La Isla Bonita

June 26, 2012

Since I’ve been on a blogging hiatus due to wedding hecticness, I thought it was only appropriate to kick off the summer featuring some of the amazing food my husband and I experienced during our honeymoon in Belize.  We actually had two legs of our trip, so I’m going to write two posts on our travels, one from each region we vacationed.

We first visited the island of San Pedro, Belize, which you may not know, inspired Madonna’s song, La Isla Bonita.  The “isla” was, in fact, very beautiful and the people friendly.  My favorite part, of course, was the food!  Our favorite restaurant, Waruguma, was El Salvadoran inspired and had two of the best dishes we ate on the island (we actually went there twice during the week we were there).  Our favorite were the Pupusas, which is a corn pancake filled with whatever you like.  Choices usually include beans and cheese (our go-to order), pork, chicken, shrimp, etc.  This dish is served with a cabbage slaw that you pile on top as well as a mild “red” sauce.  The first day we arrived, we went straight to this little hole in the wall and ordered a few Pupusas and a Shrimp Coconut Cream Burrito.  Wow.  Probably the best burrito I’ve tasted in my life.  I’ve already tried recreating it, but, in my opinion, was not even close (although Jim said it was fantastic).

Another highlight of the trip was the Friday night Mayan buffet at Elvi’s Kitchen.  What a spread!  There was a delicious Cream of Squash Soup garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and croutons, Caramelized Plantains, Chicken Mole, Refried Black Beans, Shrimp Tostadas, Fish in a Coconut Broth, Tamales and Flan and Fresh Fruit to end the meal.  Jim was unable to surpass his buffet record of six plates of food.  I ate a mere four.  Needless to say, we were stuffed upon leaving!

Most of our other meals consisted of popping into places someone had recommended.  A local bartender at the Wahoo Lounge recommended The Reef Restaurant which was very good.  We ordered Pupusas (of course), Panades (which is basically an empanada) and Salbutes (similar to a tostada). Another place we tried was Hemingway’s.  The owner, John, was extremely friendly and the Snapper Cakes there were divine.  Since we were honeymooners, he offered us a special concoction of fresh squeezed juices and rum.  It was very refreshing and I will be making this at home, as well.

If you are a coffee drinker, the best (read strongest) coffee can be found at the Sailaway Cafe.  They also serve a pretty mean pannini with chipotle dipping sauce that Jim and I split for an afternoon snack.

Throughout the trip we also made a couple late-night stops at the street vendors.  They might quite possibly have the best food in the country!  Cooked fresh right in front of you and loaded with veggies and hot sauces.  Yum!

The last evening we went out to a fancy dinner at Blue Water Grill, white tablecloths and all.  Although we were a little wary upon entering because there were no locals inside, we were blown away by the service and taste and presentation of the food.  We ordered Gazpacho and Coconut Shrimp to start off with and both were absolutely delicious.  I’ve already recreated an amazing Gazpacho and will be sharing that recipe soon.  I ordered the special which was an Oven-Fried Grouper with a Lemon Mustard Sauce, Rice and Roasted Veggies.  Jim ordered Grilled Grouper topped with a Mango Salsa and served with Sweet Potato Patties.  The meal here was an exquisite end to our journey.

We were definitely sad to leave the island when our time was up…especially since we missed the start of lobster season/LobsterFest by two and a half weeks!  In between meals we spent our time snorkeling, biking, fishing and enjoying island life.  However, the second leg of our trip did not disappoint.  Next up: San Ignacio, Belize!

Oh, and everything’s better with a Belikin.