06 July 2012

Anguilla: Time Is Running Out...

Friday dawns bright and clear--I've rarely seen Barnes Bay look so sparkling!  Perhaps the likkle bit of overnight showers has made a difference.  We mostly laze around in the morning, breakfasting on our yummy leftover banana and pumpkin breads from Veya the night before. I am *so* glad that we asked for the breads to be wrapped up for takeaway and I will make sure I do this every future visit. Coffee and a homemade passionfruit-mango-seltzer concoction complete the meal. 

Our day of departure looms ever-near, so instead of traipsing around today, we take a page out of Robert Herrick's book to make much of time by staying "home" and reading on the balcony until we're ready to tackle lunch.  I know, it's hard living that way, but somebody has to do it. We choose Jacala, mostly because it's a pleasant setting and I love an item on their menu that is only available for the midday meal: the grilled watermelon & goat cheese salad.

I love the crisp, white interior

View of Meads Bay from Jacala

How clever that I color-coordinated my book with the ice tea and place mat!
I remember it from our first visit to Jacala shortly after they opened, which must be a little over two years ago now, but the last two times we were there for dinner and thus it wasn't available.  I'm not sure it's an exaggeration to say that it had been haunting my dreams in the interim. Alas, I must have built it up in my mind a little too much, for while it was very good, it fell short of sublime.  I think, perhaps, that my expectations were unfairly high, but it also seemed a little different this time. The great textures were just as I recalled, but the flavors and temperatures were less distinct.  What used to be a bed of arugula was now mixed greens, and where there used to be a thick, rich balsamic reduction was now just a vinaigrette. 

Grilled watermelon & goat cheese salad

A far-from-pedestrian burger & fries

Mint panna cotta
Still, it was a good lunch, and I think anybody would forgive me for snitching my DH's French fried potatoes while he wasn't looking because they were the best thing on the table that day--perfectly seasoned wedges of the most delicious potatoes. To make up for it, the dessert was perhaps better than I remembered, and that's saying something: the wonderful mint panna cotta with papaya marmalade and chocolate meringue drop.  The server was also kind enough to provide a taste of the soursop sorbet, which we had debated trying. I thought the soursop sorbet was surprisingly creamy, but also surprisingly bland, so I was happy not to have ordered it. Lunch came to around $50 for one bottle of water, one salad, one burger, one dessert, and two iced teas, plus additional gratuity. Jacala isn't exactly moderate when it comes to lunch, but we do like it there.

Jacala now offers these beach chairs & umbrellas
There's also a hammock for one lucky patron
Looking east from Jacala toward Carimar, etc

Interior shot of the bar at Jacala
Comfy lounge space if you arrive early and your table isn't ready yet
We lingered there for a while over our iced tea and our books, enjoying the setting, if not quite the ambience--the music was decidedly schizophrenic and loudly intrusive. Seriously, I made notes about the music at one point so I could mention it in my blogpost. Here's a partial playlist: "She Drives Me Crazy" by the Fine Young Cannibals, a soul/disco montage that included excerpts from "I Will Survive, " "I Believe in Miracles," and "Car Wash," followed by "Memories" from Cats. I kid you not. Still, Meads Bay looked very pretty and besides the chairs set up in front of Carimar and Blanchards Beach Shack, it looked mostly deserted.  Can't say that I blame anybody--it was scorchingly hot there on Meads that day, with very little breeze...

Salt pond. Note the white salt foam gathering at the edge.
...which is why we departed around 2:30 for the breezier Rendezvous Bay.  We set up under a couple of palm trees to watch the world go by while we turned our pages.  Before long, we made a particular friend.  He was absolutely sweet and every 15 minutes or so, he'd shift his body to get more woogies from the other one of us. 

We saw all kinds of fauna that afternoon, including one quite large and one quite small:
I knew there was at least one stable on Anguilla but I'd never seen a horse on the beach before.

After a few hours there, we rode back to Caribella for a swim and to clean up before dinner.  Since lunch was on the splurge-y side, we returned to Blanchards Beach Shack.  I have to say, I'm very pleased with that place.  The women at the window were so cheery and helpful with questions about the menu, the food is both tasty and reasonably priced, and the setting is cool and welcoming.  We had heard complaints that the portions were small, particularly as pertains to their tacos, but the three mini tacos were just the right size for me. It's exactly what Meads Bay has been lacking: a casual and inexpensive-to-moderate beach bar where you can eat with your toes in the sand. We made it there right at sunset, and wouldn't you know it--it turns out to be the only colorful sunset in our entire vacation, and we were there without my husband's good camera.

Sunset at Blanchards

Twilight & twinkling fairy lights
A word to the wise: once the sun sets, the mosquitos come out in full force on Meads. Though we had applied some OFF! before we left home, there were enough mozzies buzzing around us that we left earlier than we otherwise would have. A second word to the wise: if you have a cilantro aversion, stay away from their tacos and their fresh corn salad.  We asked for no cilantro when we ordered, but I don't think they understood the request. I picked out the biggest pieces of cilantro from the tacos, but it would have been futile to pick out the rest of it.  DH's fried shrimps were good, though, and we both loved the tomato-tartar sauce that Blanchards makes. Two Red Stripes, two cups of fro-yo, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies to go (they were just coming out of the oven as we placed our order, and we would've been fools not to add them) brought our total to somewhere in the $35-40 range.

We even turned on the television that night, something we rarely do on vacation, and watched some of the US Olympics trials for swimming.  We'd gotten in so early (7:15 or so) that we didn't want to read right away because we fall asleep pretty quickly when we read in bed.  While eating those wonderful cookies that were still warm & a little gooey, and sipping some whiskey, we channel surfed and discovered the Anguilla channel and watched that for a little while. All in all, another wonderful day.

This is what our sunsets usually looked like--a fat yolk on the horizon, then gray.


  1. Emily - that sure was a lot of fun to read about Jacala. It is always our first evening dinner and then one or two lunches during our stay. I smiled at your comments about Jacques music, he is a music aficionado and has over 1000 cd's - he loves all types of music. He is a super guy -very much a family man, as is Alain his chef, love them both and we do love their food - have tried most of their menu (with the exception of the Steak Tartare) and have enjoyed it all - never a bad meal.
    Another brilliant post - thank you!

    1. I read a Trip to the Beach and enjoyed seeing the pictures of Blanchard's Beach Shack. I really enjoy reading your blog and love your photos! Anguilla might be the next island I visit!

    2. Me too. Anguilla is my next island to visit according to the photos that are attached on this blog, I think I will surely enjoy staying there.

      Anguilla Beach


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