UP DI HILL: BLUE RIDGE RESTAURANT
I think my family has been gifted with a sixth sense – one we like to call our ‘good-food-sniffer-outer’ sense. If there is a new restaurant, a good restaurant, or a new dish at an old restaurant, we will sniff it out… and we WILL find it. Which is exactly what happened to us when we heard about the Blue Ridge Restaurant in Salt Hill, St. Andrew. We headed up the hill, the five of us packed into the car, Briana with her newspaper packed into her chest (the great Jamaican antidote for car sickness), and we embarked upon our quest. Our hearts fell when we saw the charred landscape of the usually lush hillside, an unfortunate sign of the severe drought that had been plaguing the island, but our spirits lifted again when we realized that try as it might, the fires had not removed the searing beauty of Jamaica’s curvaceous mountains. People still smiled heartily from the roadside, the scent of rice and peas, roasting breadfruits and jerked chicken wafting into the car and cheering us onward.
The Blue Ridge Restaurant was worth the 45 minute drive. Sitting atop the Salt Hill mountain, the quaint restaurant was surrounded by undulating valleys and even a pond (although what had once been mysteriously dark water stood barren with occasional feathers of steam rising from what the owners described as an ‘extremely close call’ from one of the recent hillside fires). It was actually quite a glorious experience to witness the rawness of nature as we walked through the trails.