by Tyron Hoisten
I have a new love in my life—one of downtown’s newest additions, Pots & Pans Jamaican Cuisine. Their doors have only been open for five short months, but even so, their Jamaican style street food has created quite a buzz thanks to authentic bites and low prices.
Going just after the lunch hour rush, I nearly had the place to myself. A young woman with a bold accent walked me through the menu pointing out which dishes are spicy and which are not because I don’t do spicy. The offerings are an all-star lineup of Caribbean staples from oxtails to fried plantains and jerk chicken. I chose curry chicken with rice and peas, rasta stew and ochie mix on the side.
While I waited, I scanned the place, taking in the rhythmic sounds of reggae humming through the speakers. The vibrant colors of the Jamaican flag are painted all around. Black depicts the strength and creativity of the people. Gold, the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight. Green, hope and agricultural resources.
Don’t you want to hang a Jamaican flag In your house now? I do. Pots & Pans not only serves authentic food, but a cultural experience directly from their homeland.
Within 10 minutes, my order was up, and it was a lot more food than you’d expect for $12. The curry chicken offered thick cuts of chicken, that had been slowly simmered in a rich blend of spices. The chicken was so tender and perfectly seasoned it seems prepared with love. The white rice and red kidney bean mix was flavored with seasoned cooked-down coconut milk with surprising personality for a rice dish. It would’ve worked well on its own, but the flavors were heightened by the curry chicken.
The rasta stew, a blend of cabbages and carrots sautéed in a seasoned coconut milk was sweet, but savory. The simple, delicate flavors here were tinged with freshness.
I finished the meal with the ochie mix, a cool culmination of cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and bell peppers in a seasoned vinaigrette. This finely chopped side offered a light counterbalance to the earthiness of the other flavors.
Folks, this was, to say the absolute least, a doubly-satisfying meal. The last bite was as anticipated as the first. I can honestly say that I was only disappointed when it was all gone.
You can stop by Pots & Pans at 325 S. Main St in downtown Akron or learn more online at potsandpansja.com
Tyron Hoisten is a writer, a speaker, a minister—in short, he is many things, but most notably, he’s bald.