A new wind is blowing on Springfield Avenue. And it a warm breeze filed with scents from the Caribbean and the American South.
iLand Breeze café at 1901 Springfield Avenue—previously called Island Spice—has been under the new ownership of Avalia Moore and Alton Henry for the past month. The two partners started by catering Caribbean and Southern cuisine out of their homes and also rented the present space from the previous owners. When the business became available for sale in January, they jumped at the opportunity.
Avalia invited us to sample iLand Breeze's monthly buffet this past Saturday (all you can taste). She told me they plan to have a themed buffet every month including one for Mothers Day on May 9. The month after that the theme will be "Taste of the Caribbean." I definitely plan to be there! Visit their website for all the latest information.
The idea behind this month's buffet was for people to come in and have a sampling of the food they regularly serve at the restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, it is a small, clean place to get food to go as well as stay and utilize the few tables lined up in the sitting area. The buffet table was set in the sitting area against a set of two big windows overlooking Springfield Avenue.
It was an extensive buffet for $9.95 consisting of vegetable lasagna, stewed chicken, curry chicken, stuffed chicken breast with mango, sweet potatoes, fried fish (whiting), macaroni and cheese, calypso rice, rice and beans, cabbage and carrots, collard greens and sweet potato corn bread.
I tasted a bit of everything. The stewed chicken, stuffed chicken breast with mango, fried fish, collard greens (on the sweeter side) and the sweet potato corn bread stood out—they were all delicious. As I began to fill my plate with all the goodies, Avalia also brought out a bit of curried goat and oxtail. The oxtail was similar to the stewed chicken—sweet and spicy. The curried goat was delicious. As someone who makes goat quite a bit at home, it was so nice to eat it at a restaurant and enjoy it as much as the home version.
As I was about to finish all the delicious food, Alton, iLand Breeze chef and Avalia's partner) brought out a beautiful plate of pan-seared salmon in jerk sauce with a Jamaican relish, rice and collard greens. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the Jamaican relish was sweet and spicy. The jerk sauce was perfectly seasoned—not too spicy. I was informed the jerk sauce on the salmon is different than the jerk sauce used on the chicken. I had no idea.
As I was eating all the delicious food, a thought came to mind. As I read and watch documentaries like Food Inc, I have become very vigilant about where I buy my meats and where we eat out as a family. As I wondered where all the chicken and goat I was eating came from, Avalia came and sat down next to me to inform me about her restaurant. She told me all the meat used in the establishment is organic and purchased from Pennsylvania. "Wow", I said, "that is fantastic." I was thrilled to have a reasonably price ethnic restaurant in the area serving healthy, organic meat. Avalia also explained the food made in the restaurant is exactly the way she cooks at home.
As iLand Breeze looks forward to increasing its customer base, Avalia and Alton have introduced "trays to go." Busy and working parents can now order family-style dinners serving 4 to 6 people for $19.95. This price includes half a tray of curry or stewed chicken with half a tray of rice and one other side. Other meats or fish are available as well for higher prices.
Monica Puri Bangia- Your Cooking Coach
Read my food blog for everyday recipe ideas,
973 214 2016