I don’t know about you, but I need a vacation. Not just a day off, but a vacation where I go to a different time zone and area code and anywhere that isn’t my apartment. Because moving about the cabin (the world) is still a bit limited, I have resorted to sitting on my couch and daydreaming of vacations past. I will daydream about my last trip to New York where I probably had more Cosmos than Carrie Bradshaw in all six seasons of “Sex and the City.” Or the time I went to Singapore and had the best pad thai. Sigh, those were the days.
My first trip to 14 Parishes on Oak for Sunday brunch allowed me to daydream about the time I went to Jamaica and ate my fair share of patties, cocoa bread, jerk chicken and Red Stripe with a splash of grenadine. Located on Oak Street, one of my personal favorite streets in New Orleans, 14 Parishes’ second location (the other is in Pythian Market) serves dinner during the week and weekends and reserves the official day of rest for brunch only. The good folks over there simply don’t rest when it comes to delivering those feeling irie Jamaican staples with a brunch twist.
When I first stopped by, I was caught up in the rapture of all things Jamaica. From the art on the walls to the reggae music playing softly around the tables, for just a second, I forgot I was Uptown. I recommend they invest in some kind of Beyoncé-like fan to give it that serious island vibe. But what they lack in ocean smells, they make up for it with the scent of all things jerk and spices and sweetness.
I already knew what I wanted to order because I am a Libra who doesn’t like for people to tell me I can never make up my mind. As soon as I saw “jerk chicken and waffles” on the menu, I didn’t have to look any further. Across the table, we ordered all the things that sounded remotely magical, which, in theory, was everything, but two people can only eat so much.
I don’t like to tell people what to do, but I’m about to do that right now because listen to me:
14 Parishes gets Jamaican brunch RIGHT.
So, here’s what you need to do — make a reservation and remember it’s only served on Sundays. Once you’re there, go ahead and start with drinks. I recommend the Rummosa, a mimosa with rum, absolutely chaotic good, and the Bobsled, which is a hibiscus tea and rum cocktail. Next up, let’s get some “likkle brunch tings” as they are called and I absolutely suggest the fried green tomatoes and crab cakes. They’re advertised as likkle but the portions were exceptional and made for the perfect starters to hold down the drinks.
For the main attraction, there are just so many ways you can go but I would absolutely go with the jerk chicken and waffles, and get the chicken grilled. I got it fried and it was delicious but someone at the table next to me said the grilled is even better. If a heavier brunch is what you’re looking for, the oxtails and eggs were a delight, and don’t worry, they give you enough oxtail juice!
Until I can get back to Jamaica IRL, 14 Parishes on Oak will work for now. I’ll be sure to wear my best sundress next time I go to complete the whole vacation feel. And yes, I already know what I’ll be ordering: several rummosas, the jerk seafood omelet with crab, crawfish and shrimp, with a side of callaloo.
I already cannot wait to get away.
Cheers to the return of brunch!