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This past weekend we were privileged to attend a destination wedding in the Bahamas! 70 family and friends were in attendance, a sign of how beloved this couple was. It, and the entire stay, was beautiful.
I haven’t been to the Caribbean since I was 7, on a cruise with a bunch of my aunts and uncles. I don’t remember much except playing $20 worth of The Simpsons arcade game, winning an art contest, and teaching my aunt to play video poker and hitting a royal flush. Oh what a hustler I was back then. Hubby and I have never been out of the country together; our passports were so brand spanking new that we forgot to sign them before we got on the plane.
The Bahamas is actually home to some really interesting cuisine, particularly due to its easy access to super fresh seafood, its stores of rum, and the clear love that goes into every meal. For local food, the most popular option is the Fish Fry, a large row of shack-like restaurants serving grilled or fried conch, grouper, snapper, etc. Communally maintained bathroom across the street, so don’t drink too much of the good stuff or you could get lost on the way!
Tip #1: Avoid hotel food at all costs because most of it stinks for an insane amount of money. We stocked up at the supermarket and bakeries when we could, albeit not very convenient. The few hours at Atlantis didn’t allow us to go to one of the celebrity chef-owned restaurants, which might have been the exception.
Tip #2: EVERYTHING closes on Sunday so if you didn’t find a restaurant way before your trip, chances are you’re going to be pretty limited in your options. The Fish Fry was open but we had already been there two nights.
I can’t say that I loved all of the food, but there were some big winners:
A staple in the Bahamas, conch is a giant sea snail that you don’t really see eaten in the US. This guy pulled right up to the edge where the straw market was in downtown. For $10 he grabbed a conch straight out of the water (hauled from a couple miles away), pulled the sucker out, chopped it up, and mixed in some citrus and tomatoes. You can’t get any fresher – although the hygiene was a slight concern. If I survived, then I knew we’d be ok. Another popular dish that isn’t pictured – conch fritters. Spicy little hush puppies with small pieces of conch, served with a sauce akin to Thousand Island dressing. Mmmmm.
There were 3 birthdays to celebrate over the weekend as well. A local bakery called “The Swiss Sweets Shop” supplied it on short notice. Half was chocolate with chocolate mousse, half was vanilla with pina colada filling. Why haven’t I thought of that before?? Custard with bits of pineapple and coconut – I’ll be finding a way to make it soon for sure. We also toted back to the US 1/2 a dozen apple strudel (couldn’t figure out why it was so much better than any I’ve ever had), and scarfed down delicious muffins and bread pudding (oh good LORD it was the best ever). I could have spent all 5 days just in the bakery.
This ice cream shop was so kind as to tempt me and friends with two kinds of Edy’s ice cream topped with Tortuga rum cake. Thank you very much. We brought back a few of these as souvenirs, but by far the standout rum cake was from the aforementioned bakery. I got one for breakfast and it was almost as moist as my tres leches cake. The one slight problem was there was a lot of rum and I have really really really low tolerance (like I breathe it and I’m buzzed) so it made for an interesting morning.
I had no idea that this was another Bahamian staple. The mac and cheese is more like a dense casserole than fluffy noodles, with a layer of toasted cheese on top. One of our friends scoured it for almost every single meal she had during the trip. I didn’t have a picture so I filched one off Google. Yet another thing I’d like to find a recipe for.