However she’s livened up the menu by including jerk pork ribs ($30 for a half-rack) worthy of a Texas pitmaster, if that pitmaster listened to Jimmy Cliff.

The Jerk Shack, close to Our Girl of the Lake College, channels the informal air of a walk-up meals stand with Jamaican beef patties ($3) like flaky pot pies you maintain in your hand, plus smoky jerk pork tacos ($10 for 3) and fried jerk wings with creamy mac and cheese ($15). However it additionally channels a chef vibe with silky braised oxtails in mahogany gravy served with cabbage and the Jamaican specialty rice and peas ($18).

The Jerk Shack household is rising. Final yr, the crew added the Caribbean wrap stand Mi Roti on the Pearl’s Bottling Division meals corridor, and a second location of The Jerk Shack is deliberate close to SeaWorld San Antonio in July. And in case all that plus a pandemic and constructing a brand new residence for themselves wasn’t sufficient, Massey and her husband, Cornelius, will welcome their second baby in June.

117 Matyear St., 210-776-7780, Fb: @thejerkshacksatx. Open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday via Saturday. Takeout and third-party supply solely.

The menu at Little Jamaica Foods on Walzem Road on San Antonio's Northeast Side includes, clockwise from bottom, brown stew chicken, jerk chicken, a variety of Jamaican soft drinks and braised oxtails.

The menu at Little Jamaica Meals on Walzem Highway on San Antonio’s Northeast Aspect consists of, clockwise from backside, brown stew hen, jerk hen, a wide range of Jamaican smooth drinks and braised oxtails.

Mike Sutter /Employees

Little Jamaica Meals

Almartino Stewart launched me to brown stew hen, and I thank him for that. The flavors of garlic, paprika and brown sugar intermingled in a wealthy brown gravy flip hen right into a glowing murals ($10 for a big plate with two sides).

He discovered to cook dinner that dish in his native Jamaica. Collectively together with his spouse Yolanda, who’s from Miami, they opened Little Jamaica Meals close to Windcrest in 2013. Their store carries a greatest-hits record of Jamaican classics that embrace rustic jerk hen ($10 for a big plate with two sides) and oxtails which can be fall-apart tender with out going all fatty, with a disciplined brown gravy like a Sunday roast ($16 for an everyday plate with two sides).

Aspect dishes make a giant distinction right here, particularly crispy and filling mashed and fried plantain slices and a giant serving to of rice and peas that jogged my memory of Cajun soiled rice. Add a cool bottle of Vita Malt, a Jamaican soda that’s like a nonalcoholic cross between an English brown ale and gingerbread.

5490 Walzem Highway, 210-637-1293, Fb: @littlejamaicafoods. Open 11 a.m. to eight p.m. Monday via Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; midday to 9 p.m. Saturday. Dine-in, curbside and third-party supply out there.

Whole fried snapper with escovitch vegetables, macaroni pie and rice and peas is part of the menu at Real Real Jamaica on San Pedro Avenue on San Antonio's North Side.

Entire fried snapper with escovitch greens, macaroni pie and rice and peas is a part of the menu at Actual Actual Jamaica on San Pedro Avenue on San Antonio’s North Aspect.

Mike Sutter /Employees

Actual Actual Jamaica

One of the simplest ways to choose an excellent Jamaican restaurant is to ask somebody who is aware of. I’d say Lattoia Massey of The Jerk Shack is somebody who is aware of, and she or he beneficial Actual Actual Jamaica on San Pedro close to Oblate.

Get the curried goat and the saltfish with ackee, she mentioned. Proper on, and right here’s why. The goat ($17 with two sides) tamed that rangy beast into tender bites enveloped in brown gravy that spoke simply as loud with herbs because it did with garlic and curry. Ackee is a Caribbean fruit that cooks down like scrambled eggs, and it calms the funky flavors of saltfish for a plate that’s colourful and filling ($$17 with two sides).

Chef and co-owner Crombie does his heritage proud with jerk hen that wears its pores and skin like a swimsuit of amber silk, jeweled with pepper, garlic and herbs with one of the best jerk sauce on this report ($13 with two sides).

For sides, let me introduce macaroni pie, stacked as tall as a lasagna and certain collectively all gooey like your favourite mac and cheese. Get that, together with a salty-sweet tangle of cabbage sauteed with each vegetable within the kitchen.

However for sheer spectacle, go together with pink snapper escovitch ($16 with two sides), a complete fish fried to order, delicate and flaky towards a background of pickled greens. Consider your favourite Mexican restaurant’s escabeche minus the jalapeños, and also you’re there.

6828 San Pedro Ave., 210-858-3015, Fb: @realrealjamaica. Open 11 a.m. to eight p.m. Tuesday via Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dine-in, curbside and third-party supply out there.

msutter@express-news.web | Twitter: @fedmanwalking | Instagram: @fedmanwalking

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