03 September 2014

Last Day on Anguilla: Le Sigh

Thursday is our last full day on the island, so we decide to splurge. Go big or go home!  (Or more like, Go big, then go home.)  For us, this means eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner away from Caribella.  We got off to an early start, arriving at Geraud's around 7:00 for another pastry breakfast, then back home to enjoy Barnes Bay and have a chat with Vandra.
I don't know this flowering plant at Caribella is, but it's lovely
The ixora was in bloom at Caribella
At 11:30 we went inside to pack a beach bag (just in case) before heading out to Jacala. We have eaten quite a few expensive lunches on the island, but among them, Jacala has consistently offered the best food.  I've occasionally found the service to be a bit haughty for dinner (if not always directed at us, then directed at neighboring tables), but I absolutely love it for lunch.  We missed out on Jacala on our last visit, so I made sure we got there this time, saving the best for last.
The beautiful setting at Jacala
I love the crisp, cool interior
Once more, we were the first guests to arrive for lunch. This gave us the luxury of time to consider and debate our various selections without worrying about whether we were holding things up, or monopolizing any staff, and to ask questions about certain ingredients (such as undisclosed cilantro). I eventually settled on the grilled watermelon salad.  I don't know who I was trying to kid, as I've never gone there for lunch and not ordered it, but I guess I wanted to give other dishes a chance. Reckon I'll have to save that for next time.
Grilled watermelon and goat cheese salad
DH, in the meantime, chose the chilled cucumber soup with spicy tomato sorbet, which is the dish I usually pair with my watermelon salad, but this time, we asked if we could each have one grilled crayfish in addition.  It's a regular part of the menu, and the lunch portion is four crayfish per serving, which is just a ridiculous amount of food to eat during the hot part of the day, in my opinion.
This is one of my favorite soups, ever
Simple, grilled crayfish with garlic lemon butter. 
Every bite of our food was excellent from start to finish, and the slightly-out-of-character wine that I sipped with lunch put me in a very mellow frame of mind, indeed.  We sat for awhile, enjoying the breeze, the setting, the company, and naturally, our books.  I walked outside to the beach to make a few photos before returning to the table to order dessert. Looking left up the beach, Meads Bay stretched all the way to Viceroy without many people to interrupt the view, but looking right from Jacala was a very different story.  Between the chairs & umbrellas at Blanchards Beach Shack and the same at Carimar just beyond, it looked quite crowded indeed.  Makes me wonder what it might look like in high season...
Looking left from Jacala 
These chairs are complimentary with lunch at Jacala
Looking right towards Malliouhana
Our server brought a dessert board over for us to make our considered decision.  Once again, I found myself sinking into a rut, but oh, what a delicious rut it was.  I'm fairly certain that for dessert I've never ordered anything else but the mint panna cotta with a papaya mint marmalade, and it was fabulous, and DH opted for the crème brulée, which was good (it's not my favorite dessert). The accompanying meringues were also excellent. In retrospect, I now wish we would have tried the rum baba, after reading about it on the Savannah Gallery blog, but for whatever reason, it didn't jump out at me that day.

After that thoroughly leisurely meal that was satisfactory in every way, we were surprised and delighted that Jacques came by to offer us a taste of one of their special house-made infused rums.  I tried the vanilla rum, but DH's choice of the spicy vanilla rum was the better choice.  Both were good, but the spicy one was of a higher order altogether.  We vowed to ourselves after this superlative experience that we'd never let Jacala slip from our vacation roster again.
Our infused rums
One last panoramic shot before leaving
So, quite sated and beyond sassified, we made our way back to Caribella to read, nap, pack, and swim.  In that order. I don't usually nap on vacation, but the combination of the mellowing effects of wine and the melancholy notion that it was our last day on the island overtook me. Upon waking, I did the majority of my packing so that I could enjoy the last few hours on Anguilla to their fullest. After one last dip in our private swimming cove, it was time to head back home and get ready for the sunset and dinner.
Another lovely sunset
We usually do Veya on our last night on the island, but we had just visited them a second time (and had our first meal there that wasn't wonderful and perfect) with our new friends, Lori and Frank, earlier in the week, so we switched things around and decided to go back to Straw Hat instead. It was an excellent choice, and besides which, it gave us the chance to drop off our bag of books like we do every year for the Island Books program (Straw Hat is one of a few drop off points around the island). We tend to wait until late in our visit so that some books that we read while on Anguilla can be dropped off, too.

We had another great table that night, this time on the eastern end of the patio.  Because we didn't want to rush ourselves, we enjoyed a cocktail before placing an order.  Despite my track record from Jacala earlier in the day, I decided to try something new, Straw Hat's take on a Long Island Iced Tea. Like it's eponym, it's good but strong.

It was a beautiful evening.  Peter and Doris came by to chat, and we so enjoy talking with them.  Peter's always great for sharing island news and tidbits, which we appreciate. Eventually it was time to order, and to my surprise, my carnivore-leaning DH ordered their special eggplant dish.  It stood out on the menu as one of the very few vegetarian entrées available on Anguilla that's not a pasta dish, and afterwards, Peter, DH, and I talked about how surprising that is.  We all three agreed that it was an excellent dish and think that the many fine restaurants on the island should take note and provide at least one vegetarian option on their menus.
Doesn't that look yummy?
I had the crispy grilled snapper with my choice of sides: creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes, with various sauces on the sides.  It was also excellent, and DH and I traded several bites back and forth.

Foregoing our usual caramelized banana dessert, we decided to try the warm coconut tart instead, thus rendering all future dessert decisions at Straw Hat to be impossible, for it was divine.  This may well become one of those restaurants where I force strongly encourage DH to order a separate dessert, because choosing between my old favorite and my new favorite will undoubtedly prove to be too Herculean a task.

We enjoyed the breeze and the warm night and lingered there until we could no longer stave off our yawns.  We don't usually stay out late, but we were the last table remaining, but one. It's hard to say goodbye on the last night, isn't it?  So thus it was that we went home heavy hearted to pack the last few remaining items.

Since we transported a kitty from AARF on the way back to the States, I'll do a concluding post soon that features our travel day and any kind of trip wrap-up that comes to mind.  But in the meantime, thanks for traveling along with me and for sending me your encouragements, both here as comments and on the various travel forums where these trip reports are also posted.  I so appreciate it!


  1. Looks like a fabulous "last day" to me!! Yes, next time try the Rum Baba.... Oh, that flowering plant is a "desert rose". They absolutely thrive in heat, drought and even sea-blast.....

    1. Frank, I'm still haunted by your post on the rum baba cake. Believe me, I'm kicking myself for not trying. next time!

  2. Lovely to catch up with your trip. Jacala was my favourite lunch this year and I too opted for the watermelon and goat's cheese salad - delish! Your meal at Straw Hat looks like the perfect finale to your holiday, we didn't get there at all this trip but next year for sure! Your photos make everything look mouthwateringly delicious!
    I look forward to the pics of the cat. ( We are on holiday in Greece at the moment and have fallen in love with the sweetest cat here which I'd love to bring home but it's so tame it must belong to someone)

    1. Ahhh, Greece. I hope you're having a wonderful time, and if you're so inclined to write up a trip report, I hope you tell your Anguilla-loving friends where we might be able to read it!

      Yeah, that grilled watermelon salad is pretty special. I really must keep Jacala on our regular rotations. Hope to see you next June!

  3. Yum, those food pictures make me want to build a raft and set sail for Anguilla asap!
    I love your eye for details, like the red umbrella and the ixora :)

    1. Rafting to Anguilla? Even I'm not brave enough to do that. Though the food awaiting you would be totally worth all of the seafaring peril.

  4. Soo pretty.

    I feel like I run around so much on vacations that the Caribbean freaks me out since it seems to mainly be about relaxing. But all the food here looks awesome. Especially the crayfish.

    1. You could run around a lot on Anguilla. The National Trust is always sponsoring some hike or another. And there are caves to be explored. And lots of water sports. But I go largely for the food & relaxation, 'tis true.

  5. Since I devour anything coconut, I'm wondering how well that dessert would travel? Could you express it to me over night?

    1. I'm afraid that any dessert I got to go in order to express mail it would be eaten before I got to the post office.

  6. Oh love the Fat Boy Bean Bag Chairs at Jacala..that salad is sublime..who knew you could grill watermelon.

    Rum Baba indeed..next time...

    Loved your blog, Em...

    Now, if I could only get you to Bonaire...


    1. Rum baba = missed opportunity.

      Getting my husband to Bonaire after falling in love with Anguilla will be nigh to impossible. But I'd like to go one day for the snorkeling. AND to see you, of course.


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