Chillin` at Chilitos

Photography by Craig Harley

Team PANACHE received the most amber-warm Chilitos welcome from co-owner, Christopher Boxe and Chief Brand Officer, Natalie Nash at their new location on 88 Hope Road.  A place with an open feel, vibrant colors and warm accent pieces- Chilitos feels almost totally outdoors, but also has that relaxed kind of Caribbean meets Central American semi-enclosed cuddle.  Wooden decor spiced with contrasting accent burnt orange and pops of vibrant tones- all meeting the eye like an architectural manifestation of the flavours and colours of the meals you’d find on their Jamexican menu.  A space that makes it difficult for you to decide to grab your meal as take-out. The ambiance tempts you to stay and comfortably get a morning snack on tacos in your pajamas, go for Quesadilla brunch, lunch, post midday snack, or Burritos for dinner and Margaritas, Tequila shots, Rum or bottles of beer for whenever it’s five o’clock somewhere in the world.

Chilitos was established in 2007 by The Carby Family (Julio, Nadia & Loraine). The previous location was a gracefully aged house. One you’d imagine seeing in New Orleans, with a charm as rare as the Jamexican concept- almost as if it was built and aged like wine, predestined to someday become the first home of Chilitos.

Ten years later (my, my…time flies) Chilitos, under the leadership of Christopher Boxe and Craig Hammond, continues to not just thrive, but dig deeper roots. The restaurant is poised to sprout new branches- spreading that under-the-tree, lay-in-hammock feeling that is open to anyone who wishes to part-take. An organization proud to provide a familial kind of service to anyone, from whatever walk of life. This is the keystone around which the company’s tone, brand and essential vibe took form.  Christopher Boxe avers that the embodiment of Chilitos is a master blend which aged and took flavour organically- the decor and feel from the first location at (64 Hope Road), swirled with the energies of the myriad of customers and events that have passed through over the years, with a dash of the maturity that came with the customers who have been there for the past 10 years- meets the new customers who come in every new day. The company has taken shape, like a live being- taking shape based on its journey.  The new space still has some aesthetics brought from the old location with a more modern space and open layout. Boxe, who is a foodie and a chef in his own right is inspired to keep expanding the range of offerings.  Adding to the already dynamic blend of Jamexican dishes.

An interesting fact about this restaurant is that the organization is big on supporting local farmers. All the ingredients used in the products are sourced from local farmers.  Every lettuce, tomato, pepper, lime…everything but the tacos, wraps, and meats. This Boxe indicated allows the restaurant to maintain its accessibility by keeping prices as reasonable as possible by eliminating the “middle man”- while also building the local/ small farmers. Knowing that the fresh veggies Team PANACHE enjoyed in the jerked chicken tacos and other selections we absolutely enjoyed came from a small farmer, made us even more delighted to dine at Chilitos.

The team at Chilitos has established an outreach program at the Glenhope Children’s Home on Maxfield Avenue.  A programme which stemmed from the managing team deciding one day that it would have been a wonderful idea to do Sunday dinner for the Children resulted in a bond being melded- resulting in what has now become regulated visits of activities and treats.

As the organization grows- emphasis on the team being human- focusing on empathy, compromise and kindness remain at the fore of their attitude and what they believe will set them apart from many in the Jamaican food/ hospitality industry.|P

Advertisements

EXPLORING OUR SONDER

By Marshelle Haseley | Photos Contributed

Each day lends itself to us to venturing into deeper discovery of ourselves and the world around us. Experiences that once seemed random, coincidental or even meaningless may impact you in ways that confirm that everything happens for a reason as “…a guide from beyond” to quote Rumi. These scenarios act as catalysts for life to unfold the way it should- for greater good. Whether we acknowledge and accept it, our lives are shared, not just happening to each of us- we are all intertwined and connected in a kaleidoscope of experiences.

Almost everyone I meet or observe and the associated experience have some kind of deeper impact. The impact sends my mind wandering (not wondering) if there is a universe unfolding beneath my surfaces, what happens beneath theirs?

In an article written by Niel de la Rouviere- The Curious Case of the word Sonder, it is defined as “… the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”

So we set out to speak with random passersby and even some persons I see from time to time but know nothing about, despite their mild and sometimes profound impact on my life experience from day to day.

I have been absolutely in love with Cafe Blue in Irish Town for years. Over the years, as it’s grown- the experience and ambiance have continued to become more magical- every time! One of the most wonderful parts of my moments spent there is being greeted by Sharon.  Anyone who visits Cafe Blue in Irish Town would have met Sharon.  From interacting with her in those short moments, I’d wonder what her story must be like- so here it is.   Sharon Georges moved to Irish Town some fourteen years ago.  When asked what she loves most about her life- I could feel sudden warmth in the air, and I noticed the glossy film in her eyes, behind her glasses lenses as she said “my kids”.  Sharon is the mother of two, Jhenell & Jamero Ho-On.  Her two children who she raised on her own for the past seventeen years after being abondoned by their father.  In the midst of moments of struggle- Sharon described how she managed to support her children, giving them the best life she could. A life filled with happiness, dreams and love.  Jhenell is now a student at the University of Baltimore on a scholarship, and Jamero is a student at Camperdown High, in Kingston.

Seeing Sharon smile and walk around in a space that is nothing less than majestic- it is clear that she enjoys what she does.  Despite the typical ups and downs that will always come along with work- Sharon, who has been in the service industry for over fourteen years says she really enjoys meeting new people every day- people from all walks of life and cultures. She highlighted how impactful the exchanges of smiles and warm gestures with customers are on her- where she ends each day feeling satisfied.

I can never end a deep interaction without asking someone what their passion is.  I asked Sharon “What would you do if you could do anything in the world right now?”  With excitement in her eyes and a sunbeam daydreaming smile on her face, she stated gently- “Design and Dressmaking”.  She explains that she does it in her free time and makes a lot of her own clothing.

It is so beautiful- the fact that everyone you see has their own dreams and aspirations, struggles, accomplishments, love, and triumphs- we all have a story. Exploring Our Sonder explores the truth that inspiring stories are not confined to the corporate spaces- not confined to the realms of those who have arrived.  Exploring Our Sonder allows us to find revelation in every stranger we encounter on our journey.

Explore it!|P

40 homes to be built by Food For The Poor Jamaica

Forty poverty-stricken families will have the comfort of new two-bedroom houses from Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica later this year, thanks to donations committed thus far by individuals, companies and others during the charity organisation’s third annual 5K Run/Walk held on May 13 at Emancipation Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

At the Run/Walk event, Andrew Mahfood, Chairman of FFP Jamaica announced that the charity intends on constructing 100 houses from the event and they are grateful for the 40 houses already committed.

“When you hear us say that we want to build 100 homes, that’s just a drop in the bucket. We need to build 10,000 houses, because there are tens of thousands of Jamaicans who we have seen and are now on our waiting list who are desperately in need of houses,” Mahfood passionately said.

Mahfood strongly believes the goal of constructing 100 houses from the event will be achieved as persons and organisations are still committing to the 5K.

Over 100 houses have been built since 2015 from funds raised during the two previous 5K Run/Walk events.

Mahfood said, “Food For The Poor Jamaica is extremely grateful for the support received. No charity can survive without the support system of their nation. We are happy that individuals, the private and public sectors, groups from all 14 parishes across, members of our diaspora and people living outside of Jamaica, decided to support us through contributions, pledges and donations through the internet.”
Marsha Burrell-Rose, Marketing Manager, FFP Jamaica, announced that: National Bakery, Jamaica Public Service, National Commercial Bank, ReMax, Black Ink Marketing & Events Solution Limited, First Caribbean Bank, Red Stripe, Running Events, Rototech, Supreme Ventures, Zoukie, Hi Pro, Rotary Club and Cornwell Bankers, have committed houses from corporate Jamaica. Other donors include: Yohan Blake, and Michael Hylton.

All funds committed by these persons and organisations were matched equally by Food For The Poor Florida.
In 2015, approximately 842 houses were constructed by FFP Jamaica. While other houses were constructed by other Food For The Poor organisations in Latin America and Caribbean countries including Trinidad & Tobago, Honduras, St Vincent, Guyana, Haiti, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organisations, started in Jamaica in 1983 with the objective of distributing food items through churches, but have now expanded to address housing, education, health care, prison ministry, agriculture and social outreach.

Photography courtesy of the Food For The Poor (FFP)

The Hidden Gem of Caribbean Music Festivals is A Must See!

By Tricia Williamson | Photography courtesy of The Pure Grenada Music Festival

The Pure Grenada Music Festival is the hidden gem of the Caribbean’s Jazz and Music Festivals. The picturesque venue of Port Louis was the perfect setting for this intimate music experience which delivered a truly world class festival. Many a music festivals across the region have grown so big that some argue they have lost their vision. However, Pure Grenada Music Festival distinguishes itself from the pack with a keen focus on the purity of live music. From Roots & Culture, to Love & Soul and Pure Spice rhythm and beats, this festival is a melting pot of different genres of music perfectly blending local and international acts.

A Musical Experience Not To Be Missed

This year’s lineup featured three days of “Great Music…Naturally”. Staged May 5th-7th, the first night shone the spotlight on Roots & Culture with top acts Sabrina Francis, Queen Ifrica and Third World. The musical flow continued the following evening with a night of Love & Soul which featured Tarrus Riley, Dean Fraser & the Black Soil Band as well as Malika Tirolien. The final night encompassed a thrilling performance from Mr. Killa, Loxton Mitchell & All Anointed and Ajamu & Gospel Chorale. In between sets on the main stage, the Coca-Cola Village stage delivered a plethora of live bands that ensured the music flowed nonstop. The audience danced, rocked and enjoyed the musical stylings of the Sensation Band, Quiet Fire, Pan Wizards featuring Angelo Signore and more.

World class talents of Sabrina Francis and Mr. Killa

On the opening night of the music festival, Sabrina Francis was simply mesmerizing. With her pulsating melodies, she held the crowd’s undivided attention from start to finish. Her beautiful voice and range is a perfect complement to her passionate music that is a blend of Caribbean and African influences and takes you on a beautiful escape. At the young age of 23, her lyrics convey a longing to control her own destiny. PANACHE believed she’ll achieve those dreams…as for us she is one of the Caribbean’s Next Breakthrough Artiste.

Sabrina Francis Sabrina Francis

Crowd-pulling, musically versatile artiste, Grenada Cultural Ambassador, Rebel Dancer, and Child of God… Mr. Killa brought the house down on the final night! There were stories about this young energetic entertainer in Grenada… leading up to the Music Festival- so the intrigue and expectations were high for when he would take the stage. Once he did, his presence and energy was simply phenomenal and was equally balanced with the amazing dancers that surrounded him on stage. Mr. Killa was simply hypnotic and brought a light-hearted fun to the performance intertwined with his cheeky jabs at current affairs. A fusion of soca, reggae, dancehall, African and more, this former Soca Monarch is poised for huge international success and Mr. Killa can deliver on any stage in the world…He is simply the best. On his Facebook Page, post his high energy performance, he shared: “I want to say BIG up to all the people that came out and supported the Grenada Music Festival. It was an amazing weekend thank you so much, and a special love and thanks to all the fans that came out on Sunday you made my performance an amazing experience… you guys gave me and the Rebel1 Band the chance to show them what we’re made of!”

Mr. Killa Mr. Killa

All in all, Pure Grenada is a must-do music experience in the Caribbean and rounded out its weekend with stellar performances from Third World, Tarrus Riley, Queen Ifrica, Malika Tirolien, Quiet Fire, Loxton Mitchel & All Anointed, Pan Wizards and more.

Beyond The Music

Beyond the music, kudos are in order for the festival’s strong commitment to the environment. From the setup to the vendors, this music festival is entirely eco-friendly and innovative with green seating made out of recycled materials; the “Keep your cup” drive is commendable; and the art installation entitled “Plastic Ocean: Want All, Loose All” focused on the impact of litter on the marine environment. Given the stunningly beautiful location of the festival village, we want to keep it clean for many years to come.

Lastly, there was the cuisine! Shoutout to Andy’s Soup House which had the best-selling Lobster Soup that was a top seller or if you want something jerked check out JAMDOWN Restaurant- BIGUP to Kenneth Powell, a Jamaican living in Grenada over 20years and started this business. The festival has several food stands to offer a range of culinary delights to satisfy your tastes and experience all the sweet, savoury and spicey-ness Grenada has to offer. Be sure to check out the Westerhall Rum Cellar, Grenada Breweries Beer Garden, North South Wine Lounge and of course the 60 Foot Sundance Bar to quench your thirst all night.

So book your place early, grab your friends and escape to Grenada where great music can be found at the Pure Grenada Music Festival. For more information on the festival including ticket prices, travel tips and more, visit: http://www.grenadamusicfestival.com |P

Exploring Clean Beauty

By Latoya Jones

 Just recently, a co-worker of mine had car trouble because his regular gas station attendant had put diesel in his vehicle instead of the gas he usually purchases.  This mistake cost him time away from work and money he probably had better use for.

This mix-up got me thinking, if a car- an obviously inanimate object- could cough and sputter and refuse to drivebecause of something like a gas mix up, then what would happen to our bodies- the most complex of ‘machines’ if we consistently fed it the wrong things or consistently used products that have dangerous side effects.
It wasn’t too long ago either that my research for a piece just like this one unearthed the little-known fact that 60% of everything we use on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream. Yikes! That said, it’s no wonder we are plagued with so many illnesses and health issues. This prompted me to explore a more organic way to beauty. Below are some common ingredients to avoid in many of our most popular beauty products with alternatives that are a lot cleaner.

ALUMINIUM

This component is found in many beauty products and essentials like deodorant. Repeated aluminium use and exposure are tied to both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. When buying items like an antiperspirant, try to purchase an aluminium free option. Tom’s aluminium free deodorant is one of the more affordable ones on the market at a mere $5.00USD per bottle.

PARABEN

Paraben is found in many a deodorants, lotions and lipsticks and has been shown in studies to mimic oestrogen in the body and has also been found present in many breast cancer tumours. Again, no one is sure what levels of Paraben content in a product is ‘safe’  so regarding this ingredient, it’s probably just best to be safe rather than sorry. Even mainstream brands like Tresemme have come to embrace paraben free products.

FORMALDEHYDE

This ingredient has been labelled legally as a carcinogen (the same stuff that’s present in cigarettes that make them bad for you) by the Food and Drug administration in the U.S.A. Formaldehyde is said to be present in nail polishes, eyelash glues, shampoos, lotions and hair straighteners. When checking for formaldehyde in products, it may also be listed as ‘formalin.’ It is not sure just how much formaldehyde is too much so consumers are advised to use products that may contain formaldehyde in well-ventilated spaces to minimize inhalation.

SULPHATES

Sulphates are those things that give many soaps and shampoos their lather. In other words, it’s what makes it soapy or foamy. While sulphates are somewhat good for removing build up, its harsh chemical makeup strips natural oils and moisture from hair follicles and skin cells thereby worsening conditions like dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema. While some companies have switched out sulphates in their products, they aren’t necessarily using replacements that are better for you either. Your safest bet as a consumer is to look for products that are fruit or vegetable based.

Whoever said beauty has to hurt was wrong.  There just simply is no beauty product or routine that is worth compromising the quality of your lifestyle in the long run. It is the purchases of the more informed consumer that is bringing even mainstream brands to their knees. Start today, by changing what you can for a healthier tomorrow.

Photo credit: Tresemme

HBO GO Now Available On Apple TV

HBO Latin America announced today that fans of HBO in the Caribbean are now able to access the digital platform HBO GO through Apple TV®.

Apple TV® facilitates access to online content, allowing the users to choose the content they want to watch, whenever they want directly. Starting today, users of this device in Latin America and the Caribbean, will be able to enjoy HBO GO on their TV screens.

HBO GO is currently available in the Caribbean market as a complement to the HBO/MAX premium pay TV package with participating operators at no additional cost, and as a standalone service through Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.

HBO GO is the premium digital platform that offers the best content of HBO channels with over 2,500 exclusive titles and without commercial breaks. The platform includes the best of Hollywood’s box office before any other subscription service, full seasons of HBO original productions — such as The Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Game of Thrones — and a complete collection of international and independent movies. It also offers the option to live stream the HBO linear channel anytime, anywhere.

HBO GO can be accessed on any mobile device with iOS 7.1+ (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) or Android (OS 4.0+) operating system, and at http://www.hbogoca.com. HBO can also be enjoyed on flat screen TVs with Chromecast and AppleTV.

Travelling Into Self

By Marshelle Haseley | Photos courtesy of  Tara Bradshaw

In the process of traveling and interacting with places, spaces and faces- we discover and rediscover ourselves- unearthing some of the deepest parts of our inner beings. From climbing Dunn’s River Falls here in Jamaica with friends, traveling to Paris with a lover- or taking a solo “Cafe crawl through Amsterdam” there may be some built-in knowledge that without a doubt, apart from being in awe at what we may see each time we travel- our soul feels the enriching value of each journey. From departure to destination there is a knowing that the experience of these new spaces and views, people, food, fragrances in the winds, and trees- will be golden soul food.
Panache Magazine had a quick talk with Tara Bradshaw, a soul so fed by the thrill and wonder of travel that she works as the E-Commerce & Business Development Manager at Trafalgar Travel Limited.

When asked about when Tara realized she was a wanderer, she exclaimed “From birth!”  She explained that her mother was a flight attendant for over 30 years, and quite a few of her family members are in the travel industry.  “I was on a plane before I could walk.”  As life always has it, people of like minds seem to always find each other- so Bradshaw finds herself surrounded by people who are just as passionate about travel as she is.
Difficult as it was to choose, Tara had to tell us three of her all time favourite places.  “I’ve loved almost everywhere I’ve visited.  The perfect trip to me involves great food, beautiful architecture and scenery, walkable or easy transportation options, and a variety of things to do. If I had to choose based on those, I’d say my current top three favourites are Rome, Italy, Ho Chi Minh/ Saigon in Vietnam and Budapest. Each location clearly had its own charm and entangled impact on her soul- she was torn by not including “Bangkok, Barcelona, and Hong Kong. And and and…(haha)”.

Finally, we got to the most powerful question- which defines the concept of Traveling into Self. We asked Bradshaw to tell us about one magical experience she had that impacted her soul in a profound way. One that she probably would not have had if she did not travel to that specific place, at that specific time.  Something that seemed almost serendipitous. She could immediately tell which trip gave her that experience and stated- “I follow several travel accounts on Instagram, and one night I happened to see a post about a mistake fare to Beijing.  I immediately opened my browser, went to the airline site and booked my flight without even knowing if I had the vacation time to go.  I ended up taking my very first solo trip, all the way to China. It was an absolutely incredible trip and it totally opened my eyes to the joys of solo travel.  It came at a point in my life where I really needed something like that, to reinforce that I was self-reliant and capable. It was a chance to challenge myself in a completely unfamiliar country, to not let fear stop me, to soak in a new culture, and to truly appreciate the journey.
Every aspect of that trip lined up perfectly from start to finish, and I am constantly grateful for the opportunity.  I’m also now addicted to solo trips!”
The experience described by Tara exemplifies how experiences such as travel can highlight or solidify things we always knew about ourselves- and sometimes helps us find where we truly belong.
When wrapping up my chat with her, I inquired about her next destination- “I’m headed to Toronto and Montreal in a few hours!  I love Toronto (despite the cold).  It’s a city that’s so diverse, with fantastic food, friendly people, and vibrant neighbourhoods.  There’s always something new to discover there.  I’ve always wanted to visit Montreal as it seems to tick so many of my required travel boxes as well!  Canada is also celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, so I’m sure there will be lots of activities going on.”
Mark Twain renowned writer expressed that “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bow-lines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails…
Explore. Dream. Discover.”|P