Hurricane Irma’s Impact On The Caribbean!
The world watched as Hurricane Irma tore across the Caribbean and into Florida – leaving a path of destruction behind:
I have posted about a number of Caribbean getaways, especially the restaurant known as “At Blanchard’s Table” on the island of Anguilla:
The island was savaged by Hurricane Irma, and the only report so far is that they sustained moderate damage to the restaurant. They just posted a Hurricane relief request on their website, to help everyone on the island rebuild their lives after the disaster – you can contribute here:
I shared the story of this restaurant, sitting alongside the gorgeous beaches of Anguilla in the Caribbean. As you can see by the map below, the island sits just northwest of Barbuda, which was virtually destroyed by the hurricane…
When I followed the news about these horrible storms, I wondered if the folks at Blanchard’s were OK – and I’m hopeful that, since they are posting on their website and actively looking to help others on the island, they are OK
Although I’ve never been there, I read their book, which tells the story of how they ended up in paradise…a terrific story and incredible cookbook as well!
A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda Blanchard and Robert Blanchard – published in 2000.
This is a fascinating book – not only about escaping the rat race, but escaping to a oasis, and then deciding to open a restaurant there!
This is the true story of “a trip to the beach” that never ends. It’s about a husband and wife who escape civilization to build a small restaurant on an island paradise — and discover that even paradise has its pitfalls. As one review put it: “It’s a story filled with calamities and comedy, culinary disasters and triumphs, and indelible portraits of people who live and work on a sliver of beauty set in the Caribbean Sea.”
The story begins when Bob and Melinda Blanchard sell their successful Vermont food business and decide, perhaps impulsively, to get away from it all. Why not open a beach bar and grill on Anguilla, their favorite Caribbean island?
One thing leads to another and the little grill turns into an enchanting restaurant that quickly draws four-star reviews and a celebrity-studded clientele eager for Melinda’s delectable cooking.
And yes, it exists in this paradise of Anguilla…
This great memoir covers it all: the frenetic pace of the Christmas “high season,” the Blanchards and their kitchen staff — Clinton and Ozzie, the dancing sous-chefs; Shabby, the master lobster-wrangler; Bug, the dish-washing comedian — come together like a crack drill team. And even in the midst of hilarious pandemonium, there are moments of bliss.
This book is a terrific adventure, a couple risking everything on a dream – a dream that comes true in one of the world’s most beautiful locations…
And It Tastes As Good As It Looks!
Yes, Anguilla looks like a gorgeous place to escape to, but you have to eat as well. The huge success of Blanchard’s has made their adventure even more fulfilling. Even better, the couple published a cookbook with recipes from their acclaimed restaurant!
“At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter), features a delectable combination of Caribbean creations and New England favorites. From Calypso Chicken and Jamaican Jerk Shrimp to Vermont Cheddar Soup and Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops, the Blanchards draw on a delightful blend of culinary traditions to create truly unique fare…delicious!
Here is a fun, springtime recipe from the book:
Potato Salad with Lime and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Recipe from: At Blanchard’s Table
by Melinda Blanchard, Robert Blanchard
Here is what they share in the book: “We have two lime trees in front of the restaurant, and from them we often get the freshly squeezed lime juice that gives this recipe its punch. It’s good alongside simply grilled meats and barbecued chicken as well as a more elegant leg of lamb. You can also toss in a handful of pitted black olives if you like.”
3 pounds small new potatoes
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel
1 medium garlic clove, minced
4 drops Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
In a large pot, cover the potatoes with lightly salted water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cook just until tender, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size. Drain and rinse under cold water for a minute or two to stop them from cooking further. Drain well again and allow to cool completely. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and set aside.
Put the sun-dried tomatoes into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise. Lime juice. lime peel, garlic, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and parsley, and whisk to blend.
Toss the potatoes with enough dressing to coat. Serve cold or at room temperature.
I am going to make this dish and imagine that I am dining at Blanchards – and in the meantime, I’m going to contribute to the Hurricane relief fund so that the island can rebuild!