Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Vieques Honeymoon: The Restaurants

After getting an overview of the selections on Vieques, Caleb and I decided to forgo snorkeling trips and other paid tours to make our dinners our splurge.  From my first step off the plane, I was craving seafood the whole time, and we were in the right place to get it.  We got our fill of deliciousness, by golly.

See where we ate (and my reviews) after the jump...

 On 997, just east of where it connects to 996 is the pincho stand.  Go.  There.  I'm getting upset just thinking about how I can't have any as I'm typing!
Pincho = BBQ chicken skewers
THIS pincho = tender, moist BBQ chicken skewers that have been drenched in garlic butter
There's also a piece of garlic bread on the end of each skewer.  And dang, the juices he sells!  We tried about 4 but kept coming back to the tamarind as our favorite.  I really, really want some tamarind juice right now.  Pinchos were $2 each, and a cup of juice + ice was $1.  We lunch for $7 four days that week.
(Pro tip: For leftover pinchos, cut them into pieces, saute with leftover BBQ sauce, fresh lime juice, coconut juice, and paprika, then serve over pasta.)

This was the first place we ate.  Good burgers, bad nachos.  Seems to be the place where the local expats like to hang.  There were always some super tanned and comfortable Americans at the bar.

They've got nice food here with a nice romantic atmosphere if you're there in the candlelit evening.  We got to sit right on the edge of the balcony which was almost right on the edge of the ocean.  Having the salty breeze in our faces enhanced our seafood dishes.  Caleb tried lobster for the first time, and I tried a margarita for the first time.

This was our favorite place!  I'm so glad we arrived on Vieques when we did, because a week before, Tin Box was closed for the off season!  The restaurant wasn't quite up and running yet; they were out of the chocolate creme brulée, and they didn't have certain cuts of steak, but we were more than pleased with what we did have.  From now on, every time I have dry rub ribs, I'm going to wish for them to be like the ones from Tin Box.  

We didn't try any of the salads, but we know that they are picked fresh from the restaurant's back yard.  No Joke!  The watermelon was the best I'd ever had.  As recommended by our waiter, I tried the batatas, and I was delighted to find that they reminded me of one of my favorite Korean foods, the kokoma (고구마).  It's a lightly sweet and white potato.  I love them.  Oh, and you know how ordering macaroni and cheese at a restaurant is always a bad idea?  Never in my life have I had such satisfying and perfect restaurant macaroni and cheese.  Actually, if I'm honest, this stuff was better than my homemade version!  We cannot wait to go back!  (Also, our waiter looked like Bradley Cooper and was crazy friendly.)

Puerto Rican inspired tastiness.  We had stead and Puerto Rican paella, and we loved our waiter.  The rice and beans were so yummy.  I wished I'd gotten the seafood paella, but that gives me a reason to go back.  I also think that we would have enjoyed ourselves more if we'd been sitting out on the porch... there was an obnoxious American who was cursing and boasting and who was desperately trying to get his lady friends into bed that night.  Gee whiz.  When they were leaving, we found out that this guy had been invited to dinner by the other 3 (one dude, 2 girls), and I was even more amazed at the punk's behavior.  Those poor unsuspecting friendly tourists.

This was where Caleb and I went for our last dinner on the island.  It's a very romantic atmosphere, and we knew the menu was pricy, so we saved up to make this our major splurge.  Unfortunately, we weren't crazy about it.  There were certain parts that were really cool or good, and I really appreciated how two of the female staff complimented how I looked (like a china doll!), but our overall experience left something wanting.  I think maybe we just made poor menu choices, and I do want to try again, but yeah.  I think that maybe they were trying too hard on somethings when they could have kept to simpler tastes.

We were told by one of my friends that we had to try tostones, but none of the restaurants we visited had them.  They are, in fact, a local food and probably wouldn't make it to the tourist restaurants, so we had to ask around.  Our server at Tin Box asked the folks in the kitchen to ask for us where the best tostones are on the island.  He came back with a piece of paper with El Resulve and spoken directions.  (Heading north on 997, it's close to, but before 200.  It'll be on your right far after the Nature Preserve.)  Well, maybe we caught them on an off day, but I didn't like the tostones very much, but finding it with a hungry stomach was an adventure.  It's a Puerto Rican building with a sign I noticed only once I was looking for it.  Anyway, I'd love to try it again sometime.  They had lots of local fried foods, and it was fun to pick which ones we wanted from the display.

 Sorry for the lack of pictures.  The only food we took a picture of was the little special plate our waiter brought us at The Melting Pot our first evening back in the States/last night of the honeymoon.

Where to eat in Vieques

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