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Where to Eat in Port Antonio, Jamaica: Dickie’s Best Kept Secret

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)
Phone: 876-809-6276

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Port Antonio Portraits: A Mobile Photo Essay of Jamaica

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.

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The Bird’s Nest at Tiamo Resort South Andros, Bahamas

The screened in porch off the master bedroom of the Bird’s Nest

During my recent stay at Tiamo Resort, I got to tour the Bird’s Nest with General Manager Wilfried Vincent.

Relaxed island luxury in the living room of the Bird’s Nest at Tiamo

While all the villas at Tiamo offer quite a bit of privacy, The three bedroom Bird’s Nest definitely steps up the luxury a notch or three.

The Bird’s Nest features a full kitchen

Set back a bit from the the other villas, The Bird’s Nest offers even more privacy. Plus there is 1400 square feet of private terrace over two levels. The layout features a master bedroom upstairs (with a large and lovely screened in porch just off it) that feels like you’re floating among the palm trees (hence the name Bird’s Nest).

Left: Kitchen details Right: dining table in the Bird’s Nest

The decor is island elegant and sophisticated, and totally unfussy. There are two bedrooms are on the ground floor, making the layout ideal for a couple traveling with children, teens, or staff. The Bird’s Nest is the only accommodation at Tiamo that accepts children under the age of 12.

The 3 bedroom private villa features a pool

I’m not surprised one of Hollywood’s sexiest celebrity couples chooses to come back to Tiamo and stay at the Bird’s Nest every year. It offers secluded privacy and luxury and is only steps away from all Tiamo’s other facilities.

One of the two bedrooms on the ground floor of the Bird’s Nest

Two beds in one of the downstairs bedrooms

I loved the master bedroom’s hand painted Bahamian curtains

Palm trees sway outside the bedroom off the master bedroom

The master bathroom features a tub and separate shower

Glass tiled details in one of the downstairs bathrooms

Another gorgeous day on Tiamo’s private beach on South Andros Island

 

Tiamo Resort & Spa

Driggs Hill – South Andros Island, The Bahamas

Phone: (1) 786 374-2442 (from USA) / (1) 242 225-6871 (from Bahamas)

Fax: (1) 242 369-2335

reservations@tiamoresorts.com

Tiamo Resort is a part of Small Luxury Hotels Of the World.

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March in Montana at Ranch at Rock Creek

Rustic chic bathroom and western decor the Historic Barn Loft

March has been a crazy month, taking me from the Caribbean to cowboy country– Philipsburg, Montana where I’m currently checking out The Ranch at Rock Creek .

When I got invited to spend a few days here at the ranch, I couldn’t say no. This is the first spring I’ve visited Montana and the weather has been far more pleasant than I imagined with highs in the 50s two days ago, and a touch of snow yesterday.

Stay tuned to the blog for future in-depth coverage on the Ranch at Rock Creek. I’ve also been live blogging for the Glamping.com blog. You can check out my first post here. You can read my second post here. You can read my third post here.

The dining room at The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana

Left: A Missoula Mule Right: The organic cheeseburger made with beef purchased from local 4H members

For lunch: the Pintler Range steak salad with yummy kale

Left: Snacks left on the bar after lunch right: who wants fresh baked chocolate chip cookies

The house drink– a Missoula Mule is served in these killer copper mugs

The bowling alley at the Silver Dollar Saloon

Claw foot bath tub and Chandelier

I love this vintage Remington typewriter but it would be impossible to run a blog without the interweb

March in Big Sky Country

*Much thanks to  the Ranch at Rock Creek and VKPR team for hosting my stay here at the Ranch

Update: you can read my post about the 3rd day at the Ranch at Rock Creek here.

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A Stay at the American Trade Hotel in Panama City, Panama

Tropical prints in the library at the American Trade Hotel in Panama City

During my recent trip to Panama City, I stayed at the newly opened American Trade Hotel, which is part of the Ace Hotel collection and it’s first Central American outpost. As soon as I entered the lobby, I felt like I had been transported to Havana during it’s heydey– but that probably had something to do with photo shoot that was happening, complete with a handsome male model rocking a Castro-esque beard.

Lounge chairs at the American Trade Hotel

Located in the historic Casco Viejo district, the American Trade Hotel feels like an Ex-Pat hangout of yore, yet only opened last year. Props to the team at Commune Design for pulling it off. 

The pool at the American Trade Hotel is small, but pretty

Since Ace properties aren’t known for having spacious rooms, I was divided my stay between two room categories: the smaller Cuarto, and then a Suite. I was surprised to find the Cuarto was spacious enough and would have been fine for my entire stay. The suite had a separate living room and very impressive bathroom, but was more space than I needed traveling solo.

I loved the vibrant mix of colors and layers of texture

The communal spaces are high on both comfort and visual impact, with an outdoor terrace, a small pool and lounge chair area, a gorgeous library, and a cool lobby. There is free wifi throughout the property.

The Living room of a suite at the American Trade Hotel

Both rooms had exceptionally high ceilings with fans, as well as all the usual creature comforts. And Ace properties always have standout bathrobes. The mini bar featured regional snacks like plantain chips and chips called Chicharrón that took me a minute to figure out were pork rinds.

Gorgeous tiled bathroom in a suite at the American Trade Hotel

The staff was friendly and helpful and the cafe con leche sublime. They were open to hearing comments (I suggested they add a way to vary the fan speed, the chain to change it was so high up I couldn’t reach it).

Left: Dual rain showers in a suite at the American Trade Hotel Right: Aesop bath amenities

My one complaint– It was noisy. Not so much the fault of the hotel or hotel design, but Panamanians like loud (and sometimes bad) music and there was a party hosted on a nearby rooftop which made sleeping a bit tricky. Both rooms had balcony access overlooking the park.

Gorgeous claw foot bath tub and tile combo

The restaurant was lovely and served excellent pulled pork, and service at breakfast and lunch was great. I thought the bar staff could have been a bit more on proactive, but overall I had a great stay at the American Trade Hotel and wouldn’t have any problem recommending it to anyone interested in checking out this charming barrio in Panama City.

Comfy King-sized bed in the bed room of the American Trade Hotel

The view from the lobby to the restaurant

Excellent pulled pork and a local beer for lunch

Left: Tropical upholstery in the hotel’s restaurant Right: I loved the colorful tile in the restaurant

Empanadas for lunch

The sleek bar felt like a modern riff on a Colonial ex-pat hangout

Panama hats ironically hail from Ecuador, but look cool poolside

American Trade Hotel

Address: Plaza Herrera, Casco Viejo, Panama
Phone:+507 211-2000
enquire@americantradehotel.com
Rates start at $249

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