May 23, 2010

Tong's Thai Island Cuisine


UPDATE 2012: Tong is no longer a resident of Roatan. Unfortunately he had to leave the island due to some unexpected turn of events. A scuffle with a local felon (an unprecedented situation to say the least, in this relatively safe island) led Tong to make the decision to leave the island for safety reasons. A very wise choice I might add. He did leave his staff who now run the place and still offer the same style of Thai food. 

Thanks again to Tong for setting up this great restaurant and for importing his varied smorgasbord of Asian ingredients and exotic meals to the beautiful island of Roatan, Honduras.

Tong is like a local celebrity in Roatan. Not only is he the proud owner of a unique restaurant, he is also the only Thai national on the island, but more importantly for all the food lovers out there, he is responsible for bringing to Roatan the exotic and out of the ordinary tastes from this distant part of the world. The place is called Tong´s Thai Island Cuisine and the food is simply amazing. It is located in the heart of West End and opens from 12pm – 3pm for lunch and 5:30pm – 9:30pm for dinner. As Tong explained, Thai food can be described as having a Chinese inheritance with a touch of local Thai ingredients which include, fish sauce, tamarind sauce, and palm sugar among others, creating that tasteful sweet and sour combination we have gotten used to in Asian cuisine. The salty, tangy, and spicy rainbow of flavors is very apparent and so is the hard and soft textures found in his recipes. Simply put, this place is a must visit for all food aficionados!

One of the most popular dishes from Thailand is the Pad Thai with Shrimp which makes for an incredible main course (do not forget to add the lime and the dry chilly) as the mixture is sure to awaken all the taste buds in your mouth. Tomkhakai is a coconut based soup with chicken, great as a starter, (Tong comments how he adds a homegrown ingredient not found in Honduras). To top it off, the spicy beef salad with herbs is a refreshing compliment to a great all around meal.








May 22, 2010

Mangiamos




Why we like it:

Mangiamos is a combination, deli market/hot & cold foods/convenience store, all in one. This is a one of a kind, one-stop shop located in West Bay. Here you find everything from gourmet sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, and wraps prepared fresh on the spot. In addition, a large selection of imported meats and cheeses are on display begging to be sampled. One may also come across racks filled with all kinds of condiments and sauces, as well as different snacks such as chips and dips, cookies, chocolates, not to mention a varied assortment of juices and sodas. Besides all of these culinary items, you may also find alcoholic drinks like local and imported beer, rum, whiskey and wine which are sometimes hard to find in this area of Roatan. This place can be very convenient, especially for those staying at the West Bay hotels, so do not just visit to shop for your basic food & beverage needs, stay and grab a quick bite to eat and explore the variety of gourmet flavors available.

Recommended:

The spicy Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich with mild Chipotle Sauce and Melted Pepper Jack Cheese is a customer favorite. Some of the sauces i.e. the Thai sauce is also a great selling product. If you are looking to for a casual evening at your hotel or a picnic right on the beach, Mangiamos is the place to go to and purchase the right wine and mix of meats and cheeses. Try as many as you can and all the combinations you can think off. Your mouth and your tummy will thank you!

May 21, 2010

The Vintage Pearl




Why we like it:

Opened in March 2008, the Vintage Pearl´s reputation for serving great tasting, high quality dishes is quickly spreading among the tourists and locals alike. This cozy little restaurant is nestled on a sandy stretch of land on West Bay Beach, hidden from view from the passersby. As it should be in such a warm and exotic location, one has the option to dine indoors or outdoors. Candle lit tables make the experience even more splendid and they help create the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or for that special occasion or just simply to enjoy a nice meal with friends or family. The food can be classified as international cuisine and it is served as a three course meal (soup/salad, main dish, dessert). The wine selection is another key feature at the Vintage Pearl. Currently it has Roatan´s largest wine list with about 60 wines from many of the world renowned wine producing regions (France, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and California), great for accentuating the palate and the rich flavors of the different meals. Service is exceptionally quick and personalized with experienced personnel who are there to provide suggestions on the type of wine that compliment the food best.

Recommended:

Do not forget to make your reservation as space is limited and demand is high. The menu varies every day, but you might want to try their most popular food dishes which include imported USDA beef, succulent duck and lamb, as well as freshly caught lobster and/or wahoo. Not to be outdone, the scallops, escargot, and Mediterranean salads make for great appetizers. For dessert, the crème brulee is a must as it is extremely tasty.

May 03, 2010

A Beautiful Day on The Beach Club San Simon




The Beach Club San Simon has undergone a few changes since I last set foot on its wooden deck, and given that it was more than a year and a half ago when that happened, a major update was well overdue. At a glance, the place does not look that much different. One can tell that most of the structure still remains the same with the exception of the front fence which was completely removed and which I think makes perfect sense, considering the marvelous view of the ocean blue is now visible direct from your sofa bed. The other modifications are mostly aesthetic changes such as a different menu design, new colored drapes, new and abundant beach furniture, and a couple of surfboards decorating the entrance. The blue and white minimalist design is also gone but other features remain such as the tall mirrors and slick photographs decorating the wooden surroundings maintaining that modern and rustic decor combination on this sand filled property lying beach front on West Bay Beach. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, now there is a walkway connecting The Beach Club San Simon to the Mayan Princess. You see, the Beach Club has new management and is now run by the neighboring Mayan Princess Resort, so that would explain the renovations.

As I've said before, to have an all around great beach locale, good infrastructure (nice bathrooms with showers), great music (with a good sound system), and of course delicious drinks and food (at reasonable prices) are a must, and I think the Beach Club still fits all but one of those requirements. At least that is what I experienced during the week of September 2012 where the music being played was not at all what I remembered or hoped for. It used to be a perfect mix of breezy grooves and laid back lounge beats that urged the listener to sit back and enjoy the beautiful sunsets, but instead my wife and I were forced to listen to a constant injection of reggaeton. If that is your type of music then you will have the best beach day ever but if you don't appreciate that music like I do, you will simply make like a tree and leave. I want to think, that this was due to it being low season on the island and that there were but two people in the entire place; or perhaps it was caused by a disobedient bartender who hooked up his phone to the sound system to select his own choice of tunes for that day. Nevertheless, the posh look was still there and the natural beauty was just as spectacular as before; and although we were forced to move beach side to hear ourselves speak, the setup with the roomy opium beds, portable beach beds, and elegant hammocks, still made San Simon a righteous place to spend a hot Roatan afternoon, (but preferably as far away from the high powered speakers as possible!). I must insist that this music selection was strange even if we consider that the local beer Barena had a couple of banners on the premises and as far as I know, they are all about electronic music. I still hope this was just a one time deal at San Simon and that they do go back to playing those groovy chill out tunes which blended perfectly with its original boutique beach club concept and which made it my favorite West Bay hang out.