Cool runnings, mon!

Well, I just returned from a deliciously decadent week in Montego Bay, Jamaica with Omnivore Boyfriend (O.B.). We had a ridiculously good and relaxing time! We stayed in an all-inclusive resort on the beach, so of course we had unrestricted food, drinks, and sports. It was paradise. We tried to get off the resort as often as possible to see the real country and meet some real Jamaicans. Our excursions included renting our own little boat to motor up and down the coastline, snorkelling on a coral reef, ziplining through a jungle canopy, and visiting the tropical splendour of nearby Negril.

It was soooo harding flying back into Toronto. From the airplane, it looked like someone had shaken a snowglobe and all the snow in existence had landed on this fair city. I can’t quite describe the physical shock of emerging from the airport into the minus 15 deg C weather (from +30 deg C in Jamaica). Blech! Is it summer yet??

I wasn’t sure if how the resort’s buffet-style menu would accomodate my meat/dairy/eggs aversion, but everything was “cool runnings” (all good)! There were tons of options for me at each meal and I had some really excellent dishes. I normally abstain from most fresh produce in the winter when it gets too expensive, so I took the opportunity to pile each plate high with salad and veggies. One small complaint I had is that the dishes weren’t often labelled. However, it was pretty easy to differentiate the vegan from non-vegan dishes, and the chefs were really helpful when I had any questions.

So without further ado, here is the food!

I ate this same concoction for breakast almost every morning. I took a couple tbsp of dry oats, added some hot water, added a layer of corn flakes, and covered it with carmelized fruits (melon, cantaloupe, banana) and fresh fruit.

Lunch and dinner were always some variation of salad. Which sound really boring, but as I mentioned before, there were tons and tons of options, including lots of new stuff I’d never eaten or envisioned.

From top left, going clockwise: steamed calaloo, apple & cucumber salad, grilled veggies. Centre: olives.

From top left: stewed lentils, garlic potatoes, grilled veggies (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes), grilled tomatoes, sauteed spinach with raisins, steamed green beans, apple/cucumber salad, saffron rice, glazed carrots. Centre: olives.

On the left is a big salad topped with sliceed tomatoes, green beans, shredded carrots, chickpeas, celery, cauliflower, and corn. There's also a bit of steamed spinach with onions and peppers.

From top: sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, corn, romaine lettuce, green beans, steamed spinach. Centre: lima beans.

From left: steamed calaloo, hearts of palm, big salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded pumpkin (!!!!), and corn, bowtie pasta salad in a vinaigrette sauce, grilled tomatoes.

From left: vegetable dumpling, grilled peppers/tomatoes/onions, mashed pumpkin, steamed calaloo, shredded pumpkin. Centre: glazed carrots.

A big salad with romaine lettuce tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, celery, and a couple sliced of baked potato.

I took this picture from a different angle to flaunt the lovely view of tropical paradise from our favourite lunch perch. Nothing like the azure blue Caribbean sea to accompany a good meal :-) From left: glazed carrots, grilled peppers, salad with sprouts, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, lima beans, and corn, green beans, steamed spinach, and olives.

From left: grilled sliced tomatoes, olives, grilled baby tomatoes, salad with romaine lettuce, shredded pumpkin, cucumber, green beans, lima beans, sliced tomatoes, steamed spinach, and a slice of fried banana.

There were three speciality restaurants at the resort: Asian, Italian, and a steakhouse. We had dinner at the first two and I wasn’t really impressed with either. The Asian food, which was also delivered buffet-style, was good but not very, um, authentic:

From left: Teppenyaki vegetable stir-fry, sesame vegetables, spring rolls, herbed tomatoes, curry (???) vegetables.

The Italian restaurant was awful. They had no vegetarian entrees, and when I asked the waiter if I could just have plain noodles, I got a really strange look. Is that really so hard?

Instead, I just resigned to making a salad from the restaurant appetizer buffet, but it was pretty pathetic. I found a little olive roll but it was stale.

Other than that experience, I had 20 great meals! I am so supremely stuffed from last week, I don’t know how I’ll endure the whole Christmas overeating tradition. We also had a lot of delicious drinks as all 5 bars on the resort were open bars, and as well we had rum, brandy, vodka, and gin on tap in our hotel room. Yum!

We also bought some Jamaican exports home with us:

Jamaican exports

I didn't get to try any jerk because it was all meat, so I bought the seasonings to make it at home!

Additionally, I ate a few dishes that I want to replicate, such as the steamed spinach with raisins, shredded pumpkin, and sauteed fruit. So definitely you’ll be seeing some Jamaican influence in future posts.

Well, I guess I’ve got a week’s worth of blog posts to catch up on, which I’m quite looking forward to. Looks like everyone is abuzz with pre-Christmas hysteria. Let the holidays begin!

-Maureen

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22 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Matt said,

    Mmmmmm, everything looks fantastic!!!! I want to go back :-(

    Can’t wait to try the upcoming jerk flavoured dishes!!

  2. 2

    VeggieGirl said,

    What a delicious trip you had!! :-)

    Wishing you an early Merry Christmas!!

  3. 3

    foodfashionfun said,

    hey! I added you:] And those look like some AMAZING eats!!!

  4. 4

    anardana said,

    Oooo wow! That’s great that you were able to eat so well!

  5. 5

    FollowMyWeigh said,

    Stumbled upon your blog! Wow that trip and all the food looks amazing! And had to laugh at O.B. :)

  6. 6

    Shelby said,

    That food all looks AMAZING! All the spices and seasonings have got my mouth watering.

    I agree with what you said, I’ve been craving oats at every meal of the day! I just want to cozy up and eat a huge bowlful!

  7. 7

    Ricki said,

    Sounds like an amazing trip! And the food is just so fresh looking and colorful! I bet it was hard to come back, but at least there’s Christmas. Hope you have a wonderful holiday! :)

  8. 8

    Celine said,

    ha, OB! is it the brand for tampons in the States too? I can’t remember.
    happy holidays to you!

  9. 9

    Glad to hear you had so much great food on vacation! How restful. We visited Negril a couple of years ago and it was beautiful. And now you have fun island ingredients to play with! Happy Holidays.

  10. 10

    jessy said,

    hooooooooooooray for a glorious time! that’s so awesome you had lots of foods to eat! i’m impressed! stinks that the labeling wasn’t the best, but very cool on the staff being so helpful. that rocks! and that’s too funny on the server looking at you kinda funny when you wanted plain pasta.

    all the goodies you brought back look stellar, too – i can’t wait to see what you create with them all! mmmmmmmmmmm!

  11. 11

    Sharon said,

    Simply delightful! You ate so well! I wish I could eat healthy on holidays!!
    Overall, great trip!

  12. 12

    Sounds like you had a tasty time! The buffet sounds dreamy, but I can’t believe the Italian restaurant didn’t even have a meatless marinara. Bastards.

  13. 13

    Andrea said,

    Sounds like you had a fabulous respite from the cold and snow. All the fruits and veggies look delicious. Welcome back to North (brrr) America and Happy holidays!

  14. 14

    Kelly Turner said,

    what a great trip! the food looks amazing!

    Kelly Turner
    http://www.everygymsnightmare.com

  15. 15

    shellyfish said,

    Oh I could so get down with some 30+ temps! And all that fresh, delicious food! I’m so glad you got to get away!
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  16. 16

    erica said,

    I’m literally drooling over every plate of food you presented. So, so delicious!

  17. 17

    Erin said,

    Maureen, that food looks PHENOMENAL.

    And I have a bone to pick with you! I saw a small jar of Vegemite for $6 (!!!!) and I HAD to buy it. Tried some, and thought I was gonna DIE. Horrible. :(

    Provided for a good laugh, though! Ipecac is illiegal, but who needs that because Vegmite has the same effect!!

    Happy holidays, dear!! :)

  18. 18

    Rebecca said,

    Merry Christmas!! I hope that you are having an awesome holiday!

  19. 19

    Oh how fun!! Wow, all the food looks so unbelievably colorful! Amazing!

  20. 20

    Jamaica sounds awesome! I always wondered how those all-inclusive resorts would cater to vegans. Now I know!

  21. 21

    Barb said,

    Oh. My. God. How exciting – this is the first time I’ve ever been mentioned in anyone’s blog – to my knowledge – that is!

    Oh, but you forgot to mention the HOMEMADE ORGANIC spiced plum jam that your friend Barb MADE and gave to you…just sayin’….

  22. 22

    Barb said,

    Oh, and you forgot – the best part of going to Whole Foods? All of the free samples!! I think I tried every single thing they had to offer – which was a lot!! See, there IS such a thing as a free lunch!


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