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A GLORIOUS New Year's Eve cruise. Review of Glory 12/29 sailing

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That night we were treated to a lovely sunset. 

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And some neat toys along with our towel animal. 

 

OK, stop the presses. I need all y'all's help. My wife and I are having a full out brawl over this. Is the animal a crab or frog? Choose your answer wisely, answer wrong and I won't post any more pictures of food. Or some other suitable punishment. 

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Tonight's special menu (yes, it was formal night)

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Before dinner though, we went to the show. It was actually pretty good. I'm a hard rock fan. My wife, who apparently only knows country music (which I hate) only knew like 2 songs. Her loss. 

 

If you'll notice, there's lots of heads in the way in the pics. Pro tip, the first floor of the theater isn't angled, so getting good views is difficult, even though we were in the third row. You'll have a better view of the show one level up.

 

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Dinner was pretty decent. We spent a lot of time talking to our tablemates, so I forgot to get pics of it all. Sorry. Here's the oysters, Veal, flatbread, and Crab and pickles mushrooms. 

 

The pappardelle was actually... not good. Sauce too sweet and noodles gummy. Our tablemates said the eggplant roll wasn't fantastic either. The lamb chops were actually pretty good. 

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The flatbread was... not great and didn't even look that good actually. 

 

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Edited by scuba_ninja

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New Year's Eve celebrations were actually great. They did a fantastic job keeping it classy but fun. Everyone got a free glass of champagne (provided they were of age).

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A lot of staff were even on deck enjoying the party. Some were on duty, but there were lots of off duty staff all dressed up clearly having a great time too. 

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Very cool experience. The crowd was great, respectful and fun. Kudos to the staff for managing the crowd, drink service and fun so well. 

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I also loved that they blew the ship's horn for a while. It was just a darn fun party. 

 

There were a few ships around us too having a celebration. Clearly the best picture I took on the whole cruise. 

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I went to bed very shortly after midnight. I had an exciting day ahead of me in Jamaica. Spoiler alert. Jamaica isn't great. I wouldn't chose to go back willingly. But we'll get into that. 

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Noticed in your pictures of the theater that the old 1st floor layout remains. Great! Once the ship goes into dry dock it will probably be ripped out and those awful moveable chairs will be put in their place. I like the bench seating and cocktail tables! I really enjoy seeing my 6'5" husband be comfortable and not crammed into tiny rows. Oh well, we'll appreciate the old set up when we cruise in May.

 

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2 hours ago, scuba_ninja said:

OK, stop the presses. I need all y'all's help. My wife and I are having a full out brawl over this. Is the animal a crab or frog? Choose your answer wisely, answer wrong and I won't post any more pictures of food. Or some other suitable punishment. 

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Look to me like a crabby frog.

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2 hours ago, BigEasyCC said:

Noticed in your pictures of the theater that the old 1st floor layout remains. Great! Once the ship goes into dry dock it will probably be ripped out and those awful moveable chairs will be put in their place. I like the bench seating and cocktail tables! I really enjoy seeing my 6'5" husband be comfortable and not crammed into tiny rows. Oh well, we'll appreciate the old set up when we cruise in May.

 

I couldn't agree more.  I hate what they did to the former Triumph theater.  They made it smaller and took out the cocktail tables. Horrible design choice.

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On 1/7/2020 at 8:10 AM, scuba_ninja said:

I'd love to spend several posts talking about New Orleans, but this is cruise critic and I'll probably get flack for it. At the end, if people want I'm happy to post more about NOLA including great places to go and pictures. 

 

We got a great Airbnb on St. Charles Ave. Much cheaper than a hotel, great location. For sure the way to go if you don't have a big group. 

 

Getting to Port couldn't be easier. We took a Lyft, and from where we stayed (basically corner of St. Charles and MLK highway) I think it was $13. Once at the terminal things were not as easy. The terminal staff/security (NOT Carnival employees) were neither happy to see us nor kind and helpful. We arrived at 12:50 (10 minutes before our appointment) and they made a big stink about how we had to walk to the early late/late lane and how we'd have to wait now blah blah blah. Well, we walked 50 feet down, into the door, up the escalator and the carnival employees couldn't be nicer. We were on the ship eating at Blue Iguana by 1:15. Later arrival times are apparently a lot better in this port. Last time we waited on benches for a really long time hoping to be in early thanks to our FTTF pass. Late arrival for the win. 

 

By the time we finished our taco salad the rooms were ready and most of the cattle herd had already left lido for their rooms, so we didn't have a huge crush waiting for the stairs. It was early in the cruise, so I could still walk down two flights. 

 

We had cabin 7201 and I have y'all's to thank for it. I was originally booked steerage, but due to some tips I read here I called the day of the deposit deadline and was able to upgrade to this room for only $100 more!! Way less than it was when I booked originally. They classify this as interior for some reason (4K I believe) but it's actually obstructed picture window. It's a great view straight out of the ship. Would absolutely book it again. LOVE having natural light. And the blackout curtains worked great. The balcony right outside is technically public (so no changing with curtains open) but it is so seldom used that it is like having a private balcony. And boy did I use it a ton. Being right under the bridge never gave us any issues. It's pretty quiet up there. Our S&S cards were in a sealed envelope waiting for us when we got to the room. 

 

It's cruise critic so I'm legally not allowed to make a post without a complaint. My only complaint for now is that the art in my room was pretty ugly (clearly, it ruined my vacation. I regret not complaining to guest services and demanding compensation). But the trim in the room was pink and that made my wife happy. 

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You mentioned that they have your S&S card at your room.  So are the cabins open?  And how does it work if you have the Cheers package?  Do you have to go to your room first to get your S&S card?

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Agree with you on Jamaica...not one of our favorites either! We'll be at Ocho Rios on our next cruise in February and will probably get out and wander in the port then get back onboard and enjoy the pool while other passengers are out on their excursions. I'll be interested to see if your reason for not liking Jamaica is the same as ours! :classic_cool:

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Ocho Rios is much different than Montego Bay. You might enjoy it more...and you are near Dunn's River Falls if you haven't seen that.

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4 hours ago, Carriecruises said:

You mentioned that they have your S&S card at your room.  So are the cabins open?  And how does it work if you have the Cheers package?  Do you have to go to your room first to get your S&S card?

 

No, the cabins were all locked and there was a sealed envelope in the mail slot thingy on the door with the S&S cards. You would know if there was any tampering. You use your boarding pass for anything you need before your S&S/Room is ready. Really efficient system. 

 

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Jamaica Mon! Happy New Year Mon! Want some pot?

 

That basically summarized Jamaica. But I feel like some of your like details and pictures, so here goes. But before I begin, here's a picture of what I believe to be a frigate bird that was following the ship the day before. He was diving down and catching fish the ship's wake displaced. Pro tip, watch the ocean. You'll be amazed what to actually see off the ship that so many people will miss because it's noon and they're already on drink 15 of the drink package. 

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Jamaica was New Year's Day. YAY.

The room stewards had some nice towel animals on their carts today.

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There was one carved watermelon at the buffet. I was surprised in general how little carving there was of fruit on the ship. On the dream 2 years ago it was everywhere, on Glory, maybe one or two a day on the buffet line. I didn't really eat at the buffet much, but I'd pass by hoping to see a carving. Or snag some Mortadella. mmmmmm... mortadella. We did hit up lido for breakfast that day. Meh. The eggs looked gross and we didn't get any. We got some chocolate muffins instead, which were actually really good. And I got a sausage, because... sausage. 

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Pulling into port was uneventful There were some neat ships in the harbor though. 

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Originally we had booked the Croydon Plantation tour. Without warning, and with no explanation Carnival cancelled our expedition a few months ago. We got a prompt refund, but it was weird to have no reason. Even the email was blank. It said "we had to cancel because " and then nothing after it. Who knows why the cancelled, but it looks like that excursion is completely gone from the Carnival site, and a few other shore excursion sites. Maybe tourists were getting eaten by ghosts or something. 

 

Everything else in Jamaica was either really expensive zip lines, or really really expensive beaches. We opted for a more low cost option and decided to try the hop on/hop off bus. Not worth it. I didn't see a lot of info about it on these boards, and even when I asked, people didn't have much info, so here's what I can tell you. 

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First off. Pay no attention to that sign. Well, maybe a little. I'm sure getting caught bringing drugs onto the ship is bad. Which reminds me. First day on the ship, someone was CLEARLY smoking pot somewhere near my cabin. It only happened that one time as we first walked up to our cabins. Maybe that person wised up/used up their supply/got kicked off. Who knows.

 

Anyway, back to Jamaica. They sure as hell don't give a flying Bob Marley about you doing enough drugs to make Willie Nelson look like an amateur. I don't do any drugs, I don't really even drink. I grew up in a very strict teetotaler home. I don't have any issues with people who indulge, I just never got a taste for that stuff. Personally, I actually think pot is less of a nuisance than alcohol. I don't see a lot of pot heads getting crazy and trying to fight someone in the hot tub because they think you looked at their girlfriend funny. Pot heads are just more likely to make the lido buffet crowded. That being said, it is pretty obnoxious when people are constantly trying to push drugs on you, then trying to make you feel bad for not doing drugs. ***** Jamaica?

 

The HOHO bus stand is right inside the terminal as you get off the ship. The terminal is super bare and boring. It is literally an empty warehouse. 

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If you can't read the sign, the bus stops at Rose Hall, Doctor's Cave Beach, Margaritaville, and then Montegeo bay craft market. 

 

The buss is $25 per person and they only take payment using S&S card. It's not worth it. Take a Taxi to Dr's cave beach and call it a day. 

 

Rose Hall shopping is pretty crummy. I'm not going to say that my wife didn't buy anything there, she did. And it wasn't a terrible "deal" that the guy made, but the shops are overly pushy and EVERYONE TRIES TO SELL YOU POT. Also, people who help you in the stores demanded tips. Look, Jamaica, like most islands ships visit is economically depressed. But Jamaica was the only place I've ever been where they were just... rude about it. Everything was a pushy money grab. It was a very slow day in port with only one ship. So I'm sure they were a little extra that day, but c'mon. Like I said, my wife bought a little sparkly thing that was marked $275 and got a deal on it for $35. I'm sure it's actually worth $10, but whatever, she likes it, it made her happy. She didn't pay $275. 

 

The shops were not particularly nice. The bathroom there was OK at least. They are the furthest stop from the port, and also the bus' first stop. After traffic and everything, we ended up wasting a lot of time getting there, and shopping. Next time I'll skip Rose Hall if I ever go back. 

 

Here's the best pics I took at Rose Hall. Yes, the plants were the most interesting part. 

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Ok, Fine, maybe the naughty pot paraphernalia was the best part. 

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Like I said, I didn't really enjoy this stop. I did pick up some Jerk seasoning as gifts here because it was cheap, but I feel like I could have gotten the same thing cheaper on the "hip strip". 

 

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After much confusion, we finally found the bus stop for the return journey. Next stop, Dr's Cave beach. 

 

I will say the drivers were generally pretty nice. They did a little narration along the way. Telling us not to eat Ake from the trees and stuff. I would never want to drive in Jamaica. Apparently there's no such thing as traffic laws or sanity on the roads there. Once the bus found a spot to drop us near the beach, we were off. Instructions of where to go to get the bus though were really poor at all stops leading to much confusion. 

 

Here's some random stuff we passed along the way. This first picture apparently is an army base. 

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Apparently some of the "abandoned" houses are not actually abandoned. What people do 'round here is they buy land and build the house VERY slowly over many years and money comes in. The banks give terrible loan rates, so they'll just wait many years for the house to be ready and do what they can when they can. 

 

So Scotchie's is pretty famous, and I'm really really sad I didn't get to go. I love Jerk flavors.

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It looks like lots of other tour buses were there that day. 

 

The hip strip is lots of tourist trap shops. I would have browsed them (I get a kick out of them) but we wasted too much time at Rose Hall and we wanted some beach time. 

 

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Dr's cave beach has a starbucks attached to it of anyone cares about that sorta thing. 

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To get in you pay $6 a person. The beach itself was a bit crowded, but we found a fine spot. Umbrella rental fees and all that were not outlandish. There is security here too. How good they are... I don't know. EVERYONE. EVEN THE SECURITY GUARDS tried to sell us pot. 

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The sand was pretty clean, and the bathrooms well enough attended to. But again, lots of people asking for tips. There were lifeguards too. Actually not a bad beach by any means. 

 

While we were at the beach my wife was hungry, and so was I, so we decided to try the restaurant at the beach. It is called the Sand Bar. 

 

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Lots of locals/tour guides eating there, so I felt it couldn't be that bad. It's kinda like when you see a restaurant and cops are eating there. They know the 'hood. They know all the places. If they're eating there, it's probably a decent meal, because they can go anywhere. Service was slow because it was kinda crowded (and the kitchen staff was in NO hurry- tour guides were screaming at them to hurry up).

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W O W. That food shocked me!  I had the jerk pork with festival bread and my wife had a while jerked fish that came with DELICIOUS rice and some veggies. 

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One other thing I am really sad about is that I didn't get to the Pork Pit. People say it's as good, or even better than Scotchie's. I had planned to walk there from the beach, but after getting harassed mercilessly we decided it just didn't feel comfortable walking all the way there. The walk from Dr's cave beach to pork pit is pretty short, but it just didn't feel safe. We did walk from the beach to Margaritaville, and that was enough for us. Not a good experience. Margaritaville even was kinda dingy. Lots of vagrants outside.... you guessed it, trying to sell pot. The food we had was really excellent though. I'm sure Scotchie's and Pork pitt are awesome, but i have actually no complaints about the meal we had. I have to imagine it was actually not too far off from the famous places. 

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I can see my ship from here!

 

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Long story short, there was a lot of issues finding the stop for the bus. Lots of people trying to sell me pot. And one kept asking "what are you afraid of, the Jamaicans? Too scared to try a little pot? Big Bad Jamaican mon?" So when finally someone was actually trying to tell us where the bus stop was, I didn't believe him. I thought he was some pot selling vagrant looking for a tip. Eventually, and by this time I was getting nervous about departure time, we found the spot. The bus finally came. But then had to turn around, go back to Dr's cave beach, and pick up some more lost carnival souls. I guess I'm glad to see they were not left behind at least. We made it back JUST in time to walk through the sad, sad, sad, shops at port. There was a beef patty seller though, and I HAD to get one. I used to get them all the time in NY, but can't find them in Chicago. The one at the port was actually good. I was SO happy. I love beef patties. She clearly sold mostly to the port workers/tour guides. She was very surprised to see a tourist in her shop. Doesn't matter, had a patty, it was great. When I put hot sauce on it she smiled and nodded.

 

We got back on board, and didn't have a lot of time to spare... so I thought. I was hanging out on our "secret deck" waiting for the boat to pull away, watching a local cop fish off the dock. 

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And wondering why we had not left yet (this is like an hour after all aboard). Well, a few tour busses come screamin' round the bend, I guess whatever tour they were one got caught in the traffic, which is horrible. Must have been a Carnival tour, since the ship clearly waited for them. 

 

In the meantime, I got to see a neat storm comin' down the mountain. The storm did not in fact ask me if I wanted to buy pot. 

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We never made it to the craft fair, that that's a bummer. In the morning passing it, it looked closed so we didn't bother trying. On the way back though we could see it had opened. A few really REALLY drunk people got on at that stop (on the way to the ship). So I guess they have some kind of bar there too. One rather inebriated fellow made a very funny dirty joke, but I don't think I can tell it on these boards without getting in trouble. 

 

Edited by scuba_ninja

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Other than my Jerk Pork and Beef Patty, the best part of that port was pulling away.

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It was neat watching the ship turn in the harbor. Our fishing cop friend got back in his boat and helped guide the way. 

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By JAMAICA~!

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Dinner that night was decent. 

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The shrimp was pretty good. 

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And the Jerk wings were.. decent. 

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I'm kicking myself though, I ordered three. Yes THREE orders of frog's legs. And I guess I forgot to take pictures. They were excellent. Well cooked, and well seasoned. HIGHLY recommend. They are a little boney, but oh so good. They tasted pretty fresh too. My wife had the flat iron steak, which was excellent. 

 

 

 

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Still enjoying the review!  I read where you didn't care much for the breakfast at the buffet.  Have you tried Blue Iguana Cantina? They open for breakfast and make an excellent breakfast burrito to your liking and they don't try to sell you pot. 🙂 

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Hi all!

 

Loving your review & sense of humour! You're making me want to book Glory! I was booked on Valor from New Orleans next Feb but it's going into dry dock. Am also booked for Breakaway then.

I have to agree about Jamaica, I found it scary but beautiful. We walked from that Beach to Scotchies & lived to tell the tale! The food was good.

 

Looking forward to the rest of the cruise. Thanks for doing this.

 

~ Jo ~ 😊

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12 hours ago, SERK said:

Still enjoying the review!  I read where you didn't care much for the breakfast at the buffet.  Have you tried Blue Iguana Cantina? They open for breakfast and make an excellent breakfast burrito to your liking and they don't try to sell you pot. 🙂 

Yes! Blue Iguana breakfast was excellent! It did not try to sell me pot. And it was tasty. 

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10 hours ago, fyree39 said:

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Frigate Bird

Thanks for the info. I'm better at identifying burgers than I am birds. 

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17 hours ago, scuba_ninja said:

There was a beef patty seller though, and I HAD to get one. I used to get them all the time in NY, but can't find them in Chicago. The one at the port was actually good. I was SO happy. I love beef patties. She clearly sold mostly to the port workers/tour guides. She was very surprised to see a tourist in her shop. Doesn't matter, had a patty, it was great. When I put hot sauce on it she smiled and nodded.

 

Great review.  It's written like a travelogue, and gives a good overview of your days.  I look forward to more.  Speaking of pot, it just got legalized in Illinois.  I'm all for letting the police focus on more serious crimes, but smokers are jumping on dispensaries like hyenas on a zebra carcass.

 

I'm from Chicago too, and I know of only one place that sells beef patties.  It's the frozen, packaged kind, but better than nothing. It's an unlikely place: Dollar Tree.  I'm sure there are Jamaican restaurants that sell freshly made beef patties, but they're similar enough to South American empanadas I already eat fairly often, than I don't make it a priority to seek them out.

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11 hours ago, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

 

Great review.  It's written like a travelogue, and gives a good overview of your days.  I look forward to more.  Speaking of pot, it just got legalized in Illinois.  I'm all for letting the police focus on more serious crimes, but smokers are jumping on dispensaries like hyenas on a zebra carcass.

 

I'm from Chicago too, and I know of only one place that sells beef patties.  It's the frozen, packaged kind, but better than nothing. It's an unlikely place: Dollar Tree.  I'm sure there are Jamaican restaurants that sell freshly made beef patties, but they're similar enough to South American empanadas I already eat fairly often, than I don't make it a priority to seek them out.

If you've got a good place for South Africa empanadas, please do share! Thanks for the compliments!

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1 hour ago, scuba_ninja said:

If you've got a good place for South Africa empanadas, please do share! Thanks for the compliments!

Did you mean "South American"? 

 

I know of Carnivale in the West Loop neighborhood.  It's kind of clubby and flashy, but it's authentic and it offers empanadas.  But last time I ate one, it wasn't from a restaurant; my friend's sister-in-law made it.  She slow-cooked some pork and a little bit of poblano pepper in mole, then put it into pastry dough and baked it.

Edited by LandlockedCruiser01

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On 1/17/2020 at 10:03 PM, LandlockedCruiser01 said:

Did you mean "South American"? 

 

I know of Carnivale in the West Loop neighborhood.  It's kind of clubby and flashy, but it's authentic and it offers empanadas.  But last time I ate one, it wasn't from a restaurant; my friend's sister-in-law made it.  She slow-cooked some pork and a little bit of poblano pepper in mole, then put it into pastry dough and baked it.

Yes, I'm sorry, was on mobile. I have not been to Carnivale. I should check it out. A number of my coworkers are Jamaican, I should ask them if they have any good spots. 

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