My family and I went to the Fela! concert last night near the Coney Island boardwalk. The concert features members of the original Broadway Tony Award-winning production, Fela! It has electrifying rhythms from a live 10-piece Afrobeat band, singers and dancers. The lyrics of Fela Kuti, the founding father of Afrobeat, proved why he’s one of the world’s celebrated and revolutionary music legends.
Duain Richmond is a talented actor whom successful narrated the connection of Kuti’s life and his music. The atmosphere was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Laughter, happiness, and excitement ran through everyone’s veins. I was truly amazed! The dancers including Rachel Oneika Phillips were outstanding! I couldn’t be more proud of my African roots!
For more information or content of my travels follow my instagram: Mostlikely_reese
My family and I went to a Brazilian festival on Sunday at Hester Street Fair. We had an amazing time. There were delicious food and drinks, beautiful merchandise, talented Batala New York drummers and Samba dancer. Everyone at the fair was enjoying themselves. The environment was very welcoming. I always loved Brazilian culture due to its’ festivities, music and proud culture. My family is also from the Caribbean (Barbados and Panama) so attending Caribbean events were always a must. We ate amazing food from Beija Flor and had authentic Brazilian drinks such as Palma Louca and Guarana Antarctica soda. For pictures of the food and you can check my Instagram “Eats” stories and click right until you see the name of the restaurant.
There was a performance by Batala New York which is an all-women Afro-Brazilian drummer group. Everyone at the festival danced to the beat and even joined Batala New York’s performance. The Brasil Summerfest street fair was very engaging! We stayed at the festival till the end yet we didn’t want to leave. It was such an unforgettable moment. This year we plan on attending all Brazilian events, for more information follow my instagram: mostlikely_reese.
A friend and I were on the lookout for our next food adventure. We traveled to Union St, Brooklyn. There were an unlimited variety of restaurants around. We picked an Indian restaurant called Namaste to fulfill our food temptations. The dim lit restaurant was cozy and tastefully decorated. We were greeted by a waiter and handed menus with a glass of water. We were overall impressed by the quick service. It seems as if we had the whole place to ourselves. It was 10 pm and after skimming the menu we settled on our entrees. I requested Fried Crab Cakes and she ordered Tandoori Wings with Mango Lassi. The evening was going well. We were filled with smiles and laughter. Our server kindly handed us the plates. We couldn’t wait to sample the delectable meals. The crab cakes seem overcooked but they were tender and quite flavorful. I had some of my friend’s Tandoor Wings and they were amazing! As we continued to enjoy our meals, we realized that we were being watched. The waiter and the manager were eyeing us from a distance. Despite their presence, we continued to dine. The waiter asked if we would like to order more but we politely declined. A couple of times the waiter would pass us with his eyes looking in our direction. We started to not feel welcomed. Once we were done with our meals we paid the bill. I paid with cash and she paid with her credit card. We both carefully counted the money and placed it between the booklet. The waiter opens the booklet and counted the money three times in front of us. We were not only uncomfortable but disappointed. We gathered our things, with both meals fully paid and mannerly said goodnight. Namaste’s Indian food was delicious but they lacked proper service. I guess it explains why the restaurant wasn’t full of people so namasgo (now I must go).
A group of my friends and I were craving Ethiopian food. We finally got together and planned to eat at a restaurant called “Abyssinian”. The Abyssinian restaurant is located at 268 W 135th street in Harlem, New York. Ethipioa is in the horn of Africa. Traditionally, Ethiopian cuisine consists of vegetables and very spicy meats. It is usually served with injera bread which is a large sour-dough flatbread that’s made out of fermented teff flour. The low-lit atmosphere of the restaurant was quiet and filled with traditional Ethiopian music. It was tastefully decorated with a bar and friendly staff. You’re quickly seated depending on the party of people and served water. The menu was filled with a lot of lunch and dinner meals with wines and authentic Ethiopian beers. A friend and I decided to share a meal which is the picture of a big plate. Furthermore, my other friend decided to get a separate one due to a difference in order. To share a plate cost $38 and a separate one was $19. I ordered a Lamb Awaze Tibs which was cubes boneless lamb marinated with spicy sauce and served with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and split peas. My friend ordered Lamb Lega Tibs which was a mild version of the Awaze. We all finished our meal with a delicious Ethipioan Honey tea wine which was very smooth. For those who may not want to order any meat, there is also vegan Ethiopian food at this restaurant. I encourage anyone who’s interested in trying Ethiopian food to go to this eatery! It’s an experience you will enjoy!
My friend and I went to a beautiful, cozy Japanese restaurant called, “Misoya”. It is located in New York City on 129 2nd ave. Misoya is a great place to visit with friends or a significant other. The staff is very friendly and the food is beyond delicious! Once we entered the door we were quickly greeted, seated and offered menus. There are tons of cuisine to try whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a full meal. The atmosphere was filled with laughter and lively music. Misoya is the perfect place to not only escape the cold but to try something new. The menu was filled with many foods and drinks such as hijiki (homemade simmered seaweed), gyoza (homemade pork dumpling), sake and more! My friend ordered, “Mame Miso Ramen” which contains beans, dark-colored miso, beef with fried breaded shrimp. I ordered, “Kome Miso Spicy” which includes half of a boiled egg, corn, beautifully sliced pork, potatoes and beef marinated in a broth. The dishes were affordable and ranged from $11- $15. We were very pleased with our meals and made plans to visit again.
I was told by a friend to share my experiences on finding my cultural identity as an Afro American-Caribbean British female. I had many positive and negative experiences but continued to persevere for myself. In my youth, I spent continuous summers in Barbados. Despite being from America my parents weren’t. Now reflecting on those memories, it was a way for my parents to help me stay grounded and connected to not only their culture but mine. I continue to connect and embrace my family from both the Caribbean and British side and it has been sweet!
One of my experiences…
At a young age, I had a very hard time balancing my identity. With certain groups of people, I was only seen as an African-American. To them, I was nothing more regardless of my background or my parent’s dialect. To some people, it was more believable to be Caribbean than British because of my dark skin. This is an ignorant and thoughtless comment because it was far from the truth. Like America, people from other nationalities come in different shades.
In High School, I mostly listened to rock music. A dark skin girl listening to rock music didn’t fit their view of being “black”. It was always one thing after the other for them. I didn’t pay attention to the comments because not only was I happy but I was comfortable. I hung out with people that had the same music taste yet to many it was odd. Till this day we don’t fit the “norm” but we continue to unapologetically live our lives.
In conclusion, people should try to learn more about a person than just their appearance. Sadly, ignorance will always exist but you must continue to feel comfortable with yourself. Ignore those who rather judge you than get to know you.
Barbados’ cuisines are very flavorful! It is influenced by African, Indian, Creole, Irish, and British culture. A typical meal is made of either fish/meat also marinated in herbs and spices. There are many great cuisines from Barbados which makes it hard to narrow for this list. You can find additional foods and drinks such as rum/black cake, Bajan macaroni pie, pudding and souse, golden apple juice (June Plum), snow cones, sorrel or ginger juice by asking the locals. If you’re thinking about traveling to Barbados, read “Fly To Barbados For These Exciting Activities” article. It describes in great and vivid details as to why Barbados is favored by many. The best of Barbados awaits thee! Furthermore, here are my top 5 meals and beverages to try on this lovely island:
Roti is a dish inspired by Indian food. It’s chicken/beef with vegetables and potatoes wrapped with a homemade round flatbread. A Chicken Potato Roti is a Barbadian’s favorite. You can buy this at the famous Cheffete restaurant or any roti eatery on the island. You should definitely try this meal! You’ll be satisfied and full in no time!
2. Bajan Fish Cakes
“Bajan/Barbadian’s fish cakes” are absolutely my favorite side dish to eat! These are not your average fish cakes! Traditionally, the base of this meal is chopped onions, boneless salt cod, flour, baking powder, and hot pepper. They’re easy to make! You can add additional ingredients to spice or sweeten it. Also, don’t forget your dipping sauce!
3. Vegetable, Conch, Chicken, Beef or Halal Samosas
This is a dough filled meal that includes a variety of meats or veggies paired with a traditional sweeten sauce and salad. Additionally, it’s best with an ice-cold Banks’ beer.
“Conkies” is a favorite Barbadian/Bajan treat! It is eaten around Barbados’ Independence Day. The basic ingredients of this dish consist of pumpkin, coconut, spices, raisins, and flour mixture wrapped then steamed in a fresh green banana leaf. It’s a treat that needs precision and patience but in the end, you’ll continue to make or buy more!
5. Cou Cou And Flying Fish
Last but not least, is the national dish of Barbados. “Cou Cou and Flying Fish” is traditionally served on Fridays or Saturdays. This meal may take a long time to prepare but it’s worth the wait! Cou Cou is described as a polenta-like cornmeal and okra porridge. It’s topped with beautifully made garlic, herbs, peppers, and spiced gravy then seasoned fish.
1. Cockspur Rum Punch
This rum won the “International Wine and Spirit Competition’s” Gold Medal in 1981, 1984 and 1989. It’s a very popular rum with excellent quality.
2. Coconut Water
Barbadians have been drinking coconut water for generations. Enjoy the Barbados sea even more with this refreshment. It’s great to pair with rum too! You can buy it from roadside vendors who offer fresh coconuts to both locals and tourists.
3. Banks Beer
This beer was founded in 1961 in St. Michael, Barbados. There’s nothing better than to relax on white Barbadian sandy beach with a cold Banks beer in your hand! This beer is naturally filtered through Barbados’ limestone rock and a special strain of yeast.
4. Tiger Malt
Tiger Malt is a popular non-alcoholic beverage made from barley. Like many Caribbean islands, malt is a good source for energy that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein. Tiger Malt gives you energy without the caffeine!
5. Mount Gay Rum
Barbados is the birthplace for rum. Furthermore, Mount Gay Rum’s distillery is the world’s oldest commercial rum. The rum is used in many of Barbadian’s drinks such as rum punch, old fashioned, black/rum cake and cocktails. It delivers the kick to any beverage!