As part of our ongoing obsession with delicious, incredibly cheap eats, Our Man Sietsema has been spending time with jerk.
The meals at Blake Bakery and Take Out in Flatbush – perched atop the Beverly Road stop on the 2 train — come in three sizes: mini ($5), medium ($7), and large ($9). Pictured above is the mini, which contains enough food to feed you and a small pet. While the jerk chicken was not smoked, it makes up for it by being thickly crusted with fresh herbs and ground allspice — the miniature dried fruit of a tree native to Jamaica, but now popular all over the world as a baking spice. The coating also demonstrates a good quantity of scotch bonnet heat, enough to make you break a sweat as you eat the chicken.
The jerk comes with steamed veggies and a huge compressed heap of rice and peas. Here as in most Jamaican cooking, “peas” refers to kidney-shaped pink beans. The brown-tinted dirty rice that mixes with the peas is already muy-flavorful, but as she spoons it into the Stryofoam container, the white-uniformed attendant, who looks like an angel from heaven, will ask you, “Do you want oxtail gravy on that rice?” The correct answer on your part is an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
1681 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-693-5133
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 6, 2008