Dr.Spice: Kareece visits the Doctor Image

by Janelle Brown

Twenty seven year old Kareece Lawrence is not your average… anything really. Spend five minutes with her and it its plain to see that her frank no-nonsense attitude serves her well as a booking agent for Headline Entertainment, where she represents artistes such as Sean Paul, Protoje, Damian 'Jr.Gong' Marley, Cham, and Wayne Wonder.

The music business is in Kareece's blood, but her intense personality carries her down many avenues. Kareece is one of the founding directors of ManifestoJA, an organization which promotes cultural activities throughout the year, and creates experiences that emphasize learning among underexposed youth. The graceful young dynamo, who is president of the new Paradigm Optimist Club of Kingston, goes full throttle in every area of her life. With a never ending thirst for knowledge she is quick to jump into debates on topics ranging for politics and relationships, to religion and holistic health.

It is no small wonder that for the last three years the dreadlocked powerhouse has chosen to live a vegetarian lifestyle. Iriezine followed Kareece to investigate popular vegetarian eatery, Dr.Spice.

Located, in the busting commercial center of Liguanea, Dr.Spice is an unassuming roadside cook shop on Barbican Road. The tiny restaurant is a must stop spot for food lovers in the know, offering up some of the most mouthwatering vegetarian and seafood dishes around. 

Kareece, stays close to the pulse of whats new and positive in Jamaica, whether it is the live music scene where she is involved with events such as Jamnesia and Wickie Wackie Live, or exploring new tastes on this lunchtime adventure. 'This is one of Protoje's spots' says Kareece, who has already consulted the artiste on what we should expect from the menu. The singer's affinity for Dr.Spice's cooking is well known due to its cameo in his Rasta Love video

As we pull up to Dr.Spice, the vibe is clearly peaceful and the smell of savoury seasonings floats on the air tickling out taste buds. Kareece studies the lunch menu as a slim and smiling Rasta man approaches the counter; it is Dr. Spice himself.

At Doctor Spice's suggestion we take a gander at the plates of a pair of tourists chowing down in silent bliss in the brightly coloured dining area. One look at the overflowing lunch boxes filled with broad bean stew, rice and peas, ackee and saltfish, fried ripe plantain, and fresh veggies and we are sold! Dr. Spice drops a slice of avocado into each box and Lawrence's face lights up, as she grins 'Yeh man Dr.Spice, drop in the pear,' she exclaims 'mi love dat! Mi navel string cut under dat innuh'. 

Clearly Dr.Spice has made Kareece's day. The gentle chef is calm but busy as he serves what seems to be a never-ending stream of customers. 

Kareece and I sit down and dig in while we have a small chat about  her choices as a vegetarian living in an economically difficult Jamaica. "Well when you look at it your food is your life, its giving you life energy, why would I want to eat processed foods when I have all this fresh natural stuff available? If I don't pay for it at the supermarket I'll pay for it in medical bills," she goes on, "the only problem is that working in entertainment I am often at events till the wee hours of the morning so finding a vegetarian menu at 2 a.m. can be difficult, so I carry nuts and things I know I can eat."

The driven entrepreneur  suddenly pauses mid-sentence "Dah ackee yah wicked!" Taking a moment to taste for myself, I find that she is true to her word, the ackee "Sell off! Shot!"

As we take a moment to absorb the melt-in-your-mouth  flavours, Kareece as always manages to see the spiritual side of things " You can taste the love in this" says the slender  nature lover, "I maintain that your vibe, and your thoughts translate to everything you do, and I can tell this food is full of love, you can just taste it." As we both note the massive serving Dr. Spice manages to deliver in even his smallest portions, it seems she may be on to something.

The culinary mastermind of the establishment has not said very much, yet Dr.Spice's easy manner and positive vibe strongly permeates the welcoming atmosphere of the eatery

As we finish up, the slender 'Empress' scans the posters on the walls, absorbing knowledge about Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie, and as we pay the bill, another surprise: only $280 (Jamaican) dollars for something that filling and that good?  

"I'm giving this one a second visit for sure" says Kareece. Iriezine- #cosign . 

Dr.Spice is an experience not to be missed.
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