Our latest food adventure on our favorite home
away from home. I didnt take too many pictures, and on some evenings at the regular spots I didnt even take my camera (it felt like its time). But this was yet another fun trip, with good food for the most part. To some of the regulars these mentions may become tiresome, but I did have enough new dishes at most that moved me (yes moved)
Sweet T’s – Our new regular first stop driving from the airport. $6 chicken (12 pieces), $2 fries, $2 drinks, eating the chicken in the car while ducking every time a Grace Bay Rental employee shows up, priceless!
Caicos Cafe – The prerequisite double meal at Caicos Cafe. A lot of changes on the menu since the last visit not surprisingly (knowing chef “Mad” Max). Old fave Tagliolini got a tan. It’s now a sweeter tasting pasta by way of the squid ink. Grilled Calamari and the Gnocchi are a must get from day one, while the fall off the fork ribs are heading to that direction as well. On the second visit I “Scarpetta’d” the shi&$t out of the calamari plate with their homemade bread, to the point of an unrecognized spotless clean dish. Grouper, when on the board, you will not find a better preparation on the island. Loved the conch and grouper chowder this time. Goat cheese with butternut salad in a pastry was perhaps the best new app discovery.
Mad Max also does a decent steak. Peppercorn expectedly not as creamy as Le Bouchon, but more peppery. Good ol’ Orrechiette (aka Mike Tyson’s fave) has finally been replaced by Pacheri, large rolled tube shape, when unrolled they are like Pappardelle with balls. But it’s more like a crazy salad than pasta, fully loaded with peppers, sausages, zucchini, a cold small mozzarella ball in the center, and more. Gorgeous dish. Had a nice semi dry white from Naples – forgot the name of the grape, not something I heard of before. That’s one region we haven’t explored yet. Iced mousse with chocolate and coconut mousse, like the island version of Semifreddo. The lone miss this time was the grouper ravioli, but I’m not a fan of fish ravioli to begin with
Caravel – This is one of my favorite newish local spots. We had a nice lunch here two months after they opened, and now back for dinner. They are no longer open for lunch after they realized they are not on the water! Very welcoming, and comfortable from the friendly husband, wife, and friends team. The soups here are very strong, particularly the white chowder. Good blackened snapper, while jerk pork loin less successful. But the star here again were those unusual fried fish tacos. I would love to see more Caribbean specialties on the menu, like goat and oxtail. Owner cooked at Amanyara, Mr Grouper’s, Fresh Catch and finally now his very own restaurant, but something tells me he has more tricks up his sleeve
Hemingways – We had fish tacos at 4 different places on this trip including the famous Somewhere, and to me the Hemingway’s tacos are still the ones to beat. Perfectly flaky, nicely seasoned grouper with a nice tang from the mango salsa. Same goes for the fish & chips, a must for us on every visit. Hemingway’s was our first meal in TCI 10 years ago, and still going strong. Hard to beat this setting for lunch
Julien’s Deli – Stop by before the flight (give it some time) got sandwiches and leave it to Julien, your Le Bouchon host, to make your return flight easier. You will have the best food on the plane
Le Bouchon – I saw an ad on the bus today for Jimmy Kimmel for Vice President, “A good, solid #2”. This is essentially Le Bouchon for me, though they can be easily #1 if they feel like it. This is the only none ‘local’ place on the island where locals and expats outnumber visitors. Tuna tartar, nothing short of spectacular, as only the French can do. Escargot, now that the kids are obsessed with escargot (seriously I’m raising freaks) we should start getting two of those. Lets just say I enjoyed the bread :-(. The head cheese-like Octopus Carpaccio… angels singing. Get this. The now legendary Steak au Poivre is still the steak to beat. Two perfectly seared scallops on creamy saffron risotto was on point. A beautifully done yellowfin tuna (left), so light and flavorful (once you add the sauce). Perhaps the best LB meal to date.
Conch Shack – We forgot how much fun this place can be. And the food here is good enough to make it a regular again. Conch rules much of the menu, but make sure to get the jerk wings with the homemade sauce. The sauce is one of those sauces that make you dip anything and everything in it. Peas, rice, beans, fingers, car keys, it’s all good. The blackened fish make-yourself tacos are fine. Basic conch salad. And Conch Creole was like the homey tomato based stew your grandma would make if she was into conch (like the coolest grandma ever). You cant get a better setting, and “welcome to provo” than this
Vix – New management, new chef, new menu, new mediocrity? The place and flavors just did not come through for us. The frozen packaged tasting gnocchi looked better on the menu than on the plate. The very basic Caesar salad can use some tips from Mark from Lupo nearby. The spicy Pasta Rusta’s heat was the only thing you taste after a few bites. Just pure senseless heat. Lamb Shank was fall off the bone alright but became boring in a hurry. The snapper, cooked creole style was the saving grace. One and dont!
Bugaloos – Another regular stop. Conch salad is noticeably fresher here, though its not so much freshness, but who chops it fresh for each order. A misunderstanding that we could have corrected but chose not to, left us with a mammoth $85 snapper that we all shared and couldn’t finish. They got the freshest snappers, and other than the broth a little saltier this time, we enjoyed this again. Coconut cracked conch is fine, much prefer the raw goodness. “Service can be slow at time” is becoming the norm, but who cares.
Bella Luna Pizza – Stayed in one night to watch Hockey playoffs (the only thing I like more than food). Thin, underdone, soggy, super cheesy, desperate need for seasoning, but other than that, we loved it!
Simone’s – Considering this is the first place I wrote about when we came back, yes we liked this newcomer quite a bit. It wasnt perfect, but very very promising.
Infiniti Bar – This is becoming a favorite for pre-dinner drinks, and sunset. The drinks are good, and they give you popcorn!
Somewhere – Infamous fish tacos were much better this time, so I’m finally on board. But something tells me the best thing on the menu is the the fish fajitas especially when they have fresh snapper. Our friends ordered it, and it looked and smelled amazing. Ex-friends I should say, since they didnt offer me any!
Seaside – As long as Francois is at the helm, I’ll continue to come. But out of my favorites, I have the lowest confidence when recommending Seaside, mainly because it doesnt have much of an atmosphere. Blackened Mahi was nicely cooked. Not the biggest mahi fan, but this one worked. A nice new addition to the menu is the excellent open faced ravioli with bay scallops, conch, shrimp, mahi, some truffle oil and mushrooms. The elusive “South American” (aka Peruvian) conch salad, still the best conch salad on the island.