Honeymoon Trip to Anguilla – Friday, July 26, 2013, Cooking with the Locals
Day 5: For the Baldo reader’s out there who are interested, I thought I’d document our Honeymoon trip to Anguilla. We had a great time for sure. We ate great food, lounged on incredible beaches, met some wonderful people, and walked hand in hand down our new journey of love and life with each other. I hope you enjoy these journal notes as much as we enjoyed living them.
Breakfast and Tomato Pie at Straw Hat Restaurant, Anguilla
We started our day with breakfast at Straw Hat. We both ordered the poached eggs on potato pancakes. It was a play on Eggs Benedict, and had a very good lemon basil hollandaise on them, but the entire dish lacked seasoning and was not that great. Good concept though that Sadie and I would like to duplicate.
Though it was early and not on the breakfast menu, we got the staff to bring out the Tomato Pie we tried to order yesterday. It was good, and a great culinary idea, but Straw Hat’s execution failed again, as the crust was a thin egg crust instead of a thick flaky pastry crust. It also needed some basil to freshen it up. It was a fun eat anyway though, as neither of us had ever heard of a tomato pie.
While at Straw Hat, we ran into the couple from Road Island (Rob and Andrea) again that we met at Tasty’s the other day. I think that’s the third day in a row now. Small Island after all.
Cooking with Eulah on Anguilla
After lunch, we headed to The Valley to go grocery shopping for our big cooking class adventure this afternoon. We got the stuff we were told to buy, then went back to the hotel for a while before heading out for our local cuisine class! I was much more excited about this adventure than Sadie was, but she was a real sport and played along with the excitement.
We were told to wait at the Red Cross building, and that she would meet us there. She was about 10 minutes late, but finally pulled up and waived for us to follow her in our car. We trusted her, but both had thoughts of potential safety concerns with a situation like this. We pulled up to her house, and any concerns quickly left, as it was one of the nicest kept yards we’d seen on the island. Pretty nice place. Her name was Eulah Bartlette, and she was adorable.
Eulah was born and raised on Anguilla, and has owned a couple restaurants, catering services, and boutiques over the years. She now teaches secondary education at the local school, but still cooks at the local art academy on the side, as well as for friends and family as often as she can. Such a sweet lady!
She dived right into it, teaching us how to make Peas and Rice, Fried Plantains, and Caribbean Creole. She was so funny with everything, stressing cleanliness and cross contamination avoidance, as well as washing all ingredients well. It was interesting to see that any water she used for washing was reserved to pour on her outside plants. Water is a scarce premium in Anguilla after all (though you wouldn’t know it at the Viceroy). She educated us on pressure cooking beans (calls peas in the Caribbean), different cooking bananas and what they’re used for, and gave us a true local perspective on cooking and eating on the island. It was an experience that I will remember until the day I die.
I was video taping the entire experience and having the food blog time of my life, but about half way through, the battery in my camera started to die. No! I forgot to charge it the night before. Idiot! So I only got half of the experience recorded, and had just enough battery life to get some still shots of the final products (which were very tasty by the way). But here are the videos I was able to get:
What you don’t get to see are the finishing steps of everything. The peas got parboiled rice added to them and half a can of coconut milk, and got some additional Adobo seasoning as needed. The creole was removed from the pan and set aside, and the chicken was cut in thirds and then sauteed in margarine until lightly browned. The creole was then put over the chicken and cooked with it for another 10 minutes to let the flavors marry. The bananas continued to cook until they were golden brown and soft. And Eulah made us some traditional Anguilla Lemonade (made with limes and bitters). She even warmed up some left over beef creole for us to try. Everything was delicious! We ate with her on her porch and got to know more about her and her family.
We were calling each other friends by the end of our 2.5 hours together. What a great person and fun experience. We exchanged contact information, hugged, and made plans to meet again in the morning so that Eulah could take us to Anguilla’s history museum. Her hospitality and welcoming attitude to us as tourists was pretty much what we experienced all over the island. Anguilla is amazing.
Dinner at E’s Oven, Anguilla
With full bellies and racing minds from our ultimate food travel experience, we went straight back to the hotel to relax until our dinner at E’s Oven. The locals all recommended this humble restaurant right off the main road, but some of the X-pats we met said not to waste our time. Idiots! The locals were so very right! The food was awesome! The Friday night loud music and bar crowd was not, although it did provide an interesting view of the Anguilla local “party” scene. There was a group of local girls next to us that Sadie had a good laugh at due to their crazy outfits, including one girl wearing a captains hat. The whole experience made for fun memories. Sadie ordered the roasted chicken, which was extremely succulent and was like an amazing chicken soup put on a plate. I had the pan fried grouper in a banana rum sauce. Both were exceptional.
Back at the hotel, we watched some crazy psychic game show on TV that had “are you a psychic” games between commercials. I got everyone correct, so Sadie started freaking out that I might be psychic. She’s so cute and funny. We fell asleep in each others arms while reminiscing of a once-in-a-lifetime experience of cooking with the locals in Anguilla.
The Bald Gourmet honeymoons on Anguilla and has the amazing experience of cooking with a local chef named Eulah.
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