Island Flavors 'n Tings - Gulfport
Last week I went with a group of six and except for an a/c problem, we all thourghly enjoyed it. This is primarily a take out spot adjacent to a small grocery store. There are four tables located in an alcove, partitioned off from the rest of the store.
We all started with the tropical fruit punch. Sweet and refreshing, garnished with mango slices – a great way to get in the mood for Caribbean food. Our salads were mixed greens topped with slices of carombola, kiwi and mango. The dressing was a fruity and savory concoction. Perfect with the fresh fruit.
Appetizers included spicy meat pies – much like an empanada and an assortment of lightly fried potato stuffed with spiced chicken (A Caribbean knish?) and some pieces of fried dough. I could have done without the fried dough. Not very flavorful.
The entrées on the table included jerked shrimp, curried shrimp, curried grouper, a combination plate of jerked pork and jerked chicken and a combination plate of jerked chicken, curried chicken and brown-stewed chicken. The combination plates are not on the menu but when a couple of us couldn’t decide, the owner/waitress created them for us.
The shrimp and fish were perfectly cooked and not overly spiced. The jerked pork was moist and flavorful and again not overly spiced. The jerked chicken was dark meat, slightly overdone with a little more heat than the pork. I’ve had the brown-stewed chicken on a previous visit. It consists of chunks stewed in a special brown sauce. The edges are nicely brown and the meat is very tender. Maybe my favorite dish.
The presentation was outstanding. The entrees were all served on oversized, decorative platters with sautéed vegetables, plantains and a molded mound of peas and rice and garnished with mango slices. A habanera sauce was provided for those that wanted more heat.
We were too stuffed for dessert but on a previous visit I enjoyed the mango bread and ice cream topped with a special mango fruit sauce.
We brought our own beer and it worked well with the dishes.
I go there to pick up Matouk's hot sauce and ginger beer. I have always been met with an ICY reception, except for last week, when the owner was very friendly for the first time (I had my work shirt on from my place down the street, don't know if that had anything to do with it). I have enjoyed their meat patties, and wondered about their other food. The one time I wanted to order jerk chicken they weren't making it...I'll have to try again now!