My time in Manhattan was short-lived,
…considering that my aunt whose baked goods I love, especially the coconut tarts, and her family were out of state! But I was on the road again! Unfortunately, by the time I got moving, it felt like I was on the road to the next borough for just as long as I had been driving from Boston! On my way to Brooklyn, I made a layover to see my very good cousin in Staten Island. I didn’t leave the next afternoon without preparing him and his wife a meal though!
Arrived in Brooklyn
No gourmet dinners. Just unwinding, seeing some familiar faces and downing comfort foods. I did make it to IHOP for dinner with my cousins if that counts- one of whom had headed down from school in Boston before I left. I stared at the menu forever, only to decide on the inevitable: PANAKES! Duh. I had Blueberry pancakes with eggs, bacon, and hash. Not the most elaborate meal but it was enough of an excuse to hang out, a nucleus for conversation. (We’re not going to gastronomically critique the IHOP experience because you should generally know what to expect.)
I later somehow became the owner of a beef patty, the Jamaican meat pie or turnover, a typically curried beef or chicken filling packaged in a flaky crust, better than any Hot Pocket you’ve ever bitten into, a puff of steam released on the first bite. (My Caribbean peeps, feel free to correct me below in the comments.) And before I left Brooklyn, I would have two loaves of spice bun from a place now called Brucee’s on Church Ave. Some might know it as Easter Bun, but either way, it’s a bread, almost a dense cake, loaded with usually red and green cherries, raisins and such spices as cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. God! It’s good. My favorite parts are the ends and the “crust”. It’s pleasantly soft and gooey. But for all those other slices, a shmear butter of piece of cheese makes up for it, especially that cheddar the shops sell.
The next morning, I went from Jamaica to Trinidad. Linking up with another aunt, I let her choose the meal. By her selection I picked up breakfast from Bake and thing that sold an assortment of sandwiches served on the sweet fry bread of the Caribbean out of a shop standing beneath the Trinidadian flag that was immortalized in the sign and awning out front. Auntie wanted the cod sandwich. As I scrolled up and down their menu with the warm feeling of familiarity, I had found it! I had been watching Bizarre Foods years ago and the big man, Andrew Zimmern, saw something in Trinidad he thought looked good, so of course, he ate it. But on this particular occasion, I agreed with him. It looked good. The people were frying shark and serving it up with bakes and all sorts of toppings! Here at Bake and Thing, the server hooked it up with some tamarind. I headed out with the cod sandwich, the shark sandwich, and a cup of sorrel, probably easiest compared to hibiscus tea.
The shark wasn’t bad. It had the texture of something between Pollock and swordfish if I remember correctly. The sandwich was sweet, a bit salty and tangy with a bit of chew. But it wasn’t freshly fried before serving. Nonetheless, it was a fair introduction to shark. Conversation with my aunt was lively as usual. After some more catching up and a few more hellos throughout the , I was on to Maryland.
Oh but first,
…a Marine veteran found out I was on my way to Japan and had to show me his album of a tour through Japan. I honestly don’t remember the details of his black and white collection of square, white-rimmed photos; there were some notable streets and parades, pictures of Marine uniforms of the period, vehicles, mountains, some coins of currency, cigarette cartons and entertainment flyers. But I’m working on composing an album of my own.
Please continue reading along. Please leave your comments, questions, or hopes for future posts, especially while in Japan- or even anything you wish the posts would generally include. Thanks!