A trip to Grenada wouldn't be complete without a visit to Carriacou. This was my second time on the Island and having learned a lesson from my first visit 5 hours really isn't enough time to truly experience the Island (Check out Jay Eatz's first visit to Carriacou here: www.jayeatz.com/blog/so-youre-hungry-in-carriacou). I booked a Tobago Cays excursion with Isle of Reefs Tours and although possible during a day trip to Carriacou some of the extras we got to do would have been dropped off the itinerary. In order to maximize our time in Carriacou and squeeze in the excursion and some time at Paradise Beach the following day we knew an overnight stay was in order. After some searching online for a hotel in Carriacou, the Mermaid Hotel really seemed to fit our needs.
The Mermaid Hotel located in Hillsborough, the largest town in Carriacou. Everything you could possible need is located within a 5 minute walk. Grocery store, pharmacy, bars and restaurants, even better yet the Mermaid Hotel is also home to the Callaloo Restaurant & Bar. Another bonus is if you are arriving by ferry you can walk to the hotel (no taxi needed).
I would have liked to title this post "So I found the best Roti in Barbados......." but that would be an impossible task to accomplish during a 7 day stay on the Island. So many restaurants offer this Caribbean delicacy in Barbados, you would almost need to live there for a year and eat Roti daily to really be able to make such a statement.
If you are wondering what Roti is well here goes. Roti actually refers to a type of flat bread originating from India. This bread is unleavened meaning gas is not added to the dough to make it lighter which results in the Roti bread's dense consistency similar to pita bread. Traditionally Roti is torn apart and dipped into a curry to sop up the juices and scoop up the meat. In Trinidad during the 1940's the Roti wrap was born (which I will be talking about). The curry that the Roti bread would be dipped in was used as a filling inside a Roti wrap which transformed the Roti into a hand held street food which popularity soon spread throughout the Caribbean. The Roti wrap is simply called Roti. I will give you my opinion on three different establishments where I got to experience the Bajan take on Roti.
So You're Wondering What the Canadian Beef Culinary Series by Karisma is all About? It's a #CDNbeefexperience.......
The best way to have the #CDNbeefexperience in Mexico is to hop on a plane and stay at the El Dorado Royale by Karisma Hotels during the second week of every month and attend the Canadian Beef Culinary Series. The second best way to have a #CDNbeefexperience is to hear about it from the Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador Jay Eatz. I had the opportunity to attend December's offering of the Canadian Beef Culinary Series. The promise of this event: a weeklong celebration of great food and wine. This promise was not broken.
The El Dorado Royale is the perfect setting for such an event. The grounds and facilities are amazing. The staff are friendly, attentive and go out of their way to make sure you are having the best time. All of the dining options available are a la carte (even at the breakfast buffet there is a menu option). Karisma Hotels pride themselves on being a gourmet inclusive resort. The Canadian Beef Culinary Series is truly the icing on the cake when it comes to the culinary experience at Karisma.
Each Canadian Beef Culinary Series follows the same schedule pictured below:
So I Truly Couldn't Have Become the Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador Without The Help of Food Bloggers of Canada.......
On October 13th, 2015 I was checking my emails and lo and behold a newsletter from Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC) brought to us by Canada Beef. "Canada Beef is looking for their Blogger Ambassador to head south to Mexico!" I must admit these words intrigued me, so I opened the newsletter to find out more. "Canada Beef wants to kick off your holiday season by sending you on a warm getaway adventure to Karisma Resorts in Mexico!" "Entering is easy: just create a 2 minute video telling us why you want to be the next Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador and why you love Canadian Beef."
I clicked on the link to the contest page to find out the rest of the details. "Are you a Canadian blogger with an active blog for the past three months?" YES. "Do you love Canadian Beef?" YES, as much as life itself. "Do you have great recipes that use Canadian Beef?" YES. "Do you want to represent Canadian beef in Mexico?" YES!
Now it was time to put together my 2 minute video to submit for the contest. The deadline was October 18th so it was crunch time. I figured it would also be a good idea to read the contest rules and create my video to encompass the criteria that the final product would be judged by. 35% of the judging was based on creativity, 35% was based on delivery and finally 30% was based on passion for beef. I took all these factors into consideration, production began and after a lot of editing my submission was complete. Click the following link to check out my submission as well as those from my fellow competitors.
I can't stress enough how important it was to follow the criteria the contest was expecting from the entrants. There were close to a dozen entries at the beginning of the contest and some of them went well over the 2 minute mark set out by the contest rules. I can't imagine putting all that effort into producing a video for the contest and being disqualified due to length. After a few days of the contest start date there were 9 entries qualified for the voting stage. It is hard to put into words the excitement one gets when they know they have a 1 in 9 chance of winning such a prestigious title and a $6200 trip to Mexico. I also couldn't believe out of FBC 2000 plus members more of my fellow Canadian food bloggers didn't try out for this opportunity (maybe there are a lot of vegan bloggers in Canada?? lol).
The second stage of the contest was the voting period. The top 5 videos with the most votes received between October 19th and October 26th would go on to the judging stage. Now was the time to head to social media to promote my video submission. I am sure some of my friends and family were overwhelmed with my twitter and facebook feeds as I campaigned for the position of Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador. My submission started out of the gate slightly slow but the momentum really started to snowball. I had friends telling me people as far as Japan had been sharing my campaign posts. Some of my fellow competitors had far more social media followers than I did but I did not let this discourage me. The final day of the voting period I was behind the first place video. I had 416 votes and my competitor was a few votes shy of 500. Thanks to an amazing group of friends and followers my video had one heck of a rally the last day of voting. At 7:45 p.m. I had 425 votes and the leader had 499. By 8:59 p.m. I had 481 votes and the leader had 508. At 10:02 p.m. I had managed to take the lead with 541 votes to 535. There was some back and forth up until the 2 a.m Est. deadline for voting. It was almost like watching fourth quarter basketball, I can't believe the amount of messages people sent me updating me on the number of votes my video had. I can honestly say on October 26th everyone I know was totally engaged with Canadian Beef. I ended up coming in first during the voting period with a total of 588 votes just barely nudging past the runner up who had received a total of 575 votes.
If I had trouble putting the feeling of having a 1 in 9 chance of winning the Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador contest into words I am not even going to attempt to describe the feeling of having the odds reduced to a 1 in 5 chance. It was in the judge's hands now, cross my fingers and toes and play the waiting game. The judging was potentially scheduled to be complete by October 31st but qualified entries had 5 days to accept their entry to go on to the final stage. This lead to judging being delayed slightly, one thing this contest has helped me with is the virtue of patience.
On November 2nd the waiting was over, and the winner was..... ME!!!! That was one of the best phone calls I have ever received in my life. Such a great honor to be bestowed on me and such a great reward to go along with the title of being the Canadian Beef Blogger Ambassador. The Canadian Beef people scheduled a conference call to outline the expectations for my time in Mexico. It was amazing to hear them speak about how excited they were that a FBC member was the winner. I proudly display the FBC badge on the sidebar of my blog and it's great to know what kind of impact it carries.
As for the #CDNbeefExperience at El Dorado Spa and Resorts by Karisma Hotels? An amazing culinary experience that everyone should try. In fact I will be highlighting the entire experience in an upcoming blog post and look forward to sharing it with everyone. I will share some highlights that my fellow FBC members might find particularly interesting now. From the moment the plane landed in Mexico until take off I felt like a celebrity. This was my ride to the resort from the airport in Cancun.
These were the 5 culinary events scheduled for the week for the Canadian Beef Culinary Experience.
So It's Sunny Out and You Can't Find Shade, Head for an Umbrella, Umbrellas Beach Bar in Grenada.......
Prior to a recent journey to the Caribbean Island of Grenada I reached out to the twitter-sphere seeking advice about what to do and where to go. One of the greatest resources available on line is the twitter account and website of a company called Beach Bar Bums( https://twitter.com/BeachBarBums, http://beachbarbums.com/). I posed the question to Beach Bar Bums: Where are the good beach bars in Grenada? I was given the list of a few of his picks and Umbrellas Beach Bar in Grande Anse Beach was one of them. I added this to my itinerary and off to Grenada I went.
While there the G.F. and I meet another couple (Alex and Clark) staying at our resort who rented a car and offered to take us to Morne Rouge Beach (A.K.A. BBC beach, yours to figure out) for the afternoon. One of Beach Bar Bums other picks was located there, called Plywood Bar. Coincidentally this was also the location for SUP Grenada http://www.supgnd.com/ (stand up paddle board) which is ran by a fellow Canadian named Derek. I spoke with Derek before heading down and asked him if he wanted anything from Canada that he couldn't find down there. Guess what his request was?
Jay Eatz and the G.F. have recently returned from a trip to Grenada. Lovely place and we both recommend you should go. While you are there, a trip to the neighboring Island of Carriacou is a must (same country, different island). A quick 90 minute ferry ride or a 20 minute flight and you are there.
We did both.
So I have told you where to eat in Antigua and now I thought I would share where one might grab a bite to eat if they found themselves at Shoal Bay in Anguilla. But first things, why Shoal Bay, well it's not only the nicest beach on the island but it is also one of the nicest beaches in the world. US News Travel rates it #5 in the world, the TravelChannel.com rates it #1 beach in the Caribbean as does Frommer's. Jay Eatz thinks it might be a tossup between Shoal Bay and 11 Mile beach (A.K.A. Princess Diana beach) in Barbuda but it's a very difficult call. You can judge for yourself.
So I tried to win the radio contest for the trip to Sandal's Grand Antigua (fail) and decided to write a little bit more about eating in Antigua........
8:06 a.m., awake, streaming 97.5 Virgin radio on the laptop, Tucker and Sarah say "now's the cue to call, taking caller number 9". Me and the g.f. on each of our cell phones plus the land line, busy, redial, busy, redial........ this continues for the next 5 minutes. Caller 9, not us but answers the question wrong. Lines are open again, redial, busy continues. Caller 10, correct answer, free trip to Antigua and not us. BOO!!!!!
Anyways, I figured if I cant be there at least I can write about it some more. Some food in Antigua = expensive. During our last visit to Antigua we opted too go with the European meal plan and our accommodations had a kitchenette and a few communal BBQ's out side. First thought steak on the barbie. Hit up the supermarket and find this.
It seems like every radio station is giving away a trip to Antigua right now so Jay Eatz decided to give a little insight about where one should eat if they ever find themselves at Jolly Harbour in Antigua. This guy recommends Miracle's South Coast Restaurant and Bar located at Jolly Harbour, Valley Road, Main Road at the top of the hill before the main entrance to Jolly Harbour. If your staying near St. Mary's Parish go, go often, go for drinks, do lunch and dinner. Great spot for a cocktail or a cold beer and the food is amazing. I strongly recommend the lobster.