Posts Tagged With: Turks and Caicos Restaurants

Provo – Food for Thought 2018

Conch Shack Snapper

Even when we plan not to go to Provo, we go to Provo.  Even when we plan not to order the steak at Le Bouchon, we order the steak.  These magnetic forces are powerful and magical, even when the weather isnt cooperating.  I lost count, but its around 16 trips now to our second adopted home of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.  Here’s the latest food recap.  Note:  I know there are a lot of followers out there waiting for this, but keep in mind…  This is a vacation first, a job second.  As much as I try to find new places, recent history suggests I should stick to the proven to avoid unnecessary vacation crankiness.  Especially on a short 5 nighter…

Da Conch Shack

Sunday is apparently Funday at the shack.  To me a beach shack like this loses some of the magic when its so packed, people are lining up for a table.  But I cant fault a place for being popular especially now that its next door neighbor closed and relocated (Kalooki’s).  We used to have a love hate relationship with the shack but now its just Love.  Jerk wings came lukewarm this time but still packed with that nice jerky flavor.  That sauce!  Whole Snapper was a mistake (we ordered a grilled Grouper) but we decided to say nothing once we saw it, and enjoyed it.  Red conch chowder still da bomb!

Delicious Dishes Takeout

Delicious Dishes

Possibly my favorite new discovery of this trip.  Just myself, Mrs Z and a goat, Billy, in a Curried form on the balcony of our 5th floor ocean front at the Seven Stars. Oh and there was also a plate of tender Oxtail, but that goat was pure joy.  Delicious Dishes is mostly a takeout place extremely popular with locals.  There are two locations, one of which near the hub.  From Seven Stars when you reach Leeward hwy, turn left, and it’s right there on the right side.  It’s inside a mini market with a couple of tables if you want to stay in.  It’s mostly prepared food that’s not looking very appetizing, but they keep things nice and juicy.

Le Bouchon

One of the usual suspects, and one of two musts for dinner on every trip.  Quite the contrast to the established Provence (See bottom).  Unpretentious French bistro cooking with Caribbean flair.  The most underrated items here I feel are the soups.  Black bean and conch chowder. The chowder packs plenty of heat and they still got the Hutzpah to add this Harissa salsa thingy (foody term) on the side in case you require more heat.  Salmon gravlux was outstanding.  If you enjoy good lux, get this.  Biggest discovery early on however was the “conch ceviche” which is sliced more like Carpaccio style, giving it a nice garlicky bite.

The steak is the same old tender awesomeness.  The “Strawberry Grouper” is firmer than Nassau Grouper, almost lobster like.  They serve it with garlicky butter to loosen it up, and its delicious.  Other places just call it “grouper” on the menu, but here they elect to call it by the full nameLe Bouchon Conch

 

Seven

We are in the extreme minority of Seven Stars guests who almost never eat at the resort other than breakfast (which keeps improving. Buffet is like an egg lover wet dream these days).  With kids I prefer to skip the finer dining and I’m just not the resort dining type. But this time we came without kids and after a little hiatus we returned to Seven.

Edwin the executive chef suggested the tasting menu and that’s what we had.  Some minor hiccups here and there but a very enjoyable meal throughout with plenty of hints of brilliance, some even Michelin worthy.  The scallops and the two-way tuna were the standouts.  I would come back just for these.

IMG_7871

Hemingway’s

Another regular rotation stop for the fish and chips and fish tacos.  This was our first meal ever in Provo over 10 years ago when we stayed at the Sands, so it holds a special place.  Whenever I eat fish and chips in NYC I start to quietly weep.  If anyone asks whats wrong, I say I’m allergic to fish.  And chips.

Flamingo’s

Regular rotation stop for the views, legendary Curried Grouper and the underrated jerk chicken. The place was packed and everyone around us was eating burgers.  Instead of adding more haute and the trending, I would love to see more places like this open on the island

Caicos Cafe

A smashed iPod?  Redundant Lucy?  What’s the expression for “beyond broken record”. I’m tired of recommending this place.  Even on a 5 day trip, we have to dine here twice.  The only dish I didn’t care for so much this time was the mixed seafood ceviche.  Nothing really wrong with it, just missing some of that originality found in other dishes.  Like that Octopus!  You can’t find better texture/flavor combination than this.  It comes with this chickpea mash, a few tahini and lemon drizzles away from becoming a delicious hummus.  Lobster Fra Diavolo was the same old awesomeness.

On both nights they had fresh Grouper and of course we had to order it on both nights.  You cant get this in NYC.  Simply dusted with magic dust and grilled to flaky perfection.  Great crab cake special which we enjoyed in the past.  And yet another new pasta, a green Troccoli, “Chitara” where chef Massimo uses his “guitar” pasta instrument to make Troccoli which is like spaghetti on steroids.  He tops it with this rich ragu of Lamb shank and cheese.  I keep recommending Caicos Cafe to seafood lovers especially, but the meat dishes here never disappoint.  Last time they removed the ribs from the menu there was an airport strike.

Caicos Cafe - Grilled Calamari

Chinson’s

Like a dark horse coming out of nowhere in the last round, “No View Chinson” (thats the horse’s name) becoming our favorite overall lunch place in Provo.  While all our faves got their classics that we order each time (see Flamingo’s, Hemmingways) , Chinson’s may be the most well rounded of them all.  In the past we enjoyed the curried goat, oxtail, pulled pork and more. This time solid Jerk chicken as usual but the big discovery this time was the steamed Grouper in parchment paper.  Huge, super tender flaky goodness with just the right gentle spicing.  So big we couldn’t finish it.  Get this!

Provence

If Provo would have a Hot or Buzz list like in NYC and many other cities, it would be an especially sad list of one. Provence is the hottest most talked about restaurant on the island at the moment.  We had a taste of Eric Vernice’s cooking when he was at the Beach House about 6 years ago.  Provence is oddly casual, considering how expensive it is.  Its Coyaba expensive, without the service and any sort of setting to match.  Perhaps unless you are lucky to sit at the counter facing the chef.

We weren’t so lucky.  Even with reservations we sat at the bakery next door facing a shelf of one small truffle cream and the lone toilet.  Zero ambiance turned negative when a group of 4 people sat right next to us and someone forgot to tell them that there are other people in the room, some of which sitting right next to them.  Service is a little confused. “We have lobster”, “we don’t have lobster”, “WE FOUND LOBSTER”, “wait, it’s lamb”, “no, it’s def lobster”.  They gave us every clue to change the order to something else but we didn’t.

Another thing about “French” Provence that made me think of The Emperor’s New Clothes is that it’s kinda sorta Italian(ish).  Fresh pastas section dominate the menu and the wall is covered by various places in Italy.  During our more memorable moments when we were not directing traffic to the bathroom we stared at the wall playing “where have we been”.

But I have a tendency to quickly forgive and forget if the food is good. Gnocchi with lobster had distinct lobster flavor but sort of one-note and under-seasoned. Similar issue plagued the dish labeled “octopus”.  It came with very little octopus, sliced and lukewarm with white beans, chorizo and shrimp.  It kinda reminded me of the salads I make at home with canned beans.  But the dish looked gorgeous!

The lamb and lobster were the saving grace in a way but you would need to put me and my cans of beans in the kitchen to screw these up. The lobster was average for TCI which is not really a bad thing.  It came with a nice artichoke mousse with whole peppercorns which was a nice touch and stole the show.  Lamb was perfectly cooked and came with a piece of lamb shoulder sitting in a cup of bulgar.  These are also fairly sizable dishes for “French cooking”.

Provence Octopus

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Turks and Caicos – Le Bouchon du Village

Le Bouchon EscargotI have to confess, last trip wasnt exactly dud free.  In fact, we had quite a few of them, mostly with new spots I wanted to check out (the things I do for you people, and for what?!?).  Le Bouchon du Village in the little picturesque village of “Regent” was most certainty not one of them.  Not exactly a shocker since I choose not to write about duds for various reasons.

In fact this was most likely our favorite meal at Le Bouchon, mainly because we got all our favorite Le Bouchon classics and even added a new one.  As usual my pictures at Le Bouchon look a little stale, mainly because a)  Its a little dark in there, b) we are way to eager to eat the food when it arrives, and c)  I suck at photography.

The classics at Le Bouchon according to moi:

The Escargot pictured above – This is how escargot should taste like everywhere.

The Soups – Both the Conch Chowder and the black bean soup are quite good even at extreme heat

Steak au Poivre – The only restaurant in Provo where steak is a must.  Perfectly executed, melt in your mouth buttery goodness, each time we have it, without fail

The Tuna – Our newest classic.  Fresh, expertly prepared Yellowfin.  Lightly seared to beautiful redness you can only get with fish this fresh, and lightly coated with ginger tomato reduction to take this to the next level.  It came with avocado, other veggies and Jasmine rice which was the perfect compliment.  Great dish

We also had a lovely Snapper, pan seared with light cream.  Mrs Ziggy particularly enjoyed this one.  And for dessert, their rich chocolate tart is always a hit and Profiteroles this time ended one of the most brilliant meals of the trip.  Pictures below followed by the previous post

 

Le Bouchon Tuna Le Bouchon Snapper Le Bouchon Profiteroles Le Bouchon Chocolate Marquise

 

03/13/13 Post…

Time for a Timeline…

Oct 1975 – Curious Ziggy discovers Snails are edible

Dec 2006 – Ziggy discovers Turks and Caicos

July 2009 – Ziggy eats at Caicos Café headed by Frenchman Pierrik Marziou

Oct 12th, 2010 9:34 pm – Ziggy goes on a hunger strike when discovering two Italians take over Caicos Café, Pierrik retires

Oct 12th, 2010 10:15 pm – Hunger strike is over but Ziggy vows not to eat at the new Caicos Café in protest

Dec 2010 – Ziggy eats at the new Caicos Café, gets Ratatouille moment, drops pen

Dec 2012 – Pierrik comes out of retirement, opens Le Bouchon at the village

Dec 2012 – Present – The Golden Years

So there you have it.  Pierrik and his gang are back is what I’m trying to say.  And back with a vengeance…

Le Bouchon - Burger with egg

A Parisian like Bistro on a sidewalk at Regent Village is Le Bouchon.  A family affair, with Pierrik, Julian (son), Justine (daughter) and any other children that start with a J.  Mom is there as well hustling and bustling.  A changing chalkboard menu with plenty to choose from adds to the excitement and the homey atmosphere.  In fact I did the same thing back home starting this week an today on the menu is cereal with 1%!

Le Bouchon - nicoise salad

Le Bouchon - BurgerDuring lunch one day we enjoyed a nice Niçoise salad, and a top eat of the trip nominee burger with egg.  You need to ask for the egg.  With the perfectly cooked sunny side up egg, the result is a messy, juicy goodness oozing with deliciousness.  Good to have this lunch option.

Some of the lunch options are available for dinner as well.  Like the fun Charcuterie board (I love Charcuterie boards – you never know what you getting) with a nice assortment of salami, ham and duck terrine.  Escargot was absolutely delicious! The perfect garlic, butter, herbs balance which very often restaurants cant quite get it right.  I still have garlic breath after that Escargot we had in Brooklyn last week and after eating half a head of garlic at lunch today!Le Bouchon - Charcuterie

Mussels were a big hit that evening as well.  The shrimp a la plancha however was a bit puzzling since it was one large shrimp over risotto. More of a tapa dish really than main. Although the wife and my oldest who ordered it enjoyed it

I went for the steak au poivre which along with the chilean sea bass is a staple on the board I believe. Plate cleaner. Covered with light peppercorn sauce that even made the fries taste great. Cooked medium rare as expected after ordering medium (French undercook) and plenty of flavor.  A month before this meal we ate at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas where I had a NY strip with peppercorn sauce.  That NY Strip was twice the price and half the flavor of the steak at Le Bouchon.Le Bouchon - Steak

For dessert the winner was the chocolate mousse which I actually didn’t get to try. That’s how good it was. Tarte tatin (pronounced according to Justin, “Ta”) was good, creme brûlée just ok. Dinner overall – Le Magnifique

Le Bouchon is new but you wouldn’t know it while eating there.  This is one of the only dining options on the island that does not need to rely on tourists alone due to the kind of local following established over the years.  So needless to say I’m not the only one raving about this “addition”.  Bienvenue Pierrik and family!

Recommended dishes: Burger with egg, Escargot, Charcuterie board, Mussels, steak au poivre, chocolate mousse

Le Bouchon - Tarte tatinLe Bouchon - Creme Brulee

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Turks and Caicos – Flamingo’s

Flamingo's Curried Grouper7/25/14 Update: Reaffirming island must status.  As must as it gets in fact in Providenciales.  Besides that celebrated legendary dish, there are a few more reasons to come

1)  Rum Punch.  You know when you see couples walk on the beach holding hands, to make you go “Awwwe”.  Grace Bay can do it to you.  But when Mrs Ziggy and I do it, it usually means she just had the rum punch at Flamingo’s and I’m simply preventing her from walking into an Island Vibes boat.  Those guys aren’t shy with the rum, and the flavor simply kicks ass.

2)  The Curried Grouper.  I already talk about it extensively below.  Arguably the most celebrated dish on the island.  This time around not only it didn’t disappoint but it even had some extra punch.

3)  Everything else is pretty good.  If you are not into seafood than this is not much of a must, but everything else we tried over the years has been anywhere between ok and pretty good.  The ribs are good enough, so is the curried chicken when they have (forgot about what the menu says).  But this time we really liked the Grouper burger.  Nicely seasoned, great flaky texture.  A bit too much bun action so I would just disregard half of it.  Respect the fish!

Flamingo's Grouper Burger Flamingo's Ribs

3/18/13 Post:

The Dish! This one is going to be short and sweet and to the point (plus i’m a little tired from dealing with the Devil Time Warner cable for much of the day)

Whenever I recommend this one on TripAdvisor I always pause for a second to think what exactly is the name of this place.  Is it Flamingo’s, Flamingos, The Flamingos Cafe, Ricky’s Flamingo’s, Inga’s Flamingos?  I’m not really sure.  But I AM sure that its Curry Grouper is one of the top dishes on Providenciales.

Once in a while I eat something that makes me turn into Andrew Zimmern.  The kids get a good kick out of it.  I just shake my head and mumble various Zimmern words that may or may not have anything to do with what I’m tasting… “Its woodsy, its earthy, its gassy”.  Sometimes when I try something for the first time my youngest would say “Well dad, is it woodsy and gassy” Yes!

There’s really not that many dishes on the island that give you that kind of pleasure with every morsel.   Sweet, smooth, savory, melt in your mouth deliciousness.  Like eating the most delicious butter. This is why I come here.

This is also TripAdvisor legend CaribDesi’s favorite dish on the island.  Or one of the favorites at least.  No, I’m pretty sure that’s his favorite.  I hope he’ll clarify with a comment here one of these days.  Get well soon buddy.  We miss you.  Here’s to you.

View from Flamingos

 

 

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TCI – How to Gain 7 Pounds in 7 Days

Seaside - Tuna SashimiLast Update: March 13th, 2018

Visiting Providecnia..err.. Provo 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 many 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 most of 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.

7 Lunches:

Las Brisas (Got hammered after Irma, currently positioned on a temporary deck nearby) – Starting with the obvious.  I don’t normally recommend places just for the view and I will not start now.  Luckily the food, with a variety of Spanish and Caribbean offerings is pretty good, and the view of stunning Chalk Sound can only help.  Try the killer Lobster Salad when in season.

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.  Like, a long time!  Try also the addictive awesomeness they call fish and chips

Flamingo’s – Come here for one of the Island’s most celebrated dishes, the curried grouper.  Add the consistently strong rum punch, and the stunning views and you got yourself a future regular.  But dont make the mistake I did (twice) and come here without cash.  Otherwise, No Grouper For You! (Update:  The now accept CC).  We normally come here for lunch, but sunset dinners are just as grouper friendly.

Bugaloos – Another fun, local spot.  Once you find this one in Five Cays you will get rewarded with one of the best setups on the island.  Some live music on Sunday nights (I believe) and maybe other nights, but we normally come for lunch after Taylor Bay.  Service can give ‘Island Time’ a new meaning, but its worth waiting for the fresher Snapper around.  Try the conch salad (middle picture) as well.

Lupo – Putting this among the lunches since that’s when we go, but something tells me dinners can be even more eventful.  Well, the fresh pasta filled menu told me.  But for lunch you can still enjoy the signature meatballs, the sick romaine lettuce (yes, that’s right, I said romaine lettuce), and don’t leave the island without trying the Lupo Tiramisu.

Sweet T’s – Time to give your wallet a breather.  And I dont mean a little hole in your shorts.  Those you need to say goodbye to.  Ultra cheap Fried Chicken!   It took me some time to add this one here because its not your typical resort lunch, but it’s always our first or last stop with luggage.  As you leave the airport and turn to the main highway, after the flamingo statue, you’ll be greeted by fried chicken scent from the pink building on your right.  You order by the dollar.  $7 chicken and $2 fries will feed a family of 4.

Da Conch Shack – An island institution like no other.  Toes in the sand (pretty sure can cause fungus but well worth it), picnic tables inches from the water.  Conch everywhere including in the water where they grow their own.  Great relaxing vibe.  I’ve had a love, hate, love relationship with the place over the years, but if you havent been, you owe it to yourself to come and be the judge.  Try the jerk wings!

Bonus:  Takeout from Delicious Dishes:  Local extraordinaire in the old Miss Moonies location.  From the Seven Stars, in the roundabout on Leeway hwy, make a left, and its right there in the little parking lot on the right.  Extremely popular with the locals.  Oxtail and Curried goat on the balcony of your hotel, overlooking people eating Caesar salads with stale chicken.  Doesnt get much better.

Bonus 2:  Three Queens (Closed for the time being due to Hurricane damage) – An island staple in Blue Hills since 1970 and the definition of “Local”.  No menu, no problem.  You eat what the glorious Ms Marta (update: retired, hence bonus section, but new cook I was told is just as good, and the fish just as fresh) made that day which could be fresh fish (grouper or snapper), oxtail stew, curried goat, or curried chicken.  You wont see this one on top of other lists (I’m looking at you Trip Advisor) mainly due to the location, but if you are seeking the more adventurous, as local as they come eats, it doesn’t get much better

Bugaloos Conch Salad

7 Dinners:

Caicos Cafe – Starting with one of the musts.  Brilliant, inventive Italian with a Caribbean twist by a mad, menu OCD genius chef/owner 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.  Some of the best seafood on the island, like grilled Calamari, Wahoo Carpaccio, grouper special, the pastas, and much more

Coco Bistro – One glance at the dishes floating around and the size of house mascot Coco the cat and you will understand why this place is so popular.  Chances are strong that the island’s favorite dining establishment will make you very happy.  This is where you’ll need to make those rezzies well in advance though.  Psss. You can do so via email but dont tell them I said so.  update:  No ressies?  There’s a new cheaper option in the same parking lot, Cocovan

Le Bouchon – The former Caicos Cafe owner thankfully back in the game.  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.  Though I am noticing a growing amount of local following the last few years.  Try the Escargot, and if you don’t try the legendary Steak au Poivre, your homework is incomplete.

Chinson’s Grill Shack  – A 15 minute schlep from the resort area may feel longer in paradise, but its worth it for this Jamaican-Chinese gem (Yes, its a thing), and sea view.  Ok, its more like some hotel advertised sea views, where the meaning is more like “See?  View!” with some sea in the horizon.  But in this case you are mostly overlooking the highway, inside a fun and vibrant shack.  The smooth Mr Chinson is always around to make sure everything is Kosher.  Over the years we settled on the Jerk chicken, pulled pork sandwich, the spiciest curried goat around, steamed Grouper and the mixed Fried Rice.  Lunch or dinner in this case, doesnt matter.  We usually do lunch.

Seven –  We keep trying other resort spots on occasion, but Seven continues to be one of the better and more popular fine dining on the island.  Even with rotating chefs over the years, the menu somehow stays intact for the most part.  Try the Vanilla rum butter poached lobster, or the best end of lamb.  Update:  Scallops, and two-way tuna are some of the current musts

Simone’s – A waitress/cook at Sharkbite turned restaurant owner.  This is a mostly local hangout joint, but pale tourists like me are always welcome.  Simone will greet you like she greets her children.  And she will feed you as such too.  Fishermen always around means they are not there for the frozen fish.  So ask whats available outside of the menu, which features some of the best conch salads on the island and a fine snapper.  The fresh Wahoo last time was a Yahooooo!

Caicos Cafe – This is not a mistake.  Yes, I’m listing it twice.  Why recommend a different plan than what we are doing on every single trip.  Go here at the beginning of the week, and if you like it enough, book again on your way out.  Chances are you wont find better.

Or… how about something “local” like the Thursday night fish fry, or Caravel.  Or perhaps a splurge at Coyaba, another island institution.  Maybe experience the classic Tuna with sunset at Magnolia, or Via Veneto for the most authentic Italian menu on the island.

A special mention for Breakfast and light lunch:  Caicos Bakery near Caicos Cafe.  Nice Baguettes, quiches, almond croissants and more.  Pick up some sandwiches at Julien’s deli for the flight back.  You’ll be the envy of every other passenger, guaranteed!

Hope it helps.  Stay hungry my friends!

Bay Bistro Pecan Crusted Conch

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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 – Bugaloo’s

Bugaloos - Conch SaladThere were 3 major milestones during our recent visit…

1) I rediscovered the joy of traveling to Provo without kids.  Sorry kids, its fun to go with you, but its Soooo much more fun to go without, and now that you are eating like mom and dad its so much more affordable too.  The 11 year old would call the manager if she detects her 40 oz. rib eye was not aged properly

2) I discovered a new passion – Beach Yoga!

3) I finally got my conch at Bugaloos in a conch shell.

Bugaloos - Snapper

Besides yet another wonderful conch salad, one of the best things I ate during the entire trip was the freshly caught whole red snapper sautéed with some coconut milk, onions, pepper and garlic.  Great texture, flaky, simply mouthwatering piece of fish.  The light sauce was just the perfect compliment, letting the fish do the talking.  We attacked this beauty in full force.

March 3rd, 2013 post:

Bugaloo'sSo now that this blog has been featured on Trip Advisor, and now that baby Ziggy decided to run for pope, I feel like I have to clean up my act here a little and limit the use of smiley faces.  Just had to let you all know.  You already see the changes reflected in the new site tagline – “Eating Well, Spelling Poorly” which makes no sense whatsoever now that I think about it as I use a spellcheck.  But whatever…

Bugaloo's

My mission on this trip was to try some new places like Bugaloo’s.  Its hard to leave the resort during lunch time, but while the rest of the family is ‘liming’ by the beach, Ziggy has people to see, new conch to try.

The food was terrific.. I think.  Its hard to concentrate sometimes when you are eating with great people in a setup such as this.  No need for Sevantix here!  One of the most spectacular setups in TCI.

I enjoyed my conch salad (bottom) although it was missing some of that heat I was hearing about.  But it was fresh and tasty.  Conch (pronounced “Conk” if you are scoring at home or even if you are alone) salad to me is the best way to experience conch on the islands.  Peruvian ceviche style.  Coconut Cracked conch (below) was fine as well but if I have to choose I’d go with the conch salad.

Bugaloo's - Coconut Cracked Conch

I was here with my new friends Joe and Dash who I met via Trip Advisor.  Everything went well until they started ‘seeing things’.  Mainly fish doing somersaults.  “There it was again, did you see it?”, “Ahhm, ye I saw it” 🙄  But other than that, you will be hard pressed to find a couple as great and better looking if I may say than this two.  What a pleasure it was to meet them.

I’ve been very fortunate to meet some great people through Trip Advisor.  From RedRox in Sedona to Blamona in TCI.  And I’m so looking forward to meeting more like my friend CaribDesi from Atlanta.  If you knew CaribDesi you would know that a place like Bugaloo’s is right up his alley.  Get well soon Desi!  And I’ll see you in Three Queens.Bugaloo's - Conch Salad

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Turks and Caicos – Garam Masala

Garam Masala2

January 19, 2014 Update:

Garam delivered yet again.  The new manage who I call “The New Vinni” (because I keep forgetting his name) took good care of us.  The new standout dish this time was a very nice Kerala Chicken Masala that was growing on me until I grew a little.  Complex, flavor packed stuff that I was enjoying more an hour later via a series of pleasant little burbs just like the ones after the Alba White Truffles at the NoMad a few months ago.  The infamous conch Kebabs are no longer on the menu.  A shortage of fresh conch according the New Vinni.

BTW, Old Vinni is up to something but not quite sure what.  Stay tuned! (dont know to what exactly, its just an expression)

Garam Masala - Kerala

Garam MasalaGaram Masala - naanMarch 16, 2013 post:

I was dead wrong about Garam Masala!

As you probably guessed by now, I, Ziggy, just Ziggy no last name, like Seal, LOVE to eat.  I love to eat and I really care about what I’m eating on a holiday (No worries I didnt turn British, just play one on the Telly).  And while away we often try to eat things that are not easily available back home (e.g., Grouper, Conch).  So you see where I’m going with this.  Indian, Thai, Chinese food is something we eat almost on a weekly basis back home, and therefore it’s the last thing I consider eating while on vacation.  Garam MasalaAlso, after many years of trial and error, and palate refinement, I sort of figured out where to get some pretty darn good Indian, Thai, Chinese, Sri Lankan, middle eastern, you name, it in NYC.  Therefore, when I see an Indian restaurant on an island somewhere where its quite possibly the only Indian there, 3 thoughts come to mind…

1)  This cant be good.  They have no other competition here.

2)  I would probably eat here weekly if I lived here and its decent

3)  I’m sort of getting hungry

Similar thoughts crossed my mind when I saw the new Shawarma and Falafel place that just opened right next to Patty’s Place at Ports of Call.  Yours truly is truly a Shawarma and Falafel whore snob fan.

So as you can imagine I needed a little convincing from various island friends over the years to come to Garam Masala.  I was very close last year, and this year I finally took that pilgrimage to Tikka Masala Holy Land (i.e., 10 minutes from the Seven Star beach – its hard to leave that beach in the middle of the day)

Garam Masala - outsideFirst of all the place looks very modern.  Last year they closed for a few months to renovate and it really looks very inviting now.  Part owner Vinnie, former food and beverage head at Amanyara knows his stuff and is very passionate about what he’s serving and how.  Everything is made to order using “real” ingredients which he purchases in Chicago every few months.

Garam Masala - Conch kebabsGaram Masala - PizzaI can honestly say the food was absolutely delicious.  Started with some nice and spicy conch kebabs (above) which had the texture and flavor of the best Falafel you will ever eat. Their Chicken Tikka “pizza” on naan bread was very satisfying.  We are naan junkies and their garlic naan is some of the best we’ve had.

Chicken Tikka Masala (below) is perhaps a dish I’ve eaten more than any other in the world.  I’ve had it mostly in various restaurants in NYC, in London (Indian food heaven) and eat it by my work often.  I could tell when this one arrived by its color that it will be good.  The only not telling part was the tenderness and texture of the meat which can be often dry and chewy.   This was as close to perfect as I can remember.

Garam Masala - dishesDal Makhani was probably even better.  They cook the lentils for 12 hours each night and the result is a flavor festival.  As with the Tikka Masala, heat is not very present and not very needed (Indian food is not necessarily about heat).  Lamb Kadhai, thick stew like with some heat and big complex flavors was another winner.  I kept going back and forth between the lamb and and the Dal saying “this is my favorite. No this is my favorite”, while the Masala was staring at me going “come to Mama..”.  Another tasty snack here is the Chicken kebabs, although if I have to choose I’ll take those conch kebabs thank you.

Garam Masala

After the meal I did not feel like I just ate something heavy as I often do at home.  A fantastic lunch!  This is closer to some of the better Curry Hill or even Michelin Star establishments in NYC.   To understand the type of dedication by Vinnie all you need to do is ask him about how he found his chefs.  He went back to India to look for the chefs that worked in the restaurant he frequented as a kid with his parents, only to find that one of them is working in Japan while the other in Dubai.  The story itself is worth the price of admission.

So yes, I was wrong about this one, and highly highly (thats 2 highlys!) recommend Garam Masala in Providenciales.  Cant wait for more.

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Turks and Caicos – Jerkey’s

Jerkies - Goat CurrySailing Paradise no more.  It is now Jerkey’s located in what’s becoming Provo’s Restaurant Row on the road between Seven Stars and Leeward Highway.  We sampled more of the same between the two of us.  Same sublime Jerk Chicken – moist, juicy, and flavor packed, especially once you add their homemade Jamaican sauce.  Still my favorite Jerk on the island.  We eat it as if its the last day on the Mayan calendar.  Same goes for the succulent, “Sarah Jessica Parker” boney Goat Curry.  At some point I looked at both dishes and had to make a Sophie’s choice.   BTW, if you dont see something on the menu like the Jerk Chicken, or the Caribbean platter featured in the Top 7 dishes in WhereWhenHow, ask for itJerkies - Jerk Chicken

Although we enjoyed this lunch and Jerkey’s is now much closer, I and others I know very much miss the magical Sailing Paradise location.  You can still visit those colorful huts, and who knows perhaps the tables are still there so bring some Jerkey’s takeout and a small oven

March 26th, 2013 Sailing Paradise post…

Sailing

What a difference a year makes!

For the first time ever we opted to do something different on our last morning in Provo.  Instead of sit by the beach and drag the agony, only to continue the agony at the airport, staring at the array of Pringles (i.e., lunch) at the terminal store trying to remember our favorite flavors, I decided to leave a little earlier and head to Sailing Paradise for a final feast.  And what a feast this was.

Last April, a few weeks after Sailing Paradise reopened with new owners after being closed for some time, we were sitting there discovering our new favorite local spot.  It was just the 4 of us and I remember a lady approach Orville, the man in charge, and ask him “Well? do they like it?”.   Well, I think we like it even more today.  Orville, owner, chef, and sometimes driver (more on that) told me there were moments last year where shutting down looked like the only option.  This is not exactly prime location as far as Provo dining goes which is why Orville offers a free shuttle service to the beach potatoes of Grace Bay to bring them to Blue Hills.  He does not have much a choice here.

Sailing Paradise - The PlatterAnd on this particular lunch we discovered the Caribbean Platter, i.e., The Dish, the mother of all combos, the Kila of Manila (my childhood dream was to be a WWE announcer).  Seriously folks this is one sick dish (British readers – sick means good) and the most likely leader of the number of times we said “OMG, this is F**ing good” during a meal.  Jerk chicken, jerk pork, fried fish (lightly fried grouper, so so good.  Is this Escovitch?), goat curry, plantains, rice and peas.

This is my favorite jerk on the island.  Juicy, tender seasoned to perfection, and with that homemade Jamaican sauce (if they dont bring it, ask for it) you got this finger licking, heavenly goodness of the Caribbean.  The pork was more of the same.  It looks dry, but its moist and tasty.  And then there was the goat curry (not pictured, I ate it all) with all that goat glory, a joy ride with every morsel.  Easily best dish of the trip nominee.  Screw you Pringles – OriginalSailing Paradise - Fish Tacos

We also enjoyed some tasty “fish tacos” (more like wraps actually pictured above).  Or according to my iPhone auto correct, Fish Racists! Those auto corrections are so bizarre sometimes (Reminiscing over “Doomsday and Seven Stars are gorgeous!!”  Doomsday of course means Somerset).

Now here’s the thing, obviously all this was made to order as it should be.  But I’ve been to some local places where the jerk chicken for example was great one day and dry the next.  I suspect in Sailing Paradise you will get better consistency for the same reason Orville has to drive you there.

So check it out everybody.  And check out the Dish.  Here’s more from Sailing Paradise at Blue Hills

Sailing ParadiseSailing ParadiseSailing Paradise

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Turks and Caicos – Top Seven Large Bites

As published in the current issue of WhereWhenHow, this is a follow up to the Top Seven Small Bites 

Who said that Providenciales is an expensive destination?  I did!  Approximately 14 times while eating with the kids on our last trip.  Gone are the kiddie menu days almost overnight for the Ziggy clan, much to the chagrin of my wallet.

Does this sound familiar?  One minute your 10 year old is eating the international kiddie specialty known as Penne with Butter, and next thing you know she is ordering Garganelli with conch and clams, after just discovering that she’s also into Escargot.

Or, one minute both of your kids are sharing a steak (with daddy). Fast forward 8 months later, your 60 pound youngest wants none of that sharing nonsense.  The last time she got a kiddie menu, she asked me to leave no tip and write a review on Trip Advisor about the various service issues of the establishment.

So I’m feeling the pinch.  And as a result, I already told the kids that they would need to rely on their grandparents for continued education.  I told them that while sipping through a straw of my $16 + Tip + tax drink at my resort.

Of course I’m being just a tad melodramatic.  Providenciales or “Provo” if you don’t want your iPhone to correct it to “doomsday” or something else that makes no sense (its a mysterious thing this auto-correct)  can be as expensive as you want it to be.  As I’m about to point out you can have your pick of deliciousness from white cloth to no cloth, from sommelier to.. {shrug} no sommelier.  And the good thing about traveling with kids when they are grown up is that you get to share and try a few things as a family.

But I’m not here to audition for “Mommy and Me Magazine”.  I’m here to write about 7 large bites as a follow up to the 7 small bites from the previous issue.  Can daddys even write for “Mommy and Me Magazine”?  Does such a thing even exists? Great, now this is going to bother me for the rest of the day.

At any rate, here are the top 7 large bites from our last trip

Pecan Crusted Conch at Bay Bistro – Schnitzelicious Bliss!  Lights Out!  Or until we realized we accidentally leaned against the light switch and turned off the lights at the patio.  True story!  Like a beautiful conch schnitzel, with a mild but potent orange sauce.  Its a consistent crowd pleaser for adults and kids alike.  Island historians can tell you what happened with the failed Coconut crusted conch with curry experiment.

Strong contender:  Grilled lobster (in season)Bay Bistro Pecan Crusted Conch

Best End of Milk Fed Lamb at Seven – Benny Hill? Downton Abbey? Its not exactly clear what motivated the British to name the lamb’s back of the neck differently than the rest of the world.  But it IS clear that it can be delicious, and that chef Josu knows what to do with it.  Three tender, perfectly cooked (medium rare) neck filets accompanied by all sorts of glorious goodies, too many to mention (i.e Blogger lingo for “I forgot”).  And its great to have the knowledgeable Alan Daffy on the floor to make sure everything is running smoothly and remind you what you are eating while under the (fine wine) influence.

Strong contender:  Duck breastBest End of Lamb

Caribbean Platter at Sailing Paradise – A more than worthy schlep just for the plate, and the serene waters and colors of Blue Hills an added bonus.  Addictive, tender, juicy, spicy, tastes much better than it looks, Jerk Chicken.  Same idea applies to the jerk pork, and if you did not get the homemade Jamaican sauce to add even more pleasant heat than ask for it.  Add the wonderful lightly fried fish, rice and peas, plantains and you got yourself a dish.  But we aren’t done yet.  The glorious goat curry, with all its bony glory requires its own space.  Maneuvering through these bones was a succulent adventure.  After the meal at the airport we were smelling our index fingers like in a gynecologist convention.  (Ahem… Brenda/Kathi, under the belt? ;))

Strong contender:  Get the platter!Sailing Paradise - The Platter

Tagliolini with Seafood at Caicos Café – White smoke rising from the chimneys of Caicos Plaza signals a new menu at Caicos Café.  While black smoke rising suggests someone just burned a toast.  Savory fish, scallops, shrimp, mussels, flambéed with Pernod and a lot of love.  An Emilia Romagna classic in Providenciales.

Strong contender:  Orecchiette (Mike Tyson’s favorite pasta)Caicos Cafe - Tagliolini

Steak au Poivre at Le Bouchon – soi le bienvenue Pierrik and family.  A gorgeous rendition of the French classic that normally no one talks about nor knows how to spell, like the 4th and 5th Kardashians.  Perfectly cooked, flavorful steak with a deliciously light peppercorn sauce that made me dip the fries, bread and fingers into it.  A month before, a similar dish in a renowned similarly named Bouchon in Las Vegas was double the cost and half the flavor.  Well Done Pierrik!

Strong contender – Burger with egg (for lunch only – ask for the egg)  (Brenda, I’m pretty sure its only available for lunch, I didn’t see it on the dinner board)Le Bouchon - Steak

Lamb Burger at Lemon – What to order in Lemon is always a challenge for me.  A good dilemma.  Unlike the choice you have to make before leaving the house on a rainy day between the pink polka dot umbrella, and the one with the yellow circles.  Which one makes you look more manly (Mrs Ziggy if you reading, it would be nice to have a plain black umbrella around the house.  I have a second job now writing for a major magazine and I dont have time for matters like this.  Love, Ziggy).  But I digress.  An excellent lamb burger!  Lamb, hummus, cucumber mint yoghurt, brie, play together like a beautiful symphony with every morsel.  Add the delicious roasted potatoes and you got a great dish.

Strong contender:  Mushroom Risotto with PorkLemon - Lamb Burger

Curry Grouper at Flamingos.  A customary 10 minute moment of silence normally follows after the dish arrives, reminding us why we come to Turks and Caicos year after year.  An Island legend at an Island institution.  You will be hard pressed finding a piece of fish with texture more perfect.  Sweet, savory, melt in your mouth goodness.  Like eating delicious butter. This was love at first bite, and a regular dish since.

Strong contender:  No idea!  But was told the similar coconut grouper is as good if not betterCurry Grouper

So there you have it.  7 memorable big bites from our last trip.  Enjoy your trip and stay hungry my friends

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Getting Organized. Introducing the TCI Page

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.

https://eatingwithziggy.com/turks-and-caicos/

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