Welcome to Pine Hills, (crime hills). There has been lots talk about the goings on in one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Greater Orlando. Robbery, stabbing, prostitution, muggings, gun fights, drugs, see it all here. It is like your average inner city in Anywhere. Throw a bunch of different nationalities together, mostly Caribbean and this is what happens. Or…I see great food! To get great ethnic foods one must go where that ethnicity lives and eats. I am heading for Guyanese cuisine. Not to be confused with Trindadian cuisine. Although, both countries have similar ethnic make up the food is distinctively different.
The name Timehri I am sure was inherited from the former name of the international airport of Guyana, which is now called Cheddi Jagan International Airport. Set in the Island lake Shopping Center, this tiny little store front looks always close. The tinted windows makes it hard to see what is going on inside. If not for the “Open” sign, one could easily keep on driving and chalk this up to another closed store front in this desolate plaza.
Timehri Restaurant specializes in Indo and Chino-Guyanese dishes. There is a large assortment of curries and fried appetizers with various meats, rice and rotis. On the Chinese side there are the staple stir fried rice, lo mein, and a handful of American style Chinese food items. There is also a large number of bakery items, West Indian Sodas, and of course beer. They also serve the national dish of Guyana pepperpot on the weekend. Due to the method of preparation and availability of locally sourced ingredients, some items are not always available. They also cater for large take out orders. There is a banquet hall attached for rental.
I fancy their Combination Fried Rice. The rice is short grained and does not stick together. It falls apart loosely. Which allows for complete coating of the stir fry sauce. There is an ample amount of lightly fried shrimp and thin slices of beef stirred into the rice. An entire chicken leg quarter is placed gingerly on top of it all. This is not your grandma’s fried chicken. This is Guyanese style. They brine the chicken overnight with a concoction only the “old lady” in the back knows. Then boil it, at order time they fry it and chop it up. It is the most moist, tender, juicy, fragrant, crispy, mouth watering piece of bird to land on this palate. For a little kick add their own “old lady made” hot sauce.
This is a staple in everything Guyanese. Stand around the counter long enough and everyone who orders, reminds the cashier to put “pepper sauce’ in the bag. It is crushed Guyanese peppers, spices, vinegar. This particular concoction has medium heat and it really compliments any food, unlike some hot sauces that just burns the mouth.
My other favorite here is anything curry.
My selection was lamb. Timehri takes time and love in preparing this delicacy. It has the perfect curry powder to masala ratio. Masala could be overpowering to some palates. This combination works wonders to mine. The lamb was tender, succulent, fall off the bone, and bone sucking good. Curry dishes here are served with white rice, roti, or dhal puri. I choose roti. My roti was flaky, soft, slightly chewing, with super sopping up capacity. I like to break up the roti into small pieces and mix it in the curry, then eat it with a spoon to scoop up the curry sauce. I am told the proper way to eat this, is to break a piece of roti, dip it into the sauce and eat with hands. Right hand or left, you ask. If one is left handed the good people of India will be insulted…I’ll stick with the spoon.
To wash all of this goodness down there are an assortment of flavored West Indian Sodas and coconut water. They have coconut water in a can from Thailand, Philippines and Jamaica. There are several brands and types of coconut water from Jamaica. I choose CocoTazo Pure Coconut Water. This bottle of life’s water is frozen since the are no preservatives nor additives. It must be drank 3 days after opening or it turns bad. This is the closest to a fresh coconut that I have ever tasted.
Timehri Restaurant does not carry the large number of items as Singh’s Roti Shop nor is it as as shinny and new. They are fairly consistent except for Sundays, when I think the “old lady” is off. But their fried rice and curry does magic to my taste buds.