Taxi conversation with Sean John as we leave his restaurant Spur Tree at Orchard street enroute to pier 57 NYC for a week long food and fashion event. And Spur Tree is on the menu. Our conversation covers Spur Tree’s plans in London, Naomi Cambell, how he he was chosen to be apart of Opening Ceremony’s 1st fashion week show and the last 5 years in business “the first year was the hardest, I use to sleep at the restaurant. It was hard, but I knew it would work”- Sean John.
I was having my usual sorrel & ginger beer at Spur Tree catching up with owner/chef Sean John and I see a Maxim magazine on the bar. The Braised Oxtail is the 2011 #2 Best Dinners in America according to Maxim. And reggae artist Sean Paul wrote the review “When I’m in New York, I like Spur Tree down on the Lower East Side for authentic Jamaican food. It’s a small restaurant, but the taste of the food is huge. It keeps me coming back, especially when I’m homesick. They do an oxtail Jamaican-style, so it’s braised and stewed down. The meat’s really tender, and it’s served with a really thick sauce and rice and peas covered in gravy. It’s bone-lickin’ good. I was home recently and thought, Lemme make some oxtail. I did, but it wasn’t as good as theirs.”
I coax Sean outside and ask him the small story with Maxim, new items on the menu, we happily sample the new Jamaican-asian mini-jerk steam pork buns..so good….so good..u cant go wrong. ..and where the name Spur Tree originates. 2011 is Sean’s year. He was also selected by MACY\’s as 1 of the Top NYC Chefs.
Detroit Inspired. NYC Executed. The initial stories I filmed in my hometown of Detroit have grown into over 100 NYC stories. This is a mix of clips from 12 stories: Motown to Grotown (a conversation @Detroit hospital is the impetus for http://www.mysmallstory.com) , Schott Free (former LOUD a&R, think Wutang, MoBB Deep), Stacey Mckenzie (Model/Entrepreneur told she was “too ugly to be” the supermodel she is today), Steven Mark Klein (New Yorker), Georgia (Family Beauty Business), Omar Dubois (Culture writer, traveler), Beans (Music artist@Label store), Openhouse Gallery (NYC’s #1 pop up space/experimential marketing), Uplifting Men (Homeless Activist), Samia & I@World Cup (unbeknownst to us, samia is 2-3 weeks pregnant with our daughter Chloe), Hussein Warmack (Founder, Nu South Lemonade) and Amel Larrieux (music artist loved by many, I first met Amel while filming the making of GURU’s Jazzmatazz).
Spur Tree was selected by MACY’s Culinary Council as one of NYC’s hottest restaurants and Owner/Chef Sean John was asked to prepare a dish for Black History Month @ MACY’s department store’s kitchen studio. He is preparing a Jamaican national dish with coco bread: Ackee and Cod Bruschetta. I included the recipe for us all to try at home. Visit Sean at 76 Orchard Street (btwn Broome & Grand Streets) http://www.spurtreelounge.com/
1 lb (500g) of salted cod
2 dozen fresh ackee pods or 3 cups (12 oz/350g) canned ackee
1 scotch bonnet or jalapeno chili, deseeded and sliced
2 spring onions
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 loaves of coco bread
4 cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
1.Soak the salted cod in cold water for 3o minutes, then drain and place in a pan with 4 cups (1 liter) of water. Bring to a boil, drain, then break the fish into flakes with a fork. Set aside.
2. If using fresh ackee, romove them from the pods. Discard the seeds and gently remove the pink membranes with a sharp knife. Parboil the pegs of ackee by covering them with salted water in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain and set aside.
3. Set up a large skillet over medium heat and heat oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chili, sring onions, and onion and sute until tender. Add the salted cod, ackee, tomato and black pepper and cover low heat for minutes.
4. Open coco bread loaves and cut into 4 triangles. Warm in the oven for 1-2 minutes and plate.
5. Spoon the ackee and cod onto bread triangles and top with a halved cherry tomato.
Serves 4. Preparation time: 45 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes.
Joan Morgan. Entrepreneur. Writer. Mother and loved and admired by many including yours truly. Joan was one the first people I met in NYC back in June 1992. This story was filmed at Joan’s Spur Tree Birthday soiree with 3 of her girlfriends sharing stories and qualities about Joan. Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist and author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist and entertainent writer, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice before having her work published by Vibe, Interview, MS, More, Spin, Giant and numerous other publications. Formerly the Executive Editor of Essence and one of the original staff writers at VIBE, Joan Morgan is the author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost — a fresh, witty, and irreverent book that marks the literary debut of one of the most original, perceptive, and engaging young social commentators in America today. Her work appears in numerous college texts, as well as books on feminism, music and African-American culture. She is currently teaches “The History of Hip-Hop Journalism” at Duke University.” So that’s what I do. Here’s a bit about who I am. I’m a Jamerican girl, born in hills of Westmoreland Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx whose been lucky enough to carve out a career writing about the things I care about most: among them hip-hop culture and the lives of black women. I have an amazing kid whose wit, courage, kindness and heart inspire and humble me everyday. I’m a New Yorker, a city girl through and through. I love great restaurants, stilettos, a good mojito and fine wine but I live in the country so I can hear myself think. I write from my office overlooking the river with my dog at my feet. All things considered its a pretty good life.