5. Uncle Junior’s Ice Cream
(at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Fest, Sunrise, Fla and Queens, NY; 786-361-1103)
It doesn’t get more Jamaican than jerk seasoning. While Jamaicans have used the homegrown spice blend to flavor everything from pork to lobster, the unlikely marriage of jerk and ice cream actually originated in South Florida. That’s where Jamaican expat Paul Johnson first introduced his namesake Paul Johnson’s Jerk Ice Cream, at the Boston Juicy Jerk restaurant in Lauderhill, Florida. More recently, Lloyd Waugh of Uncle Junior’s Jerk Ice Cream stand at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival has become the stuff of legend, drawing some of the longest lines at the annual festival held every fall in Sunrise, Fla’s Markham Park, as well as at the New York edition held in July, at Queens’ Roy Wilkins Park. So what does jerk ice cream taste like, you ask? At first, a bit like it’s base—vanilla. After a second or two, the hints of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and peppers come out, but never with the punch they pack on cooked meats. Like other salty-sweet ice-cream flavors such as stout or sea salt, it’s a surprisingly subtle thing that’s much kinder to the palate than you can image without actually tasting it.
Flavors: Jerk Vanilla, Jerk Grape Nut