Posts Tagged With: Turks and Caicos

The Seven Stars Survival Guide

Seven Stars view

Updated June 12, 2016 (after visit #12)

So you decided to book the Seven Stars in Turks and Caicos.  Mazal Tov!!  And now what?  Not quite sure what to do?  Got that deer in headlights look after all those All Inclusive trips?  Time to change that to Raccoon in fresh Indian leftover garbage can look.  Or something like that.. you know what I mean.  Here are some tips that should enhance your stay.  Some of these are my own opinions by the way so save the hate mail and voodoo.  I occasionally have friends and family stay here so I’m partially doing this to save time writing stuff for them.

Airport – first things first, get your island reading material.  After customs, go straight to the stand on your left to pick your free copy of the Where When How Magazine and Dining Guide.  Dont be surprised to see my frontal balding head and a food column in the magazine (not dining guide).  Then let the SS rep outside know that you arrived safely, call your mom, and take a shared taxi to the hotel ($33 per couple, $16.50 per additional, subject to change).  There’s also a VIP fast track available to or from, starting at $200 per for the first person, $75 for each additional

Car – You can get away without renting in this location but renting for at least 2 days is recommended.  I usually rent from the ultra reliable Grace Bay Auto Rental.  You can pick and drop from the airport and from the resort itself.  Very simple.  On one of the days drive to Taylor Bay or Sapodilla in the morning followed by lunch at Las Brisas (closed Tuesday for now – owner says they may start opening soon) overlooking stunning chalk sound.  Click here for directions.   On another day you can drive to Bugaloos or the Blue Hills area and have lunch at the Conch Shack or any of the other local spots.  Another fun option is Long Bay Beach, watching the kite surfers do their thing, although when the winds are not out, its just about as good as it gets (see below).  BTW, a new tradition for us is pick up the car at the airport and get some fried chicken on the way from Sweet T’s

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Long Bay

Excursion – Some of the popular ones are half day excursions with outfits like Island Vibes or Caicos Dream Tours.  Entire list in here (links on the left).

If you want parasailing, you can just catch “Marvelous Max” walking around on the beach and he can get someone to pick you up within minutes.  No need to reserve this ahead of time as many do

IGA market – 5 minute walk. Come out of the hotel and its straight ahead.  Get you Bambarra Rum coconut + Pineapple juice and its party time folks.  Or….

Seven Stars Market – A small store front where you can get your bare necessities, i.e. Beer, bambarra, sandwiches (for the airport), basic drugs, sunscreen and much more.

Entertainment – These days you have live music on the deck normally on the weekends 6-9pm.  Sunday beach BBQ with music and bonfire (about $59/pp).

Photography – Seven Stars teamed with Paradise Photography for a $350 portrait special that includes one hour photo shoot (sunset/daytime), access to all images and a Web gallery.

Spa – Seven Stars boasts one of the top spas in the Caribbean.  Dont believe me?  Ask Conde Nest readers, voting it one of the Top 25 in the world.  Yes, the world!  We used the spa a few years back and can confirm the world status.  But now with further improvements and the addition of a retail store, things are looking even better.

Other amenities:  Free bike rentals, tennis, watersports, yoga, kids club with movie night, a coconut station, omelette station (finally!), adult only deck, a pillow menu, mosquito nets, bidets (I would sub a bidet for a quality Squatty Potty myself.  I mean who uses bidets anyway, except at night by accident)

I have to say, I’ve seen the resort grow from a bare-bones, simple condo rental property to a full service resort over the years, and I’m super impressed by the job Ken and company done.

Insider Tip:  No need to reserve seats here.  We’ve been here at the busiest times and between the deck, beach and pool there are always plenty of seats.  Dont be the one!  BTW, all the pictures here were taken at the busiest times since thats the only time we can travel as a family.  So you can see for yourself

Insider Tip that is not really an insider tip:  Dont bring a speaker to the beach no matter how small, and dont assume everyone likes Country Music.  I see that from time to time.  Might as well wear an “I’m a douche” T-shirt.  If you do that I promise to bring my own speaker and blast “Best of Barney” right next to you.

ZZZZ 525Caicos Bakery – (opens 7:30.  close Sundays) 5 minutes away.  Come out, turn left and look for it right next to Caicos Cafe in Caicos Cafe plaza.  Get some croissants (almond – yum, chocolate), a baguette and you are all set.   And dont worry about the “here’s another idiot bringing their own bread to breakfast” look at the free breakfast.  You’ll get used to it.  Best bread on the island.  Well, they are french!

Lunch ideas: Besides lunch at the hotel you got many options nearby.  The following directions all facing the ocean.

To your right you have Ocean Club West and Seaside Cafe (5 minute walk).  Seaside is becoming a great dinner choice as well.  The food is better that the “resorty” place suggets as long as young phenom Francois is at the helm

Also to your right, another exciting option, 20-25 walk is Flamingos.  Past Club Med, by the second dock you’ll see.  Fun local fare.  Great curried grouper.

To your left, a 15 minute walk, you got Hemingways at the sands – Nice conch fritters, Fish and chips (great fries), very popular fish tacos with mango chutney

Also to your left (5 minutes) is the Regent Village you can enter via the Regent Grand.  Highly recommend Lupo, Garam Masala (not open for lunch at the moment,) and Le Bouchon (burger with egg!).

Elsewhere, as mentioned lunch at Las Brisas on chalk sound is pretty cool with the most stunning views on the island.  Try the lobster salad in season.

Bugaloos and Conch Shack are other driving option

Jerkey's- Goat Curry

RIP Jerkey’s – Goat Curry

Dinner ideas:  You got Seven, The Deck, Sunday night beach BBQ on the premises and a plethora of restaurants within walking distance like Bella Luna, Caicos Cafe, Le Bouchon, Lupo, Via Veneto, and more.  Here are some of our favorites…

Coco Bistro $$$$ – 2 minute drive.  15 minutes walk on the road, dont walk in the dark.  Perhaps the most romantic and definltely the most popular resaturant on the island.  Great soups, Tuna Sashimi, grilled lobster, lamb, and more. Coconut cream pie for dessert is a must

Seven $$$$ – One of the better resort restaurants on the island with a pretty inventive menu.  Try the Vanilla rum butter poached lobster with papaya buttermilk risotto, or the best end of lamb.

Caicos Cafe $$$ – 5 minute walk, in Caicos Cafe Plaza. This is our personal favorite and we try to eat here at least twice on every visit.  Do not get fooled by the review rankings on Trip Advisor.  Great great pastas, some homemade that day, some artisanal with top quality ingredients.  Try the Grilled Calamari, Gnocchi, Wahoo Carpaccio (when available) apps.  Fantastic seafood pasta dishes like the Tagliolini, Lobster Fra Diavolo (in season).  Some of the meat dishes like the ribs and steak are popular as well.  We’ve tried them all

Le Bouchon $$$ – At the Regent Village.  As French Bistro as it gets on the island from a former bistro owner in Paris.  Fantastic escargot and arguably best steak on the island.

Seaside $$$ – Great new addition (since new owners took over a few years ago) at the Ocean Club West next door.  This is an underrated gem with Coco veteran Francois doing all sorts of magic with groupers, fresh tuna, and conch

Caravel $$$ – A newish, local, super friendly comfortable spot, just a short drive (turn left, on the left right past OCW entrance).  Try the white chowder and Fish Tacos

Private Dining at Seven Stars – SS also offers a variety of private dining like feet on the sand, beachside cabana, and an in-suite option.  The first two come with a private butler, while the in-suite comes with a private chef.  All start at $300

Hope this helped.  Enjoy!

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Turks and Caicos – Via Veneto

Via Veneto - Fetuccinne“Do you come with your own plunger” my friend Elizabeth wondered once she saw me unpack my equipment after running into each other in Via Veneto.  “Ahhm, not exactly, its actually my flash diffuser”.  I realized right then that I need to add a new flash diffuser to Santa’s list (sitting besides me was the actual island Santa so it was convenient), right between a new car and Mensch on a Bench.  This was actually an improvement over last year when I borrowed my brother’s camera bag which had sort of peculiar male genital shape.  To any patrons after a few Chiantis sitting there it may have looked like I was  really happy to be there.  This year I walked everywhere with a plastic bag.

I’ve been waiting to eat in the new Via Veneto for almost a year, after just missing the coming out party in the spring.  Luckily owner Aldo subscribes to the “do it right or dont do it at all” mentality, which meant delaying the opening.  Coming from a competitive environment such as Rome is a big plus to Provo.  Early reviews have been a little shaky but thats the Provo norm these days as building relationships with vendors can take some time.  Everything except the meats is imported from Italy; From the chefs, the tiles, the paintings, to the girlfriend, all imported from Rome.  Hence, app page a bit pricey but contrary to the forums chatter the rest not too bad at all.  This is indeed the closest you get to eating in Italy.  Perhaps one Cacio e pepe dish shy from a Roman Trattoria.  As with any Italian establishment in the USA, sticking to dishes from one region only is quite impossible and a recipe for failure.

Via Veneto - Lamb Chops

Once we were seated outside, the gods got angry and it started pouring.  Those were the Italian tile gods going “go a in to a check out the a tiles”.  Our tables were swiftly moved inside on top of the tiles.  It felt like eating at a Russian family house without taking my shoes off.  We were no there on a saturday which meant “No Pizza for You!”.  The pizza is Roman which if true, and I have nothing to doubt its not, expect thin almost Matzoh like crust.  The less toppings the better from my experience.

We started with a Coccetto app of mushrooms, bread and ham topped with cheese which was fine.  While I’ve had various Russian/French variations of this dish, I never heard of Coccetto

As is often the case with Italian Trattorias the highlights are the pastas.  Spaghetti Carbonara was as good as we’ve had in Rome.  Creamy, a but runnier than I like, but still quite good.  The Fetuccinne with Guanciale (pork cheeks) and black truffles (top) was best of show surprisingly considering its white truffle season at the moment.  The dish had plenty of truffle aroma to satisfy all senses and convince the brain that its pretty darn yummy (foodie technical term).

The lamb chops as our shared secondi was slightly uneven but cooked well and quite delectable for the most part.  We finished off with a nice ice cream duo, one topped with chocolates and the other with cherry sauce.  Cherry won 3 “Mmmmmm”s to 1.

Via Veneto - coccetto Via Veneto - Carbonara Via Veneto - Ice Cream

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Long Bay Beach Kite Surfers

Kite SurfersLong Bay, Turks and Caicos – Beautiful beach, beautifully isolated, beautiful people.  We fit right in! 🙄

We were invited by our friends from Ottawa to watch them fly in gorgeous, windy Long Beach.  An ideal spot for Kitesurfing, and most ideal to learn how to kite surf due to the shallow waters.  While things got to a rough start where we met with an angry rain shower (kites = great shelter), followed by dying winds, things got back to normal as the skies cleared and the winds came back.  Besides,  it was a good time for me to practice my true passion, Beach Yoga!

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Roberto from kitesurftci.com

Roberto from kitesurftci.com

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Meryl from Spa Tropique

Meryl from Spa Tropique

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Mis Amigos – Turks And Caicos

Mis AmigosIts been 33 hours and 25 minutes now since I’ve said goodbye to our friends in Turks, and I have to tell you readers (both of yous), I miss my Turks amigos already.  There’s a lot to write about this time.  And when I run through the possibilities in my head on where to start, there’s always one that puts a smile on my face.  That’s the one.

Mis Amigos

Mis Amigos is the perfect first stop from the airport and to the airport.  Not only it is a good place to start practicing your right turns, its convenient, delicious, and you feel like you are visiting friends, rather than a restaurant.  Friends with benefits!  Friends that can cook well (a luxury in the city of NY).  Tina the owner runs the place, the kid serves, and the husband does nothing.  Oops, got caught day dreaming again.  I mean the husband cooks.  Its one of those places that you simply don’t want to leave.  So not surprisingly two nights ago it was packed with locals.  Remember when I said that this is one of those places you don’t want to leave?  The KILLER Margaritas may have something to do with it.  Avid readers of EWZ know that I don’t use upper caps cheaply.  I only use them when I mean it, or when I get paid to do it.  They were KILLA! (joking about the paid stuff of course)

Mis Amigos Chips And salsaFreshness is key in this 6 month old Mexican cocina/cantina.  Sometimes, on a remote island it can be more economical to make things from scratch.  Which means everyone wins!  On my island of Staten, everything is done fresh by a guy named Joe.  Trader Joe’s! (we are strong supporters of the farm-to-freezer-to-my freezer-to-microwave-to-belly-to-why is the microwave smells of fish for a week concept).  That freshness and special attention to detail is felt right off the bat with some of the best Chips and Salsa north of Tijuana.  The salsa has a nice kick, thick, and easy to scoop.  This is not your typical watery, soggy restaurant stuff.  I normally don’t care much for chips and salsa wherever we go and I normally stop eating them after a couple scoops.  I cared here.

A hefty Poblano pepper stuffed with pork sitting on a corn veggie Quesadilla was more than satisfying.

Chille Relleno – Anaheim pepper filled with cheese deep fried in beer batter had pleasant mild heat and was good

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Lobster Quesadillas – “Pretty Pretty Good” Larry David quotes sometimes come to mind while eating.  I should probably see someone about that.  Fresh Lobster chunks with cheese in those perfectly crisped tortillas.  Good luck finding this in your neighborhood Chili’s.  Our favorite item here so far.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich – with homemade mayo and slaw. Honestly one of the juiciest, tastiest chicken sandwiches I’ve had in a long time.  Nice buns from Caicos Bakery

For a place that is still trying to get its bearings with its vendors Mis Amigos is doing a lot of things right. You can really sense the passion of the owners and the attention to detail here.  Check em out, Amigos!

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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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Turks and Caicos – Top 7 Small Bites

(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)

Garam Masala - Conch kebabsLobster 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

Las Brisas - Lobster SaladGrilled 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

Caicos Cafe - Grilled CalamariFish 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

Hemingway's - Fish TacosCoffee 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

Bay Bistro - Coffee Rubbed TunaEscargot 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

Le Bouchon - EscargotScallops 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)Beach House - Scallops

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

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Ziggy International

photo (46)

Start posting nonsense on Trip Advisor – Check

Make a YouTube Video – Check

Start a Blog – Check

Learn the difference between i.e and e.g. – Check

Get a feature column in a world renowned magazine – Check

If the link does not work, just click on the magazine on the left here

 

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Lazy Post – Turks and Caicos in Pictures

Bugaloos Garam IMG_7364 IMG_7370 IMG_7388 IMG_7393 IMG_7395 IMG_7525 IMG_7535 IMG_7537 IMG_7542 IMG_7557 IMG_7559 IMG_7562 IMG_7564 IMG_7588 IMG_7605 Sailing Sailing2 Sailing3 SS pool SS pool (2)

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