Posts Tagged With: Caicos Cafe

15 Shades of Caicos Café

Caicos Cafe - Tuna TartarLadies and gents, brace yourself.  Its the moment you’ve been waiting for.  Ever since you discovered the Turkey and Cascos Islands as your co-workers call them (“You back… how was Turkey and Cascos”), the question you always wanted to ask but were too afraid for some reason;  What to order at Caicos Café, the top restaurant in Providenciales.  If you agree, great.  If you disagree, even better.  You just need a little help that’s all.

Although I live 1300 miles away, and have a serious eating disorder (NYC did this to me), I’ve written about Caicos Café more than any other restaurant in the world (trying to sound dramatic, but really it doesn’t mean anything.  I could have said NY but I chose not to).  I’ve written stories, reviews, blog posts, mentioned them in every WWH Seven dishes column, and children books (“Goodnight Grouper”).  So instead of writing yet another boring blog post about our recent meals there, I decided to write about what dishes you should target on your next visit (which is really the same thing, but sounds much more interesting, doesnt it?).

Resume: somewhere between 15-20 meals.  Here are the up to date standings of the most visited restaurants:

1)  Pure Thai Cookhouse (NYC) 60-70 meals

2)  Chicken Over Rice Guy around the corner (NYC)  50

3)  Caicos Café (TCI) 15-20

4)  Mom (Brooklyn) 12

We often joke that we could potentially eat every dinner of a week’s long trip at CC, and have a great and different meal every night.  One day we may finally do it.  And you can bet your sweet tooches that we’ll have some sort of combination of the following

Grilled Calamari Skewer – Starting with the no-brainer.  On the menu since pretty much day one, and something we must have on just about every visit.  Spiced grilled Calamari on a skewer, sitting on top of cannellini beans, mussels, grilled bread with the most perfectly complimentary light sauce.  Great dish

Caicos Cafe - Grilled Calamari

Gnocchi – Another must for us.  A dish that saw many iterations, but the result is always the same.  Fresh homemade potato Gnocchi, whether with tomato sauce, mushroom sauce, bigger Gnocchi, smaller Gnocchi, doesnt matter.  Pillowy, melty goodness without fail each time.

Caicos Cafe - GnocchiLobster Salad (Seasonal) – A delicious recent discovery.  Not sure what took us so long

Escargot – Rivals the former Caicos Cafe, and the current Le Bouchon du Village for best on the island

Wahoo Carpaccio – An occasional special, and another absolute must.  This is the only way I can truly enjoy this firm dude, and now I have to order more because my entire family is into it.  Like eating sea butter

Caicos Cafe - Wahoo CarpaccioLobster Fra Diavolo – Possibly the most popular dish during lobster season.  Flambeed with Brandy, along with chili, parsley, garlic, light tomato sauce, and most importantly plentiful of tasty, tender, never chewy lobster morsels.  Other similar dishes on the island pale in comparison

Caicos Cafe - lobster fra diavoloSeafood Tagliolini – Another one of those menu staples.  Pernot flambéed with various fish and shellfish, spices and a hint of parsley and lemon juice.  Love the flavors in this one

Caicos Cafe - TaglioliniOrecchiette – A seafood break for the meat lovers.  Orecchiette means “small ears”, normally mixed with sausages and Broccoli rabe.  Here Chef Max blends in a sweet and spicy sausage ragu with Broccoli and Parmesan cheese.  Another menu staple

Caicos Cafe - OrecchiettePumpkin Ravioli – A new favorite in the Ziggy familia.  I normally hesitate ordering it (its pumpkin ravioli!), but one bite is like a shock through the system.  Roasted pumpkin, 5 various cheeses, pecans, brown butter, thyme, and more Parma cheese to top it all.  More flavorful than all the Tortelli di Zucca we’ve had in Parma.

Caicos Cafe TortelliSeafood Casserole – This is a very popular dish outside of the Ziggy circuit.  The only time I ordered it I was too sick to eat anything, but I’ve enjoyed similar creations by Chef Max.

Caicos Cafe SeafoodBaby Back Pork Ribs – This is where that crazy versatility is showing.  I imagine a full blown Italian style scheduled transport strike if this is taken out of the menu.  Its that popular.  Marinaded with Jalapeno, honey, paprika and lime juice, wet rubbed with Bourbon BBQ sauce… Winner

Grilled Local Grouper – Only available as a special, which means you are getting a fresh locally caught grouper.  Not Swai, not Tilapia, not Carp!  Simply grilled to perfection with vegetables sauteed in lemon-mint extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes, capers, olives & basil salsa, mashed potatoes.  Hint:  notice the weather is lousy?  Guess what, no grouper today, as the weather is lousy for the local fishermen as well.  What you’ll get on the other menus is the frozen or [Enter your favorite Vietnamese catfish here]

Anything with Octopus – Pay close attention to the specials here.  When he gets those Portuguese Octopuses via Miami, oooooh boy, watch out.  Grilled just by itself, or as part of a pasta like Troccoli alla Chitarra utilizing his guitar (Chitarra).  So so good

Caicos Cafe - TroccoliAffogato with Bailey’s – A traditional must for us, and something we order often in NYC as a result, leaving us almost always disappointed

Pear and Mango Tart –  Honey, Butter sauce, vanilla ice cream.  Sometimes apples, sometimes pear, always delicious.

Buon Appetito!

Caicos Cafe - Apple Mango Tart

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Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

7 More Provo Bites

Bugaloos - SnapperA sample of some of Provos top dishes as featured in the summer issue of Where When How.  For past Provo Bites, click here.  We’ll be there in a week for another culinary adventure.

Wahoo Carpaccio at Caicos Cafe – If there’s anything as exciting as the left side of Caicos Cafe’s menu it is in my humble opinion the right side of the menu.  All that excitement causing the specials on the board to look lonely and out of place, like the lone sock in your sock drawer missing its partner (Why do people keep the single socks.  Hard to say goodbye or are they waiting for a miraculous appearance of some sort).  At any rate, all sorts of food magic can also be found on that special board, and if there’s fresh Wahoo in the house there’s a good chance  “Mad Max” will add it in this Carpaccio form.  Expertly prepared, sprinkled with capers and pink peppercorns, perfectly cut, silky smooth, melt in your mouth buttery “When Harry Met Sally” seafoodgasm goodness, worthy of a run on sentence.  Get this!Caicos Cafe - Wahoo Carpaccio

Conch Chowder at Le Bouchon.  Yes, these guys make a killer Steak Frites.  Yes, their escargot will make you slap your mama.  Yes, the place is always full of beautiful people, and NO that’s not the main reason we keep going back there Mrs Ziggy, aka the most beautiful woman I know.  And yes, even the simple stuff like the smoky, perfectly spiced, uncreamy Chowder is a winner at Le Bouchon Du Village.  If there’s one dish that showcases Pierrick’s and Julian attention to detail, this may be the one.

Le Bouchon - Conch Chowder

Peruvian Conch Ceviche at Seaside.  Here’s a fun tidbit for your next cocktail party.  Most people don’t realize the role Peru had on our ability to function as society.  Transportation networks, roped bridges, The Pisco Sour, all invented in ancient Peru.  But the biggest contribution that most dont know about is the Ceviche, the grandfather of TCI’s national dish, Conch Salad.  Young master chef Francois mixes in various peppers including Scotch Bonnet to give it the proper pleasant heat with just enough acid from the lime.  And in true Peruvian style, he throws in plenty of fresh veggies including corn to make it the island Conch Salad to beat.  The equally outstanding tuna Sashimi made this choice a tough one.

Seaside - conch salad

Romaine Lettuce at Lupo –  We all have our routines right before heading to Turks and Caicos.  Mine is having my fortune told.  “You will choose wisely” was a common theme, and I have to tell you readers, those fortune cookies are correct more often than not.  So I went against my comfort zone more often and ordered things that I normally never do, like this play on Caesar Salad.  Quite possibly the best Caesar you will ever eat.  Smoky Romaine, sharp Parm and crispy Pancetta bits round this piece of deliciousness.  Nicely done Lupo!

Lupo Romaine

Kerala Chicken Masala at Garam Masala – Garam is becoming a regular for us due to its splendid kebabs and colorful curries such as the Dal Makhani, Chicken Tikka Masala and this South Indian delight from the Kerala region.  Bright, complex, flavor packed dish we couldn’t get enough of.  In a strange way it reminded me of white Alba truffles as in a similar matter I was still enjoying this hours later via a series of pleasant little burbs.  Much to the chagrin of the NJ couple I met on the Beach a the time.  I suppose I could say its payback for the smells of Central NJ, but I’m too much of a professional to say or write something like that

Garam Masala - Kerala

Fettuccine with Guanciale and Black Truffles at Via Veneto – The fatty, deliciously salty Guanciale (pork cheeks) plays an important part here.  But its all about that truffle essence that tells the brain “now this is gonna be yummy (foodie technical term)”.  Just like when you put your shoes on and it feels sort of wet inside and you suddenly remember that your toddler was playing hide and seek again in the closet the night before and got a wee bit excited, your brain tells you its time to remove those shoes from your feet.  Via Veneto is quickly becoming another Italian force to be reckoned with.

Via Veneto - Fetuccinne

Sautéed Whole Snapper at Bugaloos (top)- A Snapper a day keeps the doctor away… and brings the creditors closer.  Take your creditors to Bugaloos so they could understand.  Freshly caught Red Snapper doesn’t require too much handling.  Some coconut milk, onions, pepper, garlic, and simple seasoning is the best compliment for the mouthwatering perfectly flaky piece of fish.  The inner barbarian Ziggy came out to attack this one with full force.  While the inner feminine Ziggy required an emergency cookie stop 20 minutes later.

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Caicos Cafe – More Sea-food-gasm

Caicos Cafe beef tartarPreviously on as Caicos Cafe turns

Sometime between the second and third course of the first meal, I made an executive decision.  Scrapping the plan to only go to Caicos Cafe once on this trip in order to give someone new a shot.  A plan I was never comfortable with, and the most likely cause of my Shingles.  Crisis averted, vacation saved.  Ok, a bit melodramatic I know.  But Ziggy’s mind is a mysterious and complex labyrinth, that produces joy via creating anticipations on a whim.

Caicos Cafe in a way represents everything I love about eating in places like Turks and Italy.  A masterful use of “backyard” ingredients by a talented chef, and the perfect formula.  A formula helped by a menu that screams for repeat visits.  A nice mix of old and brand new awesomeness during the recent visit….

Caicos Cafe - Troccoli

Jumbo scallops wrapped in pancetta (bacon for those scoring at home or if you’re alone) on a bed of green pea purée.  Expertly prepared, perfectly cooked scallops.  Goat cheese roll and butternut squash Brie tart with walnuts, sundried apricot, mushroom vinaigrette.  Somehow, I never got to try this so I can only go by Mrs Ziggy’s facial expressions and the words coming out of her mouth… “Ooh yum mmmm ooh need to go peepee”.  I think it was good.

It’s listed on the menu as a yellow tail snapper but we got a fresh grouper instead, prosecco flambeed with all sorts of seafood delights including some tasty bay scallops.  Another great dish showcasing Mad Max’s skills.  A dish of the year nominee for me was a new addition to the menu, Troccoli with octopus.  Troccoli pasta is homemade with a guitar like instrument (Chitarra) pressed against the dough sheet.  It looks and tastes like the Tuscan Pici but with egg and must be cooked more al dente.  With a super tender tasty Octopus (he uses another tool to tenderize the sucker) and Max’s signature roasted tomatoes to balance things out, the entire creation cooked in the locally caught octopus juices.   Simply fantastic!

Caicos Cafe - Wahoo Carpaccio

On the last night there it was again on the specials board, Wahoo Carpaccio.  People if you ever see it on the board and you love seafood, you must order this.  Whenever Max gets fresh Wahoo I believe he puts it up there.  Expertly done with a touch of pink peppercorn, melt in your mouth sea butter foodgasm when harry met sally worthy of a run on sentence goodness.  Another top dish nominee was the beef tartar.  It was tough taking pictures of this one with the strong truffle oil (first time I see truffle oil used here) scent slapping you in the face.  I was just anxious to attack this thing with full force.  Served with toasted baguettes this was another killer tartar (as is the tuna we enjoyed in the past).  The conch and grouper chowder while lacking the spices of Le Bouchon’s version it more than made up for it with hefty chunks of grouper and conch

Seafood Casserole was the last menu classic I haven’t tried yet, and turned out to be well deserved of the classic tag.  Like a glorious bouillabaisse, with every seafood known to man in it.  Or at least every seafood known to south Caicos fisherman.  A sauce you just want to dip anything in, fingers, room keys, anything.  Lobster linguine fra diavolo was as good as ever, but with an extra kick this time seems like.  Shared Ziggy’s fave Affogato (thats what it says on the menu.  Ok, not really, still working on it) and the mango apple tart, possibly my two favorite desserts at the moment.

Caicos Cafe - Chowder Caicos Cafe - Scallops Caicos Cafe - Grouper Caicos Cafe - lobster fra diavolo Caicos Cafe SeafoodCaicos Cafe - Apple Mango Tart

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Turks and Caicos – Caicos Cafe

There are 3 certainties in life as far as I’m concerned.  Death, Taxes, and that Caicos Café is Provo’s best.  Well at least in my book.  This is by far my favorite restaurant in Provo.  Since it opened in October of 2010 I’ve eaten here 9 times which is more than any place in NYC where I live and enjoy wonderful Italian fair.  Caicos Cafe fits my taste like a glove.Caicos Cafe - Tuna Tartar

Max Olivari, from a village by Lago Di Garda via NYC and Bermuda is the magician behind the scenes, dishing out some wonderful North Italian/Mediterranean/Caribbean influenced goodies. Its best to come here with a group to sample some of this stuff.  To understand the menu you need to understand this.. The guy is a little crazy.  While other establishments sport the same menu since WWII, this menu changes more often then Dennis Rodman changes harstyles (North Korea had to add 5 more to this list since his visit).  Seasonal items vary at CC.  Ate something good there in the 82 degrees summer night?  Dont expect the same thing in the dog days of winter (81 degrees).  With that said he keeps a few popular “classics” on the menu which are more or less stapled.  But thats partly what attracts me to this place.  Never boring!  I always find something new and exciting and I have yet to try a dish that I didnt like.  I’m sure some did, but not Ziggy.

Ok, lets get down to business and take a close look at the 2 amazing meals we had last week.  Keep in mind its the 8 of us.  I don’t want you to think I’m some eating freak.  I am, but I don’t want YOU to think that.

Started the first night with a very pleasant Wahoo Carpaccio special.  If you are not confused enough as far as what to order from the menu, take a look at the specials.  I can come here and eat just the specials and be more than satisfied.  This Carpaccio simply rocked with its simplicity and graceCaicos Cafe - Wahoo Carpaccio

The Tuna Tartar (top) with mango and black beans was a thing of beauty.  Like eating butter.  Beautiful, delicious soft butter.

Grilled Calamari on a skewer is a personal favorite.  A must on every visit along with the Gnocchi.  With such perfect texture hard to believe this was a frozen product minutes ago.  Add some fresh mussels, cannellini beans and a sauce that makes you ask for more bread and you got yourself a glorious starter.Caicos Cafe - Grilled Calamari

The Potato Gnocchi is another must.  We’ve been eating gnocchi here prepared in various ways since day 1.  What I love about this particular version is the Shiitake, Champignon, Porcini mushroom goodness that comes along. Forget the bread, eat this thing with a fork and a spoon (together!) and when no one is looking stick a finger or 2 (close your eyes for maximum affect).  And I’m not even such a huge gnocchi fan.  Rarely order it in NYC.Caicos Cafe - Gnocchi

Cheese Pumpkin Ravioi was another surprise.  Something I would never consider ordering normally but this was delicious.  We ordered this as a starter (2 of them in our case) so a full dish is double thisCaicos Cafe - Cheese Pumpkin RavioliHomemade Tagliolini (spaghetti on crack!) always gives me that Ratatouille moment, taking me back to Verona (where horse meat is actually preferred).  Pernot flambéed with various seafood, spices and a hint of parsley and lemon juice.  Love this dish!

Caicos Cafe - TaglioliniBread crumb and herb encrusted perfectly cooked scallops and shrimp skewers were as another popular island Max puts it, Marvelous!  Sitting on top of this savory grilled polenta.  I love Max’s use of the “I cant believe its not sun dried tomatoes, roasted tomatoes” on some of his dishes.  A welcoming sourness at times.

Caicos Cafe - Scallops and ShrimpCooked 3 way Shrimp special which Mrs Ziggy enjoyed.  Good example of the sort of experimental brilliance I was referring to.

Caicos Cafe - Shrimp speicialOrecchiette (Mike Tyson’s favorite pasta) with sweet and spicy sausage enjoyable as always.  We tried to duplicate it a few times but always miss that one key ingredient… Flavor!

Caicos Cafe - OrecchietteLobster Fra Diavolo is one of the most popular dishes on the island right now.   This one is Brandy flambéed with chili (in the past he used jalapeno skins I believe).  This is why you need to come during lobster season (Oct-March), otherwise you risking… Chicken Season!

Caicos Cafe - Lobster Fra DiavoloPork and Bean Cassoulet is one of those seasonal dog days of winter items.  I didnt try it this time (Hummus Whisperer a guest writer on this blog did) but I’ve had it before and enjoyed it.  The most popular meat dish in Caicos Cafe is the ribs

Caicos Cafe - CassouletYou cant leave the place without dessert.  In fact we even came here just for dessert once after eating somewhere else.  The Affogato (baileys, espresso, ice cream) and the Tiramisu are top notch here, and on this trip I discovered another favorite, Mango Apple Tart with honey.  Crazy good.  Chocolate Hazelnut cake below pretty much gone before I got to it

Caicos Café is the perfect example of why Trip Advisor rankings are such a joke.  This is #16 while an award winner chef at Coyaba is even lower.  Reservations are absolutely essential here.

Recommended dishes: Grilled Calamari, Gnocchi, Tuna Tartar, Tagliolini, Lobster Fra Diavolo, Affogato, Tiramisu, pretty much everything else

Caicos Cafe - Chocolate Hazelnut cakeCaicos Cafe - Apple  Mango TartCaicos Cafe - Affogato

Categories: Turks and Caicos | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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