I was fortunate this year to have travelled to a few new places and tried new foods. I would love to share some of my best foodie moments with you.

10. Chocolate gnocchi IMG_20150429_073557

Because chocolate is my love language…I tried this pasta creation, while exploring Borough Market. This ‘market’ is foodie heaven, if you’re ever in London and have some time to spend wandering around, trying new foods and new twists on old favourites…this is one you won’t want to miss.

9. Red curry and egg fried riceIMG_20150423_132550

I love a good curry. But in my experience up until April this year…I have only ever had yellow curry. So it was a culinary wonder to try green curry and red curry. Thai food is amazing!

8. Venison burgerIMG_20150428_073347

Oh the wonders of Borough Market again. This premium venison burger created with meat sourced from the Highlands of Scotland was accompanied by a slice of Gouda cheese, bacon jam (my first time trying such fare) and red onion relish, all contained in a sturdy brioche. Whoa! I savoured every bite of this hearty lunch!

7. Avocado ToastIMG_20150715_100942

Now I have always been a fan of avocado or zaboca as they are called in Trinidad. Add two siblings who hated it and my mother and I pretty much went halfsies when we had avocado on the menu. I thought I had it every possible way – as a side for lunch, with breakfast, in a salad, in dips, in a smoothie, soups, I even had it in chocolate chip cookies. But I never had it quite like this. You see this avo-toast at Chelsea Market was a game-changer. I’m talking, every avocado I’ve gotten since that morning has been used to dress up toast in this simple yet fahncy way. What makes it so special: The cumin salt and that drizzle of olive oil. Next level business right thurrr! That cumin or geera as we call it in Trinidad is the shizznit!

6. Chicken Soup – Cuban style

IMG_20150220_140550For the past three years I opted out of Trinidad Carnival (unheard of in some circles but I’ve been bored with the Carnival scene recently) for a week of relaxation in Miami. This year was no different…except I was sick like a dog. I had all these self-guided  food tours and shopping trips planned for my bestie and I, but only made it to El Pub Restuarant in Little Havana and one other spot. Because I had the flu and couldn’t get medication from the pharmacy *because I needed a prescription to get freaking advil…thanks meth heads* I made sure to eat well. This soup made it all better. That wedge of lime…made all the difference.

5. Dark Treacle TartIMG_20150425_144658

I read about treacle tarts in storybooks as a child, not really knowing what it was but understanding that if it was in my storybooks…it had to be good. As I got older, I forgot all about the magic tree and the treacle that could be found in the worlds at the top. Until I was in a restaurant in Covent Garden and there it was on the dessert menu: Dark Treacle Tart. I just had to try it, if only to finally satisfy the little girl bookworm with a fantastic imagination still inside me.  She was not disappointed.

4. Homemade Tiramisu

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Ya’ll know this list would not be complete without Tiramisu! I’ve already shared here just how much I love Tiramisu…but when it’s your “Welcome to Bristol. I made this especially for you from scratch with Marsala wine too” gift…you feel extra, extra special and loved. I have the best friends.

3. Scotch Eggs

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Another Borough Market food find – Scotchtails scotch eggs. This little morsel has been around since 1738 and has certainly stood the test of time. And I can definitely see why…that yummy yolk and flavourful pork was really saying something.

2. Cream Tea Perfection

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Perfect was the only way to describe this day and this treat. After exploring Wells in Somerset with all its 800 year-old history, my friend and I picked up all the makings for a cream tea at the market: freshly baked scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. We then made our way to the farm she grew up on…think rolling hills and lazy cattle not unlike a trip to Pemberley *nod to my book nerds* there were pheasants about as well. The cloudless sky was a bit deceiving because even though the sun was out…it was still cold. That didn’t stop us from taking advantage of the beauty all around and having our cream tea in the garden with the farm house and rolling hills as our backdrop. Perfect…doesn’t seem adequate…but it will do.

1. Kanom Krok

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My favourite dish for 2015 is vegan. Yup…vegan after all the meat that came before. Kanom Krok – which is also the name of the food stall where it is sold – is market food at its best. This was my absolute favourite food find at Borough Market. These little moreish bits of heaven are made from ground jasmine rice and coconut milk. The mixture is then poured into dimpled cast iron pans. Toppings can vary but I had sesame seeds with mine.

The mixture is cooked until crispy golden brown on the bottom but almost custard-like on the top. It was delicious and delivered a rather satisfying YUM!

Now because I spent of most of that day exploring the Market and having many small bites (and in some cases rather large ones), by the time the lunch crowd cleared I was a bit full. The serving is double what you see in my photo. So I ended up sharing the other half with a fellow tourist – a Dutch teacher on a field trip with her art class. She said the Thai treats reminded her of her native pancakes called Poffertjes (poh-frah-ggers). Food really brings people together and I was able to learn about two cultures and the similarities of both. Full of Win!  

Happy Tummy. Plenty memories. Most of the good ones had a lot to do with the people I shared the meal with as well as the absolute yumminess of the food.  I love hearing from you….what’s the best thing you ate this year?  Please share below!

Exams hit me hard this week. The first one on Monday morning was kinda bad. Not kinda…it was very bad. I will have to take it again in June next year. Fortunately for me, on my way to the exam center I noticed a sign that said, “Tablespoon Coffee & Dessert House” and after that horrendous exam…I needed a pick me up. Plus I was I saw ‘dessert’ and was curious to find out if they had tiramisu. Becasuse, tiramisu! My ultimate pick-me-up!

While they didn’t have tiramisu (but they carry it sometimes…so I will be back if only to try it) they served up some extra special yumminess that totally made up for the lack of my absolute favourite dessert and the memory of my crap exam.

Tablespoon is located in Curepe, heading east, just before Massy Stores formerly HiLo Food Stores on the Eastern Main Road. It’s been around for a while but has been under new management for the last six months or so. What was amazing to me is that even though it is located right on the main road, traffic noise inside the coffee-house is non-existent. I sat facing the road, but had I turned my back on it, I would not have known that the traffic was right outside the door. The owners did a good job in creating the right ambiance.

The menu is simple and offers both hot and cold drinks, great coffee and tea, as well salads, sandwiches and some yummilicious desserts. I ordered the salmon burger and was informed that it was indeed a House menu favourite. After biting into mine…I knew why. It is simply delicious! Down to the caper sauce drizzled on my plate – which quite frankly tasted like Christmas in a sauce, was so good I broke off a piece of bread to sop it all up lest even a tiny bit go to waste. Happy tummy indeed.

Tablespoon Coffee & Dessert House: 221-8504, 79 Eastern Main Rd, Curepe.

Stand outs: My entire meal – The Salmon Burger and that caper sauce. My coffee was also really good. It was the House brew, which was a decadent, whipped cream, cinnamon dusted bit of heaven. Life is way too short not to get the whipped cream…but if that’s not your thing, Tablespoon has a plethora of options for you to try.

I bought a triple chocolate buttercream cupcake to have at home and I’m glad I did…because it would have been embarrassing for anyone to witness the enjoyment a single cupcake can bring a person.

I will be back for: The Shinta, this is a House Special, which unfortunately I couldn’t try because the coffee machine was not working properly and while I was down for trying it anyway without the trappings, the lovely ladies behind the counter: Samantha and Christiane insisted that I would be short-changing myself and offered to make me something else. And of course the Tiramisu!

I would like to take a moment to mention Christiane here, she was friendly and attentive, in fact I was able to interact with three members of staff and the service is excellent at Tablespoon. Truly a rustic but cozy little Coffee House, certainly raising the bar for coffee houses in the East if not all of Trinidad.

Things to note: WiFi is free and they open on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. So if you are in need of little coffee and dessert on a Sunday afternoon (which I am always down for) it’s worth the visit.

Tablespoon Coffee & Dessert House

After reading this post from TriniChow, I decided to treat myself to a breakfast at The Canvas. Because it’s nice to stop and smell the coffee ever so often.

There is just something oh so sumptuous about dining out for the first meal of the day. To me it feels like I’m on vacation…better yet if I do it mid-week. Man oh man it feels so damn decadent.

This is exactly what I did, on a random Wednesday morning. And because when it’s nice you do it twice…again on a Sunday morning after Mass.

The Canvas definitely raises the breakfast bar. It’s located on Long Circular Rd, just after Courts, and from the moment you enter, you wonder to yourself: What a little gem of spot this is…and so out-of-place in this area. But oh so welcomed.

My server Eugenia was friendly and attentive both times I visited. And quite by accident, I had the absolute fortune to meet the owner on my first visit. We got to chatting and I love her vision for the restaurant and that she attempts to give her customers the very best she has to offer.

The breakfast menu offers local fare as well as pancakes and French toast, along with omelets and other egg dishes. They even serve oatmeal! It is interesting to note that you can request your selected dish made anyway you like, adding or subtracting items to your heart’s desire. So you like your burger served with a poached egg on top? Request it and it’s created for you. Your meal is your canvas and you can create whatever makes your tummy happy!

I haven’t had lunch there yet but the menu is a good one too.

The Canvas: 223-7251, #3 Long Circular Rd, St. James

Breakfast #1: The French Toast which was unlike any I’ve had elsewhere. It was made with homemade whole wheat bread and it wasn’t heavy or oily or sugary. It was just right and topped with fresh fruit.

Breakfast #2: The Strawberry Banana Crepe. Now this was simply delicious. Light, with the right amount of yummy! Yes I know this is technically dessert, but I had this on a Sunday…and why not? It’s nice to start the day…the week with dessert for breakfast!

Stand outs: The Mochaccino. This was a decadent, whipped cream, chocolate syrup covered bit of heaven.

Things to note: WiFi is free, all you have to do is ask the staff for the password. There is a crowd on the weekend, especially during that “after Church” time on a Sunday, so it is best to make a reservation. Mid-week was less crowded.

The Canvas

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.

Chop Chops

(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.
Chop Chops


Cafe Mariposa

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.
Cafe Mariposa


Shesha

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.

Shesha


Crews Inn

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.

Crews Inn


Aww man…looking at these photos and reliving all that prix fixe fun has made me very hungry! Good thing Aioli is now offering a prix fixe Lunch Menu.Time to make a reservation!