A jewel of Utila... JADE
a city beneath the sea: a fantastical place built from a treasure
trove of discarded "junk" from the world above,
a place inhabited by fanciful creatures and colorful seahorses.
The Jade Seahorse resembles just such a place. Walk into this
cavernous restaurant and prepare for a somewhat overwhelming
display of colorful oddities. Carved, illuminated buoys serve
as light fixtures; old bed frames find new life as window
decorations; and those giant insects on your chair are, thankfully,
only made of plastic.
I'll be honest. Having eaten there several times before, I
went to The Jade Seahorse with the expectation of great ambiance
but, a long wait. However, the service was as prompt as it
The menu features an array of seafood offerings with an even
greater variety of sauces, but I decided to try the Baleada
preparado, an enormous home-made tortilla filled with rice,
beans, egg, and white butter. My companion decided on the
Pumpkin Hill Chicken, which comes with a curry-style sauce,
rice, fried plantains, and coleslaw.
Unfortunately, the burrito was rather bland, although the
zesty hot sauce on the table gave it a kick.
The chicken was another story entirely. With its sumptuous
sauce and tender meat, it was, perhaps, the finest chicken
dinner I've tasted on Utila. For two huge plates of food,
a big glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and two Salva
Vidas, the bill came to a reasonable 174.00 lps.
After a meal at The Jade Seahorse, take the time to stroll
around the grounds and climb the stairs to The Treetanic Bar,
a tree-house bar in the shape of a boat. The architecture
and décor are fanciful and unique, unlike anything
else on the island (or the rest of Honduras, for that matter).
start things off we ordered a couple of appetizers. The ketchup,
lime and soy sauce for the lobster cocktail was nice, yet
my fellow reviewer looked on with more interest at my Mexican
cocktail. It had just the right amount of spiciness. Served
with onions and vegetables it was a good choice to start up
an adequate appetite for the main course.
We accompanied the meal with a Venezuelan
pilsner. Polarcita, as the beer is called, presented a nice
alternative to the selection of mostly Chilean Macul and American
Ernesto & Julio Gallo wines.
The 390 Lps. Eldon special is quite
a sight. There are crab legs, lobster torsos and jumbo shrimp
piling the giant platter. Smashing the crab legs was an experience
in itself. Hitting the shell square on and not too hard is
a necessary skill for any deserving crab eater. There seems
to be variety of schools of thought on splitting the crab
shell; we followed the "hit and brake" motto.
Working hard to eat our crab, we found
the lack of "aftertaste flavor kick" a little disappointing.
A couple of theories surfaced: was the crab frozen too long
or perhaps it was over boiled? Our waiter finally announced:
"We boil the crab for 15 minutes."
"Ten minutes longer than most crabs
really deserve," we thought to ourselves.
baked potato accompanying the seafood was a little overdone.
So we deserted to garlic bread as a perfect tool to scoop
up the delicious sauce around the Eldon's platter.
In retrospect I preferred the crab with
the garlic sauce to dominate the overall taste of the seafood.
The lobster was a better choice and shrimp was best.
red sauce linguine proved a fine competition to the seafood
platter. Pasta was al dente and the Gio's sauce
seafood platters are a staple of this classic French Harbour
restaurant by the bay.
a proven winner. The green peas in the Gio's red sauce were
my first, but mixed with sun dried tomatoes, they triumphed
in a splendid combination of flavors.
a suggestion note: we longed for a red leaf or a romano in
our salad bowls, but ended up disappointed. Cotton napkins,
heavier dishware and silverware would probably better match
the food, price and overall experience of the restaurant.
Mostly international tourists and a
few ex-pats filled the terrace tables. The view from the terrace
is magnificent. Water right outside our table and French Harbour
with its many lights in the distance make Gio's a perfect
place to impress someone on a first date.
You can definitely impress her that
you can pay a pretty hefty bill. We decided to order a couple
cups of Honduran grown coffee and a small piece of cherry
cheesecake to soften us for the bill. And we needed a lot
of softening as the tax and service put the damages at 1,283
Gio's does take credit cards.
would you spend your last 100 lempiras? Let's say the banks
are closed, your stash of reserve dollars is gone and you're
hungry. Then, you find a wrinkled 100 lempira bill in the
pants you wore to last week's beach party. You are saved
you think. Because you can get a great meal for a 100 Lps
in West End.
My first stop was Rotisserie Chicken
on the West End strip. The restaurant is located in a simple
beachside building with a porch for a dining room. A lonely
single parrot (recently widowed) with a trimmed tail greets
you at the doorstep. A quarter chicken with potatoes salad
and coleslaw will set you back 60 LPs
The Chicken was roasted to perfection
and since there is no price on perfection, 60 lempiras for
a perfectly roasted chicken in a real bargain. A soft drink
is only 10 LPs The coleslaw alone could feed a small German
family and was mouthwatering good. Potato salad
the creamy sauce, well heavenly
I can tell how I like a roasted chicken
by how ready I am to eat the skin. And the rainbow of browns
made for an appetizing site. The chicken had great flavor,
with the skin effortlessly peeling off. If the sauce is not
enough one can always add it from a generous Cajun Seasoning
bottle sitting at every table.
The flimsy plastic knife and fork are
no help and your fingers will probably end up doing the work.
It is in places like this I realize that I am a real carnivore.
Within minutes a casual dinner at Rotisserie Chicken become
a scene from M*A*S*H operating room. There was only a single
wish after the meal: more napkins please.
A glance into the kitchen would qualm
any sanitary concerns: everything is spotless clean. Another
good thing, you can always get a late night meal here as the
restaurant stays open till 3am on weekends.
The place is relaxed, casual. But not
a restaurant where you want to go on a first date. Unless
you are both broke. Eating at the restaurant you are surrounded
by real West End mix: Hawaiian shirts, bare feet, dive watches
and dreadlocks. Lively dive instructors talking about relationships.
The music comes courtesy of the lively Sun 107.
50 meters further under another almond
tree you can cap off your evening with an iced coffee. "Frozen
Iguana" (sign pending) looks like yet another wooden
shack with four wooden benches. With 30 LPs to spare this
was a perfect way to cap off the evening of juicy Germanic
roast with a delicious iced coffee.
Bay Islands VOICE magazine awaits your
suggestions how to most creatively and wisely spend your last
100 lempiras on a great meal and desert. Send us your ideas.
price 100 Lps/plate
with a View
décor was relaxed, economical, but could provide a good
setting for a romantic dinner. Green plastic chairs, plastic
tablecloth and PVC pipe serving as lighting sconces. For the
greater part of the evening we could hear the sounds of the
sea crushing on the rock formations below us; at times the noise
of Telemundo from a bar TV filled the air. A wonderful view
of Half Moon Bay was enough for us to enjoy the ambiance.
The resort customers provide a fairly
steady clientele base to Half Moon Bay Restaurant. According
to our waiter, the business picks up as a restaurant next door
closes for a day. The two restaurant chefs are perhaps a little
overworked as they work six day shifts with one of them pulling
a double shift as the other rests. Since quality and overworked
chefs don't go together, we made sure on our day the chef was
Strawberry Daiquiri and Pina Colada could
make this place a favorite after work hangout for the more discriminating
drinkers. The restaurant offers a fair number of choices: seafood,
meats, even burgers. We decided to stay with seafood and began
with a fresh and sumptuous shrimp cocktail. Instead of crackers
we munched on warm, buttery coconut bread. The other appetizer,
a conch soup with vegetables was creamy and smooth.
calamari torsos covered in cream garlic sauce arrived before
we were done with our first course. There was a little table
chess as we tried to make room for bigger dishes.
The garlic sauce of the main course
was just strong enough to neutralize the more potent calamari
(or even conch) taste. It was a little overpowering for the
more subtle fresh shrimp of my fellow diner. The calamari
heads outnumbered giant French fries two to one. A little
under-steamed carrots, sting beans and cauliflower completed
the rather faded palette of colors of our main plates. Overall
the entrees were a little blah.
We splurged for a nice desert to cap
it all of: island lime pie was sweet and good. The coffee
wasn't. Condensed milk in a can and coffee prepared in an
instant, woke us right up for the bill: $48.34 including tip.
To compensate for the bill, we considered hitchhiking home
very original "Sacrifice Bar and Restaurant" sign
up front gives the expectation of a relaxed, reggae type of
a place. Sacrifice restaurant has been around since December
of 2002, when Mrs. Dorette Martinez brought her Belizean cooking
experience to the Punta Gorda seaside.
Six tables line the walls of the restaurant's
wooden structure. Visible is the metal roof and two by four
wooden rafters. A bare frosted lightbulb provides the lighting
at night. Cicada songs, ocean waves and reggae music provided
a backdrop for the meal.
Sacrifice is also a local hangout. If
you are after tuxedo wearing waiters, fork and knife placed
on a napkin or a foreign beer served in a chilled glass (or
just any glass) you couldn't feel more lost here. But, if
you are after genuine island cooking, you came home. The hostess,
cook and waitress was all Dorette Martinez and she presented
her soul food with a commitment of a four star Michelin chef.
Our entree, a cow foot soup was hardy
and filling. Not for the squeamish however as one could overanalyze
the cow's foot structure and be distracted from the smoothness
of this home cooked dish. The tenderness of the tendons and
fat made this a perfect starter for the home-food starved
guests. Boiled plantains, pasta and vegetables made good company
with this little appreciated side of beef. Or is cow foot
no longer qualified as beef and is just an extremity? I await
fish is always a fresh catch brought in by local fishermen
and according to Mrs. Martinez even occasional swordfish or
shark makes it onto the menu.
tortillas served with the main course were fresh and delicious.
Plantains tasted a little dry and a little under salted for
my taste. Side salad was a delight: green leaf, carrot and
tomato in a creamy sauce. The two deep fried lobsters were
fried just right and nicely presented with cut and twisted
lime. It was one of several details that remind us that we
are tasting island food with a little international flare.
The wooden walls of the 10-foot
by 15-foot space were decorated with maritime murals. A Picasso-like
painting depicting a shark attacking a swordfish reminded
me of Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. The murals author is
Eloy Martinez, a co-owner of the restaurant who hails from
Belize. Two other artists: Marcos Tuilo Guillen and Dennis
Luma lend a hand in decorating the restaurant in sea themes,
making quite an impact.
Plastic tablecloths, plastic chairs,
yet there is nothing artificial
about the food. Mrs. Martinez's cooking is about good quality
ingredients, proven recipes and a little imagination in the
presentation. Fufu (Creole) AKA Machuca (Spanish) AKA Hudut
(Garifuna) is one of the restaurant's specialties. To prepare
this island classic of boiled plantains, fish and coconut
milk, Mrs. Martinez needs a day's notice and 40 LPs per person
for this meal for five.
At the end, a lack of something sweet
made us feel a little blue, but one look at the calmness of
the Roatan's north shore sea brought the calm. A cup of good
instant coffee with real cream completed our meal and woke
us up for the bill. Paying 340 LPs for two, it was a real
island food at old island price. We still had more than enough
money left to catch a 100 LPs taxi to French Harbor.
you think of Chinese food you think of China, New York, maybe
now you can think also of Las Fuertes, Roatan.
Chinese Restaurant" has been an island tradition for almost
20 years. Originally opened in French Harbor from 1984 to 1989,
it reemerged in Las Fuertes in 1994. The Tang family has brought
a taste for Chinese cuisine via Nicaragua where Mr. Tang (or
Danks) senior now resides. The cooking tradition is continued
by a new generation and some new ideas and variations were introduced
to the original Chinese dishes.
The menu is abundant with variety, and
boasts close to a hundred choices. The items are numbered "0"
(your reviewers first encounter with the menu item "0")
thru 94 but include few appetizers and no deserts.
dining experience began with a cold towel to clean our hands
and ice cubes in a glass: a welcome sight anywhere on Roatan.
Chinese style tacos with sweet and sour
sauce not dissimilar to vegetarian spring rolls started our
dining experience. Fried and hardened rolls were fried just
a tad too long, couldn't "roll", but all and all were
quite good. An Atlantic Wonton soup for two had a dominating
chicken flavor, but shrimp, beef and pork also could be found
in this restaurant specialty. The Atlantic uses
the three meat and shrimp combo as its staple item. Aluminum
spoons with the soup were a brave choice as few Chinese restaurants
brave the noodle and aluminum combination.
decor was functional and unpretentious. One could imagine sitting
down in a small town Sichuan restaurant. Being surrounded by
mainland China souvenirs: fake plastic flowers, ornamental light
boxes, painted fans and decorative foreign beer bottles gave
Atlantic a definite "authentic esthetics." The clientele
included quite a few take out customers and several casually
dressed pairs on an evening out.
At Atlantic, a little patience
awards you a generous main dish portions to appease any appetite.
Atlantic fried rice with nice curry spice felt quite satisfying.
Ketchup and mustard were clearly visible additions on our Chop
Suey with Shrimps and fresh greens. We must confess that we
found this taste combination a little confusing yet intriguing.
We wished for a cup of brewed Chinese
tea, but were content to settle for its teabag version.
Our bill came without a fortune cookie
but paying 430 lempiras for two, we had enough money leftover
to buy our own fortune. We left content, carrying "doggie
bags" of our dinner for the following day.
by the Beach
3000 miles from Buenos Aires Posada Argentina
gives mortals a glimpse of Gaucho Heaven
is a place where you think about coming for a Valentines dinner,
it's a kind of a place you perhaps went to with your parents
on Sunday after church. This classic West End restaurant evokes
many memories... with its proven and consistently good menu
it is a as close to Argentina as one could get without a going
through customs in Buenos Aires.
The clientele was varied in age and origin:
there were tables with Islander families, expats of first dates
and diving aficionados. Posada Argentina is clearly a carnivore's
paradise, but prompt and bilingual wait staff could make up
for the lack of non meat choices on the menu.
Music was a well choreographed "beach
ambiance," perhaps the sole departure from the Argentinean
theme of the restaurant. Perhaps Mercedes Sosa, or even a quiet
tango, could echo the feelings of Pampa the delicious chimichuri
sauce of parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, oregano
and chili paste.
For appetizers we picked Grilled Beef
Kidneys and chorizos (sausages), both Argentinean classics at
a perfect place to find out why they are so. One could not change
a single thing and we looked at our appetizers disappearing
with regret, a sure sign of great food. The feeling didn't last
long as within a couple minutes our main dishes arrived.
more then generous fillet mignon in black pepper sauce was
just raw good. The accompanying it broccoli, carrots and cauliflower
were killed to perfection. Quite a contrast to the life of
red meat, but it somehow all worked well.
Posada Argentina offers Chilean,
Concha de Toro wines by a "smallish glass;" but
this is quite inadequate compared to the sizes of the meat
platters. A better choice is just buying a whole bottle.
The main course portions were generous
and left us just barely enough room for caramel and coconut
flan. We spotted tell-tell signs of all natural ingredients,
but a puzzling subtlety of coconut. Banana
Flambee with ice cream was decadently sweet and creamy, with
a presentation to match. One missing element was espresso
coffee to accompany the last minutes of the meal as the drip
coffee substitute left us a little lethargic yet content.
bill arrived promptly and the 758 lempiras for two were worth
every centavo. This quality of experience one can find in
better restaurants of New York or Madrid...
by Bonette Cooper
Seed Shrimp Toast
uncooked shrimp for this dish, as cooked ones will tend to separate
from the bread during cooking.
uncooked shrimp, shelled
1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1tsp finely chopped scallions
½ tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch paste
1 cup white sesame seeds
6 large slices white bread
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying salt and ground black pepper
Chop the shrimp with the shortening to form a smooth paste. In the
bowl, mix with all the other ingredients except the sesame seeds
2. Spread the sesame seeds evenly on a large plate or baking sheet;
spread the shrimp paste thickly on one side of each slice of bread,
then press, spread side down, onto the seeds.
3. Heat the oil in a wok until medium-hot; fry 2-3 slices of the
sesame bread at a time, spread side down, for 2-3 minutes. Remove
and drain. Cut each slice into six or eight fingers (without crust).
Lime Coconut Snowballs
sweetened, shredded coconut
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (regular, low-fat or fat
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp key lime juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated fresh lime rind
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 pound confectioners' sugar
oven to 350º. Spread 2 cups of the coconut on a baking sheet
and place in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly
toasted. Toss the coconut once or twice during baking to ensure
even browning. Be careful not to let it burn. Transfer the coconut
to a bowl to cool completely.
a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining coconut, sweetened condensed
milk, corn syrup, lime juice, vanilla, lime rind and graham cracker
crumbs. Beat by hand or with an electric beater until well blended.
Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Place
in the refrigerator until cold.
your hands, form the chilled mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll
each one in toasted coconut. Make sure each ball is generously coated.
Place them on a large platter in the freezer for at least 1 hour
before serving. Makes about 5 dozen.
the Snowballs in an airtight container in the freezer for up to
POTATO AND MANGO KETCHUP
4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Marinate the chicken in the above ingredients for 30 minutes.
Sauté the chicken breasts in a pan for 4 minutes on
each side over medium heat. Season with freshly ground pepper.
2 cups french fries
½ cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups cornflakes
2 cups canola oil
Put the cornflakes and bread crumbs in a blender and mix until
fine. Roll the french fries in the flour. Roll them in the
egg and then the cornflake mixture. Repeat this process only
once. Cook the fries in the heated canola oil in a deep pan.
Lift out when golden brown.
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 fresh mango
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Blend all ingredients well in a mixer.
THAN SEX" CAKE
box yellow or white cake mix
1 cup brown sugar
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 large container cool-whip
Coconut & nuts as desired
cake per directions on box. When cake comes out of oven, poke
approx. 20 holes through cake (end of a wooden spoon works
well). Pour combination of boiled brown sugar and pineapple
over cake. Make pudding from box mix and spread over cooled
cake. Last spread cool whip on top of pudding and garnish
with coconut and nuts. Enjoy.
cup veggie oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large head iceberg lettuce, sliced (or combo lettuce and
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumb/ed
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
4 green onions, sliced
3/4 cup chow mein noodles
a jar with tight fitting lid combine oil, sugar vinegar, salt
and pepper. Shake well. Chill for one hour. Just before serving
combine lettuce, bacon, almonds, sesame seeds, chow mein noodles,
& onions in large bowl, add dressing & toss.
oz package frozen corn
2/3 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
White pepper to taste
ingredients, except butter and flour, in a large sauce pan
and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Blend butter with flour,
add to the corn, mix well and remove from heat.
can (l# 10 oz.) whole green chilies
l# Monterey Jack cheese, cut in strips (1"wide, 3"long,
1/2# grated cheddar cheese
5 large eggs
1/4 cup flour
1-1/4 cups milk
seeds and core from chilies, dry with paper towels. Slip M.J.
cheese strip into each chili. Beat eggs with rotary beater.
Gradually add flour; beat until smooth. Arrange half of the
stuffed chilies in well greased baking dish, 9x13. Sprinkle
with half of the cheddar cheese on top. Then put the rest
of chilies on top and sprinkle with remainder of cheddar cheese.
Pour egg mixture over all. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.
Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Cover with foil.
CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE
1 cup water
1/4 cup baking cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Island sour cream (Crema Pasteurizada)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1 6-ounce box powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pea cans, toasted
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup Island sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
milk (approximately 1/4 cup)
the butter and water to a boil in saucepan. Remove from heat.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt in large mixing
bowl. Add the water and butter. Mix in the eggs, sour cream,
vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour into a a greased I 5"xlO"xl"
baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until
toothpick (inserted near middle comes out clean).
Meanwhile combine powdered sugar, nuts and remaining cocoa
in mixing bowl. Melt remaining butter in small saucepan over
medium heat. Add to sugar mixture with remaining sour cream
and vanilla. Thin to desired consistency with milk and blend
thoroughly. Spread over hot cake. Let cake cool completely
Tal? Cafe (West End):