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.

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Curry Around the World: 8 Favorites to Feast on

Full of flavor, vibrant, lively, and bursting with antioxidants — it’s easy to see why curry has taken hold across the globe. With nearly every continent, and dozens of countries spanning each, boasting their own iconic curry dishes, we thought it apropos to highlight curry around the world and round up eight of our favorites. You can even find these colorful concoctions right here in the States.

The Country: India (specifically, Western India)
The Curry: Vindaloo. Hailing from the region of Konkan Goa, vindaloo is derived from a Portuguese pork dish marinated in wine and garlic. In India, the wine is swapped for palm vinegar, the pork for chicken or lamb, and red chile peppers, potatoes, and warming spices like cinnamon, clove, and cardamom are added to make an addictively spicy curry.
Find It Here: Chef Nilesh Singhvi serves up an unabashedly authentic rendition of lamb vindaloo at the legendary Bombay Club in Washington, D.C. — it’s marinated in aged vinegar with all the right spices.
Make a reservation at Bombay Club.

Curry around the world

The Country: Malaysia
The Curry: Rendang. With a heavy Indian influence, Malaysian curries are typically made with curry powders chock full of turmeric, coconut milk, shallots, ginger, shrimp paste, chili peppers, garlic, and tamarind. The dried meat version, known as Rendang, is rich in coconut milk and often served during celebratory events, like weddings.
Find It Here: In true Malaysian form, chef-owner Salil Mehtaat of Laut in Manhattan (one of the first Malaysian restaurants to receive a Michelin Star) simmers your choice of beef, shrimp, or chicken until completely dry with grated coconut, exotic lemongrass, and lime leaves, adorning his rendang with decadent coconut milk.
Make a reservation at Laut.

Curry around the world

The Country: India (specifically, North India)
The Curry: Punjabi Curry. Like Thailand, India is home to many varieties of curry, differing in flavor and spice level tremendously from home to home. Americans are likely most familiar with butter chicken, one of many Punjabi curries known for their use of masala (a blend of ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes) with ghee and mustard oil.
Find It Here: At Marigold Maison in Phoenix, you can find a Punjabi curry made with tender goat and sautéed with vibrant spices, such as cumin, cardamom, coriander, and garam masala.
Make a reservation at Marigold Maison.

Curry around the world

The Country: Japan
The Curry: Katsu Curry. Though Japan eschewed outside culinary influence for many years, curry found its way into the country’s cuisine — here it’s made with onions, carrots, potatoes, and a curry-powder-based roux and often served over rice or noodles or topped with a fried pork cutlet (called tonkatsu), like in the case of Katsu Curry.
Find It Here: For a true taste of Japanese Kastu Curry, head to Zentan in Washington, D.C., where chef Yo Matsuzaki crusts tender pork jowl in panko before deep frying it and serving with housemade curry sauce and a soft-boiled egg.
Make a reservation at Zentan.

Curry around the world

The Country: Jamaica
The Curry: Curry Goat. Indian indentured servants brought their beloved curry with them when they came to the West Indies. But unlike typical East Indian masala blends, Jamaican curries rely on pimento and pass on Indian spices like cardamom, star anise, and mace.
Find It Here: One of the country’s top Jamaican restaurants, Miss Lily’s in New York serves up a bona fide Jamaican curry goat stew, made with slow-cooked goat, a turmeric-pimento-laced curry sauce, peas, and potatoes, dished over jasmine rice and served alongside grilled roti bread.
Make a reservation at Miss Lily’s.

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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!”

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