My lovely friend is studying to be a dietician at NIU and part of one of the classes she's taking in her final year required her and her whole class to run and operate a real restaurant for a day, which ended up being set for October 8th.
She put out an invitation out on Facebook to her friends and family to join her to enjoy a Caribbean meal at Bahama Breeze, her and the other students' restaurant that specialized in authentic Caribbean food.
Being a huge supporter of my friend, I immediately made reservations (yes, you even had to make reservations!) for two and had myself a good ol' fashion lunch date with another girlfriend of mine!
My friend picked me up and we drove the 45 minutes down to Dekalb for our lunch date. I've only been to the NIU campus a few times so I was pretty lost but thankfully my friend had experience with the campus so she knew where we were going.
We got there in the nick of time and were seated right away at a beautifully set table!
Then, the food began!
|Plantain chips with Cilantro Sauce|
First up was the appetizer: homemade plantain chips with a cilantro dipping sauce. I honestly came into this not knowing what the heck a plantain was, let alone what it tasted like! After doing a little research, I found out a plantain is part of the banana family and is starchy, low in sugar, and cooked before serving because it's not consumable raw.
The cilantro sauce was a mixture of cilantro, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, and mayonnaise.
Put together, all I can say is Holy. Yumminess! My friend and I seriously could NOT get enough of this. We even took to spreading the cilantro sauce on a few other things throughout the meal (yeah, it was that good).
|Shrimp Cocktail with Mango Dipping Sauce|
For our starter we were given the choice between a shrimp cocktail with mango dipping sauce or Caribbean black bean soup. I, of course, had to opt for the shrimp cocktail because I'm a shrimp kinda girl and I love mango anything, which ended up being a good decision on my part!
Coming with 3 gorgeous and plump shrimp, this starter was completed with a zesty mango sauce that I literally fell head over heels in love with. While it was so hard to choose a favorite out of the meal, I think I've got to say this was mine.
|Turkey Jerk with Pineapple Cucumber Salsa & a side of Caribbean Rice|
Again, for our entree we were given the choice of pork jerk with pineapple cucumber salsa and a side of Caribbean rice or a vegetarian black-eyed pea stew with spicy pumpkin. While I'd love to have sampled both, my friend and I both went for the pork jerk, which actually ended up being a turkey jerk because they ran out of the pork!
Regardless I don't think we missed much; the turkey was tender and flavorful, especially with that cucumber salsa on top. The salsa added quite a lovely sweet and spicy kick with each bite.
The rice was pretty good too with little bits of butternut squash mixed in.
|Margarita Angel Cake|
Between the mango coconut rice pudding and the margarita angel cake, I had to opt for the cake because 1.) my friend made the gorgeous tropical lime drizzle and 2.) it has margarita in the name. Duh!
I'm not usually a fan of angel food cake but this was definitely a pleasant surprise with the tropical lime drizzle topping. It was definitely extremely flavorful with a mixture of sweet and a little sour, which complimented the cake very nicely.
I, of course, had to flag our gracious hostess down as she was making her rounds around the tables full of guests to
Don't worry though, I already warned her a blog post was inevitable!
|My date and I!|
My date and I were extremely impressed with everything that was put into this experience; from the atmosphere of the dining room to the downright deliciousness of everything that hit our plates to the presentation of everything from the food down to the carefully decorated tables, you can tell that the students really put their all into this project and it showed.
Our thanks to the dietetic and hospitality students for such a fantastic date afternoon!