Last TCI post for a while. I have quite a few New York posts cooking on the back burner. The Turks and Caicos link now points to this page, your one stop shop to everything Provo including other one stop shops, dining stuff, photos, directions, Hitler videos, and more. I will try to update the page as needed.
(As published in the current WhereWhenHow Magazine)
Seven days of culinary bliss. That defines another trip to Providenciales in a nutshell for the Ziggy clan. I can’t think of another Caribbean island where we’ve had it thisgood in such consistent fashion. Recent trips to foodie heavyweights in Europe have produced their share of clunkers. So who knew that an island nation of 33,253 residents, with restaurants mostly geared toward tourists, would produce such culinary delights?
I just love eating in Provo. In fact I love everything about the island – the beach, the people, even the driving. According to Mrs Ziggy I turn into someone else, including a complete gentleman while on the island (Although the truth is I keep forgetting the location of the steering wheel on the rental and keep opening the wrong door). Anyway, with that said, I will share here some of our favorite dishes from our last trip.
A solid meal can turn uneven in a hurry without the support of a solid starter to set the tone. So without further ado here are the nominees for best supporting cast (I’m talking about small dishes. Play with me here as I’m recovering from the latest Oscar fever)…
Conch Kebabs at Garam Masala. Imagine the Falafel and the Shish Kebab having a baby girl named Apple (a
Hollywood Bollywood baby). The result is a spicy, juicy palate pleaser that opens your senses for things to come. I love Indian food and I can tell you that this is not your ordinary Indian. Part owner Vinni has a passion for his native cuisine and it shows.
Strong contender: Chicken Tikka “Pizza” (on naan bread)
Lobster Salad at Las Brisas - Lobster, tortilla, Chalk Sound, gazebo, light breeze, stronger breeze, napkins flying, oh no quick, close the shutters before the kids get a cold – Ingredients you wont find anywhere else, not even in Basque Country. The folks at Las Brisas (which means breezes) have been dishing out great tapas and lobster salads for years. They partially cook the lobster and let the lime acid do the rest. A semi-ceviche if you will. But you need to get there during lobster season, otherwise, well.. enjoy chicken season.
Strong contender: Chickpeas and Chorizo
Grilled Calamari at Caicos Café - Did you ever take a bulldog for a walk to his favorite spot in the park, and experience its huge anticipation as it strains on the leash to get there? That is sort of like when I’m being taken to Caicos Café. And in recent years in Caicos Café, the marvelous grilled Calamari is usually the first thing to arrive at our table. The squid itself has great texture, not too chewy as some can get. Add fresh mussels, savory Cannellini beans and finger licking, more bread please sauce and you got yourself one heck of a dish. I like to order grilled calamari everywhere we go and the result is very often a case of severe daydreaming.
Strong contender: Gnocchi with Mushroom sauce
Fish Tacos at Hemingway’s – A staple on every trip to Provo for us, especially for Mrs Ziggy (Hi, Mrs Ziggy, look at me I have my own column. See, I told you all that time spent on Trip Advisor will lead to something). While in other popular establishments on other islands you need a fishing license to fish the grouper out of the tacos, in Hemingway’s the fish is the main event. A hint of sour cream and sweet Mango chutney provide a glorious compliment and lets you temporary forget any preferences for the spicier stuff.
Strong Contender: Conch Fritters
Coffee Rubbed Tuna at Bay Bistro - Who knew coffee and tuna can play so nicely together. Well, the same person that figured out the pecan, conch and orange Ménage à trois among other great combinations in the classics filled Bay Bistro menu, that’s who. Island riots and airport shutting firefighter strikes normally erupt after Bay Bistro removes items from the menu. Long live the Coffee Rubbed Tuna!
Strong Contender: Conch Wontons
Escargot at Le Bouchon. When in Provo do what the French do, and eat what the French eat like the succulent Escargot at Le Bouchon. It’s a fairly simple dish that so many can’t get quite right. At a recent popular Brooklyn joint I was presented with an Escargot dish that was pretty to look at but with zero substance, like Paris Hilton. However at Le Bouchon what you get is the perfect balance of garlic, butter and herbs. And once you are done with those babies you can shift that ‘I want more’ desire to the sauce and the terrific bread.
Strong Contenders: Mussels
Scallops at Beach House - Perfectly seared scallops with cauliflower espuma and white truffle vinaigrette. The espuma is a foam-like runny “I cant believe its not mashed potato puree”, and you really get the wonderful truffle essence here. Big flavours in this one. Note that spelling flavour with a U, the British way, normally alludes to bigger tastes than the less sophisticated American plain Flavor.
Strong Contender: Strozzapreti (Another Note, I havent actually tried those particular Priest Stranglers (“Strozzapreti”) but strictly judging in this case by the facial expressions of a trusted foodie that did. Unless it was just gas)
So there you have it. 7 memorable small bites from our last trip. Enjoy your trip and stay hungry my friends
As I’m munching on a fiery Indian snack I picked up at a deli in Curry Hill/Little India, I ask myself how come I don’t visit that area more often. I love Indian food, I eat Indian on a regular basis, and I love Bollywood movies. Ok, the last part is not really true. But whenever I pick my Indian order at Basera Indian Bistro I find myself staring at some pretty neat Bollywoody action for a few minutes. I think over the years I’ve watched an entire movie 2 minutes at the time. Just like with Full House episodes at home as my kids watch it religiously for some time now. My favorite part of that Bollywood movie is when the bad guy dies, the pretty girl is rescued, and a huge dance-off unfolds which includes the dead guy.
Chhote Nawab (with the extra h there) was a Bollywood movie, a bad one looks like according the 12 votes on IMDB. Why on earth would they name a restaurants after a terrible movie that received 12 votes on IMDB. Bloomberg do something! Is it because owner, Shiva Natarajan who owns more than 10 other establishments including 3 on the same block as Chote Nawab simply ran out of possible names? Ok, lets get to business…
Fantastic meal! I’m not sure I’ve had better Indian in NYC including some of the higher end spots
Waiter was extremely delighted with my first choice of the Tunde Ke kebab (“Very good choice sir”) as an app but then things went south in a hurry as he got a little annoyed when we asked for 2 main veggy dishes to bring with the first course as well. With that said I prefer a waiter that speaks his mind and we proceeded to have a nice chat later on.
The Tunde Ke kebab (pictured on top) was interesting but after a few bites I felt the need to have something else with it like the veggies or some sauce, which doesnt take anything away from the dish. It came sizzling in a dutch oven, with a spoon sitting on top which we could have used as a potato in a hot potato game.
Bindi Sasuralwali – it says on the menu “okra you would eat at your in laws house” – Flat out lie! Not my in laws I’ll tell you that. I’m not even sure they know what Okra is. But the dish was good and so was the eggplant with a nice peanut masala (Baghara Baigan Mirchi)
Shrimp Pappas was another sauce dish. Not one of my favorites but enjoyable nonetheless. Its cooked with Kokum, an Indian fruit and came with one dried Kokum which didnt taste that great but the dish overall worked well.
Lamb Biryani was one of the better Biryanis I’ve had. Tastes much better thna it looks. Comes with 2 sauces but I didnt feel the need for any. The only thing I wished I had ordered the goat instead if the lamb. Loved the bread covering it – nice touch. BTW, the garlic naan is very good here
The highlight for me was the which was packed with flavor. Couldnt stop eating it. The chicken was super tender and very tasty. And a decent amount of heat as with most of the dishes we got
Overall, lets just say I took my time before I washed my hands later that day. Thoroughly enjoyed Chote Nawab
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Its fun to play tourist in your own town. One of the perks of living in NYC is that you dont have to travel much to get a taste of Thailand, India, Russia, Sri Lanka, China, Uzbekistan, you name it we go it. Well, maybe not a decent Rijsttafel (Indonesian rice tables popular with the dutch) so almost everything. Elmhurst in Queens is one of those neighborhoods that I never actually explored. Driven by it many times but never explored, until yesterday with the Hummus Whisperer.
Various Thai delis, stores, Michelin/Zagat recommended Thai establishments like Ayada flock this area. There’s something happening on every corner like in this one. Your choice of noodle soup. The coconut curry with “I cant believe this is not Matzoh ball” fish ball soup hit the spot. We proceeded to try all kinds of prepared dishes for a little picnic in a spectacularly busy park where we were the only white folks.
We had sort of a feast with one particular hit being a cod with a terrifically complex sauce.
This Vitamilk which is synonymous with soy milk in Thailand was one of the winners. Another refresher was a lychee juice not pictured here. This is the reason to take trips like these. Discovering things that may potentially improve your love for life :roll:
This trip was another reminder that its Silkworm season. Cant wait to put these babies on the grill or finally do that Silkworm Stroganoff I’ve been dying to do. Or my all time favorite still, Peanut Butter and Silkworm sandwich. Yum yum yum! And be careful to not overcook them folks. You dont want to lose that wonderful silky texture.
Turn another corner and its a very cool Thai Buddhist temple with all kinds of treasures to explore. Some of which we couldnt take pictures due to prayer sessions. Later dudes
Who said you cant get good pizza in Hell’s Kitchen? I did!! Time and time again. But things are different now. I’ve scouted, examined, food poisoned the neighborhood to death for you loyal readers, both of yous. Here are the results…
Sacco – This is perhaps my favorite. You want 99 cents slice? Plenty around. But if you want the quintessential New York slice done right, you head to Sacco, in business for over 50 years. The slice holds it own, nothing soggy, perfect thickness and full of flavor. You will be hard pressed to find a better NY slice.
Don Antonio – This is perhaps my favorite. The Las Vegas of the NY pizza. Meaning its not exactly your average NY pizza hole in the wall. A full menu of antipasti and a huge array of pies. This is Neapolitan pizza at its best from the Keste (west village) master and Antonio Starita from the famed Pizzeria Starita a Materdei in Naples. Need I say more? I have no idea who they are but it sure sounds impressive. I’ve sampled about 8 pies here. Try the lightly fried Montanara for something a little different, or the Diavola with the Sopressata which is meatier and milder than Merilu’s. Wood burning oven means don’t get too comfortable. You will get your pies within minutes. Great for sharin
John’s Pizzeria – Another old-timer. Eat and pray. This is the touristy one with good cause, set in a former church. Like a huge pizza diner. No slices here and no individual pies like Don Antonio so not that sharing friendly. But what you get is fresh ingredients and an excellent overall pie. Love the Margheritas here
Merilu - This is perhaps my favorite. From Torino to NYC, Merilu with her 4 children and cousins (husband just eats the stuff, my kind of family) are making some great oblong shaped pies. Is it a rectangle? Is it oval? Who knows, who cares, its delicious. Thin tasty crust with just the right balance of ingredients. My favorite is the spicy sopressata. If they have it out that day that is. Otherwise try the Margherita or anything else that looks good on the display. And if you come on Friday or Saturday you can also experience “the Merilu the meatball a”. Juicy, meaty, cheesy goodness. Fantastico stuff!
Zigolinis – Like Don Antonio light. More of a wine bar that just happens to make great individual Neapolitan pies. Although on the smaller side, you get a beautifully made pie with a very tasty crust. Try the Zigolini signature pie.
So there you have it. I’m pretty sure I’m not missing anything but if I am, comment away. Buon Appetito Amigos.
And still eat well!!
Visiting Providenciales any time soon? Want to know where to eat? What to eat? How to pronounce conch? No worries, good ole’ Ziggy is here to help. After years of experimenting and taking some for the team I recommend the following 7 day eating itinerary. Of course, in order to have a great meal there are many variables involved, especially since all these establishments are geared toward tourists and offer very full menus. And you just never know when the executive chef leaves on maternity leave (happened) or just leaves (always happens). Its a probabilities game folks. And in my humble opinion the odds increase with this plan. Click on the names where available to see reviews, pictures and suggested dishes
Las Brisas – Starting with the obvious. I don’t normally recommend places just for the view and I will not start now. Luckily the food consisting mostly of Spanish tapas is pretty darn good and the view of stunning Chalk Sound adds .
Hemingway’s – By far my favorite Hemingway’s in the Caribbean (Is there a Caribbean island without one), and one of the better resort restaurants on the island. Situated in the Sands resort, this reasonably priced old timer has been dishing out those Fish Tacos since.. well… I have no idea actually. A long time!
Sailing Paradise – Kodak moment meets delicious local flair. As you pass the Conch Shack in blue Hills you’ll see the colorful huts of Sailing Paradise. Or, you can just let Orville carry you from the comfort of your beach lounge and show you around. Great setting and fantastic local dishes. Try the Caribbean Platter
Flamingo’s – For one of the Island’s top dishes, the curried grouper. Another local stunner right on Grace Bay. But dont make the mistake I did (twice) and come here without cash. Otherwise, No Grouper For You!
Garam Masala – Ok, how much conch (pronounced Conk) can you eat already. We know Indian! We love Indiam! This is good Indian! Try the Conch Kebabs! :roll:
Bugaloos – Back to the local conch. Once you find this one in Five Cays you will get rewarded with one of the best setups on the island. More reason to rent a car.
Seaside Cafe – Like Hemingway’s younger sister. Another nice way to experience the island specialties right on the beach.
Caicos Cafe – Starting with one of the musts. Brilliant, inventive Italian with a Caribbean twist by a mad, menu OCD genius Max Olivari. Pay special attention here to the specials, the right side of the menu, and more importantly pay special attention to the left side of the menu.
Coco Bistro – One glance at the dishes floating around and Coco the cat and you will understand why you are here. Chances are you will eat well at
perhaps the island’s favorite dining establishment. The dishes are just like I like em… spectacular and tasty
Le Bouchon - The former Caicos Cafe owner thankfully back in the game. Fantastic chalkboard food. Sidewalk Parisian Champs-Elysées style without the Parisians and the tourists. Hmmm, actually now that I think about it its pretty much all Parisians and tourists at Le Bouchon. Forget what I said earlier about no Parisians and tourists.
Beach House – One of the new kids on the block. The rich block! Classicaly trained French Eric Vernice dishing out palate pleasers the island hasn’t seen since.. Vernice’s previous gig at Parallel 23. Brace yourself for inventive dishes like the Wagyu on short rib Shepard pie
Bay Bistro – Like Coco, a long time Island favorite (Both executive chefs actually started as partners). Unlike Coco, cats somewhat less hospitable . A timeless menu featuring various island classics and a great central location contributing to the popularity
Seven – Only a few years old and taking the island by storm from the comfort of the Seven Stars. Chef Josu from Basque country manufacturing some great looking and tasting snacks like Vanilla rum butter poached lobster with papaya buttermilk risotto. Just like mama makes.
Beach BBQ – Why not do a Beach BBQ as one of your meals. Consider the Seven Stars BBQ, Somerset, or other resorts that offer it near you. Toes in the sand, bonfire, music, people watching, drunk people looking for their flip flops while wearing them watching, what else can you ask for
Or for your 7th meal you can experience more fine dining at Coyaba, a great island classic Tuna dish at Magnolia, the new Via Veneto that’s high on my list, or for something more casual pick one of the lunch spots like Flamingos or Garam Masala. Because lets face it, you are not gonna lift you tooches (forgive my Yiddish) from your lounge chair for 7 days
A special mention for Breakfast and light lunch: Caicos Bakery near Caicos Cafe. Nice Baguettes, quiches, almond croissants and more.
Hope it helps. Stay hungry my friends!
Doctor’s Orders. That’s what I tell people sometimes when they ask me why I’ve started a blog. My doctor ordered me to start tracking what I eat. Not entirely true. My doctor cares more about what I should be snipping than eating. But the tracking part is true. I love the fact that I finally found a space where I can write about my eats in sort of an organized fashion, just in case I need to retrieve something. Like the other day when I took a group of friends to Beso, I simply looked at the site to see what we liked on our first visit. Or when someone asked us about our Israel itinerary. Brilliant!!
Something tells me I will need to revisit this post in the future. When my wife and visiting friend from Boston who we shall call Milena, because that’s her name, asked me to order for everyone I was like…(insert angel sound affect). On my second visit to Scarpetta I felt I perfected the ordering part a little more. Here’s one way to experience the best of Scarpetta
The bread - Still one of the best bread baskets in NYC, some of which comes from Sullivan Street Bakery I believe. Stromboli, a nice touch. This is like a full app and more
Raw Yellowtail – Wow! New for us this time. Thick buttery goodness with chunky sea salt. So so good!
Palenta with truffled mushrooms. Still amazing. Definitely one of the classics here. Very creamy, very good, and very grateful my wife does not eat mushrooms.
Spaghetti – Its almost silly calling it a signature dish since there are so many great items on the menu. But its definitely delicious and one of the best Spaghetti with red sauce and basil you will ever eat (likely). The sauce is probably still the best Ive had
Agnolloti – They keep changing the Agnolloti. This time with bone marrow and short rib. Last time with rabbit. But the main difference this time was the breadcrumby crunchy garlic chips. One of my favorite dishes here
Ravioli – Still terrific. stuffed with duck and Foie Gras with Marsala reduction. Although enjoyable I got bored with it eventually unlike some of the other dishes.
Roasted Chicken – Wow this was good. Nice and salty Spaetzle with some very tasty carrots. Chicken was moist and juicy. Enjoyed this much more than the cod last time. Chicken is sort of making a comeback for me in places like this. Trend started at Louro which delivered big time.
Warm Banana Bread - much better than the previous soupy mess of the coconut pana cotta. Great stout ice cream.
Chocolate cake – very good
Only problem was wait between courses was far from even and too rushed at times. They gave us 10 seconds to enjoy the great bread basket before bringing the apps. And the third course was brought in as soon as they took the plates.
Nevertheless Dear Diary, a perfect meal. Looking forward to next visit where I try nothing new
Before you Google Uyghur and read this post, I want you to do something for me. You must! Go to your kitchen cabinet and take out the cumin. Now open the cumin and let it sit by the monitor. That’s all. Continue reading.
Blink and you will miss this little café on busy Brighton Beach avenue in “Little Odessa”, Brooklyn . Nestled among Russian pharmacies, groceries, nightclubs and more Russian Pharmacies is this Uzbekh gem. Yes, Russians do love their pharmacies. They come to hang out, pick up their newspapers, their prescriptions, and the free roll of Bounty they were promised for switching from the pharmacy 2 doors down.
Once you are inside it looks like any other small Russian café with various Uzbekh decorations. This is Uyghur cuisine. The Uyghur is an ethnic group primarily living in Central Asia and and China. And boy can they cook!
Started with the fantastic Lagman soup. Like a nice cross between Russian “Kharcho” and Ramen. Lamb, veggies, and plenty of those thick, airy Lagman noodles.
The Geiro Lagman (top picture) was even better and one of the best dishes I’ve had in the past 12 months. I knew it will be good as soon as it arrived. Lets see if you can see the same thing… click on the picture on top and stare at it for a few seconds. Do you smell the cumin?? It tasted as great it looks, with plenty of cumin and garlic, and got the same noodles and tender lamb as the soup, Great dish!
The lamb and chicken kebabs were some of the juiciest and tastiest I ever had. No sauce needed here. They sell them by the skewer here – about $3 per. And the crispy garlicky potatoes were such a beautiful compliment.
This cozy, family owned Uzbekh/Uyghur delivers big time flavors. No visa required. Check it out next time you visit Brighton Beach.