04 July 2013

A Day at the Beach: Shoal Bay East, Anguilla

Shoal Bay East
Up until this year, Shoal Bay East was my clear favorite for beaches on the island.  Not just gorgeous, but full of character and long enough to wear yourself out walking, and with soft sand.  Plus those myriad shades of blue, an endless horizon, and a sampling of beach bars to keep one well-libated. Now, it seems, Rendezvous Bay is running neck-and-neck with Shoal Bay for me, so clearly the best policy will be to visit each one as many times as possible to make a decision.

A tree grows in Brooklyn a concrete bunker
The drive out to the east end takes a while from Caribella.  Maybe 25 minutes if it's raining or if I'm stuck behind a slow driver.  We pass a couple of interesting things on the turnoff to Shoal Bay, like a random tree growing out of a concrete bunker, or the Nuncy Tamarind Tree, which is undoubtedly lovely, and it has its own sign, but it's unclear to me what its special significance might be.

The Nuncy Tamarind Tree
But really, back to the beach photos.  When's the last time you saw gorgeous water like that?

DH and I always park our butts at Elodia's because we enjoy the company of Carol and because we appreciate the extra shade of the tent/pavilion thing.  We can sit underneath it all day and not have to worry about moving our chairs to chase the shade.

Plenty o' shade
Food is not Elodia's strong point, but it's better on the weekends when they grill chicken & ribs and have a special pasta menu like they did on Saturday.
This is the first time we'd seen a special menu board like this.

We ordered the chicken & ribs combo platter to share, and it was just about the right amount of food for us. The fries aren't great, so we left most of them on our plate and went for a walk around the point towards Gwen's and Upper Shoal Bay.

We made reservations for dinner at Straw Hat because we were in the mood for something convivial, and I figured that they would be relatively busy.  We'd been putting off having dinner there until at least Friday because Peter was going to be off-island and we wanted to make sure we visited with him.  Good thing we waited until Saturday night because he got delayed by LIAT (natch). Also, they're a drop-off point for Island Books, so we dropped off one small bag of picture books, with plans to drop off another bag for teens/adults before the end of the trip. (I just need to finish reading a couple first!)

They weren't seating at the outermost line of tables due to weather, which was a little disappointing on our part, but well-informed on their part as there were light sprinkles throughout the evening. Armel was one of our servers, and she's just terrific. They've got a good team at Straw Hat.  It's one of our three favorite fine dining places to eat, and it always seems to be lively and fun and good natured.

I ordered my usual Ti Punch, which is one of the best rum punches anywhere, in my opinion.  Very tart, redolent of bitters, and just the thing. We avoided our usual dishes, though, for variety's sake.  DH ordered the grilled shrimp with creamed spinach and coconut rice while I opted for the red curried shrimp with mushrooms and coconut rice.  Both were very good.
Grilled shrimp
Red curry shrimp
For dessert, we split one of my two favorite desserts on the island: the caramelized bananas with vanilla ice cream, pineapple, and a rich caramel sauce (the other one is the dense coconut cake at Veya). Seriously, give me a fruity dessert any day over a chocolate one and I'm one happy camper.

All in all, it was a day that was practically perfect in every way, to quote Mary Poppins.  We had a glass of the Ron Zacapa and a decaf coffee to round things out before heading back to Caribella. Peter, being the sweetheart that he is, surprised us by comping the dessert course. I hope it's not because I gave him a hard time about not finishing one of my favorite books!

Right as we were walking out into the parking lot, I heard somebody calling my name, but tentatively.  Turns out to be the husband & wife team of RefereeJoe from the TripAdvisor forum.  We had a nice time chatting there in the vestibule of Straw Hat while a fairly wild storm raged outside. 


  1. Shoal Bay East looks lovely, and the colors are unrivaled, but we have never spent any time on Shoal Bay East. Whenever we have been there, there were a lot of people - now it looks quiet compared to Meads Bay, and the 30 chairs lined up at Blanchard's.
    Straw Hat is one of our do not miss, love the whole gang, Armel and Doris, and Peter is a great host and their new Chef Nick can cook up a storm. Love that corner table on the west end of the patio.
    You sure get around, I am afraid we mostly park on the beach for the day and then go out at night, I admire your ambition!
    Thanks as always for the great writing Emily.

  2. You have so taken me back to afternoon's on Shoal Bay East. I love Elodias and agree that the chicken and rib is a great option for two for lunch. I've been to Mead's but I just don't get it? I would choose SBE or Rendezvous or Cove Bay anyday...

  3. So sad it is all coming to an end = much too soon not only for you, but for all the readers like myself who enjoy getting to glimpse the island through your posts. I have never eaten at Straw Hat for dinner, which now I have learned is something I clearly need to rectify on our next trip.
    Best to you for an enjoyable last day and safe travels home,

  4. agreed, Straw Hat's Ti Punch is the best on island!!


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