Monday, January 10, 2011
As you know, it was a special meal in Jamaica, and the trip itself, that brought me to start this blog. I'll remember that day for years to come. It's been almost an entire year since I went to Jamaica, and unfortunately, I won't be able to make it down there anytime soon (and by "soon," I mean right now). However, I have found a place in Tampa that serves up some delicious, vegan-friendly Jamaican fare that isn't as good as what I had at Food Fa Life, but it's the next best thing.
It's a pretty unassuming place, too. (Lovers of Hole-in-the-Wall eateries, take notice!) Island Cuisine is nestled in a shopping plaza. If you didn't know just where to look, it'd be pretty easy to miss.
Can you spot it yet? Let's get a little closer.
Ah! There it is!
Island Cuisine serves meat, but they have a vegetarian menu (that is also vegan) of tofu, veggie chunks, and crazy mock meats, and all of the side dishes are vegan (except the macaroni & cheese and the potato salad).
I went with the tofu and peas & rice and collards. The portions at Island Cuisine are generous!
The tofu is awesome! It has a great, chewy texture, and it's stewed in a spicy (but not hot), tomato-based sauce. And let me say, those collards are THE BEST collards I've ever had. Perfectly tender and flavorful. You can't even see the peas & rice because it's buried under the other foods. You'll notice a few plantains thrown in there, too.
Island Cuisine has been at this location (2301 East Hillsborough Ave) for the last 10 years. The owner said that if you're interested in a specific vegetarian option, to call ahead. (For example, the first time I visited this place, they were out of tofu, so I called ahead the next time and - yay! - they had tofu.) Also, this is more of a take-out eatery, though there do have a couple of tables and chairs outside in the front.