SPUR TREE  is a new restaurant in NYC’s Lower East Side with a real Jamaican flare. Charming and inviting with a menu that’s short on entrees but long on flavor and taste. Located at # 76 Orchard Street, the place holds less than 12 tables with an occupancy of about 40. So try the bar if you need to stretch out. We did. It’s really warm with a genial bartender who knows his way around island drinks. And they’re original. Though my choice was the Red Stripe beer, Jamaica’s own, my date for the evening opted for something with sorrel and ginger served ice-cold. Yes, I did taste her’s and it ran smooth. Plenty of fresh fruit here. I called him Antonio. The guy next to him on Friday,the 18th of February, when we were there was Sean. He’s the man-in-charge and he really knows Jamaican cuisine. Fact is the day before we arrived he planned an entire menu at Macy’s Kitchen on West 34th Street we were told. So we asked him to give us a sample of what his place  is  known for. Needless to say we got the best of him.

Starting off was a junior-size cup of corn chowder, Jamaican style of course. Chocked with fresh seasonal vegetables and with a generous dolop of spices, this was what my guest and I needed on a cold wintry night. We opted for more. He followed this up with his version of Jerked Lamb sauteed in special oils he had prepared earlier in the day. Imagine, seasoned lamb with a cadre of Jamaican vegetables so savory we wanted more. “Not bad,” I thought. Sean then talked us into trying a fresh cut of Kingfish, the island’s sea specialty. Fused with lime, scotch bonnet peppers and curried coconut, this was more than we could handle. He added a short plate of sweet “Panko” crusted plaintains, and a few slices of  warm coconut bread pasted with rosemary olive oil.  Enough we said. “We got the message.”

The place really does Jamaican in a big way. Our last resort was for a spoonful of banana bread pudding with mango ice cream. This he insisted on. “Wow”! I intoned.

The cost of dinner at SPUR TREE is  reasonable considering the choices you have, the quality of the ingredients, and the creative touches by Mr. Sean as we called him. We thanked him for the experience and offered to return.  But expect to sample Sean’s version of Jamaican cuisine like you’ve never tasted before.

The phone there is:917-294.8898. And the UR is:www.spurtree.com. Oh yes, there’s also soft reggae music to get you in the mood.

Michael and Linda/ LET’S TRAVEL! Radio

About The Author

Michael Zufolo, Producer/Co-Host of Let's Travel! Radio

Michael has been an active player in Media Relations and Marketing for the past 30 years with stints at The New York Times, Forbes, WOR Radio, TV Channel 11, Attenzione Magazine, et.al., and with participation in the Caribbean Tourism Org.,/ CTO, the Pacific Travel Assn./ PATA, the Foreign Press Assn./ FPA, and the International Society of Travel Writers/ ISTR. Libra/ America, his latest signature, provides travel opportunities to VIP travelers and groups world-wide. Let’s Travel! Radio is an extension of his experiences.

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Hornblower blows ‘em away!

Thurs., July 4 aboard the Hornblower Esprit, celebrating Macy’s 4th, the nation’s 233rd Independence Day anniversary. What a night!

Hornblower Yachts owns up to having the largest number of luxury vessels in eight U.S. cities, including New York. The company has seven here ranging from the largest, the Infinity, at over 200’, accommodating up to 700, to the smallest, the Esprit, at 90’ , accommodating 80-100. Cruises are set lunch/ brunch and dinner, for a coterie of special events and private parties, corporate meetings, and weddings, of course! They serve both sit-down and buffet menus.. They also do After 5 cocktail cruises, and a host of charitable events. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, Ca. It’s now in its 40th year.

On the night we were on, the 4th, we were seated on the Sky Deck of the Esprit, a restored beauty. There were only seven tables on this top deck facing out and with a nicely appointed bar in front of us manned by Nicholas, a really talented barkeep, and with some soft jazz by DJ Mike, which later turned to Pop, Latin, Disc and Rock for or dancing pleasure. Gabriel was our Maitre’d and Oscar was our chef for the evening. Boy can this guy cook! Dinner started off with a plate of Blinis with Caviar, followed by a nice medley of Little Neck clams and oysters on the ½ shell, with a sampling of jumbo shrimp in the best salsa I’ve ever tasted ( I asked for a second. My apologies ). This was followed by a full serving of Agnolotti served Italian style over freshly baked cherry tomatoes and a very fresh salad of lettuce, celery, cucumber and more cherry tomatoes. The entrée: Lobster and Filet Mignon with a crab filling topped with a wild mushroom sauce. A bottle of Chandon white was offered to each guest complimentary. Ha! You can’t beat that! As for dessert, a chilled freshly baked apple strudel and chocolate dipped strawberries was the finale, with good coffee and an assortment of blended teas for the asking. And, yes, the bar was open for the entire 3 ½ hours we were on board. By the way, the company provides translaters for Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, French, German and Italian guests.

The yachts ail from Pier 15/ 75 South St. adjoining the South St. Seaport and Pier 40 on the West Side/ W. Houston St. and the Hudson River, from March thru-November with 10 daily departures, 7 days-a-week.

In New York they operate the Statue Cruises affiliate to both Ellis Island and Liberty Island State Park from the Battery Park Terminal on the Manhattan side, along with a Liberty Water Taxi service. They also serve the Metro New York area with a round-the-clock ferry service, the city’s first commuter ferry operation to points in Manhattan, Bklyn and Queens. In brief, the company is the world’s leading provider of high-speed ferry services. For more on Hornblower try: info@365ticketsUSA.com or 1-844TKTS, or phone 646-780.9693 or simply: www.Hornblower.com



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The Blue Dahlia at Chelsea Market in NYC

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