Tag Archives: food

Yes please, but why not both?

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the posts lately but let me explain why and catch you up. I’ve temporarily moved into an extended living situation on my favorite island of Barbados. My sweetheart of a friend chose to broaden her experiences away from the island and give Help-exchange a try! If you’re not familiar with Helpx, it’s a key part of how I’ve been able to travel for so long on a “backpackers” budget. I explain it in more detail in the post How do you afford all that traveling. Anyway, Maria asked for my assistance in planning her journey and thus she’s now volunteering on a farm in Hawaii! Me? I’m house sitting for her and taking care of her two paw babies. Quick tour of my (her) house starts with the outside.  I live in the upstairs with that sweet balcony!

 The top photo is looking left back towards the driveway and main the road. The bottom pic is looking in the direction of the south coast.

 A quick peek around shows you a few of her amazing decoration choices, items that I’d have in my place too! 

   

 Then there’s my temporary kitty kids totaling in with 8 legs, many whiskers and 2 sassy attitudes.  Meet Regina and Anastasia. Please feel free to pet them (if they’re in the mood) and don’t dare ignore them (if they want attention) and definitely don’t expect to type at the table or do a floor workout without them doing everything in their power to distract you. 

 
Time to welcome my first guest. Remember Carina?  The precious German girl I met back at Oktoberfest in 2011 and have traveled with ever since. Our adventures range from Germany to North America with a little pit stop in Amsterdam and many memories made in Costa Rica. Now we add Barbados! 

 

The past two weeks looked like this…

Food! Of course I got her to taste all of the local delights from fish cakes and rotis to doubles and Mac pie. She didn’t shy away from the rum punch nor did she decline the opportunity to try pudding and souce (thank you Ryan!) She saw the fresh farmers market and tried a bite from the drive thru at the popular Cheffette (thank you Alex!). What holiday would be complete without a liquid beverage of choice, I offerred a fruit smoothly or Bloody Mary.  Typical Carina response, “Yes please, but why not both”? 

    
   
A fish cutter from Cuz and pit stop at good ol’ Mr. Delicious before saying hi to Coconut Chris. 

    
 
I snuck her in to what I’d like to claim as my own personal hidden gem (that in actuality is a popular shop for the locals) to enjoy a piece of heaven form the ever changing menu. Another trip to Cafe Moya is a success!

 

We treated ourselves to a day at Accra Beach hotel and brought along some German games. Wouldn’t you?! 

 
Did she make it to the beach? I can honestly say I lost track of how many times this girl found herself with red shoulders, sandy toes and a huge smile. 

    
 

There’s no way I’d let her leave without experiencing Cool Runnings (thank you Annika and Robert!) and of course my favorite Tuesday night plans of gymnastic (thank you Shane!) Live music at Mullins Beach bar (thank you Dwayne!) and the Surfers Cafe (thanks Bodie!). We also watched a BVB futbol game (thanks Marvin!) and had some girls night out (thank you Annika, Irene, Monica and many more)!

   
How did we get around the island (if our amazing friends weren’t able for a lift)? Only another experience that one must encounter while visiting.  The local transportation! She expressed that it was like being on a carnival ride with the lights, music, people and incredible (ha ha) driving skills.

 

You’ve seen this familiar palm tree in many previous post.  This time the landscape makes an appearance with a duo handstand! 

 
Lastly, she was one of the bright smiles in the last post, Ms. Barbados, Queen of the sea in which we experienced the annual race around the island!  (Thank you Stewart, Jason and ALex!)

 
Palm trees, sunsets and sandy smiles pretty much sums up our unforgettable time on this magical island.

    

 
Last stop is the airport in which we were both departing on the same day.  Her heading back to the one degree temperatures of of Bochum Germany and me… Well, you’ll see! 
 
Carina, you hold an undeniable light that is constantly illuminating the world around you. Your sincerity, passion for life, and genuine nature has been (and still is) a magnetic quality that I miss when you’re gone. Thank you so much for the years of tummy twisting laughter, hours of silly games, moments of connection and the depth of friendship that I truly hope others get to experience. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to call you my friend (or sister if you ask anyone else)! Cheers to us till next time… And who knows where or what we’ll be toasting!? XO

White Christmas… snow or sand?

Who do you spend your holidays with? 

Relative: a person connected by blood or marriage.

Friend: a person who you like and enjoy being with; one who is attached to another through affection.

Family: a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation (in my opinion it’s a combo of the above).

If I were to get a little emotional in my writing, I’d tear up as I tell you how lucky I am to have gotten to spend several holidays with some of the most amazing people I know. You’ve seen my dearest family in Oklahoma in which this time of year calls for freezing rain storms and an abundunce of sweet treats. Then there’s my incredible mother who so eagerly makes every occasion so special with our time in Florida. My childhood friends in California never fall short to extend a welcoming invite to spend the winter days with them as seen in the holiday 5k run and Dream-catcher with the hawk. I’ve even been fortunate enough to have celebrated abroad like St.Patricks day in Argentina, Thanksgiving in Japan and the unforgettable Easter in Panama.

This year I wasn’t in Florida with my mum for the actual holiday but it wouldn’t seem complete if I didn’t mention our Christmas festivities (which is summed up by the photos below). I love you mom!  

 

Christmas in the Caribbean is surprisingly more similar to what I knew as a child back in the states.  There’s jolly carols playing in most of the shopping areas with random decorations lining the malls and public buildings. Store attendants have Santa hats on and St.Nicholas may appear randomly throughout the weeks leading up to the 25th.  If I had to outline the differences from what I can remember in the cold USA to the island life now, it’s obviously the weather and possibly the stockings.  Aside from candy, we got gloves and mittens, flannel pajamas and little trinkets.  Here they get Catch bars, sunglasses, flip flops and surfboard wax. Instead of snow angels, it’s sand angels and the pine trees that are brightly decorated in the front windows have been imported from overseas, instead of hand cut down on a visit to the mountains. 
Here’s a tiny snip of some of the scenes around here on the magical island of Barbados.

   

In regards to dinner, the typical meat served around here includes fish, ham, turkey or good ol’ fried chicken. The sides range from macaroni pie, sweet potatoes, plantains, greens, boiled vegetables and other random family recipes. If you’re lucky there will be some fried okra, homemade cassava rolls and breadfruit! Like a bit of spice? I wouldn’t pass on the local pepper sauce! Is your mouth watering? Check out all of the posts listed here for a much clearer canvas of the Bajan food that I have fallen in love with.  

 This Christmas I was welcomed into a variety of meals, toasts and family affairs that left me overflowing with love!  

In respect of all lovely people I encountered and homes I visited, I’ll keep this portion private and simple. (I also fear that if I begin to mention all the names of the hugs that I got to embrace that I’d leave out someone and we don’t want that). So for what it’s worth, here’s a just a small bundle of an entire day of joy! 

 I’ll close with some fun by taking a look at past and present winter photos. Wonderful to think that while some are strapping in snowboards, others are on surf boards and when a bunch of you decide which scarf to wrap up in, others are debating on which swimsuit to wear. Warm veggie soup verses a freezing fruit smoothie, snow boots or sandy toes… The list could go on and on!

  

    
 

  Ok, so the 25th has passed and all is quiet on the island… 

                                                       Yeh, if you’re the only one that lives in a cave! 

Next post will expose what is now one of my favorite events that takes place on December 26th, look out for Boxing Day!

Birds have the best view

There were so many magnificent spots that Adam, Chastine and Halcyon shared with us, that I’ve decided to bulk a bunch into one post. Sit back, keep up and enjoy!

Fort George was once used as a signal station back in the early 1800’s and now hosts as a historical site looking over Port of Spain. After seeing the incredible view, it’s no wonder this was the prime lookout point for any possible invasions.
   

  

      
Also a perfect spot for a picnic… and a handstand.

  

This is a large tower nearby that granted another spectacular view. We were warned to keep an eye out and tonot “hang out” up there. Apparently there are sketchy people that have been known to come out from the bush and attack onlookers. Excuse me, say that again? No way! Oh well, up the tower we went!

  

The biggest challenge was dodging the bird droppings below your feet and falling from above.  

    

Thank you Chastine for the quick girls trip venturing to the capitals city streets! Downtown Port of Spain was similar to most cities with discount stores offering clothes, fabric, phones, plastic toys, jewelry and more.  We were in and out, so here are just a few photos I snapped during our jaunt.
      

Fast food, street food, full restaurants and coffee shops offered a variety of options if you needed a snack break. We opt for sharing a Double. Just like other foods, it seems like each vendor varies in quality, flavor and texture. Some of the fried bread is thick and are almost paper thin. The channa mix inside ranges from runny to almost paste like. Today we both enjoyed the flavor and texture of this one!

Fun fact “Double” is for the 2 pieces of wrap. You can choose to have a single or even a tripe if you want! 

 

Another pit stop was to a local food court called the Breakfast shed. It offers typical Trini cuisine in a court that reminded me of an outdoor cafeteria. 
   
I went with fish stew and salad with pepper sauce. Delicious! I’d never turn down a chance to try veggies. Here we have provisions which is starchy vegetables like pumpkin, cassava, plantain and potato. 

Chastine ordered Oxtail. Yep, that’s exactly what it was… tail of an ox. No thank you. Along the side is Calalloo (one of my new favorites) over a dense spongy cornmeal bread (not my favoite) called coo-coo. 

 On a different day, we all headed south for a quick foodie request that allowed us to try a handful of Trini-Indian bites. My favorite was a crispy spinach, fried dough mystery-of-a-treat with a scoop of channa in the middle.    
  
We shared a variety of sweets just for the fun of it. None of them pictured below struck me as amazing, but certainly worth a try!  

    
Awh coconut water with a side of jelly! Just like my favorite coconut stands in Barbados, you collect the water and ask for the jelly. Super serving of electrolytes and major hydration, yes please! 

 

I’d like to wrap up this post with random shots taken from the passengers seat this week.  In no specific order… here’s more of Trinidad! 

    
   

Bridgetown Vs Bridgetown Market

Located on the southwest coast, Bridgetown is the capital city (and only city) in Barbados.  Like most cities in the world, you’ll find an array of contrasts within the busy streets. New cars and old bikes, historical sights next to booming businesses. There are street vendors selling colorful fruit, fresh veggies, snacks and random trinkets right outside of clothing shops, hair boutiques and popular mall stores. Casual cafes to nice restaurants sit along the dock offering local plates and if you’re looking for fast food (served with a side of greasy guilt) you can opt for one of the not so fast food joints on the island… Chefette, Burger King or KFC. 

FUN FACT: Barbados is the only country in the world in which McDonalds opened and closed due to lack of customers. The popular chain barely survived 6 months!

    

    
Have a sweet tooth? You can always find a bakery or local sugar shack but in this heat, the popular choice is anything cold, preferably frozen!   

If walking doesn’t suit your day, there’s never a lack of taxi’s eager to give you a lift. This cheerful cab driver was fine with us declining a ride, however was very dissatisfied that my head wrap didn’t have a bow in the back. He took it upon himself to make sure “dis angel sista gah-de-bow she deserve”. Thank you for brightening my day kind sir! 

 
We had two random priorities that consumed some of our time during our stroll through the city. First, my dear friend Shanda wasn’t going to put her poor feet through another step of blisters. Lucky for her, there’s several shoe stores conveniently located within the city. Success! 

 
Secondly, a handstand. In the years I’ve been enjoying this wonderful country, I have yet to snag an upside down smile in the Capital. Completed!

    

  
Thank you Shanda for sharing your creative photo abilities. Check out this cool shot! 

 

Moving on to the Bridgetown Market. Not to be confused with the capital city, this annual event happens in the final weekend of Cropover. With 3 days of jam packed entertainment, local cuisine and a variety of shopping, it’s known as one of the largest street fairs in the Caribbean. 

 Along the famous Spring Garden highway you’ll find a wide range of authentic Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, macaroni pie, fish and chips, fried plantain as well as smaller vendors with local fruit drinks and baked goods.  

 This was our view in either direction where we sat to eat. You can imagine the contrast between this angle and the vibrant street behind us.  I suppose that’s just one more thing I love about this place. 

Once you’ve had your fill of edibles, there are plenty of items to wander through as you get lost in the colorful stalls lining the highway. If shopping is your intention, just look for the brightly colored stalls inviting you in for a stroll through unique products. Jewelry, bags, clothes and like items to plants, herbs, fruit and veggies.
   
   
 

If you walk down the paved road, you’ll be tempted to chip away to the soca music or at least stop and watch the ones dancing in front of the speakers. No joke, this fella was gettin’ down for the entire time we were there! 

 If you’re keen for more traditional tunes, just follow your ears to the small stage located behind the rainbow stalls.
 

So when you’re on the island during the entertaining week of Cropover, I’d suggest making time for a walk thorugh both the capital city as well as the annual Bridgetown Market.  I’ll leave you with a shot from our walk home. Hard not to smile, right?

 

Welcome to Barbados.  Lets eat!

Before Shanda arrived, I had collaborated with my island peeps and made a “must eat” check-list of the tasty local foods.  Some are my favorites, others are just necessary to experience.  Lets start down the edibles in no specific order.

First up is fresh coconut water with a side order of jelly.  No folks, this isn’t the carton of imported water that you buy at your city store. This is water from a young coconut picked right here on the island! The jelly?  That’s my favorite part!  It’s the flesh that hasn’t matured to a firm texture yet. The nutrient density and benefits of this duo is magnificent! Not to mention one of the most hydrating items on the planet.

   
This next one made the list due to its popularity amongst the locals and for the recent exposure on the Todays show. The owner and operated named Cuz is known for his “All in one”. A soft bun hugging a grilled piece of fish complimented with cheese and a fried egg.

Friendly note to anyone makng their way to this blue shack: If the line is long, order quick and get out of the way. If he says “no egg”  don’t give him attitude or question it, just take what you get and move on!

Cuz’s All-in-one (minus the egg)… check!  

    
Next up, doubles! These are most definitely one of my favorites.  Typically a Trinidadian treat, these small little roll ups can be found in a few spots around the island. The most popular and traditional version is two baras (fried flat bread) filled with curried channa (chickpeas).  You can branch out and top it with cucumber, mango chutney and a spicy sauce.  My mouth is watering just explaining the goodness that comes from this West Indies delight! Today we’re eating from Pat’s, you can find her on the south coast across from Accra Beach.  

   
Marconi pie! It’s probably exactly what you think it is… Macaroni and cheese held together in a casserole styled pie. Easy cheesy, right? (Awful pun intended) 

 
Fish cakes is another common find around the island. Inexpensive, easy to eat and generally pretty tasty… If you like fish, bread and fried things.  

 
Moving on to the famous, for good reason, Roti’s! I’ve mentioned them before in several previous Bajan food posts and now it’s Shanda’s turn to give ’em a go! There are several restaurants that deliver a solid Roti with different choices for ingredients, today we chose to eat at Chutneys on the south coast. Mine had curried lentils, okra, spinach and pumpkin.  The one pictured below is chicken and potato with okra.

  
 

You’ve got to remember my favorite cafe in all of Barbados.  I did an entire post on it last year called The best not-so-kept secret, Cafe Moya. Shanda and I took a walk and enjoyed a shared brunch.  I ordered a falafel filled cassava crepe and she went with a guava and cream cheese pastry.  Delicious!  

  
She also fell in love with the local Mangos.  If you’ve never had a mango that just fell off the tree (literally), you haven’t  tasted the true flavor of these tropical fruits.  I did a handstand next to the tree to give you an idea of just how massive they can get.  Also, check out the sweetness dripping from earths candy! 

 

We can’t leave out the Vitamin C power-house of the Bajan cherry.  For any details on this beauty, check out the recent post titled Happy as a cherry!  
Last up is what the locals call a sugar apple. I feel like any fruit with the word “sugar” in it is bound to be sweet and tasty… and it is!  Ripe is when it’s soft and opens with the most gentle of pressure.  If you look at the inside, nature has already divided it up into bite sized little pieces for you.  So scrumptious! It reminds me of the cherimoya I fell in love with from years past! 

 
Click here for all the other mouth watering posts from the beautiful island of Barbados!