Saturday, August 6, 2011

Seattle: Caribbean

Having grown up in a Trinidadian household, it is only natural that I'm a somewhat harsh critic about others' Trinidadian cuisine. However, when I first saw Pam's Kitchen on Diners, Drive-in and Dives, my interest was piqued. Not only was I surprised because Seattle is a place where I don't imagine many West Indians, but I was also excited about the fact that I actually knew someone in Seattle and had a reason to visit. We never made it during my last two visits because we had too much packed into the trip but this time we made it, and I have to say it was well worth the wait.

I have to give Pam's two thumbs up for reminding me of meals I remember from home. It was evident that care was taken in the presentation: it wasn't over the top; it was just right. The food was well seasoned, and you could tell from the tenderness of the chicken that it was cooked with love and affection. We tried a chicken roti, jerk chicken with fried rice and aloo pies. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I especially appreciated how warm and soft the buss up shot was. I also can't resist the urge to rave about the seasoned salad that I could not get enough. When something as simple as a salad is seasoned well it is such a pleasant surprise. I can't say I was wowed by the sorrel rum punch, but it was a nice touch to rekindle the memories.

The place overall was very comfortable with island tunes playing and island reminders hung throughout. The staff was pleasant. All the details created a relaxed island vibe that made me feel at home. I would definitely love to go back and would certainly highly recommend it to anyone visiting Seattle.

Being of Caribbean descent in New York, I'm used to being surrounded by the Caribbean culture. Having been to other cities, I've also gotten used to not seeing that in other places. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Caribbean culture is alive and well in Seattle. Not only did I get a little taste of Trinidad at Pam's, but I also went from feeling like I was at one of my family's backyard barbeques to Carnival when I went to a boat ride hosted by SOCA (Seattle's Official Caribbean Carnival Association).

Although I found comfort in the familiar reggae tunes, I found an interesting twist in Seattle. In New York, a reggae set will often include a mix from the different islands and may flow into Reggaeton. In Seattle, the Caribbean audience includes people from Africa, and the Caribbean sets segued into African music, which I really enjoyed.

After almost a month of what I like to call "nightlife research" I grew familiar with the line-up: Sundays at Waid's; Mondays at Baltic Room; Thursdays at War Room; Fridays at Afriq. I'd also recommend checking out to stay up on what's going on.

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