23 June 2011

Anguilla, Anguilla, Anguilla: part the fifth

Tuesday -- Summer Solstice and our 8th anniversary

Eight years ago today, my husband and I married on the island of Antigua at sunset on the summer solstice, surrounded by our family and closest friends at the Long Bay Hotel, a small family-run inn on the eastern side of the island.  Now we're back in the Caribbean celebrating our anniversary.  I know it's a cliche to say that time passes by more quickly as one ages, but I can hardly tell where the years have gone. 

We rise early and breakfast on our balcony.  Or at least I do.  DH mostly has been drinking his tea in the morning and not been interested in food.  Something's up with his appetite, which is a shame on Anguilla, but on the plus side, it means we're saving a lot of money by sharing all of our plates instead of ordering separately.  There's something about being thankful for small favors…
Anyway, around noon we pack up a beach bag and head to Meads Bay.  We'd never lunched at Straw Hat before, so we set up shop there for a few hours since they give lunch guests complimentary use of chairs & umbrellas.  I ordered the warm tomato tart, a pastry shell filled with a cheese, something a little horseradish, and topped with beautiful, locally grown tomatoes, and which was accompanied by a small salad.  DH opted for the hot dog platter, which was huge.  Neither one of us was able to finish our meal, I'm afraid.  I think there's something about eating during the heat of the day that stanches our appetites.  We did, however, manage to polish off our Tings and Ti punches--one of my favorite rum punches on the island is Straw Hat's Ti punch, which is full of piquant, lime-y goodness.  I'm definitely not a fan of the sweeter punches, especially those topped with amaretto!  Lunch came to $47, plus an additional tip.
Yum--Ti punch!

Two Hobie cats on Meads Bay
After lunch we curled up on our beach chairs and read some more.  Meads Bay is really quite beautiful, with the beach gently sculpted into scallops.  Most of the thatched umbrellas at Frangipani were in use, and looking to either end of the beach you could see crowded stands of white umbrellas & chairs at the Viceroy and Carimar, but everything in between was largely empty.  It also seemed much hotter at Meads than anywhere else we have visited so far on the island: Barnes, Shoal Bay East, West End Bay, and Cove Bay. So while I fully agree that Meads is a beautiful stretch of sand and that the water is equally lovely, there's something about that beach that lacks character for me.  A good comparison, I suppose, would be to say that Meads Bay is the ingenue while other beaches are the older actresses, whose talents and life experiences render them full of character and interest.
Meads Bay looking east toward Carimar

Meads Bay looking west toward Viceroy
Double self-portrait under the umbrella at Straw Hat
 Around 3:30 we left our chairs for a walk towards Viceroy but it was so hot that my husband turned back to see the shade of our umbrella once more.  I didn't persevere much longer.  Despite going for a swim twice, we were too warm to sit out any longer (this despite our umbrella for shade) so we packed up our bag and hit the bar instead, where we chatted with Peter Parles for the better part of an hour, on topics ranging from crazy artists to cricket to the Viceroy to the old Fairmont development (now being developed by a Dubai company whose name eludes me).  After sufficiently cooling down, we returned to Caribella, where I went for my first snorkel there.  I have to say, the snorkeling at Barnes Bay must have been spectacular once upon a time but it is completely colorless now, but there are dozens of small caverns where the fish dart and play and that was interesting enough for me.  If it ever recovered and coral could grow there, it would be a wonderful place to spend hours snorkeling. 

Dressed for dinner--unintentionally out of focus
A special anniversary dinner in Anguilla can mean only one thing for us, and that's Veya.  We were extremely fortunate to catch them open on their last night before closing for a two week vacation!  That news completely took us by surprise when Jerry stopped by our table to chat--and disappointed us, too, as we had been counting on eating there on our last night on the island next week.  There was no announcement on their website or on the travel forums that I could see, so I hope this news will prevent other people from being disappointed at the last minute if they try to make same-day or next-day reservations.  My husband and I swapped out roles for the night and he ordered the two small plates that I almost always get: the grilled watermelon with poached shrimp, mint, & pecans and the flank steak lettuce wraps.  I in turn opted for the full crayfish entree when Tamika, our server, mentioned that they'd just gotten it in that afternoon.  Well, it was far too much for me to finish, with three entire crayfish, halved and drizzled with a ginger beurre blank, accompanied by greens and coconut rice, but it was delicious!  The amuse-bouche for the evening was a conch fritter with a spicy remoulade (what we'd call a comeback sauce at home) and of course the johnnycakes and pumpkin bread served with the meal were also excellent.  We ordered the coconut cake and the mango served three ways for dessert, along with a shot of very good rum from Guatemala (Botran, maybe?), and between courses Jerry also presented us with a complimentary round of rose champagne for our anniversary, which touched us greatly.  Two bottles of water and one additional cocktail brought our meal to US $163, plus an additional tip. 

Veya is absolutely our favorite fine dining restaurant on the island and it has never disappointed us.  Everything from Chef Carrie's cuisine to the warm greetings that every staff member brought to us, to the pleasant treetop setting, to the overall value makes it an experience we can bank on.  We've now been there seven times over the course of five trips to the island and it has proven to be as delicious and consistent from first trip to last. 

Straw Hat's eponymous chandeliers


  1. LOVE this review...love the Ti Punch. Have not been to Veya yet. I appreciate your descriptive details.

  2. Great pics.

    I like the chandelier...


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