Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bahamas

Hi there.  It's been a while.  I'd like to apologize for my absence and bring you a report from one of my latest trips.  That's right.  I attended my friend's wedding in the Bahamas and I took the chance to try the seafood on this island.  It should be noted that I came back with more pictures of the food than I did of the wedding.  I figured that the wedding photos were already covered by someone else.  I had other responsibilities;  I had to photograph my food adventures.

I land relatively late in Nassau and get to my hotel by about 6pm.  It's getting close to dinner time and I'm hungry.  I had inquired about the local cuisine from some coworkers of mine.  Also, I asked my concierge not where to direct tourists, but where they would eat when they got off work later.  They all seemed to have a common theme: the Fish Fry.

The Fish Fry is an interested place.  It's located in an area called Arawak Cay and it's essentially a street lined with restaurants all touting to be the best at one thing: Conch.  Conch in all ways, shapes and form were being advertised on chalkboards and menus that lined the street.  I was enticed by a particular place that popped out in my mind that Friday night as my coworker had told me about it: Twin Brothers.  I saw Twin Brothers II and figured that I could always go back and try out Twin Brothers I when I had a chance. 

As I was greeted by a very nice host, I was seated at a rather lonely table.  I promptly ordered a local beer by the name of Kalik.  Apparently, these come in three styles: Light, Regular, and Gold.  Light was probably my favorite to drink in the hot weather.  Gold was a tad too alcoholic in nature.  Regular was good, but I was drawn to the crispness of the Light.

Scorched Conch
I ordered two items for dinner that night.  The first order was Scorched Conch.  This is essentially some fresh conch, cut up and tossed in a bowl with lime juice and some onions.  Toss in a bit of heat and we're good to go.  This was great.  So simple, yet so easy going down.  This was perfect as my first meal here.  The conch itself was very sweet.  You can taste it through the acidity and the texture is wonderful.  Very chewy, but with a firm snap to it.  The raw onions provided a nice balance by adding a crunchy and spicy element to the dish.  This was an incredible way to begin my weekend in the Bahamas.

Crack Conch
Next up, I had to order what all my friends were ranting and raving about that I had to try here in the Bahamas: Crack Conch.  The conch itself is pounded very thin so that the texture has almost completely changed.  The chewiness is still there, but the snap has gone.  It's instead replaced by the lingering chewiness of something similar to my favorite animal bits.  Regardless, the thinness of the conch really lent itself to the frying.  I can't imagine deep frying such a tough protein.  The results would be similar to a deep fried brick.  The breading itself wasn't seasoned enough and also lent itself to getting soggy quickly.  This was made even more evident after I spritzed the lime onto them and started dipping it into the sauce.  The sauce is like a cross between a tartar and a simple mayonaise.  It complimented the conch very well.  All in all, my first meal in the Bahamas was a success.  The plating was simple and the quality of the products was good.

Day Two:  I partied a bit too hard the night before and therefore the number of meals I could fit in before the wedding was cut from two down to one.  Nonetheless, I forged on and made my way back to the Fish Fry.  The number of restaurants open at this time of day was reduced by about half.  I stopped by a place that I noticed the night before for this one dish of theirs: fried barracuda.  I really wanted to try it out of both curiosity and hunger.  This is why I ultimately chose Goldie's. The interior of this restaurant was very open and had a good flow to the organization.  You can tell quite easily that this place was part bar, part restaurant.  The number of people out having an early afternoon drink greatly outnumbered the number of diners.  This did not deter me one bit.  Unfortunately, they did not have barracuda on this day.  No matter, I had bigger fish to fry.  (OK.  I'm so sorry for the pun, but now that I see it on the screen, I can't take it off.)

After a quick chat with my waitress, I ordered my first item of the day: Conch Salad.  I was hungry, slightly hung over, and very hot.  I promptly ordered my nth bottle of Kalik and started drinking.  Soon after, a beautiful bowl of magic appeared before my very eyes.   This was quite simply put: amazing.  Chopped up bits of fresh conch, onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, lime juice and orange juice.  The heat that this salad brought was wonderful.  It brightened my morning instantly.  The freshness of the ingredients combined with the very well mixed orange juice/lime juice that all of the items bathed in was excellent.  The conch had a great bite and due to its size, it was easily consumed with its counterparts.  The orange juice in this salad brought out the natural sweetness of the conch and created a great counterbalance to the heat the golden peppers brought to the dish.  It was perfect.  It woke me right up and put a big smile on my face.

I was excited now.  My second dish had arrived and I couldn't take it anymore.  Let me just clarify.  I'm from Hong Kong and South Florida.  I've had my fair share of good seafood and good fried food.   The grouper itself was incredibly flaky and light.  A great deal of moisture was captured inside the breading.  The fish had a wonderful amount of light seasoning that didn't try to steal the breading's thunder.  Oh the breading.  This was so beautiful.  Golden, brown and delicious.  Alton Brown said it.  GDB is what we all look for in fried foods.  These grouper fingers fit all three requirements.  The fillets were covered very lightly.  You can tell that they fried the fish properly.  There was a gentle crunch as I bit into each piece.  Although it took me a bit to finish the whole plate, I don't remember at any time wondering if the grouper fingers would go soggy.  The seasoning was well handled.  There was great balance between spicy and salty that really enhanced the sweetness of the fish.  I was so incredibly happy that they were able to top the excellent conch salad.

I wanted to order more.  I really wanted to.   I'm not going to comment on the food at the wedding because that's not why I was at the wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and we all were incredibly blessed and honored to be a part of such a wondrous occasion.  For me, my foodie needs were satisfied.  I left the Bahamas with a full stomach and a slight hangover.  Life is good.  Cheers!

1 comment:

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