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Anguilla, Stage 2: There's a Sucker Born Every Minute

The next day, we awoke in the comfortable cloud of our king-sized bed, having slept more hours in the past night that we typically sleep in an entire week. We flung open the drapes and were greeted by another picture-perfect day.




We listened to the waves crash on the beach. We watched the clouds settle on St. Martin's mountaintops in the distance. We luxuriated in the solitude of just a handful of neighbors. (In New York City, a place without neighbors is called Connecticut.)


We showered -- in an open glass shower large enough to hold our NYC apartment in its entirety -- then floated downstairs to lounge by the pool while lazily batting ideas back and forth as to how to spend the day. (Okay, you know that's a little white lie. Our agenda had been planned, in daily 15-minute increments, for at least the past 8 months.)


As we contemplated nothing more strenuous for the day than deciding who would get up to fetch the next round of rum punches, the next stage of Anguilla Vacation Grief, anger, began to worm its way in: What kind of suckers were we anyway, with our stupid jobs and our stupid mortgages and our stupid student loans? Why on earth have we tethered ourselves to those annoying iPhones and iPads? Who even needs material goods, when you could live in a shack on the beach and scavenge for your dinner every night? This is how we were meant to be living, dammit: Jobless, homeless, and almost certainly dinner-less. Where had we gone wrong?!?


We pondered these unanswerable questions as we made the short drive over to Elodia's on Shoal Bay East.





There, we sprinted for the loungers at the farthest end of the beach, away from the madding crowds.







For lunch, I feasted on chicken nuggets, while Angel ordered off the adult menu.




Some people like to bring their own salad dressing when they go out to eat. I like to bring my own nutmeg.



We spent the rest of the afternoon in deep contemplation of our pathetic workaday existences.




Back at the villa, we cleaned up for dinner, hoping to drown our sorrows with a round of sunset cocktails at the Viceroy (now the Four Seasons) beforehand.




The Sunset Lounge is modern and sophisticated, with a cocktail list to match.






Our bartender muddled the limes for Angel's ginger-vanilla mojito and my caipiroska with gusto, and when I admired her handiwork, she invited me behind the bar to hang out and take some pictures.



Obviously I was too busy stuffing limes and liquor bottles into my pockets to really focus on the photos.



For dinner, we had reservations at Veya, a sexy tropical treehouse perched among swaying palm fronds.




We'd carefully planned the day and time of our reservation to finally catch Omari Banks' acoustic set. Earlier that week, however, we learned that Omari was going to be in Trinidad for a benefit concert, and so we would miss him yet again.

Upon arrival, we were led to a table at the front of the restaurant, overlooking the Mezze lounge and the empty stage.


Accustomed to being tucked away at one of the tables at the back of the restaurant where I can snap photos with relative abandon, we quickly realized that if we remained up front, we weren't going to see Omari, but we likely were going to see the disapproving stares of the surrounding diners when I started shooting. Not wanting to annoy anyone with the camera, Angel found Jerry and discreetly asked if we could be moved to a more isolated table in the back instead.

Have you ever opened your mouth and stuck not only your foot in it, but most of your calf, too? It turns out that Jerry, who is familiar with this blog(!), knew we'd be taking lots of photos and gave us the best seats in the house on purpose so we'd have a front-row seat for Omari, who had unexpectedly arrived back on island just in time to perform that evening.


Open mouth, insert entire leg.

And while it's open, you might as well also toss in Veya's mind-blowing banana bread and Johnny cakes.


We devoured the bread basket in short order, which was a big mistake since we then had nothing to dunk in the extraordinary yellow-pepper soup that the chef presented as an amuse-bouche.


We couldn't decide between the Vietnamese-style fried calamari with nuoc cham and the conch fritters with a chili-lime aioli . . . so we didn't.



Angel picked an old favorite for his main course, the grilled jerk tuna with a rum-coffee glaze, caramelized pineapple, and fried plantains.


I went with something more unusual, at least for me: The tagine mahi-mahi with mashed plantains and cilantro-almond pesto. That might not sound so unusual, but I am one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. (Fun fact: Most cilantro-haters possess a shared group of olfactory receptor genes that pick up on the smell of aldehyde chemicals, which are found in both cilantro . . . and soap. Translation: We're not crazy!) But this is Veya, where the magician in the kitchen, Jerry's lovely wife Carrie, can make even an ingredient that I normally loathe taste so good that not only can I tolerate it . . . I will choose it and happily devour it. (God only knows what that woman could do with a beet.)


The evening was absolutely perfect: Fantastic food, great company, and a front-row seat for Omari's performance.



And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Jerry stopped by our table to chat, and to deliver this:


That is a dragon fruit, fresh from the garden of one of Veya's servers. Indigenous to Central America, dragon fruit comes from several cactus species, and its succulent stem provides the fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows -- like Anguilla.


Despite its Technicolor flesh, the fruit is extremely mild and reminiscent of kiwi.


There might also have been a bottle of Champagne for dessert. You know how those restaurant people roll.

The next morning we awoke feeling great, which is not normally the case after Champagne, but can be the case if you accompany that bottle with enough food to create a sizable stomach-sponge.


It was another day of glorious weather, so we decided to spend it at Ocean Echo on Meads Bay.





It was well before noon and we had the place to ourselves, so we dropped our things on the nearest loungers and jumped straight into the water.





Eventually the smell of food wafted our way, so we dragged ourselves up the beach for lunch, which turned out to be the excellent coconut curry shrimp with pineapple, along with the Asian stir fry with jasmine rice.





After lunch we decided to fight it out over who'd get the last sip of the Ocean Sand Lemonade.




Obviously, I won.


Back at the villa, I took a quick shower, threw my hair into a messy bun, sprinted to the car, and gunned it over to my favorite spot on the island, Ferryboat Inn. As you can see, I was just a tiny bit excited about the burger bacchanal to come.


Now, I have raved about the FBI cheeseburger in numerous posts on this blog, have waxed poetic about it on various online forums, and have even published handy how-to instructions for newbies here. But what I have not done is compose a proper Ode to The Ferryboat Cheeseburger. I think it might be time.

Oh Ferryboat burger, how do I love thee
With a rum punch in hand and a view of the sea.

Other burgers abound, but you are The One
Ground beefy perfection on a sesame-seed bun.

You're juicy and cheesy and too good to share
Ask for a bite? Angel won't even dare.

Delightful Marjorie and Christian preside over the place
Just don't interrupt me while I'm stuffing my face.

Oh Ferryboat burger, nothing in this world is so fine
If you
still haven't had one, you're no friend of mine.

Obviously, this can be set to music as well. There's even an awkward happy dance.


Ferryboat had undergone a mini-renovation since our last visit, with new tables and chairs and a fresh coat of cheery, lime-green paint.



After admiring their freshened-up digs, we got caught up with Marjorie and Christian at the bar while waiting for our burgers to arrive.


As soon as they did, it was like one of those raucous party scenes in a movie where the parents come home and, all of a sudden, everything comes to a screeching halt and the room goes totally silent except for one drunk guy burping just off-camera.






We'd no sooner finished our burgers and were heading home when -- irony of ironies -- we happened upon these two.



I would have sworn it was just a coincidence . . . until I heard the big one say, "Hey, lady! Stop looking at my kid like that."

Click here to read Part 3!

Posted by TraceyG 06:03 Archived in Anguilla Tagged viceroy ferryboat_inn elodias ocean_echo moondance veya omari_banks

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Tracey - your writing is so great, funny and descriptive, I just love it. Also love your pictures, and outfits, you look great!
Thanks for posting.

by EllenLV

Great post, Tracey! I know the post is about Anguilla, but can I just say, your outfits are on point! ??

by Dina

Carrie's tuna is one of the best meals I have ever had. Never order anything else there ??

by Susan Levings's

Tracey, Love your posts and have been following them for a while as we frequent Key West. We are in the process of planning our first Anguilla vacation in December (were there for only one day last year and fell in love with it). Can't wait to read more about your trip...I'm taking notes!
Thanks for sharing!

by Trudy

I love reading your posts and all of your daily activities. Love all your beautiful clothes too. The last time we were to Anguilla was in the 90's. Just wondering how safe the island is now since I have recently read some articles about some crime and robbery. Safe to go out at night? Would love to do a return trip.

by Vallorie

Love these stories!!!! Keep em' coming!!!

by rene rempert

Tracey, not sure what is more pretty, your outfits or the Anguilla beaches!?
Love everything about your story telling. It always brings a smile to my face.

by ToniP


However - if you see cows after eating beefburgers
I may not chance the lion fish.

Awaiting the next one. Such an enjoyable read.

by Jan Clydesdale

Hi Tracey! Love reading your blog (as does everyone!), and am on island.....wondering if you checked out Falcons Nest, Artisan Pizza and Hibernia up here in Island Harbor where we are living. Your love to read your impressions of our favs up here......, but I know, "so many restaurants, so little time..." . Hope you get to fit them in now that you've had your FBI cheeseburger. I was at FBI right before Thanksgiving when you were communicating with Christian over the FBI Thanksgiving dinner offerings, and I agree that the lobster fritters would be an excellent option...Christian was happy for your help :) and support!!! Hope you enjoy your trip and maybe we'll bump into you soon!

by Nadine Arrimour Alexander

BTW, The grilled whole snapper at Falcon's Nest was the best fish my Hubble ever had (comes with 2 sides for $20, and there are other options on the menu), and the rum punches come in nice heavy real glass glasses for only $5!

Also went to Karla's in Little Harbor Tues night and not only were there great ribs, but amazing ratatouille, scalloped potatoes, and Mac &cheese as sides....Totally wonderful and plenty of signs to get you there from Jeremiah Gumbs highway, but you could write a very amusing bit about finding your way back out from there after eating an amazing meal....since there are no signs leading back out, only one to get in there. Since you are so adventurous, you might enjoy this local place and Karla's cooking!!!

by Nadine Arrimour Alexander

Also, you will want to check out the Village Bakehouse (in the old Koal Keel building), open 6:30-3 for pastries and the most excellent bread from Pascal and Suzzann (I'm sure you know them) - wonderful French bakery that is still a secret for some people here, but is the BEST on the island - heaven!

by Nadine Arrimour Alexander

Thank you all for the lovely comments - these brought a huge smile to my face. I think you'd get a kick out of my closet -- even though I live in the Northeast, it's 3/4 summer clothes and 1/4 "all other"!

Nadine, these are great recommendations - thank you! We will actually be staying on Shoal Bay for our next visit (in June) and plan to visit Falcon's Nest and Artisan, and are considering a return trip to Hibernia (it's been almost 20 years since we were last there). Sounds like we'll be running into you at some point! :)

by TraceyG

You don't like beets? What the heck!
Another great read. I just ate a huge meal at Coast Grill (when are we eating there again?) and now I want a Ferry Boat Inn Burger. GRRRRRR

by Ellen Sag

Tracey, I know you consider this sacrilegious, but the burger with bacon and Gorgonzola cheese from Straw Hat is far superior to FBI! Wish I could send a picture.

by slewis2900

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