by Greg Mayer
One final culinary note on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gulfport, just to the east of Long Beach, is a larger town with an active sea port, and a greater diversity of culinary offerings. Most notable is the variety of Oriental cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese, in addition to Chinese. I’ve had good Vietnamese food there (many Vietnamese immigrants took up fishing along the Gulf Coast), and I’ve received favorable reports on the sushi. But on my last visit I got a chance to visit a new (about 6 months old) Jamaican restaurant, the Jamerican Caribbean Cafe .
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Jamaica, especially as a grad student, and my main meal of the day was often patties and a Red Stripe. The sign offering curry goat (hard to get in Wisconsin) and jerk was irresistible. While traveling in Jamaica, I’d visited the original Boston Jerk Center, in Boston Bay, as well as others (signs in Kingston hailing the availability of Boston jerk were amusing, especially to someone living in Cambridge).
The owner, originally from Ocho Rios, served us. Curry goat was not available that day, and the patty supply had been wiped out by the lunch crowd. My daughter had the jerk chicken, while I went for the brown stew, which is a dish I didn’t know from Jamaica. Both were excellent, the jerk spicy, the stew milder and sweeter with root vegetables. In both, the chicken was prepared in the cleavered Jamaican style. The Red Stripe and ginger beer (a very strong style of the latter) also satisfied.