On a trip this December we passed through Barbados and met up with some old friends. We joined them for lunch at Champers, one of our preferred restaurants on the island. Barbados is a favorite destination of ours and is particularly well known for the quality of its’ restaurants.
Champers is located on Skeetes Hill near Rockley Beach on the south coast, and rests on a point with commanding views of the sea and beach. Sitting on the main floor deck looking out at white
sand, palm trees and ten shades of turquoise water you just know you are in paradise. The restaurant features great food, spectacular views and a very attentive staff, and you just can’t do much better for an elegant dinner or lunch while on the island.
We’ve never had a bad experience at Champers and this time was no exception. When in Barbados it’s a tradition to have flying fish, which I had
(fried with caper dressing) along with an appetizer of coconut shrimp with chili sauce, and both were excellent. Lunch was finished with an excellent warm bread pudding. My wife had West Indian shrimp curry with jasmine rice and grilled vegetables, also outstanding.
We were lucky enough to finish that day sitting on the porch of our friend’s house out at The Crane sipping famous Bajan Rum Punch.
Barbados Rum Punch Recipe:
One part Sour (fresh squeezed lime juice*)
Two parts Sweet (Demerara sugar**)
Three parts Strong (Barbados Rum (Our preference is Mt. Gay Extra Old))
Four parts Weak (Water)
Mix well and add a few drops of Angostura bitters. Pour over ice and add a bit of fresh grated nutmeg to each glass when serving
* Mexican or Key limes are preferred.
**Demerara is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, hard texture, with a pale brown color. A substitute If you don’t have Dmerara sugar on hand, is to use an equal amount of granulated sugar and light brown sugar in its’ place.
If you travel west on Florida State Road 24 from Gainesville to where the road literally ends, you find yourself in a bit of old Florida. Out in the middle of nowhere on Florida’s northwest coast is the little village of Cedar Key with its’ population of around 700. At the corner of D and 2nd is Tony’s Seafood Restaurant which is home to what many claim is the world’s best clam chowder.
The Great Chowder Cook-Off is an annual event that has been held at the Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island, for thirty-three years. It ranks right up there with the Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff or the Texas Championship BBQ Cookoff. All these American classic foods have passionate followers by the millions, hero’s by the score with reputations to protect and profit from.
On Saturday June 6, 2009 Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder won the 28th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off and claimed the title, Clam Chowder World Champion.
Back for another title hunt in New England, Tony’s took to the field again on June 5, 2010 and for the second consecutive year won the 29th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off claiming another Clam Chowder World Championship.
At stake on June 4, 2011 was a third title and a chance for the recipe to be retired into the Cook-Off Hall of Fame. Not even a Grand Champion Chowder from New Jersey could deny Tony’s a third world championship. For the third year in a row Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder captured the title and did so with impressive style in another landslide victory.
With Tony’s third title in three years and the recipe retired into the Great Chowder Cook-off Hall of Fame, the future is still bright for what many fans call the “King of Chowder”.
On our visit to Cedar Key that was where we went for our first meal and we were not disappointed. Some people come to this tiny town for the fishing and some come for the art galleries and crafts shops but we came for the chowder and all I can offer is it was worth the drive. If you are looking for white tablecloths and atmosphere you’re probably going to be disappointed but you won’t be in the food and specifically their world champion chowder.
If out of the way Cedar Key is too far to go for a bowl of chowder you can mail order some, as they have a very successful canning and shipping operation as well.
On our first night on Hilton Head Island we were looking for a lighter meal and decided on barbecue. Truth be told, we will almost always pick barbecue given a chance. Our resort recommended One Hot Mama’s and gave us a coupon worth a 10% discount. The restaurant is located on the southern end of the island in a cluster of other eateries. It is set-up with a large outdoor area, a bar and dining room. (Happy hour prices require that you sit at the bar.). It is also part of the “Official South Carolina BBQ Trail.”
The menu was extensive but we finally decided on pulled-pork and a “little” rack of ribs which was supposed to be smaller than a half rack but to us seemed about the same size as a traditional half-rack. The ribs were basted with their “perfect 10” sauce that flavored the pulled pork and, in both cases, it complimented the meat perfectly. The atmosphere at One Hot Mama’s was inviting and the wait staff was friendly and efficient. All in all a great meal at a great price. We highly recommend…
We have a secret when eating at Walt Disney World. Hidden in the lower level of the Dolphin Hotel in the Boardwalk resort area is the Picabu Taqueria. Looking like a snack bar – fast food venue the Taqueria custom builds some of the best tacos you’ll find anywhere. Featuring grilled skirt steak, fresh fish, pork carnitas and Adobo chicken with a large selection of add-ins in either hard or soft taco shells. Three large tacos for around $10.00 and well worth every penny. They also offer Burritos and Bowls. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Open for both lunch and dinner you do have to seek this place out. The Dolphin is easily reached from the Boardwalk area and is only a short walk from the second entrance at Epcot or a walk down a canal from Disney Studios. Come in the main doors at the lower level of the hotel and take the hall to the left.
If you are a guest at a Disney resort you will have to bring cash or a credit card as the Swan and Dolphin are not part of the Magic Band system.
On a recent trip to Charleston, while walking down Meeting Street on our way back to our B&B, we passed an interesting café. It was after dark and the large front windows glowed with a view of an attractive “living room” furnished with overstuffed chairs, sofas, plenty of pillows and cats. There were a number of people enjoying beverages and petting the cats and, I admit, we had never seen anything like it before.
The café’s name is Pounce and it’s described as a pet adoption service. You purchase a ticket for either a half hour or hour stay. The admission includes a beverage (coffee, wine, beer or soft drink), pastries and sweets and “cat time” in a living room setting. It is best to call ahead as peak periods require a reservation.
We are not “pet people” but, based on reviews, this seems to be a good idea. Maybe if you visit Charleston you can have a glass of Merlot and take home a companion?
Barksdale House Innis a comfortable B&B in a historic house built in 1778 located in the heart of old town Charleston, SC. This Inn offers 14 rooms with private baths, complimentary breakfast, newspaper, free wireless internet access and off-street parking. We visited Charleston, South Carolina recently and really enjoyed our stay at this B&B.The rooms are beautifully decorated, the bed we had was comfortable and the shower had plenty of hot water. The staff is friendly and efficient and on weekdays they put out a really nice continental breakfast (on weekends they offer a full breakfast) and an afternoon tea each day for their guests. They also allow you to leave your car parked at the B&B until 2:00 pm on the day you check out which allows more time for shopping and sightseeing.
Pearlz got our attention with their happy hour offerings. While they have locations in several cities the one in Charleston is located on East Bay south of Market Street in a cluster of restaurants, galleries and shops. It is a small but popular restaurant featuring a happy hour menu that includes bar snacks that you can make a meal and good drink prices. $4 house wines and a mixed drink called a Precious Pearlz Draft made with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, Elderflower Syrup, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Seasonal Fruit, Cannonborough Honey-Basil Soda. They also feature PBR all the time for only $1.50. We had Southern fried oysters with bleu cheese dressing which were some of the best we’ve ever had and came with a hot sauce that was near perfection. We also had Fish Tacos which were very good and a plate of some of the biggest Peel n Eat Shrimp we’ve ever seen. Needless to say, that was our dinner.