30 November 2016

An Unconventional Sunday on Anguilla

View from the upper level of Villa Ella
Sunday turned out to be a lazy day all around for us.  We slept a little later than usual, and after a morning stroll on the beach, we decided to have wine & cheese for breakfast.  We’d bought quite a bit of snacks at Best Buy a few days ago, including two bottles of wine, and were a little afraid that, given our roster of dinner reservations, some might otherwise be wasted.  So, taking one for the team, we had a boozy breakfast. Really, since we added a splash of passionfruit juice to the sauvignon blanc, it was really more like sangria, or better yet, a tropical and non-fizzy mimosa, which is a totally reasonable breakfast beverage.

Same view as above, but zoomed in
The day before I requested, and had been granted, permission to have our morning coffee and evening cocktails upstairs on the upper level of Villa Ella. The mosquitos were just so terrible that it was impossible for us to enjoy sitting outside on the lower level, which is the level we were renting, and since the owner was away, she graciously agreed that we could carry our beverages upstairs and bookend our days that way.

Michael had gotten a bit sunburned the day before -- seeing the sun for the first time and being on Shoal Bay East made us a tad careless -- so we decided to be shade seekers for the rest of the morning. After breakfast we read under our umbrella on our beach until the sun crept over the sea grapes, then moved indoors to pack a bag for the afternoon.

We had decided upon Jacala for our lunch that day. I love this place, but I tend to prefer it for lunch over dinner. The location is so pretty right there on Meads Bay that it’s a shame to not see it in full sunlight. We found out after the fact that we were lucky to walk in without a reservation, since it was his first Sunday that Jacala was open for lunch for the season. But we got one of the last two tables available and counted ourselves fortunate. Jacques came over to welcome Michael, and welcome me back, to the restaurant.  I tried gamely to respond in French but I didn’t get very far.

I knew from the start that I wanted crayfish, and while Michael had technically tasted crayfish as a component in other dishes on the island, I wanted him to see it as the star of its own dish. We split a crayfish platter, which was the perfect amount of food when combined with the cucumber soup and the conch ceviche. That soup is one of my favorite soups on the planet -- so simple, but the spicy tomato sorbet elevates the cucumber in a sublime way.

The conch ceviche was beautiful and delicious. We shared both appetizers as equally as possible before delving into the grilled crayfish, which I forgot entirely to photograph. Between the beautiful setting and the incredible food, we were enjoying ourselves immensely. Because they forgot to bring me my glass of rosé until the crayfish had been almost entirely devoured, they comped me a second glass, so we lingered a bit longer than we otherwise would have. But that simply gave us enough time to know that we wanted to dessert, so it was a win-win.

I had had the rum baba once before, after seeing Frank from Savannah Gallery write about it on his blog. With this dessert, you can have your cake and drink it, too.  It was just as delicious as I remembered, with a delicate cake surrounding a scoop of banana sorbet, sitting in a sweet rum sauce.

Ocean Echo’s Rumzie
After lunch, we had planned to stop in at Ocean Echo so that we could see Andrea once again and to hear Omalie 360 play in the afternoon.  We got there close to 3:00 and stayed for about an hour, sipping our rum punches and enjoying the music.  It was too loud to chat, so we didn’t get to talk with Andrea as much as we usually do, but it was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Ocean Echo’s famous drink is called the Rumzie, which was too sweet for me on its own, but I asked Andrea for more lime juice and it made it delicious. Michael liked it jussssst fine as ordered.

We left there to head home to Barnes Bay. There wasn’t much of a sunset that day, but we enjoyed our sundowners anyway. Around 7:00 we drove back down to Sandy Ground to give Criss Conch Shack another try, but nobody was around.  You can’t say we didn’t give them a fair shake, but we were both disappointed not to be able to try a new local place.

We contemplated going back to Elvis’s again, but Michael was torn between that and trying someplace new. Since we had had a very high end lunch, we wanted something more on the casual side, so we drove back to the west end to Picante to eat dinner without breaking the bank. We had a couple of passionfruit margaritas at the bar while waiting for a table to become available, which gave us time to deliberate over the menu.  Michael settled on the chili-crusted spicy tuna tacos while I went with the Picante tacos, and we were both extremely pleased with our selections.  The lighting wasn’t very good, but here’s the only photo that turned out clearly enough:

We were both pretty full by the time we finished our meals, but I have a terrible sweet tooth and Michael was hankering for something sweet, too, so we ordered a frozen lemon-lime pudding to share, accompanied by a lime-chili salt.  Well, it was delicious.  The salt absolutely made it a cut above, and we were both glad we’d ordered it.  With heavy bellies we drove back home where we were wowed by the clarity of the night sky.  Stars were everywhere and with the lack of light pollution we saw so much more than we ever get to see at home. Just gorgeous.


  1. Oh wow, another beautiful day. We love Jacala, lunch or dinner, they never disappoint, it is always amazing.
    I see you ended with a picture of my favorite cove, I too, do not go in if it is at all "wavy" - I was in there one day and got swamped by a rogue wave, thought I was going to be smashed up on the rocks, good lesson.
    Glad you got to see Omalie - they are too good, and of course Andrea is a doll.
    Thanks for posting Emily, I really appreciate your time.

    1. Ellen, thank *you* for being such a faithful reader and commenter. I remember the first time you told me how rough the water got in that little cove and I was surprised, never having visited in November before. Then I saw it for myself, two trips in a row. It can be crazy! I hope that our paths cross again one day on our travels.


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