Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Honeymoon, Part II: When the Road Gets Bumpy and She's Craving Chocolate
Our driver navigated the bumpy, winding series of what passed for roads of Anse Chastanet like a NASCAR-ready, speed-drunken man that had conquered fear many seasons ago. It was as dizzying as that sentence.
We were risking our lives again, as we often do, on the promises of vegetarian food in the threshold. Was it that we yearned for an expedition more precarious than attempting Indian cuisine with our new pressure cooker? Oh, you newlywed vegetarian Americans.
Feeling a little too dependent on the trappings of our resort (there was nowhere to walk to because of the treacherous roads outside of our gated paradise), we spent a few nights having taxis drive us to other restaurants for dinner. Our resort's restaurant ended up being one of the best as far as food quality and experience.
However, I'll never forget Wednesday night. After a 20-minute tension-coated crawl up the rocky course, during which at any point we could have slid off the narrow path down into the inky Caribbean below, or our driver could have turned mad on us and cracked our skulls with massive breadfruits that he kept hidden at his feet, we arrived at Emerald's. Well, we actually entered a security-manned parking lot where another taxi driver picked us up to shuttle us through the Anse Chastanet resort to one of their many restaurants. Because paths everywhere are steep, this taxi must have transported us all of 100 feet.
Yes, this is St. Lucia for most people that travel there. If you're not on a secure beach or tourist playground, you're left to consider mixing with those that live there, who can hardly afford to dine at the restaurants on their own island. St. Lucia is a daycare center for sheltered honeymooners who can stomach $700+ nightly hotel rates. We were lucky to even be there.
To clear the air, it's also the most beautiful sight I have ever seen and it's hard not to have a blissful experience there. As long as you can keep your cynicism at bay and focus on giving these hard-working locals lots of guilty tips and much-needed business.
Because milk rarely passes our lips, we requested soy milk for our room. We brought it everywhere with us, even to the pool, where we drank iced coffees with organic soya. We left the carton in the restaurant by accident and they saved the milk for us for our morning coffee the next day.
We went for a tour of the cacao plantation at Fond Doux Estates, where we were shocked to see nutmeg in its true form and so many herbs and fruits just laying on the ground as if noone wanted them. Here, we overpay for nature's bounty, when St. Lucia has so much of it because their soil is rich and the weather is right. This worker's job is to dance on the cacao so that it can be sold to....Hershey's in Pa.
Josh was fascinated by the nutmeg fruit and it's alien-esque wrapping. Once you peel off the red skin, it smells strongly of the nutmeg that you have at home.
We weren't the only vegetarians at Fond Doux for the lunch buffet. There were a few others, and we found out together that the breadfruit casserole actually had fish in it that was not mentioned. Fish is considered vegetarian here by many of the locals, so even though we had called ahead of time to arrange a veggie lunch, Josh quickly alerted us to the fish. The beans, salad with scotchbonnet sauce, rice, and cold pasta were otherwise all very filling and tasty. They brought out desserts and I was expecting and by this point, craving, chocolate. No such luck. The gift shop didn't even sell chocolate. I bet it's all in Hershey.
When we got back to Ladera, we found a chocolate bar at our shop and had some tea. They are very big on afternoon tea here, with the special cocoa tea being the famed local drink. I tried some and it just made me want coffee.
That evening (after hours of champagne drinking in our plunge pool and doing WHO KNOWS WHAT) we had our little dinner drive that I mentioned above at Anse Chastanet's Emerald's Vegetarian Restaurant. It was the only veggie restaurant on the entire island, but most places are extremely easy to eat at.
Josh had a plantain satay with a dipping sauce.
My mushroom pate had a rich taste to it. I found the texture challenging.
Josh had a curry and I tried a tortilla of tofu, with broccoli, cauliflower, and sour cream. It was very different from how it sounded, and we both agreed that they were more about presentation here than actual execution.