Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From Miami with Love

Hello dear Food-G fans. Oh, how I’ve missed you. Please allow me to apologize for my temporary absence. We been in dee islands mon!

I didn’t exactly fall of the face of the earth; rather, Mr. Food-G and I sailed off the edge of it for a while. We sailed from Miami to St. Lucia on Noah's Aunt and Uncle's 54 foot ketch. 1,600 nautical miles, 2,000 air miles, and 3,000 road miles later, we are finally cooling our heels. The tornado of transition that has been our life is fizzling, and it looks like Montana is our new home state. Hooray! We are so happy to be here.

There have been so many meals, so many stories, and so many flavors to share with you; it’s hard to know where to begin. Most people glaze over when we regale the beauty of all the places we stopped at, or how spectacular the sunsets (and sunrises) were from the boat. They’re more interested in the part of the trip where we left Miami, on our first sailing trip ever, and got caught in gale force winds and fifteen foot seas for three days straight. But you don’t want to hear about all that. Food-G fans and followers, I know what you’re interested in. You want to know what we ATE!


Ohhh so many flavors in the Caribbean. They do a lot more than jerk it up down there, and I was taken by pleasant surprise at the ubiquity of spices perfuming each dish.

I threw together a sample of a typical island menu for you:

 
THE CARIBBEAN TABLE

EATS

Conch Fritters : Like a hush puppy filled with bits of clam-like conch meat, and served with one of a hundred varieties of dipping sauce. We became connoisseurs of these and ate them at almost every port we set foot on. Wash a plate of these down with a piƱa colada, made fresh and sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg.

Chicken Roti : A very thin unleavened Indian wrap, typically filled with a sweet, yellow, chicken and potato curry, best when served with mango chutney. This was a favorite and filling lunch.


Curry Chicken : Usually stewed in a yellow coconut milk sauce. I’ve never eaten so much curry in my life as we did in the Caribbean, but these flavors had a decidedly West Indian spin. Sweeter, milder, and less fiery than India-style curries. Think less cumin, and more cinnamon.


Jerk Fish or Chicken : I had never had good jerk before Big Poppa’s in Dominica. This former body guard used his gargantuan hands to pulverize the ultimate mix of herbs, spices, onions, and hot peppers. Rub it on chicken, or fish, and char-grill it over a smoky fire. The memory makes my mouth water (and burn a little too).


Honey Stung Chicken: Sweet and crispy, this chicken is soaked in a honey-based marinade, and then deep fried.


Creole Chicken or Fish : Similar to New Orleans Creole, with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra, but with more aromatic spices, and less cayenne.


The impossible-to-escape Cheeseburger in Paradise : I lost count of how many islands claimed to serve the “original”. Nonetheless, Jimmy Buffet was right, there's nothing like a cheeseburger in paradise.

DRINKS


Painkillers : the official rum cocktail of the virgin islands. Dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange juice. You won’t be feeling much pain in the islands, but take a couple of these anyway.

Rum Punch (aka Dumb Punch) : This varied greatly island to island, and bar to bar. Some were refreshing and lightly sweet, almost like a guava-juice sweetened tea. Others were syrupy and overwhelmingly sweet.

Local Beers: Turks Head Lager was my personal favorite (Turks & Caicos). But Piton, named after St. Lucia’s volcanic twin peaks took a very close second.

Overall, the flavors of the Carribean are as vibrant as it's tourquoise waters. We returned, determined to conjure up a good recipe for Roti as well as Jerk Rub. As soon as we find home and kitchen, I'll get right on that. Until then, thanks for returning to Food-G for this tropical getaway. As they say in dee islands... YAH MON!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Mark and I are leaving for St. John on Wednesday - Can't wait! Someday I want to make it my second home.

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