"I ate a lot of other foods from other cultures, but the core kind of meals would be Jamaican. That's probably where I get that from. I was so young that Jamaican food is what I remember, but then you go to school with all different cultures and you're influenced by them," Bandele tells MT. "I kind of nod to that Caribbean flavor, but I tend to cross-pollinate."
So when Paradise Cafe opens, one can expect a menu that holds plates like her signature Jamaican jerk BBQ burger, made with a black-eyed pea patty and jerk barbecue sauce. That holds elements of African-American and Jamaican cuisines, and is served with fresh cut yam fries. The Jamaican stew peas - which are beans - are similar to cajun red beans and rice, but made with a coconut-based gravy that's more in line with the Jamaican flavor profile.
And Bandele leans toward Italian in her vegan lasagna that's made with a sunflower seed cheese, and served with a Mediterranean salad and garlic bread. No matter what you get, be sure to order the strawberry lemonade, which is some of the city's best juice.
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