Posts Tagged With: Turks and caicos food

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

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Turks and Caicos – Lemon (Closed)

Lemon - Chickpea, Date and Sweet Corn Fritter

The Family Guy of fine dining in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  You enjoy watching it when its on but never make an effort to catch it.  This was our first visit back since Lemon’s first year as I figured this was a good fit for the group of 9 I was with (They enjoy Mediterranean food and restaurants whose name starts with “L”), although my father in law is convinced there’s some sort of a conspiracy behind dark restaurants… “In Aruba, you can see the food.  And the weather is much nicer”

Lemon - MezzesStarted this one with a nice mezze assortment of hummus, baba ganoush, yoghurt and something resembling a Turkish salad.  A good starter.  Stuffed Poblano pepper had more flavor than a similar dish we had in a fancier place in Vegas the month before.  Chickpea, Date and Sweet Corn Fritter (pictured on top) = FALAFEL ON CRACK.  Delicious!  Spicy chorizo, sweet octopus and nicely spiced potatoes was excellent and a nice mix of contrasting flavors.  But…  “In Aruba you get a whole octopus, with ‘testicles’ and all”.  “Ahhm, that’s tentacles paps”.  “yes, all of them”.

Lamb shank was tender, falling off the bone (the international cliche for lamb shank, except in Russia where its called falling off the fork), however lacked any sort of interesting flavor and got boring after a while. And the accompanied couscous from the bland variety could not save it.  Lemon - Lamb ShankThere was nothing boring about the Lamb Burger.  Nice looking patty that included mint, egg and other herbs and spices.  Along with the hummus, cucumber mint yoghurt, and Brie this was one heck of a burger.  Came with the same delicious roasted potatoes as the octopus dish.  The wild mushroom Risotto with pork was outstanding as well from the few bites I took.  Skipped dessert this time though the Date Phyllo (baklava?) sounded good.  Another satisfying meal

Lemon - Lamb BurgerLemon is the closest ‘middle of nowhere’ restaurant in the history of middle of nowhere restaurants.  Its very close to the resorts but its not recommended to walk there.  Its dark, full of potholes and the area just looks like a great place for giant man eating mongoose breeding ground.

I was somewhat apprehensive about coming back here especially with Mark no longer around (he’s opening Lupo) and we love and enjoy great middle eastern/med food back at home.  But delicious is delicious, and you can’t discount that.

Recommended Dishes:  Octopus with Chorizo, Chickpea, Date and Sweet Corn Fritter, Lamb Burger, Risotto with Pork

Lemon - Risotto  with PorkLemon  - Octopus

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Turks and Caicos – Las Brisas

IMG_7048Las Brisas and Taylor Bay go hand in hand like Lindsay Lohan and court rooms.  This is quite possibly the biggest reason to rent a car in Turks and Caicos.  As you enter the peninsula on chalk drive, you get the spectacular Chalk Sound on your right and picturesque Sapodilla and Taylor Bay on your left.  The trickery of finding Taylor Bay is almost scripted. Like finding horseshoe bend in Arizona, once you get there you are treated with a nice reward.  After spending the morning in Taylor Bay, bring your appetite to Las Brisas for some Spanish tapas, overlooking Chalk Sound.  Try sitting at the gazebo on top for maximum breeziness, and view.Las Brisas - Lobster Salad

On our last lunch last week we had the always reliable Lobster Salad.  They cook the lobster half way and let the acid do the rest.  A semi-ceviche if you will.  The chickpeas and chorizo dish has drastically improved.  Unlike in previous visits, plenty of nice chorizo this time, thicker more pleasant tomato based sauce and nice sautéed onions.  Finally tried their mussels which did not disappoint.  Now that my kids like mussels we order mussels everywhere we go.  Also enjoyed a fine Spanish omelette: Egg and Chorizo, whats not to like.  Another fun lunch at Las Brisas.  In the past we enjoyed their gambas, fish sandwiches, and moreLas Brisas - Chickpeas and Chorizos

As with any tapas joint, the menu needs some studying, and perhaps its one patata bravas away from being complete.  Easily the top tapas restaurant on the island!  Ok, its the only one, but still.  And the view cant be beat.  Closed on Tuesdays

Recommended Dishes:  Chickpeas and Chorizo, Lobster Salad, Spanish omelette

Taylor Bay

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Turks and Caicos – Bay Bistro

Bay Bistro Pecan Crusted Conch

First out of many posts on another great dining week in Turks and Caicos.
Yet another nice meal at Bay Bistro.  Place was packed more than usual this time since the outer area was closed.

Bay Bistro Conch WontonsHad all the usual suspects for apps.  I don’t think the menu has changed much since we first discovered TCI 6 years ago.  Actually they took the coffee rubbed tuna (below) out and put it as a special this time.  This is probably my favorite app here.  It wasn’t swimming in sauce as before and was very enjoyable. Old reliable conch crepes and the pictured wontons still good.  The conch chowder however didn’t leave the same impression as last time – lukewarm and conch not as tender as before.Bay Bistro - Coffee Rubbed Tuna

I decided to try their jerk lamb (below) which was staring at me in the face all those years.  It was good, not great.  Cooked well but not the “healthiest” of cuts, though with just enough jerk seasoning to give it a nice flavor.  And with some peppercorn sauce on the side to give it a boost.  Grilled lobster was one hefty tail this time and as good as ever.Bay Bistro Lamb

Pecan crusted conch (pictured on top) was LIGHTS OUT!  Or until we realized my SIL leaned the baby carriage too much against the wall and turned off the lights for the entire restaurant.  Our Beyonce Super Bowl moment if you will.  The Schnitzel like dish did taste fine as usual and with that “spicy orange sauce” (more like tangy than spicy) is perhaps the best main here, however I still miss it when it was coconut crusted with curry which part owner Mike said they can do with a little notice (ask for it the day before).  My oldest (12) to my surprise actually ordered the conch and she loved it.  In-laws enjoyed their snappers.

Ok, you gotta have the homemade ice cream here and I think I got it down to a science this time.  If you copy and paste impaired this is a good time to get a #2 pencil and a piece of paper. Get the Coconut, Coffee & Kahlua, and the Rum raisin flavors.  The only thing is I wish they would separate the balls instead of all in one bowl.  Banana rum tart with rum raisin Ice cream (below) is always a pleaser Bay Bistro Banana Rum Tart

Bay Bistro is good for what it is.  A nice and comfortable setting with an ageless classic menu that can please anyone.  Or at least until you discover which of the classics works best for you

Recommended Dishes:  Coffee Rubbed Tuna, Conch Wontons, Pecan Crusted Conch, Grilled lobster, Homemade Ice Cream, Banana Rum tart

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