Saturday, August 9, 2014

Belize Airport Dining

Sun Garden and Restaurant - If you get to the airport an hour before the American Airlines people come back from their lunch break, you're kind of in luck because before security there is one restaurant, and it's the only real food in the entire airport. It was all pretty darn tasty. There's an outside patio too, if you're not completely sunburnt by the end of your trip.

Coconut honey garlic chicken with boiled vegetables, fried plantains and some pico de gallo

Stew chicken with dirty rice, cole slaw, fried plantains and pico de gallo

Friday, August 8, 2014

San Pedro, Belize

My fiance had been telling me about the spicy pad thai at Rendezvous since I met her, and she'd been fantasizing about it since she first had it, more than three years ago. It was perhaps the thing she was most excited to come to Belize for. They make their own wines, and we tried the cabernet sauvignon, which was light and fruity, perfect for Belize. They serve some complimentary soft bread with softer butter and parsley.


I'll just say that the Combo Exotica was amazing. It's different every day, and I imagine it's always a good choice.

We both got the famous pad thai. We never order the same dish anywhere, always wanting to try everything, but I knew Shana wouldn't want to share this dish she'd waited so long to have. It's chicken and shrimp in a tomato sauce I actually liked, perfectly spicy, peanuty and more. It's true - it's the best pad thai I've ever had too, partly because it's so fun and different and interesting. The flavors are just really well-constructed and balanced.




It was so great to eat a meal like this in my sandy, flip-flopped toes, shorts and the bright coral t-shirt I've worn two days in a row, with Nina Simone and other good stuff playing. Whatever else you do in San Pedro, make a trip to Rendezvous.


In Town:

Wild Mangoes:
Crazy fusion banh mi - A Thai meatball (Italian) version of a French-influenced Vietnamese sandwich in Belize from an American chef at a restaurant that labels itself Tex-Mex. It was delicious. They used soft bread, but it still had pickled carrots daikon and cilantro, spicy mayo, plus there are all those hot sauces on the table for heat, and crispy meatballs. It's a nice little twist on a bahn mi. I'd order this two dozen more times.

Shrimp stuffed jalapeños: The best I've ever had in my life. The beading was crispy crunchy, perfectly fried and non greasy. The cilantro dipping sauce and roasted salsa most and the table sauces and the shrimp cheese herb filling of the jalapeños is all amazing.

Thai coconut ceviche: very coconut-y, very Asian-y flavored

Amy the chef's salad was awesome: romaine, avocado, papaya, pineapple, pickled ramps, cashews, hearts of Palm, chicken (I subbed in shrimp), mango something vinaigrette, I may be forgetting an ingredient or two - awesome

Al pastor tacos - great, especially with roasted salsa, all the table salsas, and that avocado dressing from our order (twice in a row!) of those stuffed jalapeños 



Mango coconut banana smoothie - perfect for rehydrating after snorkeling all morning

I'd recommend this place to anyone, anywhere in the world. Did I mention it's on the most beautiful beach I've ever seen? 

The desserts that passed us by also looked amazing.


Belizean Chocolate Company:

Also the best chocolate cookie I've ever had, seems to be made with crystallized sugar, shortening or else just a ton of wonderful butter, eggs, and amazing chocolate that just melts as soon as it hits your tongue.

The next day we got two more cookies and a chocolate brownie: moist as fuck
I really wanted to try the chocolate tort and the chocolate cheesecake - next time!

Make sure you're in town for a Thursday night so you can go to the famous Chicken Drop! You bet on the square where a chicken will poop.




Matachica Resort:

We could've had dinner there, and the food we passed by looked fine, but there's more fun food to be had elsewhere. It's expensive at Matachica, and they're trying to give the kind of French style upscale food you'd get in America. Pass. They do have complimentary breakfasts as well as more elaborate breakfasts you can pay for. I tried getting breakfast in town once, but there are very few options. I wound up trying a Chicken Johnny, which was a bread biscuit filled with chicken and a little mixed together mayo and mustard. Unless you wake up really late, you should probably eat your resort's breakfast. Though, if you have better breakfast advice, please do let me know. I hope to get back someday.

Just a picture of their cute salt and pepper container and our turtle key coming for a nibble.

For the complimentary breakfast, you get assorted fruits, toasted bread, a boiled egg, peanut butter, butter, jam and your choice of a fry jack (pictured above), banana bread (not bad) or yogurt.

Or you can pay for other simple breakfasts (as above and below).


Neither impressive or interesting nor bad.



Right next to Matachica:

Where we liked to go for dinner and/or drinks in the area: Rojo Lounge


Very friendly bartenders. They drink with you. They play great music (like, actually great music. They're hipper about discovering cool new music that I am). You can have a good time here. The other patrons are there to be fun and friendly too.

Nice cocktails

Grouper cakes: like really good crab cakes, with a perfect crispy fry with a coconut dipping sauce

Belkin stout braised pork baos:
 Softest bao ever, with delicious bao flavors, amazing, why is the food so good everywhere on this island??


Cheesey Chaya dip: an iron rich green mixed with melted cheese and Parmesan and maybe more herbs with toast points - good! Share amongst four.
We also tried a tasty white shrimp etc. pizza slice some nice lady wanted us to try. 



Za jiang mien: spicy, tasty, added sriacha to get quite enough flavor and right at heat maximum, julienned jalapeños and peppers, slices of cucumber, Hamburger Helper-shaped noodles but freshly made, crumbled pork sausage almost makes the meal feel Italian. The heat smacks you when you stop eating and makes you really want their homemade ice cream. 


There's a great dessert menu here too, including soursop and pandanus, local fruit ice creams. But they were out of those the day I got ice cream, so I got the mudpie: espresso ice cream with caramel, Oreo cookie and more that I don't recall.


I really, really, really want to come back to San Pedro. I don't often feel so strongly about seeing a place more than once, but it is so nice here. While I enjoyed Placencia, for instance, I wouldn't bother going back there. And of course, there are always more places to see and things to do all over Belize.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Flour Bakery

My initial experience at Flour was delightful, when I uncharacteristically ordered a chocolate macaroon and a jasmine green tea and found them to be a magical pairing. 

Dark Chocolate Macaroon

Their tea, even if you get a small, comes in a nice little pot.

And when you go in you see the pastry chef and owner, Joanne Chang, has cookbooks and that they sell all kinds of good looking goodies here, from sandwiches, salads and soups to bread, homemade biscotti, shortbread and stuff like that to take away, and desserts and pastries of all kinds. Also Joanne Chang is the Chang half of Myers + Chang, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boston area. I was excited to try it all. I've now sampled a huge chunk of Flour's food.

Craquelin - an almond croissant with an orange Marmalade: Quite good, except I don't really like marmalade
Espresso: 8/10

Twice Baked Brioche: Good, not amazing


Americano: You know how at some places, when you order an americano the water they use is so hot it takes like 10 minutes to be able to drink it? This is one of those. Next time I need to remember to ask them to just go light on the water, which I prefer anyway ratio-wise and should also help with this issue.


Currant Spelt Oat Scone: Not bad, nowhere near Canto but not as bad as most cafe's horrible scones.

Sticky Bun: Chang won a throwdown with Bobby Flay with this sticky bun. It's tasty but too sweet. I guess a lot of people are into that.

Sugar Bun Brioche: Good enough I guess but too plain for me


Blueberry Muffin: Big, sweet, good, certainly better than some packaged shit, but it doesn't transcend muffin-dom.


Chunk Lola Cooke ($2) - an oatmeal dark chocolate pecan coconut cookie: Good! Only one and a half notches below Canto. It's just not quite soft enough, which probably means not enough butter.

(Half size) roasted lamb, tomato chutney and goat cheese sandwich (also a few greens): maybe I should've paid the extra $.50 to have them grill the bread as it might've pressed down the thick slices to a more reasonable dimension. I had to take off half the roasted lamb to taste the other ingredients. I'm not a big fan of cold roasted lamb, it turns out, but the tomato chutney was nice. Also the bread itself is good, thick, soft and sweet. It just didn't make for proper sandwich construction.
I finally came back to my chocolate macaroon and jasmine tea, just as good as ever.
The breakfast line can be long every day, but it moves fast, and there's still usually a table and of nothing else definitely a stool. They have LevelUp but there's no discount (it's still easier than tipping with credit card receipt).

Anyway, I dunno. Have I just missed all the really good stuff here? I do want to try the summer soup, the Spanish Gazpacho, and maybe some bread to go. Let me know if there's anything here that's particularly good.

Flour Bakery + Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Katz's Houston - Guess Whether it's the Same

It's like if the good people of Denny's brought you a Jewish Deli and named it after a Manhattan institution. I find it confusing, insane and sad to know that the owner is related (the grandson, I think) to the original Katz's owner.

The menu is a Texas-sized diner/deli clusterfuck. The four beers they have on tap are Brooklyn Lager, the Brooklyn seasonal, St. Arnold seasonal and Bud Light.



Nosh Basket: An assortment of fried something-or-others-who-cares-it's-not-like-you-can-taste-them-under-all-that-breading-anyways.

The Pastrami Reuben (pictured) was okay, but more like you tried to make one at home, nothing whatsoever like Katz's or any other good delis. Unlike at the real Katz's, there's no authentic pastrami sandwich option with just untoasted bread that yields right into the thick, melt-in-your-mouth, hand-carved pastrami complimented with mustard, here you're given a monstrosity of toasted bread, swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Blech.
The Corned Beef Reuben was just plain bad, with touch, rubbery meat.

This place is a joke.


Katz's Deli & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roxy's Grilled Cheese Food Truck

Green Meunster ($6) - with guacamole, applewoord bacon and muenster: Really salty, a little mouth-scraping, bread-wise, not as flavorful as I'd hoped.
Mighty Rib ($7) - with short rib, fontina, and caramelized onion: Lots of meat, tasty but ultimately kind of boring. I found myself looking longingly at the sauce/condiment station of the Chicken and Rice Guys' truck next to them, as all Roxy's has is ketchup. The toast was once again just the tiniest bit mouth-scrapey. They should really be only lightly toasting these.



Sample Menu
They take LevelUp.


Two sandwiches and I'm out. They just aren't mastering the art of a balanced sandwich.

Roxy's Grilled Cheese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Really?

A mushroom and walnut chocolate bar? Really? There was a time when I would've done my foodie duty and immediately shelled out the $8 fucking 50 they're asking for curiosity satisfaction, but at least that day, I didn't feel like it. Anyone tried this fucking garbage? Super foods... ugh. Eat a mushroom and then eat a bar of chocolate. It would cost a lot less and both would taste a lot better.

Best of Durham






Bakery and Brunch - Scratch


Breakfast - Rise




Coffee - Joe Van Gogh




Coffee Shop for Working - Respite Cafe




Food, Drinks and Fun - Parts & Labor (at Motorco.)