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Monique's Corner: Pirates flavors from the Caribbean

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Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman.
Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman.

Former Oklahoman intern Daniel Puma introduced me to Monique’s Corner back in September. He’d talked and talked about how much he loved the place through the summer. But when I arrived at the corner of White and Buchanan for lunch one September afternoon, he informed me he’d only ever order the St. Thomas Chicken and Vegetables.
I told him that if it was as good as he said, then there was a better-than-average chance that other items from the menu would be good.
Alas, he ordered the St. Thomas Chicken again.
I started with a papaya frappe, which was perfect.
Then we shared some Argentinian empanadas, which stopped our conversation about his lifetime of moving from one house to another dead in its tracks.
Though Jose and Aura Maestre are from Venezuela, this dish tasted as if it was derived from a lifetime of making one empanada after another passed through generations.
By now, I had filled out the internship form for his credit and we talked, as usual, about food. Places we’d eaten, dishes we’d been experimenting with and on and on.
Then came my Tobago Jerk pork chops and Daniel’s precious St. Thomas chicken.
Pork chops are no different from any chops in that how they’re cooked makes all the difference. If you cook a pork chop properly, it barely needs salt and pepper. Monique’s passed this most-important phase easily. Thick, juicy, succulent. After that, everything else is a bonus.
At Monique’s, the bonus consisted of citrus and spice. I could’ve sworn I tasted fresh ginger, but Aura assured me there was none. Of course, she wouldn’t tell me what there was either.
Ultimately, I didn’t care as I finished both chops with little trouble while only sharing a single bite with Daniel and his precious St. Thomas chicken.
Of course, he only shared one bite of his chicken with me. It reminded me of my mother’s chicken curry. Chicken, on the bone, braised in a tomato-based broth infused with Latino herbs, spices and vegetables. That’s always a good idea.
On another visit, Aura made flan for me and guaranteed its quality. While I’ve seen more perfectly executed versions, the flavor was spot-on. Flan is all about the topping, and that was the star of this show. Beautifully carmelized crust and pornographically sweet syrup. This isn’t flan from the culinary institute of Venezuela, this is flan from the heart.
Oh, yeah, did I mention that before the flan, I had the pork chops again?

Have you been to Monique’s? Let me know what you thought.

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Related Photos
 Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman.

Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fc7da51c02b97a54f380f8af3d4df514.jpg" alt="Photo - Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman. " title=" Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman. "><figcaption> Jamaican jerk pork chops from Monique's Corner in Norman. </figcaption></figure>
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