The #MUSIC Issue
I’m still crushing on Port Antonio, Jamaica, and I’m thrilled to share my HipStop: Port Antonio, Jamaica feature in the #MUSIC issue of Snap Magazine.
Boston Beach overview
It’s always hard putting together an edit for Snap, and not everything makes it into the issue. For my blog readers, I’ve included some additional images that didn’t make it into the magazine.
Left: Jamaican Crayfish Right: Breakfast at the Trident Villas including mackerel and a boiled banana
French press Blue Mountain coffee was a lovely way to wake up at the Trident Villas in Port Antonio
left: Live Jazz at Mike’s Supper Club Right: The Jolly Boys performing a GeeJam’s Bush Bar
Snap is a digital magazine that showcases the driving forces behind global creative culture and explores provocative new ways to interpret the beauty around us. You can download Snap in the iTunes Newsstand and it’s free.
Seattle’s Space Needle after dark
I’ve been in Seattle this week having a love/hate relationship with the weather. April is rainy and dreary but yesterday was lovely and I decide to document the clear spring evening by making a time lapse video using the TimeLapse app on my iPhone 5s. The TimeLapse app’s latest update has some presets to help you best capture scenarios like moving clouds, sunsets, night traffic, or blooming flowers. It’s one of my favorite mobile photography apps for capturing travel memories.
Seattle Space Needle Time Lapse
Time Lapse Tip:
When shooting time lapse videos, be sure you close out of all other energy zapping apps. It’s a bummer when your battery dies out before you’re done shooting.
Zan by the colorful fresh fruit shacks near the Boston Jerk Centre
It’s pretty much a given that any trip to Jamaica will involve some rum, reggae and jerk chicken. Jerk Cuisine, which involves a dry rub of allspice (known as pimento in Jamaica), scotch bonnet peppers, cloves, garlic, cinnamon, salt, and a few spices is the island’s riff on BBQ. The Boston Jerk Centre, located within easy walking distance to Boston Beach, is considered the birthplace of Jamaican Jerk style of cooking.
There was a whole system of expeditors and hype men outside Goldteeth Jerk Centre
The Boston Jerk Centre is a food court with hustle. The way this place works is several different vendors are attempting to sell you their jerk, and expediters are there to sort of coordinate the process. If you’ve ever eaten at the Satay Club in Singapore, it’s a a similarly confusing process.
Locals chilling at a bar in the Boston Jerk Centre
Fortunately, Nick (our driver from the Trident Villas) helped us get our Jerk on. Nick had suggested we try the jerked pork, which wouldn’t have been my pick but turned out to be the standout dish of the day. After a few minutes of negotiating, we had jerked chicken and pork– cooked on grills made from oil drums cut in half– and grilled sweet potatoes.
Pork and Potatoes on the grill at the Boston Jerk Centre
There were not a lot of tourists at the Boston Jerk Centre and I tried not wonder how long the meat had been sitting on those grills. I’m not usually a food stall kind of person, but Zan and I both wanted get the full on Jamaican Jerk experience.
Every culture seems to have a deep fried delicacy. In Jamaica, it’s Festival Bread
Festival bread being fried
We ate our lunch of Jerked pork & a Red Stripe back at GeeJam
We ate our jerk lunch– which cost under $10 per person- with a cold Red Stripe. Sure enough, the jerk pork was the standout and the grilled sweet potato a yummy starch. It’s a great thing to do in Port Antonio.
Shaggy’s Jerk Centre
The Boston Jerk Centre is located in Fairy Hill, just a few minutes from Boston Beach. It’s just off the main highway about 9 miles east of Port Antonio, Jamaica.
Shabby and Unchic: it doesn’t get cooler Dickie’s
Port Antonio doesn’t have a lot of sit-down restaurants, but Dickie’s Best Kept Secret is something of an institution. Anyone with a sense of adventure (and a sense of humor) should be in the know about Dickie’s. Located in a charming and funky ramshackle hut perched above the Caribbean Sea, Dickie’s is truly a unicorn. This is the sort of place you’re going to love or hate, I’m firmly in the #teamdickies category.
Dickie’s Best Kept Secret
Fire code violations and uneven floors are part of the wonderful Jamaican rabbit hole that is Dickie’s. A joint like this could never happen in a place like the U.S.. It’s not the right choice if you’re expecting a kids menu or even consistency.
Left: Dickie’s Best Kept Secret and Bougainvillea Right: Dickie’s Ramshackle Exterior
Seriously old school, you have to call ahead to book a table, since food is purchased daily, according to the expected number of patrons. The concierge team at The Trident hooked us up.
Dickie’s clings to the rocky Caribbean Coast
It’s not clear if Dickie lives on site, but it definitely feels like he might. The decor is Jamaican shabby and decidedly un-chic. It’s lack of irony and pretension makes Dickie’s feel unintentionally cool. There is no menu at Dickie’s– you eat what they serve you. The cuisine feels a bit 70s fine dining inspired, but it works. We started with a savory crepe-like omelette filled with vegetables that was both tasty and light.
The Jamaican Shabby Un-Chic interior at Dickie’s Best Kept Secret
Vegetable soup came next. It was uninspired, but there are worse views to have with your soup course. The main course was a delicious grilled spiny lobster, served with stuffed peppers. It was light and flavorful and tasted excellent washed down with a Red Stripe lager. Portions were generous.
Left: Dickie’s Best Kept Secret Interior Right: Eclectic Jamaican decor inside Dickie’s
Did I mention that some of my mismatched silverware had the American Airlines logo on it? If these walls could talk…
I would love to come to dinner party here
For dessert, we were served a garishly decorated marble cake that I feared based on appearance. It turned out to be really yummy. Not surprising considering the wacky sort of wonderful that is Dickie’s.
This light and fluffy omelette paired wonderfully with a cold Red Stripe Lager
Left: Stuffed peppers Right: Spiny Lobster was the stand out dish at Dickie’s
The vegetable soup seemed random– but was fine.
Left: the Garish marble cake was rather tasty Right: some American Airlines silverware added to the atmosphere
The eponymous Dickie
Dickie’s Best Kept Secret is the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised if Anthony Bourdain was sitting at the next table.
Dickie’s decor includes these fun windows
Dickie’s Best-Kept Secret
Location: about 1 mile west of Downtown Port Antonio, on route A4
Hours: Daily 6:30-9:30pm (sometimes open for lunch– be sure to call ahead)
Bartender serving fierceness in a Bar with No Name
It’s hard for me to distill my feeling for Port Antonio, Jamaica into words. All the ones that pop to mind– authentic, genuine, unspoiled– seem like travel cliches. And there was nothing about Port Antonio that is cliched. The people are genuine and unaffected. The ones I met were warm, friendly, and sweet. Here are some of my favorite mobile photography portraits of people I met in Port Antonio. I hope they can convey what I can’t express with words.
Friendly Portie Locals outside a barber salon
Port Antonio doesn’t have a Starbucks, but it does have lots of colorful shops that often have dancehall or reggae music blaring from them.
A photogenic rasta vendor at the Port Antonio market
I met this guy at the weekend market. He sold me a beaded bracelet for $2.
Sharp Dressed Albert Minot is the lead singer of the Jolly Boys
The Jolly Boys are Jamaica’s answer to Menudo… except if a member gets replaced, they get someone older. The average age of this boy band is probably 72. Check out this video for a killer cover of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab. The video was shot in Port Antonio.
Dickie, who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret.
Interesting Port Antonio trivia: Dickie who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret, an amazingly unique sit down restaurant in Port Antonio and Albert Minot, the lead singer of the Jolly Boys are cousins. You’ll often find Albert hanging out at Dickie’s when he’s not performing at the Bush Bar at GeeJam Hotel.
Local cook Belinda makes the best chicken I’ve ever tasted
I’ll tell you more about Belinda’s cuisine when I do a full post about rafting down the Rio Grande. Suffice it say say she cooks “Flintstones style.” She’s awesome.
Obligatory selfie with my BFF, Zan on Boston Beach in Jamaica
All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 5s using Hipstamatic Oggl or ProCamera apps.