Lively Up Yourself: 9 Legend-ary Jamaican + Ethiopian Dishes for Bob Marley Day 2016

February 6th marks what would have been Bob Marley’s 71st birthday. Born in Jamaica, the reggae icon considered Ethiopia his spiritual home. To celebrate the two rich veins of his heritage, we are highlighting nine outstanding dishes from the Caribbean island and the eastern African nation. These history-rich foods embody and showcase the culinary traditions of each region. Guaranteed to satisfy your soul on Bob Marley Day 2016 – and guaranteed to be one of your #29ReasonstoLoveFebruary!

Mr. Brown’s Lounge, Chicago, Illinois
Skewered shrimp are marinated in a ‘catch a fire’ jerk sauce made with plenty of Scotch Bonnet peppers that ain’t for the faint of heart. Luckily, the sweet, soothing mango salsa keeps things cool. If that’s not enough, we recommend a tart Ting grapefruit soda or a guava milkshake to quench the flames dancing across your tongue. A side of fried plantains or coconut milk-enriched rice ‘n’ peas will also help. Make a reservation at Mr. Brown’s Lounge.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Das Ethiopian Cuisine, Washington, D.C.
Can’t make up your mind on what to order? The vegetarian entrée sampler is a good way to go. Featuring eggplant and carrot wat stew, miser wat (red lentil stew with traditional Ethiopian Berbere pepper spice), and tikil gomen (ginger and garlic amped cabbage, potatoes, and carrots) and more, its served on a bed of spongy injera bread that’s meant to be used as a utensil — and then promptly eaten. Make a reservation at Das Ethiopian Cuisine.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Taste of the Caribbean, Seattle, Washington
Meet your new favorite appetizer. Salted codfish, onions, peppers, and West Indian spices are balled up, battered, and deep-fried. Zigzagged with hot sauce and speckled with scallions, we bet you can’t eat just one of these tasteful takes on the Caribbean classic. Make a reservation at Taste of the Caribbean.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Ethiopian Diamond, Chicago, Illinois
Think of tibs as an Ethiopian stir-fry. To create tibs quosta, spinach is sautéed with garlic and onions, and then mixed with juicy chicken chunks and green peppers. Of course, it’s served with plenty of injera bread, so you can fold up the components together fajita-style. Make a reservation at Ethiopian Diamond.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Ja’ Grill, Chicago, Illinois
Chef Errol Gallimore, a Jamaican transplant, cooks his home-style oxtail in an aromatic brown sauce until the meat is falling off the bone. The rich stew is fortified with butter beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, and several varieties of pepper and is complemented with spicy rice and fried plantains. Goes well with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer. Or three. Make a reservation at Ja’ Grill.

Bob Marley Day 2016

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge, Houston
If Ethiopia has a national chicken dish, it just might be doro wat. In this rendition, a bone-in drumstick and thigh are slow-simmered in a spicy slurry, not unlike a thick barbecue sauce, and accompanied by a hard-boiled egg. We’re fond of mashing all the components together to create a barbecued chicken ‘n’ egg salad, which we roll up in torn off pieces of injera. Make a reservation at Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge.

Bob Marley Day 2016Continue Reading

Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Scotch Eggs

This is hardly as pretty as the Scotch egg I remember, but I'm betting it's still darned tasty.

About a decade ago, my husband and I visited a small Jamaican-American restaurant for brunch. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs (although I’m not sure that’s true anymore), and we wound up ordering more food than any two people should, including their version of a Scotch egg. The restaurant has long since closed, unfortunately, but I remember it — and that slightly runny, boiled egg, swathed in salty, spicy pork sausage and crisp breadcrumbs — fondly. As you’ll see, Scotch eggs remain popular in the U.K., where they were invented, and have since become fashionable in restaurants on OpenTable in the U.S., as well. 

The Broad Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, U.K.: “We absolutely love this place — it was even a place to bring the parents for dinner! It has a whole beer list and the food is delicious. Highlights are the bar snacks — pork crackling with apple sauce and the Scotch egg.”

Cedric’s Tavern-Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina: “The food at Cedric’s is excellent — the Scotch Eggs are the best in town; in fact they’re probably the best I have ever had.”

The Fat Radish, New York, New York: “They have many exciting dishes and appetizers on the menu, and also a lot of vegetarian options. I loved the Montauk diver scallops with sweet potato mash. I also tried the Scotch egg as a starter, which was amazing. Great place!”

The Gage, Chicago, Illinois: “The Scotch Egg is fantastic! Also, the stuffed peppers were a real surprise as well and the beer on tap is broad. The entree’s were elk saddle and farm chicken. Both of them were good…. I would absolutely come back here if for no other reason to order four or five Scotch eggs.”

Gram & Dun, Kansas City, Missouri: “The presentation is great here. Every dish looks like it could be in a magazine. My Scotch egg at brunch was fun and tasty; my wife said the French toast with the egg in the middle was the best French toast she ever had.”

The Hinds Head-Bray, Bray, Windsor, U.K.: “A great meal. We tried Heston’s legendary Scotch Eggs as starters. They were … legendary!”

Continue Reading