Caribbean Night at Gracie’s 21st Century Cafe, by Christina Salkowski

Carribean CarnivalGracie’s 21st Century Café was truly the place to be on Friday September 13, 2013..or..were we somehow transported to a tropical paradise in the Caribbean, with music, dancing, and an island inspired buffet, which perfectly represented the national dishes of some of Gracie’s favorite islands? I’m still trying to figure that out…

Caribbean Fest at Gracie’s 21st Century Café is an annual charity event for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, held because the charity is one which she holds close to her heart. Gracie has been studying Caribbean cuisine since the 1970’s, it’s one of her favorites, and the menu she created represents the spirit of the national dishes from some of her favorite islands. The first course was a plate of appetizers in which every guest received some island coconut bread, coconut shrimp, jerk chicken wings, and conch fritters. The second course was a buffet style in which all the tables were escorted to the buffet line by their server. Customers could help themselves to items like Jamaican curried goat, Caribbean butter fish, fried plantains, and Creole potato pancakes; just to name a few and Gracie even featured some tropical drinks to help put all her guests in the island mood.

While guests were waiting to be escorted to the buffet line they had a chance to hang out on the patio with a drink and dance to the live band which played island inspired music that made even the kitchen staff want to start swaying to the beat. The band featured a young man who actually sang with Bob Marley and the Wailers! We the staff at Gracie’s were honored that he came to celebrate with us and that he shared with us his musical talents.

This year at the charity event Gracie also held a silent auction. Guests were given tickets as they arrived to be placed into the banks for the items you wanted and at the end of the evening the items were raffled off. We had such a wonderful turn out of donated items from glass blown pieces to services from local companies. Thank you to everyone who donated items to help raise money for the JDRF, everything was greatly appreciated.

While Gracie’s restaurant is one that always has relaxing qualities, this night was one of fun, charity, and escape. If you didn’t know you were in Pine Forge Pennsylvania, You would swear you were on an island, far, far away.