Bajan birthday celebrations

Barbadian Erica Mitchell celebrated her birthday with family and friends – in true Caribbean culinary fashion – during a brunch at Streets BK. For Erica and her brother Kelvin, it brought back fond memories of Barbados.

Streets BK is a Caribbean restaurant near the sea, and is located at 53 Broadway, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.   On Saturday, September 9, it was the venue for a promotion by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. of the upcoming Barbados Food and Rum Festival.

This annual celebration of Barbados culinary heritage, led by local chefs and mixologists and which also attracts International culinary personnel, is scheduled for November.   

A black, blue and gold, flag – mounted on a bicycle that propped the door – fluttered in the afternoon breeze as invited patrons gathered from early as 12 noon.  Clearly, something special was happening on the inside. By the end of the four-hour brunch, the bicycle, the flag, and the backdrop became a prop for selfie-loving picture taking patrons.

At three tables (and upright cushioned chairs) huddled together away from a crowded stool bar,  Erica (nee Linton, from Charnocks, Christ Church) , her husband Anthony from Trinidad, her brother Kelvin, her friends Tiffany from Jamaica, Allison from the Dominican Republic and the Galbreaths from Belize, sat chatting and enjoying the Bajan music of DJ GoodWill.  

When asked why the name DJ GoodWill, he replied: “My last name is Williams, and I play music really good. Get it.”

Erica wished that the DJ had played one of her favorites — “Marvan’s One for me — but she never asked for it.

“That table is certainly rocking. I love people who are funny,” said Velta, at another table, and observing the laughter.

Perhaps, as expected, the group chose familiar native dishes: shark and bake; corn soup, ackee and salt fish dumplings, and banana. However, Bajan fish cakes were missing.

Malisa and Ralph, co-owners of Streets BK, apologized and explained: “We offer fish cakes on our dinner, not brunch menu.”

So, why is the restaurant named Streets BK?

“Streets BK offers street food from South America, South East Asia, and the Caribbean in a restaurant setting and from a culinary perspective. We get ideas from our travels, but as you know, you are not sure that the food on the street is hygienic. So we want to change that,” one of the owners said.

“Ultimately, it is always about the hands that make the food. One of the popular dishes is shark and bake. Another one is our “curry curry” wings from South Africa. We will soon be adding ox tail.”

Every Food and Rum event is held at a popular Barbadian restaurant, and includes music, a Barbadian chef or mixologists. However, travel interruptions caused by recent hurricanes robbed patrons of exciting mixologist, Philip Antoine.     

“I feel terrible. I expected to come in yesterday, but my flight was cancelled,” said Antoine, who was seen posing for pictures, with several patrons, in the closing moments of the event.

Interestingly, Kelvin didn’t say if he will be attending the Food and Rum Festival but remarked: “Honestly, I miss the food, the beach, and the friendliness of people back home. I try to get home….”

Meanwhile, a reliable source attending last Sunday’s 9 am service at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, confirmed that centenarian Elise Weekes from Tweedside Road, St Michael – and who lives in the Flatlands areas in Brooklyn –, attended the service with several family members and friends.  

After the service, a reception was held in the church’s undercroft. Weekes was reportedly born on September, 14, 1914, and has nine children. About 50 relatives and friends were among the 300 persons who attended the service.

The new Rector of St Mark’s is St Lucian-born Kino Vitet.

 

 

Source: (Walter Edey is a retired educator and writer. Email: werus 2642 @ gmail.com)

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