TT Restaurant Week wrapped up on Sunday night and this is my love note to all that prix fixe yumminess!
Here are my top three picks for 2014 plus a little lagniappe because I was feeling sad that the Week was ending.
(Dinner & Mini Blogger Meet-Up)
At the beginning of 2014, one of my blogging goals was to host a meet-up of some kind with other local bloggers. I have been following (and secretly crushing on) some pretty awesome ladies and felt that the community of bloggers in Trinidad are so positive, it would be fantastic to meet them in person. Of course I spent almost all of 2014 working up the courage to reach out to them.
As it turned out the lovely ladies behind Living & Loving Life and Introvertly Bubbly were thinking the same thing! Thankfully, they are more ballsy than I am, long story short, Restaurant Week 2014 presented the perfect opportunity to plan a mini meet-up. It was a fun night, the highlight of which was some spirited after dinner conversation about cell phones, social media and disengaging from dinner companions to post photos to IG. Bacchanal!!!
I really enjoyed my dinner at Chop Chops. The food was excellent, the basil mashed potato which I unfortunately didn’t order but only sampled was so delicious, that I wished it could turn into a person…then I could take it to Las Vegas and marry it. It was that good! The service, unfortunately was a little sketchy, but it was the result of poor planning on the side of management which resulted in two servers for a busy Restaurant Week night. However, I was happy for the opportunity to try their food before committing to a more pricey dinner.
Chop Chops Gourmet Market & Bistro: 628-5555, 43 Mucurapo Rd, POS
Appetizer: Pimento Crab in Filo Tart – crab tart topped with cream cheese cilantro salad topped with pepper relish.
Entrée: Roulade of Chicken Breast stuffed with goats cheese, bells peppers, mushrooms and basil, served with orzo red pepper cream sauce. The sauce was really good!
Dessert: Tiramisu. The tiramisu was the reason I wanted to try Chop Chops. I wasn’t wowed by it, was kinda meh…despite the generous server giving me two pieces.
Stand outs: The Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Lemonade was pretty refreshing and that oh so good Basil Mashed Potato.
Things to note: Phone service was sketchy there for some reason, but the staff will give you the password to their Wifi if you ask. Also, I found the tables to be poorly lit. But it could just be where our table was situated due to the busyness of Restaurant Week.
Cafe Mariposa has been on my Must Try List for at least year. I have been hearing about their Award-Winning Cocoa Ice Cream for a while and since I’ve been in a pretty serious long-term relationship with chocolate for most of my life, this was a no-brainer.
It’s a long-ish drive, at least 30 minutes from the main road and I’m ever grateful to my brother-in-law for being game for the adventure. The experience is worth it, I’m talking down home, “sweet hand food” at it’s best. The chutney which accompanied the dasheen sticks was to delicious I took some home with me. The food was unfussy, delicious and beautifully presented.
Cafe Mariposa: 669-8647, 58 Lopinot Settlement, Lopinot
Appetizer: Dasheen Sticks with chutney and Pumpkin soup.
Entrée: Cocoa Crusted Leg of Lamb with green banana casserole, Bianca Festive Rice (ground cocoa beans and beets gave this rice a rich color), fresh arugula salad and a stuffed cheesy Chayote.
Dessert: Award Winning Cocoa Ice Cream. Now you would think Award-Winning kinda gives you a heads up on what to expect…but it really doesn’t. It does not prepare you for the assault on your taste buds that will leave you looking side ways at lesser versions of chocolate ice cream.
Stand outs: The Award-Winning Cocoa Ice Cream. If I only had that, the lamb, the casserole and the chutney I would have been satisfied. The other dishes were just gravy on top. We were also serenaded by the family during dessert. So lovely.
Things to note: Mariposa places a strong emphasis on using vegetables that are grown in their backyard as well as by farmers in the area. While it is not a vegetarian restaurant, a vegetarian would certainly not go hungry here. Their Restaurant Week menu was pretty vibrant and told a lovely tale of refreshing home-grown earthiness.
I think my brother-in-law and I missed out on what appeared to be great ambiance during the day. There were hummingbird feeders located all along the verandah, so the next time we visit and there will definitely be a next time, it will be for lunch. We were told by owner and our chef for the night, Marcia, that you can request the Restaurant Week Menu if you wish. Also, they are a cash only establishment and the nearest ATM is at least 30 minutes away. So make sure to walk with cash.
When I made my reservation for Friday night at Shesha, I prepared myself mentally for a crowded restaurant and possibly slow service. It helped greatly that I was promised by the voice on the other end of the phone, that their Tiramisu was lauded as one of the best in town. I assured the voice, that I would give my verdict after I tried it…since I have done the leg work. Once again, with my brother-in-law in tow, we set off for another great dinner. We were not disappointed.
Yes, there was a crowd, because it was Restaurant Week and a Friday night but we were not adversely affected by that. Let me stop here and say this, our server for the evening was Jahdeliah. She was engaging and helpful and clearly likes what she does. I was very impressed with the overall service of the staff – but especially her. The ambiance was nice and the snapper was really really good. I’m still thinking about that crispy crust.
Shesha: 622-4927, Shop #4, One Woodbrook Place, 189 Tragarete Rd, Woodbrook
Appetizer: Mushroom Caps stuffed with mushrooms and cheese.
Entrée: Pan seared Red Snapper served with sautéed potatoes.
Dessert: Tiramisu. The tiramisu was good…not the best I’ve had.
Stand outs: The service. We were treated really well despite it being a very busy night. I will definitely be back.
Things to note: Shesha’s regular menu promises a great meal for an affordable price.
I was a little down that Restaurant Week was ending and there was some wiggle room in my budget…sooo I decided on a lagniappe(lagniappe is a creole word that means a little something extra). Crews Inn was the only place I could secure a last-minute reservation on Sunday night.
Since I have only ever done their Sunday Brunch and I have never been disappointed with their service, I was intrigued by what they offered for dinner. Folks, I have been missing out!!! Dinner had some stellar elements – the geera pork and plantain was a bestseller and I had a chocolate martini that I will be talking and thinking about for a long time to come. It was sooo damn good.
One of the downsides to Restaurant Week: The best restaurants may not take part and even if they do, they may not serve their *best* dishes. I was not impressed with the snapper I ordered and I suppose because I had a perfectly prepared filet on Friday night it was hard not to make the comparison. I am also guilty of eavesdropping on another diner’s conversation with her server about dessert and apparently Crews Inn has Tiramisu on their regular menu. I was tempted to go rogue and order it anyway, but my budget didn’t have that much wiggle.
Crews Inn: 634-4000, Chaguaramas Bay, Chaguaramas
Appetizer: Geera braised Pork with plantain bouchee, corn puree and pineapple salsa.
Entrée: Pan fried Red Snapper with provision risotto, tri color pepper slaw in an american sauce.
Dessert: Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with a ginger and clove sorrel compote and a passion fruit gastrique.
Stand outs: The geera pork. I ordered the Avocado Salsa, that way we had the opportunity to try both dishes. I shoulda ordered the pork. The avocado salsa was okay but that pork…was WOW! So you know I will be back for the tiramisu, the pork and another yummo chocolate martini.
Things to note: The restaurant overlooks Chaguaramas Bay, so if ocean views are your thing, you wont be disappointed.