Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chocolate, Rum, and Lobster - a perfect vacation!




Chris and I had a lovely time in Grenada in the West Indies over the holiday. The beaches are pristine, the water crystal clear, the people lovely, and the sunshine warms your soul. "Why can't we do this every day?" we asked ourselves. (I don't know!) Anyway, while we're trying to figure out how to move to the Caribbean ASAP, here's a quick recap of our food adventures:

-Stuck at JFK for 6 hours in the middle of the night left us with bleak options -- I won't waste your time with details about our turkey sandwich and ceasar salads. Ick.
- Banana chips or coconut cookes (our snack options on AIr Jamaica). They also had "Champagne soda" -- Chris tried it and said it tasted like crap. Too bad, as I was hopeful.

Saturday
- Fresh guava juice in the lounge at our hotel at check-in.
- BBQ tuna steak (me) and Lemon Garlic butter tuna steak (Chris) with a few salads (one with tomato and cucumbers, one that was coleslaw-like, and one with potatoes) on the plate and 2 Carib beers. --Lunch at the Beach
- Attitude adjustment time, night #1: Hotel's bottle of "Welcome Wine"
- Rum punches at the hotel bar. Yum.
- Dinner: A multi-course tasting for the table of over 20 West Indie delicacies at "Patrick's" -- a tiny cottage with a few small tables and the eccentric owner mulling and milling about. Chris loved the ginger marinated pork, the lambie (conch), and I liked the spinach rice and the summer vegetables (pumpkin, banana, potatoes, squash, etc.) We had rum punches and red wine, too.

Sunday
- Early morning stroll about 15 minutes to nearest grocery store -- bought huge, lucious grapefruits, saw an avocado the size of a football, also got some snackages, cheese, eggs, raisin bread, coffee, butter, pineapple juice, 2 bottles of wine, Caribbean Crunch granola with bananas and pineapple, 1 bottle of sparkling wine, milk, a $5 bottle of rum that put hair on my chest, and a liter of Coca Cola Light.
- BBQ chicken (me), BBQ tuna (Chris), salads and beers -- Lunch at the Beach
-Attitude adjustment, night #2: Rum and Cokes, bottle of sparkling wine, snackages/cheese
- Dinner: Coconut Beach: we both started with callaloo soup, which we learned is made from the huge, tender heart-shaped leaves of a plant that resembles squash. The soup was flavorful and dark green -- it reminded me of a thin black bean soup base, but was lighter in flavor. For main, I had lobster w/tomatoes and garlic over spaghetti, and Chris had a wonderful lambie dish with vegtables, ginger, and a squash called Christophene that was bubbling with a gratin-like cheese topping. For dessert, hot piece of coconut pie, right from the oven. Rum punch for Chris, red wine for me, then a bottle of white. (I love vacation.)














Monday
- An attempt to make eggs was made, but the heat is up to high, so we open the windows to let the stink of burned egg whites out of our villa and have cereal and toast instead. Coffee and the grapefruits save the day.
- We toured the island today, with driver, Dave, and got to see nutmeg, bananas, cocoa, avocados, limes, sorrel, guava, callalloo, all growing in trees or bushes, ripe for anyone's taking. So amazing. Saw monkeys in the rainforest -- Chris got to pet one as it ate the bananas we brought. We also saw waterfalls, leftover damage from Hurricane Ivan, bustling villages with Grenadians doing last minute holiday shopping, and ended at Belmont Estate -- a CHOCOLATE plantation. We had a lovely lunch there with Dave -- callaloo soup again (this version was a bit more garlicky), and then a mixed plate lunch of chicken, tuna, conch, vegetables, rice, macaroni and cheese, and pigeon peas. We finished with homemade chocolate ice cream, of course. We had sorrel to drink, which kind of reminded me of mulled wine, but had the consistency and tartness of cranberry juice. Then, we had a tour of the cocoa process -- we tasted raw cocoa beans (looked like wet, pulpy, yogurty pumpkin seeds), then leared how the beans are fermented and then dried in the sun (see pic) before being sent to the Grenada Chocolage Company, where the shells are removed and the cocoa becomes chocolate. (We brought some bars home -- good chocolate!)
-Attitude adjustment, night #3: Wine and snackages.
-Dinner: BB's Crabback. Chris had a rum punch, I had some wine and then we had crabback and salt cod balls -- the crabback was cheesy and crabby and served in a crab shell. The fish balls were great, and served with a nice hot pepper sauce. Chris had curried goat (really great!) and I had Lobster Calypso with wonderful spices and herbs and peppers. So great. A huge pot of rice at the table was fun too. We didn't think we had room for dessert, but a guava cheesecake not on the menu (but offered to us by BB's son) changed our minds. It was terrific.



Tuesday
- After an early morning swim, we tried the eggs again, and this time they worked. We had a feast with grapefruit, toast, etc. (see pic)
- Lunch was at The Aquarium: It was on the other side of the island, and right on the beach. Chris had a rum punch, I had a beer (I don't normally like beer, but for some reason, Carib hit the spot) then I had a beautiful seafood salad with shrimp, tuna, calamari, crab, etc. and Chris had beautiful sesame crusted jumbo shrimp with roasted potatoes and salad. A great lunch on the sand.
- Attitude adjustment, night #4 : rum and cokes, the rest of the wine, and more rum and cokes. (Hey, we were sad that our stay wasn't longer.)
-Dinner was at the hotel's restaurant. While waiting for our appetizers (Chris had lobster medallions wrapped in bacon and I had grilled tomato and local goat cheese salad) Chris somehow made friends with a tv crew based in NYC that was staying at our hotel and got us to be part of a promotional video for the hotel and we went to the bar for some Prosecco and a lovely blue cocktail I forget the name of... for our main meals, Chris had fish and chips (not greasy at all) with mushy peas (a Brit fav, apparently) and I of course, had Lobster with butter...man do I love that stuff. And, no need to worry whether after all of this I was buldging out of my bikini. I was not -- we had a nice uphill walk every day from the beach and swam every day as well. And, Chris also pointed out that some old guy hanging out at the beach club was checking out my bum. :)

Wednesday
- We finished up the cereal, raisin bread and bananas
- Air Jamaica offered us banana chips and coconut cookies
- We got home to NJ and after a nap, ordered take out from our local vegetarian restaurant, because after all, we're still on vacation!

xoxoxo

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