Choosing The Flavors and Fun of Jamaica asa theme for our Great 8 dinner was an easy pick. My parents always loved to travel and the Caribbean was their place of choice, any and every island. Luckily for my sisters and me, we “HAD” to go with them! Our vacations were always someplace tropical and only during the summer. Heaven forbid we missed school! A different island every year…it was easy to get used to!
Deciding the Theme
After several visits with and without my sisters and me, my parents, unbeknownst to us, were choosing their favorite island for a vacation home. Jamaica won their hearts and Ocho Rios was the town they chose. A beautiful spot on the northern coast of the island. With such friendly people, sunny beaches, tropical breezes and amazing food, I knew Jamaica would be a fun theme for an upcoming Great 8 dinner party. Celebrating the flavors and fun of Jamaica, off we go!
I’ve always said that once the theme is decided, the rest is so much fun to pull together! For me especially, the invitation design is always my favorite part! One of the perks of being in the craft industry and working at Sizzix is being around the current trends Monday through Friday! I love taking them to another level! Why not incorporate trendy with the invitation, right? Taking a sneak peek at a Sizzix project my friend Thuy, of Blossom Papers was working on, the lightbulb went on and I knew immediately what I was going to do!
Sizzix had JUST launched a line called TropiCool, by one of our oh so creative in house designers, Lynda Kanase. TropiCool…how clever is that name!! Her collections are filled with all things Tropical and all things cool! Papers, cards, leaves and toucans! Island fun! Just in time for my Great 8 dinner! Thanks Lynda! It’s almost like you knew!
Running to Hobby Lobby I picked up the trendy brass geometric terrariums I needed. And with my Sizzix Big Shot Machine, I put Lynda’s dies and papers to good use!
Next up, the menu! YUM! My mouth is salivating just thinking about the flavors of the island. Pure deliciousness! Whether the dishes were from our favorite restaurants in Ocho Rios, the kitchens there of my parents’ friends, or from Hazel, our own resident friend/cook, I knew which traditional island dishes to choose.
In the town of Ocho Rios, we always made sure we’d stop by a small stand that sold the best Jamaican Beef Patties. I knew I definitely wanted them on the Jam8ca menu that night. Anna replicated the meat’s flavor and crust’s flakiness to a T! The perfect appetizer to go with Phil’s signature Sparkling Mojito rum cocktail.
With Jamaican Jerk Chicken being one of the night’s main courses, nothing would be better as a side dish than Kyle’s Jamaican Rice and Beans (they actually call them peas!). Woodsy, hearty and delicious and the perfect accompaniment to calm the palette from the heat of the Jerk Chicken.
Some Final Details
With the table set, my favorite bartender ready to mix, shake and stir, the appetizers are ready to enjoy.
Cue up the Reggae Music…We’re ready for a Gr8 time on the island!
The weather in California cooled down to a comfortable island temperature for us that night! Just the right amount of humidity so we could “pretend” we were actually there, and enjoy the island feast outside!
Cheers to another Gr8 night!