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Caribbean - Best Beach and Street Food

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Dock and Dine on Long Island Sound
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Lobster pot restaurant - dock and dine - marinalife
Lobster Pot Restaurant | Needpix

WHERE TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE CRUISING into unfamiliar harbors often feels like an insurmountable problem, especially along the Northeastern Seaboard. While looking around Long Island Sound to create a guide to its gastronomic offerings, we realized that this region hosted so many great dining options that it merited a two-part series.In this issue of Marinalife, we present a delicious sampling of the Connecticut Shore's waterfront establishments that feature fresh seafood and local cuisine. Stay tuned for our summer edition when we tour the culinary treasures along the Long Island New York Shore.

West to East on the Connecticut Shore

MAMARONECK, NY

La Piccola Casa Ristorante

Dock at Nichols Yacht Yard and treat your crew to great Northern Italian cuisine in an historic house on the waterfront with terrific harbor views. (facebook.com/LaPiccolaCasaRistorante)

STAMFORD, CT

The Crab Shell

For waterfront dining at Harbor Landing Marina, savor excellent seafood and local favorites. Also check out the outdoor bar with a crab shack and live music. (crabshell.com)

NORWALK

Sunset Grille

On the dock and right near the fuel dock at Norwalk Cove Marina, guests can enjoy gourmet seafood offered at a lively seasonal, outdoor venue. (sunsetgrille.net)(Note: Dozens of restaurants are accessible from Norwalk Cove Marina or Rex Marine Center (via the Cove/Rex shuttle) or from the Norwalk Town Dock.)

BRIDGEPORT

Dolphin's Cove

Located at Dolphin's Cove Restaurant & Marina and an easy spot to meet crew coming by Rt. 95 or the Port Jefferson Ferry, this family-oriented eatery offers a wide array of dishes from the sea and land and a kids' menu. (dolphinscovect.com)

Captain's Cove Seaport Restaurant, Bar & Marina

Nested in the waterfront on Black Rock Harbor, it serves battered and fried seafood and shellfish, and has a decent kids' menu. Check out lots of attractions in the area. (captainscoveseaport.com)

STRATFORD

Outriggers

Located at Brewer's Stratford Marina, this restaurant presents fine dining in a casual atmosphere. Sample fresh fish and other seafood delights prepared to order. (outriggersrestaurant.com)

The Chowder Spot This food truck at the boat launch ramp in Stratford Harbor dishes up the ultimate in casual grub with a fantastic waterfront view.

HOUSATONIC RIVER

(between Stratford and Milford on the Connecticut coast)

clam chowder - new england dock and dine - marinalife
Clam Chowder | Wikimedia Commons

Joey C's Boathouse Cantina & Grill

Raise a fork to an all-around good menu with Mexican specialties, as well as local seafood, vegan and gluten-free options, and a large outdoor deck. (joeycsboathouse.com)

Riverview Bistro

Enjoy excellent seafood and classic dishes in a graceful venue overlooking the Housatonic River. Find a nice, secluded bar and lovely banquet room. (riverviewstratford.com)

Knapp's Landing

Located right on the water with a wonderful menu to match the view. Choose from a variety of seafood dishes ranging from clam chowder to lobster ravioli accompanied by a good raw bar. (knapps-landing.business.site)

MILFOD

After docking at Milford Landing Marina, a one-block walk takes you to lots of great dining choices including:

Archie Moore's

Serving craft beer in a rustic atmosphere since 1898, the pub's regular patrons come for the casual vibe and nibble on the famous buffalo wings. (archiemoores.com)

7 Seas

Open for lunch and dinner and specializes in New England-style lobster rolls and fried seafood in a casual setting. (7seasmilford.com)

Stonebridge Restaurant

American fare, fresh seafood and great appetizers. Take your pick of seating in a formal dining room, lively pub or outside on the deck. (stonebridgerestaurant.com)

SBC Restaurant & Beer Hall

Enjoy the neighborhood bar groove with handmade cocktails, local craft beer and farm-fresh American dishes at the end of the Wepawaug River. (SBCrestaurants.com)

BRANFORD

Dockside Seafood & Grill

Located at Safe Harbor Marina at Bruce & Johnson's. Casual nautical atmosphere with extensive menu of seafood, pasta, and lots more. (docksidebranford.com)

Stony Creek Brewery

Head all the way up river and dock at the brewery for craft brews with a view, cocktails and hot pizza. (stonycreekbeer.com)

Nellie's

Experience casual waterfront dining on a large patio on the Branford River with a good grilled seafood menu mixed with SoCal and classic New England cuisine, topped off with craft cocktails. (nelliesbranford.com)

CLINTON

Lobster Landing

Located right on the water in Clinton Harbor, it's rumored by Yankee Magazine to have the best lobster roll in New England. (facebook.com/LobsterLandingLLC)

Rocky's Aqua

Known for its classic New England seafood and steak dishes, plus a nice waterfront view. (rockysaqua.com)

WESTBROOK

Liv's Shack

Located at the site of the former BOOM restaurant at Pilot's Point Marina and specializes in hot buttered lobster rolls, fish tacos, hamburgers and more. (livsshack.com)

Bill's Seafood

A short walk or dinghy ride brings you to Bill's at the Singing Bridge. The seafood shack serves fried fish, lobster rolls and chowder on an outdoor deck. Kids love to throw French fries to the gulls and ducks. (billsseafood.com)

OLD SAYBROOK

Fresh Salt

Enjoy fine dining of locally sourced produce, seafood and meats at the Saybrook Point Resort & Marina for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (saybrook.com/eat-drink/fresh-salt)

Note: Head up the Connecticut River to discover other interesting restaurants such as The Griswold Inn in Essex (griswoldinn.com) and The Blue Oar in Haddam (blueoarct.wixsite.com/ctrestaurants) where you can BYOB, tablecloth and candles.

NEW LONDON

Fred's Shanty

Locals love this classic destination for seafood take out with picnic tables on the water. (freds-shanty.com)

Fisherman and lobsters - ne dock and dine - marinlaife
Fisherman and lobsters | Osvaldo Escobar on Unsplash

On the Waterfront Restaurant & Bar

Relax in casual elegance while dining on Italian-influenced seafood and steaks with stellar views of the Thames River. (onthewaterfrontnl.com)

Muddy Waters Cafe

Come here for coffees, baked goods, and breakfast or lunch options. It's home of the famous Love Salad, a generous Italian antipasto-type salad with garlic bread. Closest access by water is at the dinghy dock by the town moorings. (muddywaterscafenl.com)

Note: Visit the eastern end where Long Island Sound meets Fisher's Island Sound. In Fisher's Island Sound, head up the Mystic River to find Abbott's Lobster in the Rough (abbottslobster.com), Red 36 (red36ct.com) and lots of restaurants in downtown Mystic by the Bascule Bridge. Also explore Stonington's many culinary offerings including Breakwater (breakwaterstonington.com) and Dog Watch Café (dogwatchcafe.com/cafe).

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Cruising the Great Loop Taught Us How to Cook
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nyc skyline - food - marinalife
Kate and her husband Tim

Before embarking on the Great Loop, my husband Tim and I lived in New York City, which helped prepare us somewhat for life on the water. We took our clothes to a laundromat, hand washed our dishes, and understood the challenges of living in a small space. But given it's one of the culinary capitals of the world, living in Manhattan didn't teach us how to cook. Since living on our boat, a 31-foot 1996 Camano Troll named Sweet Day, we had to change our relationship with the kitchen, which means we actually had to use it. Here's what we learned.

Be Creative with What We Have

While cruising the Great Loop, we imagined tiki bars and restaurants dotting the shorelines everywhere we stopped. This is definitely true in some parts. But more times than expected, we found ourselves nowhere near a place to grab a meal, much less a grocery store.This means we've learned how to build meals with what we have onboard. We also realized that as long as we have flour and a little butter, homemade tortillas can easily transform a couple sides into tasty tacos and easily impress neighbors at the next docktail party.

Rarely Waste Food

In the daily hustle of our lives in the city, we ended up wasting a lot more food than we'd like to admit. The opposite has been true while cruising. We typically buy enough fresh food for three to four meals, because that's all we can fit in our fridge. A home-cooked dinner is easily stretched to lunch the next day. And since we travel with our fridge, leftovers never get left behind.

No Need for Fancy Kitchen Gadgets

We have a small propane oven and a three-burner stove. We can use these with barely any electricity, making cooking underway and at anchor seamless. When we're plugged into a marina or if we run our generator, we can also use our microwave (when it's not being used as a food pantry).Some cruisers have Instapots and other gadgets, but our boat isn't set up to handle that amount of electricity. Plus, we don't have the space. So, we've had to learn (with a lot of practice) how to cook juicy chicken or tender salmon without the benefits of modern cooking technology.

Access Our Kitchen 24/7

One of the biggest (and underrated) benefits of cruising is that your stuff travels with you, including your kitchen. This means we can make a marinade while cruising and cook the chicken at anchor that night. Or knead a loaf of bread underway to make sure it's ready to bake the next day. Plus, you never have to worry about forgetting olive oil or spices when on a trip. Spending time and experimenting in the kitchen helps break up those long cruising days too, all while rewarding us with a tasty meal once we reach our destination.

Know the Steps Ahead of Time to Plan a Meal

One quirk of our galley is we can only run the oven or the stove, as our propane system can't support running both at the same time. As a result, it requires knowing the recipe and its steps in advance to ensure we have the right equipment and ability to cook the meal. If the meal is good enough to be part of the rotation, the steps become easier to remember the next time we cook it.

Learn What Meals We Can Make Quickly

Just like land life, there are days when we may feel excited about prepping and cooking a more time-intensive meal, and others when we're hungry, it's 7:00 p.m. and we just need to get something in our stomach. In New York, that meant heading downstairs for a slice of pizza.

lunch aboard - food - marinalife
Courtesy of Kate Raulin Carney

That doesn't work while cruising. Learning what meals take time (especially in Sweet Day's kitchen) and what meals can be thrown together quickly (hello mac and cheese and tuna fish) is extremely helpful. When we're stocking up on food, we make sure we have enough of those go-to meal items for those inevitable times when we just need something fast.To help you stock your galley, here are some of our favorite items:

  • High-quality all-purpose knife: Our Zwilling Santoku knife cuts pretty much everything we've cooked in the last year.
  • Dutch oven: This is perfect for baking fresh bread, making soups, rice and other meals. We store it in the oven while not in use.
  • Stainless steel French press: We didn't want to have to rely on electricity to make coffee, so our go-to is a sturdy French press. Plus, it's fun to get beans from local coffee shops.
  • New York Times cooking subscription: This app allows us to easily search tons of recipes and discover new dishes with ingredients we have on board.
  • Pre-cut parchment paper: I learned this from my dad. It keeps food from sticking to the pan and makes cleaning easy a big plus on a tiny boat, where you may need to clean the pan quickly to put another item in the oven.

SIMPLE FLOUR TORTILLAS

Here's our go-to recipe for an easy batch of tortillas. Some of our favorite ingredients for stuffing inside are pantry staples black beans and rice or roasted sweet potatoes with a charred scallion crema (Greek yogurt, mayo and scallions charred on a hot skillet).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter (Can also replace with shortening, lard or vegetable oil)
  • 7/8 to 1 cup of hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add the butter (if you're using vegetable oil, add it in step 3). Use your fingers to work the fat into the flour until it disappears.
  3. Pour in the lesser amount of hot water (plus the oil, if you're using it), and stir briskly with a fork or whisk to bring the dough together into a shaggy mass. Stir in additional water as needed to bring the dough together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball. If the dough is very sticky, gradually add abit more flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Round the pieces into balls, flatten slightly and allow them to rest, covered, for about 30 minutes.If you wish, coat each ball lightly in oil before covering to ensure the dough doesn't dry out.
  6. While the dough rests, preheat an ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat, about 400°F.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a round about 8 inches in diameter. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Fry the tortilla in the ungreased pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Wrap the tortilla in a clean cloth when it comes off the griddle to keep it pliable. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  8. If you have leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in an ungreased skillet or for a few seconds in the microwave.

Recipe is from King Arthur Baking Company, kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/simple-tortillas-recipe. To follow Kate and Tim Carney's cruising adventures aboard Sweet Day, go to lifeonsweetday.com or @lifeonsweetday on Instagram.

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Battle of the Crustaceans: Lobsters vs. Crabs
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Best Region for the Season

lobster - this or that - marinalife
Courtesy of Justine G

Lobster

New England and Canada are known as major lobster hubs along the Atlantic, and Maine is one of the most famous regions in the world for these mouth-watering delicacies. For the freshest catch, Maine's top lobster-loving towns include Rockland, Bar Harbor, Belfast, Georgetown, Harpswell, Kennebunk and Ogunquit.

Crab

More than 6,000 species of crabs across the world vary in everything from appearance to taste. For example, Maryland crab fans meticulously pick the meat from under the crab's shell, while in Florida, they split open the legs and claws for a tasty treat. To experience the best Maryland blue crabs, visit cities such as Baltimore and Annapolis, as well as Kent Island on the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore and Solomons Island in southern Maryland.

Habitat

crab - this or that - marinalife
Blue Crab | Courtesy of Pakhnyushchy

Lobster

Although they are mostly ocean creatures, lobsters do frequently appear on land and sea. They are omnivores and sometimes eat their own when confined or stressed. You can find them throughout the world's oceans in freshwater and brackish environments. Some of the most delicious species are caught in the Gulf of Maine and along coastal Nova Scotia.

Crab

Typically found in saltwater or brackish water, thousands of different crab species live in all of the world's oceans. Like lobsters, some are land-crawlers. Many solely live in the water and others inhabit the edges along rocks and sandy shores. The best crustacean havens for crabbing include Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. Florida stone crabs are found in southern waters in shallow, rocky locations including knee-deep seagrass beds and reefs.

Traditional Recipes

Lobster

The sweet taste of lobster pairs well with your taste buds in any variation. Cook it in a gamut of dishes from steaming, grilling or boiling, to chopped-up in a warm soup or cold salad. Some of the most famous classics include a New England lobster boil, baked lobster tail, lobster mac and cheese, creamy bisque and much more.

Crab

Pick-and-eat crab feasts are a beloved pastime across the mid-Atlantic region. Catch, steam, season, crack open and scarf down! Use a mallet to break the claws open and get the good thick meat. Two varieties of crab soup creamy or tomato-based are popular along the East Coast, as well as dishes such as crab dip, crab Rangoon, crab pretzels and best of all the world-famous Maryland crab cakes.

Fun Facts

lobster - this or that - marinalife
Lobster Dish | Courtesy of BDMcIntosh

Lobster

Lobsters actually have two stomachs and can detach a limb and grow it back during their molting cycle. Today, lobsters are among the pricier seafood selections and are considered a delicacy, but that wasn't always the case. In early 19th century New England, lobsters were so abundant that their shells were used as fertilizer and their meat was fed to pigs as scraps.

Crab

Crabs are typically an aggressive crustacean and often fight with other crabs and aquatic creatures. They can walk in any direction and mostly scurry sideways. Unlike lobsters that can live to age 100, Atlantic crabs only survive for three to four years. Dungeness Crabs from Alaska can live up to 13 years, and the Japanese spider crab has the longest lifespan of all its fellow crustaceans, often reaching 80 to 100 years old.

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Learn to Cook Like a Caribbean Local
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Tucked away in the southernmost corner of the Caribbean Sea on the island of Trinidad, Lystra Seepersad, creator of the Caribbean Kitchen Pool & Lounge, teaches cooking to her fellow islanders and visitors. About 45 minutes from the twin island republic's capital city Port of Spain, her home is a food oasis fed by a small but mighty kitchen garden producing sweet corn, broccoli, peppers and myriad of other vegetables, as well as spices such as karapule, which is used in curry.

roti - food - marinalife
Courtesy of Lystra Seepersad

At the center of her pool resides a white and pink blow up unicorn, a testament to her unique style and a favorite when she holds birthday parties for local children.

Lystra has spent the past two decades teaching herself to cook the specialties and varied cuisine of the islands and now shares what she's learned through in-person and virtual classes. Mastering the diversity of Trinidadian and Tobagonian food can take years.

Like other Caribbean countries, recipes are rarely written down and instead are passed from generation to generation, much like family heirlooms. Lystra began experimenting with different spices at 19, and when she married, her husband Aftab was her guinea pig for taste testing. He was a gentle reminder that she could always improve. "Aftab might say that needs a little bit of this and that, but if he didn't like the food he wouldn't have said much, just not taken more," she explains.

The cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is "a melting pot formed from an array of cultures including Chinese, Indian, African, Syrian, Lebanese, Guyanese, Italian and Creole. Slaves, indentured servants and colonizers from Spain, France and Great Britain have also influenced the course of its cuisine for centuries."

Lystra, who labels herself an exquisite entrepreneur, has done well helping others learn to cook the food of her homeland. Between her private group page and business pages on Facebook she has close to 100,000 followers who keep coming back in part because of the constant stories about food amidst photos of mouth-watering dishes and happy cooks in training.

One of her favorite ways of getting attention is to ask her followers what's for dinner? The question is followed by images of delectable dishes such as palau, a stew made with either beef or chicken. Its unique flavor comes from searing the meat in caramelized sugar then simmering with rice, coconut milk and pigeon peas accompanied by slices of tomato, avocadoes or cucumber. Other meals may include curried duck or curried goat so tantalizing you can almost smell them through the Internet.

Preparing Meals in Paradise

Trinidad and Tobago, and the 21 smaller islands spanning almost 2,000 square miles off the coast of Venezuela, are worth a trip simply for the views. Trinidad is the more developed of the two big islands, and its capital Port of Spain is home to a thriving oil industry and one of the busiest shipping hubs in the Caribbean. By contrast, Tobago is largely undeveloped with a coastline encircled by peacock blue water and white coral sand beaches. Its interior is rich with rainforests, waterfalls and wildlife.

Lystra's cooking class - food - marinalife
Lystra's cooking class | Lystra Seepersad

Lystra taught her first cooking class in 2017, a hands-on West Indian roti and curry workshop. Roti is a local wheat- based flatbread that can be compared to naan in India although the only version called sada roti has the similar buttery texture of the Indian version.A local favorite roti is called Buss Up Shut because the crust is flaky and easily shreds, which looks like a bussed up or torn shirt. Street food such as Doubles, a sandwich made from curried chickpeas tucked between two pieces of fried flat bread and dressed in tamarind, coriander sauces and mango chutney, is also on the menu.

A typical cooking class lasts five to six hours and walks students through the process of preparing, cooking and presenting the finished meal. Students assist her in cooking, and when all is done each goes home with a box of food and a gift for coming to class, such as a special bowl or kitchen tongs. Lystra also travels to the students' homes and prepares food with them in domiciles as varied as boats and corporate offices.

What's the best part about teaching others to love the food of her native land? I like it when my participants message me with their photos to show their progress in the kitchen, she said. Some have even opened catering businesses. I remember one participant who said his money for his wife's classes was well worth it. That was a great feeling knowing I had helped others regain their confidence in the kitchen. For more, go to caribbeankitchenbylystra.com

Whole Wheat Sada Roti

Ingredients

  • 4 CUPS FLOUR
  • 1⁄2 CUP WHEAT BRAN (OPTIONAL; COULD BE REPLACED WITH WHITE FLOUR)
  • 3 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
  • 3⁄4 TEASPOON SALT
  • 1⁄2 TEASPOON SUGAR
  • 11⁄2 TO 2 CUPS OF WATER FOR KNEADING

Method

  1. Place dry ingredients in a bowl, then knead flour with 11⁄2 cups of water, add a little more if necessary.
  2. Brush the top with oil, cover and leave to rest for 45 minutes.
  3. Make 3 to 4 small dough balls (loyas). Cover and leave to rest another 15 minutes.
  4. Heat the tawah or griddle.
  5. Open one of the dough balls and place on a floured surface. Roll out with a rolling pin about 8 inches wide and 1⁄2 inch thick.
  6. Place the rolled-out dough on the heated tawah. As soon as the bubbles start to form flip it over and cook the other side. Flip one more time.
  7. To sakay the roti (toast the edges so it inflates and you can put cooked vegetables inside), pull the tawah away from the flame, tilt the side you are holding downward so the side that is used is not touching your grill and use a clean dish cloth to push the roti towards the flame to cook the edges evenly.
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Maryland Crabs & Corn
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When you come ashore to provision on the Chesapeake Bay, a cornucopia of fresh produce and seafood awaits, just plucked from the land and sea. Vibrant vegetables might catch your eye ruby red tomatoes, golden squash and slim green cucumbers. But be sure to save room in your shopping basket for two elements that define summer on the Bay: corn and crabs.

Chef Tom Green - crabs & corn - marinalife
Chef Tom Green | Tilghman Island Inn

Despite the royal moniker of Silver Queen, Maryland corn is often unceremoniously piled high in old wooden crates at farmers' markets, and local crabs are found kicking about in watermen's bushel baskets. Don't let the modest packaging fool you. Peel back the husk and take a whiff to experience the corn's sweet aroma and creamy kernels. And hold a feisty blue crab while avoiding his snapping claws to appreciate the magic of the Bay's waters.

"Our crabs and corn might be grown locally, but they are world-class delicacies," says Tom Green, chef and owner of Tilghman Island Inn on Maryland's Eastern Shore. "The same crab species is harvested in North Carolina and Louisiana, but they're just not as sweet as Chesapeake crustaceans. Our crabs grow plump around the same time as the corn ripens late in the season, so they're naturally connected and follow the core culinary philosophy of finding ingredients that go together well."

Sitting on the patio of Green's beautifully restored boutique inn is an idyllic location to get schooled on local crabs and corn. The view presents working boats chugging along Knapps Narrows as they head out to the Chesapeake Bay to pull up crab pots. Blue herons and egrets snatch aquatic creatures from seagrass and deliver a seafood dinner to hungry chicks in their nests.

A pair of bald eagles swirls in circles above the tree line as Green shares his culinary tricks of the trade. "In season, Maryland crabs and corn are the best on the planet, and nothing beats steamed crabs and sweet corn with Old Bay, butter or vinegar on a summer day, says Green. The key is finding them fresh and local to get top-quality ingredients."

Whether you're buying crabs at the docks from a waterman or at a fish market, Don't hesitate to ask the fishmonger about the crabs' origin and arrival date to make sure they've just come out of the Bay. When preparing crab meat and corn, keep it simple, don't over-cook and avoid adding a lot of nonsense. To enhance their flavors, you can add a pinch of other seasonal elements such as onions, poblano peppers or sweet basil.

When asked if he were a contestant on Chopped, and fresh Maryland crabs and corn appeared in his basket, what would Green make for the judges? With little hesitation, he replied "For the appetizer, I'd make crab and corn fritters on top of greens or heirloom tomatoes, and for the main course, I'd wow them with crab and corn succotash."

Fortunately for Marinalife readers, Chef Green has graciously agreed to share his recipes for these classic Chesapeake dishes and encourages us to give them a try this summer. ml

Editor's Note: Tom Green's 30 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality business include chef positions at the Ronald Reagan Building, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and U.S. House of Representatives. After years of vacationing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Tom and his wife Marlise purchased the Tilghman Island Inn, which they have meticulously restored to create a graceful getaway on the Chesapeake waterfront. For more, go to tilghmanislandinn.com

Crab & Corn Fritters

crab corn fritter - crabs & corn - marinalife
Crab & Corn Fritter | Tilghman Island Inn[

6 ounces fresh crabmeat

1 teaspoon baking powder

1¾ cup fresh corn

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ cup white onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

2/3 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons scallions, sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1-2 heirloom tomatoes

Olive oil to taste

Chopped parsley to taste

In a medium 10-inch skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Cook until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the corn to the skillet and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and Old Bay. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, scallions and lemon juice. Gradually whisk flour mixture into milk mixture just until smooth. Stir in the corn and onion mixture and crabmeat. Cover and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Remove the corn crab batter from the refrigerator. Add enough oil to skillet so it reaches about 1/4 inch deep; heat over medium-high heat. Carefully drop 6 to 7 mounds of batter by tablespoon into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to paper towels and repeat with remaining batter. Serve over fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes dressed with olive oil and chopped parsley. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.

Crab & Corn Succotash

Succotash

2 cups fresh corn

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup white onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste

¼ cup Poblano pepper, finely chopped

Cracked black pepper to taste

Crab Corn Succotash - crabs & corn - marinalife
Crab & Corn Succotash | Tilghman Island Inn

Crab Salad

1 pound Fresh Lump crabmeat

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette

Kosher salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

Old Bay seasoning to taste

Lemon Vinaigrette

132 cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice<

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon honey

1-2 small garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt to taste

Cracked black pepper to taste

For lemon vinaigrette, add all ingredients into bowl and whisk together. Put aside for the crab salad.

Pick through crab meat to ensure that there is no shell. Place in a medium size bowl and add the parsley and scallions. Dress with lemon vinaigrette to lightly coat ingredients. Season with kosher salt, pepper and Old Bay to taste. Place in fridge until ready to plate.

In a medium 10-inch skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add poblano and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add corn and sauté for about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Place succotash on the plate and top with the crab salad.

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Caribbean - Best Beach and Street Food
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BEACH BARS, FOOD TRUCKS and roadside stands are full of grab-and-go goodies perfect for a socially distanced picnic by the sea. These regional delicacies are made at down-to-earth eateries where you get a taste of the true Caribbean.

Choosing what to order may be daunting, because some of the most delicious specialties don't give a clue to their ingredients or what they may taste like by their names. So, trust a long-time local who has sampled them all and encourages you to give these Caribbean beach and street foods a try.

[caption id="attachment_321546" align="alignleft" width="300"]

Callaloo with Fungi - Caribbean Take Out - Marinalife

Callaloo with Fungi by Dean Barnes[/caption]

CallalooBeach shack restaurants, including places along the Prince Rupert Bay anchorage off Portsmouth, serve Dominica's national dish called callaloo. This green soupy stew, often topped with fungi, is a favorite take-out for breakfast and lunch.

On this lush island, the dish's main ingredients dasheen leaves, green bananas, pumpkins and yams grow abundantly. Coconut milk adds a creamy richness. Salt pork and land crabs are traditional proteins. However, shrimp, lobster and smoked turkey wings are often added, as are rib-sticking rectangular flour dumplings.

Cassava BreadTake the road between St. Lucia's two major marinas, Rodney Bay in Gros Islet and Marigot Bay near Soufriere, and stop for a hearty snack of freshly baked cassava bread. The buying is as delicious as the eating, especially when you look around at the beautiful scenery. Out back and below the ramshackle wooden-built bakery, the men in this family-run operation tend to the cultivation of the cassava.

[caption id="attachment_321567" align="alignright" width="300"]

Cassava bread - caribbean takeout - marinalife

Cassava Bread from Events Company of St Lucia Inc (ECSL) and Fond Latisab Creole Park[/caption]

Upstairs and inside, the women turn this root vegetable into a meal. Flavorings are added: sweet raisins, chocolate coconut and savory salt fish. No flour is used, so cassava bread is gluten-free. Hamburger bun-size disks of dough are placed on banana leaves and cooked until brown in a coal-fired copper. Eat hot or cold.

Fish and FungiOne of the best places to purchase the U.S. Virgin Islands' national dish is from one of the food trucks parked near the sea at Coki Beach. The fish, typically red snapper, is simmered in an onion butter sauce and served whole with head and tail attached.

Locals will tell you the sweetest meat is in the head, and the eyes are a delicacy. On the side comes fungi, a creamy mound of cornmeal akin to polenta that is flecked with fresh okra. The dish dates back more than 200 years to when slaves received weekly rations of cornmeal and salt herring. Coki Beach is three miles west of the Red Hook marinas.

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Longaniza - Caribbean Takeout - Marinalife

Longaniza at Restaurante la Sombra from Discover Puerto Rico[/caption]

LonganizaOrder this spicy pork sausage from one of the open-air eateries at Luquillo Beach, located six miles west of the Puerto Rican town of Fajardo and its marinas. This cross between Spanish chorizo and Portuguese linguica is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside and unmistakably red in hue due to the addition of annatto seeds.

The most common trio of sides is alcapurrias (meat-stuffed root vegetable fritters), empanadillas (small meat-filled fried turnovers) and rellenos de papa (beef-stuffed potato croquettes). Eat on the lovely palm-lined beach, where you'll usually find live Latin music on weekends.

RotiStrictly speaking, roti is an East Indian- style flatbread made just with wheat flour or with cooked, pulverized split peas incorporated into the flour dough. The dough is rolled tortilla thin and then griddle baked.

However, what arrives when you order a roti doesn't stop there. Whether it's served in Trinidad where East Indian immigrants brought the dish in the 1800s, or elsewhere like in the British Virgin Islands and Jamaica, roti refers to the roti bread wrapped around a curried filling sandwich-style. Beef, goat, chicken and conch along with potatoes, carrots and green peas are popular fillings. Vegetarian- type roti is often available, as are condiments such as mango chutney and Scotch bonnet pepper sauce. In Trinidad, a lip-smacking roti is in easy reach of the boatyards and marinas in Chaguaramas and near the Trinidad & Tobago Yacht Club in Port of Spain.

[caption id="attachment_321619" align="alignright" width="300"]

Stuffed crab back - Caribbean takeout - marinalife

Stuffed Crab Back from l'Office de Tourisme de Saint Martin[/caption]

Stuffed Crab BackJust like it sounds, crabmeat is cooked with seasonings such as onion, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot pepper. Then, this mixture is stuffed back into the crab's shell where it's sprinkled with breadcrumbs and broiled until hot. What makes this different is that on St. Martin, at the Lolo's (locally owned, locally operated) or open-air food stands in Grand Case, the star of the show is the local blue land crab.

The recipe really starts days in advance when these crustaceans are hunted by flashlight at night when they skitter from their burrows across mangrove swamps and salt ponds. Once caught, the crabs are caged and fed plenty of freshwater and cornmeal for several days to purge them of potential toxins and make them safe to eat. At this point, the crabs are cooked and crab back-making begins. The Lolo's are three miles east of the marina in Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin.

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The Art of Provisioning your Boat
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YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT by looking at me, but I am a recovering boat show junkie.

Years before we departed on a long family journey, I attended every cruising seminar on topics ranging from The Care and Feeding of the Sailing Crew to The Secrets of Making the Perfect Fish Jerky. I thought I knew everything about the art of provisioning. After all, I'd spent hours listening to experts on the subject.

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April with fresh biscuits - Art of Provisioning - Marinalife

April with fresh biscuits[/caption]

While my husband Bruce lingered at booths displaying the latest electronic gizmos, I sat on a metal folding chair absorbing culinary details that seemed oddly reminiscent of life in the prairie days. Everything that wasn't smoked, freeze-dried or vacuum-packed was brined, painted with a layer of grease or wrapped in aluminum foil. Why couldn't I feed my family like I did at home a jar of Prego spilled over pasta and a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies?

When we cast off from San Francisco with our five- and seven-year old daughters aboard our 33-foot sailboat, Chewbacca, I was keen to embrace the new experiences that cruising to foreign lands would bring. Going hungry wasn't in the plan.

All I had to offer for a celebratory meal that marked the completion of our first three-weeks offshore as a family was a solitary can of black olives, a half-used squeeze bottle of mustard and a measly tin of corned beef. My crew looked crestfallen at the scant offerings, and I confessed, This is it; the cupboards are bare.

I had failed my first provisioning test as quartermaster.

The rebuff was short lived. Welcome to Mexico. The air was warm, and the water was a translucent turquoise, signaling our new cruising life was about to begin. First, we had to get pesos, then restock our empty lockers.

I prayed our debit card worked so I could put food on the table. I crossed my fingers. Inserting our only ATM card into a strange machine in a foreign country, I turned to Bruce, You know, we are totally screwed if this doesn't work. I reluctantly let the plastic card be sucked from my sweaty fingers and into the machine. I waited … and seconds later heard a whirling sound. OK, this is good. The welcome screen stuttered then blinked alive. RETIRO, CUENTA DE CHEQUES, CUENTA DE AHORROS, EL SALDO. Damn, everything is in Spanish. I held my breath hopefullyselecting the correct buttons. Silence. The machine was thinking. Then more churning sounds and the machine spat out a mountain of colorful pesos. I exhaled. We're rich! Well, $60 rich.

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Marketplace in Antigua, Guatemala - Art of Provisioning - Marinalife

Marketplace in Antigua, Guatemala by April Winship[/caption]

Time to go shopping. I was blindsided by the volume of supplies required to sustain a family of four for months at remote anchorages. How many rolls of T.P. could a family go through? A miscalculation would be catastrophic.

I had also never lugged around more than one shopping cart at a time at the grocery store, so the thought of ferrying a caravan of several carts with two kids in tow sounded like a nightmare. My solution was to break the provisioning trips up into several forays buying the long-lasting items first and saving the perishables for just before departure.

I had a rule; If the item wasn't on the list, it didn't go into the cart, but whenever I caught Bruce winking at the girls, I knew he was sneaking in a few extra Cadbury bars. I looked the other way, because these decadent squares of dark chocolate were rewards for surviving those few OMG! cruising moments.

Unlike my first provisioning effort, I now knew to stash little luxuries aboard. I squirreled away cans of mixed nuts, Greek olives, applesauce, dried fruit, popcorn and peanut butter. These delights cost a bit more, but they boosted morale when the cupboards thinned out.

For cruisers on a budget, provisioning to eat like a local is key. I became open to purchasing foreign labelled canned goods and counterfeit Oreo cookies, but for the cheapest and freshest produce and baked goods, a trip to a vibrant outdoor mercado was our favorite option.

As a landlubber, I had only mastered the microwave, but as a cruiser I taught myself to bake. What started out as a way of stretching our rations, fast became a beloved ritual. I stocked up on enough yeast, white flour, whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, and cornmeal to bake something special every day.

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Kendall with her catch - Art of Provisioning - Marinalife

Kendall with her catch by April Winship[/caption]

Sometimes we became so spellbound by a place, we lingered until the bitter end. This was the case at Isla Isabel. Known as the Galápagos of Mexico, this secluded volcanic island had everything a cruiser could dream of … except a store.

Whether restoring the Great Pyramid or reconstructing an ancient Mayan ruin, archeologists often have a pile of unidentified objects, leftovers called a GOK (God Only Knows) pile. I had my own GOK pile too; a stash of canned goods whose labels had been lost along the way, leaving the contents a total mystery.

I think it's time to go, Bruce declared when our breakfast consisted of a three-can GOK meal pulled from my dwindling stash. I hefted the last prize that I guessed had the size and weight of a can of fruit cocktail. As the can opener pierced the tin, and I pulled up the lid, I grinned, Peaches. Hey, I was pretty close … could have been refried beans.

But life for the quartermaster isn't without additional challenges.

Weevils! Who would have thought such a tiny critter could cause a panic? When I found them in my rice, I checked the pasta and flour inventory. Sure enough, those were infested too. While unheard of in the United States, this is a common occurrence in developing countries.

When no stores were nearby to replace our staples, the choices were simple; either go hungry or find a way to roll with it. Like a miner panning for gold, I sifted and picked the wiggly weevils from the flour and pasta by hand. Luckily, I developed a much easier technique for removing the vermin from my rice. Instead of sorting through the bag, I soaked the grains in a pot of water allowing the little guys to swim to the surface and then simply spooned them out.

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San Blas, Panama - Marinalife

Sometimes market day comes to you. San Blas, Panama, by April Winship[/caption]

No matter how careful I was, some inevitably ended up in the cooked meal. After a while I accepted the idea that they were just added protein, although our youngest daughter was led to believe I always seasoned our steamed rice with a little oregano.

As the years rolled by, we discovered other adventurous ways of provisioning beside spearing fish and digging for clams. To the girls' great amusement, trading food was as acceptable as book swapping between cruising boats.

It worked something like this: Cruising Boat A was planning to store their boat for several months at the marina. Did anyone need 15 pounds of flour and 10 pounds of sugar? Or in another scenario, Cruising Boat B bought a case of chili and decided they didn't like it. Would anyone want to trade for something? When I bought a lifetime supply of poppy seeds, I bagged up half and traded it for a jar of jumbo martini olives.

Hmm, now what do I have to trade for a bottle of gin?

The Winships' book, Set Sail and Live Your Dreams, (Seaworthy Publications, 2019) about their family's 10-year adventure cruising aboard a 33-foot catamaran Chewbacca is available in both paperback and e-book on Amazon.

Quartermaster Helpers

Being a cruiser without a car used to be a nightmare. Not anymore. Merging technology and restrictions placed on us during the pandemic has given rise to a powerful online shopping and delivery phenomena. Boaters no longer have to wear out a pair of shoes to stock the lockers or find a meal.

Online shopping and delivery services offer an easy, convenient and safe way to bring everything from groceries to prescription refills right to the marina for provisioning. Large grocery store chains and retail outlets such as Target, CVS, BevMo!, PetSmart and Publix are just a click away on a smartphone or laptop. Note: Due to limited dock access or security gates at marinas, boaters typically decide on a meeting place with delivery drivers.

To master the art of provisioning, check out some of the companies offering contactless online shopping, meal kits, prepared foods and delivery services:

Instacartinstacart.comChoose from a list of local stores for groceries delivered in less than an hour.

Door Dashdoordash.com/en-USSet the table on your boat and order meals from your favorite restaurants.

Uber Eatsubereats.comBring chef-prepared dishes from the restaurant to your boat.

Freshlyfreshly.comTake three minutes to heat up already cooked meals in your galley.

Blue Apronblueapron.comReceive all the fresh ingredients and easy recipes to prepare a feast.

Hello Freshhellofresh.comCook dishes quickly and easily with fixings from meal kits.

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Take a Seat at Nicole's Table
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WITH THE ENTIRE house now sparkling clean, Nicole steps away from Caribbean foods in the kitchen and moves outside on the veranda to cool off amid the potted plants and dark wood patio furniture. A gentle breeze greets her, as she looks down at the pink and purple flowers blooming on the foliage in her lush, tropical garden.

Nicole's Table | Caribbean foods | Marinalife

She lets her eyes meander across the view from her mountain-top home in Antigua. Facing west to the landscape below await the Caribbean Sea and Port of St. John. On a clear day, the islands of Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts appear in the distance.

Nicole relishes one last look at the breathtaking view and returns inside, knowing that her guests will arrive soon. Most will dock at English Harbour, Jolly Beach Harbour or Dickensen Bay and take a taxi or rental car up the hill. All of them will be eager to learn the secrets of Caribbean foods in the comfort of her home. They will meet Nicole's family – husband Adam and daughters Emily and Zoe – who are on hand to enhance the friendly teaching environment and unique foodie experience that awaits.

The Food Was Just the Beginning

Nicole's Table was created to introduce visitors to local Caribbean foods, culture and lifestyle. We started our cooking classes, because I love Caribbean foods and flavors. I wanted to give people a relaxed setting where we could prepare our meal, learn about cooking from one another, and share stories whatever they might be, says Nicole.

Following in her family's culinary footsteps, Nicole began working at her parents' restaurant in Plymouth, Montserrat, when she was young. Years later, she served as a private chef for an estate home on the exclusive island resort of Jumby Bay. Nicole inherited a love for cooking from her mother, Pam, who is known for quick casseroles and hot sauces. Nicole built upon traditional island cuisine to craft her own style of Caribbean twist cooking that embraces decadent desserts, flavorful condiments and healthy ingredients.

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Rum tasting | Caribbean foods | Marinalife

Rum tasting[/caption]

Officially launched in 2015, Nicole's Table opened with four menu options: All about Jerk, Cooking with Rum, Coordinating Curry and From the Sea. Those menus, which are still available today, cover a range of dishes created by Nicole and inspired by the island's cornucopia of fresh seafood, meats, herbs and produce.

The first year for Nicole's Table ended on a high note with TripAdvisor awarding her first Certificate of Excellence. Each year, her unique teaching style and innovative recipes resulted in new certificates culminating in a 5/5 rating and TripAdvisor's rare Hall of Fame designation. She received similar accolades from other review sites, coverage from international media, and even landed a feature on the British cooking show Caribbean Kitchen, hosted by Ainsley Harriott. Nicole's Butter Rum Cake gained a fan base from that show, with guests requesting the recipe (see p. 89) and Chef Ainsley presenting it in his new cookbook.

A Very Caribbean Experience

At Nicole's Table, a typical day starts just before 11:00 a.m. with Nicole and Adam greeting guests, serving cool water or a local juice as a refreshment, and giving a short tour of the main living area and veranda. The house's high cathedral ceilings and open style breed comfort, while the huge veranda offers a stunning view, comfy couches designed to help you unwind and a long wooden table for family-style dining.

Class kicks off with everyone washing their hands and tying on an apron, as Nicole explains how the day will unfold. Nicole then guides everyone to prepare lunch chopping, cutting, and blending whatever is necessary to make a fantastic Caribbean meal. There is no shortage of laughing over stories from Nicole about growing up in the islands or the many entertaining names West Indians give their food. Guests tell their own tales, in a little time, a group of strangers become a gathering of friends.

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Close up on dishes | Caribbean foods | Marinalife

Caribbean foods[/caption]

I love exchanging stories with my guests. I learn as much from them as they do me, and I treat everyone the same way I do my friends when they come over to cook with me, says Nicole. A recent guest remarked, We had the most wonderful day at Nicole's Table. She was welcoming and brought everyone in, whether they were experienced or beginners. She shared her knowledge, her home, and the best meal we had on the island.

Along with the cooking experience comes the ever-popular rum tasting. Guest sample rums from six different locations across the Caribbean and Central and South America. The goal is to taste the subtle differences among two rums each from French, English and Spanish countries.

When all the food has been prepared and cooked to perfection, lunch is served family style on Nicole's veranda, where guests indulge their senses in Caribbean life the gentle breeze, spectacular seaport view, friendly banter, storytelling, and of course, the sweet and savory flavors of the islands. The rest of the day is filled with laughter as new friends enjoy the fruits of their labor.

To learn more, review Nicole's recipes and plan your own Caribbean culinary journey, go to NicolesTable.com or find Nicole on Facebook under NicolesTable.com

Nicole's Butter Rum Cake

The CakeIngredients½ cup chopped walnuts1 ½ cups granulated sugar½ cup butter3 tablespoons plus ½ cup vegetable oil1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour¼ cups cornstarch4 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon kosher salt1 ¾ oz box instant vanilla pudding (yes, really!)¾ cups whole milk4 eggs¾ cups dark rum1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 F, generously grease and flour a 10 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, rum, vanilla extract and ½ cup vegetable oil. Cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the dry ingredients along with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like sand, about 1 minute. Add the pudding packet and beat on medium speed until combined. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. The batter should be smooth, and it will be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. About 10 minutes before the cake is finished baking, start making the rum syrup.

Rum SyrupIngredients½ cup butter½ cup water¾ cups granulated sugar1 teaspoon salt½ cup dark rum

In a saucepan with high sides combine butter, water, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the syrup because it can boil over. Remove the syrup from heat and slowly stir in the dark rum.

Let the cake rest for 10 minutes and turn it out to loosen it from the pan. Return the cake to the pan and slowly pour 1/3 of the rum syrup over the bottom of the cake. Use a skewer to poke small holes in the cake to help the syrup seep into the cake, let the cake sit for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the serving platter and slowly pour the remaining rum syrup over the cake, making sure to do it slowly so the syrup is absorbed and does not run down the sides of the cake.

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Cajun vs. TexMex - This or That
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A culinary competition between the South's beloved comfort foods and spicy regional cuisines.From Humble Roots to Global Cuisine[caption id="attachment_320712" align="alignleft" width="300"]

Cajun Crawfish Boil by Wikimedia Commons | Food | Marinalife

Cajun Crawfish Boil by Wikimedia Commons[/caption]CajunIn the early 1600s, the Acadians left France and settled in what is Canada today. In 1755, about 14,000 of them were deported, as they refused to pledge allegiance to the British king. Many migrated to Louisiana, bringing French peasant cooking, but adapted recipes with regional ingredients such as shrimp, oysters, alligator, crawfish and wildlife from the swamps and Gulf of Mexico. Over time, Spanish, Native American and African people influenced Cajun dishes.Tex-MexTex-Mex first entered the English language in the 1870s as the nickname for the Texas Mexican Railway, and by the 1920s, both the train and Tejanos (Texans of Mexican descent) were called Tex-Mex. It began in the Rio Grande Valley, which had a big Mexican population and cattle industry that inspired fajitas and tacos al carbon. In the 1870s, women called Chili Queens served chili con carne to San Antonio tourists who spread the recipe across the country.

Essential Elements in Every Kitchen

CajunThe Holy Trinity of Cajun flavor is blessed by onion, celery and green bell pepper. A big pot is essential for a crawfish boil. And it's hard to imagine a Cajun kitchen without spices, andouille sausage, chicken, fresh seafood, okra and rice to make bowls of jambalaya and gumbo.Tex-MexElements of Tex-Mex food that separate it from Mexican cuisine are yellow cheese, wheat flour and cumin. If a dish uses black beans instead of pinto beans, it is Tex-Mex, not Mexican. A cook would be hard pressed to make a meal without corn, tomatoes, onions or avocados.

Celebrate the People & Events

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Tex Mex Frozen Margarita | Cajun vs Tex-Mex | Marinalife

Tex Mex Frozen Margarita by Flickr[/caption]CajunWhen Hank Williams' song Jambalaya praised jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file gumbo, everyone wanted a taste of Cajun. Thanks to famed chefs such as Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse sharing secrets of the cuisine, everyone can give it a try, especially during Mardi Gras when recipes come out for everything from classic Cajun treats to muffulettas and turducken (a three-bird roast of deboned chicken and duck stuffed in a turkey).Tex-MexIn the 1930s, an Oaxacan immigrant created Fritos and convinced Frito-Lay Co. to mass produce them. In the 1950s, a maître d' named Ignacio Anaya invented nachos when guests came to his restaurant, but the chef was out. He tossed tortilla chips topped with cheese and jalapeno peppers on a platter, and the dish was born. In 1971, Mariano's Mexican Cuisine Restaurant in Dallas debuted the first frozen margarita machine.

Best Bites in the Region

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Tex Mex Nachos | Cajun vs Tex-Mex | Marinalife

Tex Mex Nachos by Wikimedia Commons[/caption]CajunCommander's Palace (est. 1893) is a must-visit place for old New Orleans elegant dining, and since the 1940s, Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar has been a casual French Quarter staple. Other noteworthy eateries include Brigtsen's Restaurant, Bon Ton Café, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, Mulate's and Jacques-Imo's Café.

Tex-MexSome present mariachi bands; others dish up family-style meals, but you can't go wrong at any of these outstanding Tex-Mex restaurants: El Tejavan in Amarillo, Fonda San Miguel in Austin, The Original Ninfa's and Hugo's in Houston, and Mi Tierra Café and the Original Blanco Cafe in San Antonio.

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