Before I get into the wondrous dinners that we had at the Maya Beach Hotel in Placencia, Belize, a short shameful anectode:
I was having a great day. As evidenced by the fact that not once did I have any desire to dip my hand into the candy bowl at the front desk at work.
Breakfast: 1/2 full fat cottage cheese, 7 large grapes with seeds, 1 hardboiled egg, 8oz English Breakfast tea
Snack: a few plain almonds
Lunch: 6 small homemade chicken nuggets, 1 string cheese
Snack: small baggie of dry Kashi cereal
My husband hurt his back at work, so for dinner, to make him feel better I made some homemade cheese fries and some more of the homemade chicken nuggets.
I felt great about everything. I knew where all my food came from, I ate just enough of it. I felt great.
And then it came. The craving. Why is it that I am so perfectly capable of saying NO to the donuts people bring into work, to the crap in the vending machine…to everything except ice cream. Why must this be my weakness??? My husband and I are my worst enemy. I suddenly get the craving and then he goes right along with it.
And then we make up an excuse (It’s anniversary ice cream…)
Why is it that I cringe at the thought of buying eggs and meat at the grocery store because I don’t know where it’s been, but I am perfectly capable of looking past the horrendous ingredients listed on that delectable pint of Ben & Jerry’s?
The guilt is the worst. I know I’m not supposed to feel guilty. You’re supposed to accept what you did and make the next meal great. But it always consumes me. I haven’t gotten control of that yet.
Oh but enough about that. Let’s talk about dinner at the Maya Beach Hotel:
Most Likely To Make Me Choke Because I Can’t Stop Shoveling It In My Mouth
Winner: Okay, every meal I ate there, but most definitely…Grilled Shrimp with Couscous
Seasoned locally-caught shrimp cut in half on top of a bed of couscous that I would give anything to know the recipe for. I ate that meal in maybe 10 seconds. I don’t know if you can see in the picture but check out the peanuts. Interestingly awesome addition, both in texture and taste.
Most Likely To Injure Me While Eating It
Winner: Five Onion Cioppino
Oh come on. You KNOW this was delicious. Yes, my observant friends, that is a giant crab claw emerging from the soup as if to say: “I dare you. I dare you to take a sip of my delicious treasures.”
Out of curiosity of how to even pronounce Cioppino (I ended up being correct in my guess: Cha-pee-no or something like that), I discovered a little somethin’ somethin’ about this dish. Turns out it’s a fish stew that originated in San Francisco and is considered an Italian-American dish (Thanks Wikipedia!). This clearly leaves SO MUCH open as to what can go into one’s cioppino. Basically, any seafood you can think of. Mine had shrimp, fish, a giant scary crab claw, and probably others stuff I didn’t even realize. The broth was spicy and made me think of what it’d taste like to drink a liquid form of Old Bay. So in a word it was amazing.
Just imagine all of the different things you could do with this dish! Squid! Mussels! Clams! Scallops! So many things could go in there!!
Although I must note…while the giant crab claw was certainly impressive, let’s be serious. Nothing beats the taste of a Maryland Blue Crab 🙂
I Wish This Was On The Menu Every Night
Winner: Snook Special
That’s Snook, as in the fish. Not Snookie, as in the Oompa Loompa.
My husband got this special one night and I most certainly got my share of bites. The meal looked really pretty when it was brought to the table, but per usual we started digging in before we remembered to take a picture.
Allow me to deconstruct that image for you. From top to bottom we’ve got:
- Roasted, shredded carrots
- Grilled snook. FRESH. As my Dad says, “It slept in the ocean last night”
- Potatoes and Zucchini
- I can’t remember exactly what they called this sauce but it tasted like some form of a tzatziki sauce
Just a second ago I checked with my husband to make sure I was right and it was snook and not snapper. He replied “Yes it was snook and OOMMGGG that was good.”
Most Likely To Make Me Want To Start Encrusting Things In Peanuts
Winner: Peanut-encrusted snapper with mashed potatoes, black beans, and a watermelon reduction
I’m telling you guys. Peanuts and fish. It’s no joke. Hubby and I both had this dish on different nights and our tastebuds loved it.
Most Likely To Make A Meat Loving Man’s Mouth Water (That’s what she said?)
Winner: Cacao Pork
I haven’t the slightest idea what that sauce was but it was amazing. I can’t speak for the meat because I don’t like pork but my husband got this dish twice because he felt like he “didn’t have time to enjoy and savor it the first time.” Must have been amazing.
Most Likely To Make Me Question The Chef’s Sanity
Winner: Snapper with Spicy Jerk Seasoning in a Vanilla Bean Sauce with Sliced Potatoes
I love trying new, crazy food and the Maya Beach Hotel was the perfect place to do so. Almost every night, either my husband or I tried the dinner special. How could we not? Everything sounded so unique and amazing!
This was no exception. Jerk seasoning and vanilla bean sauce? They pair beautifully, with the vanilla bean sauce complementing the spice of the jerk seasoning perfectly.
Most Likely To Disappear Before I Take A Picture
Winner: Grilled snapper over roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon roasted tomatoes and a mango beurre blanc
Oops. I swear this looked awesome when it was set in front of me. I was in the middle of my last few bites when my husband asked, “Did you take a picture of that?”
Um…no. Did you not see me start inhaling it as soon as it was put in front of me?
It was so good. This was another dinner special that I hope anyone else who ventures to the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro is lucky enough to eat.
And on the serious tip? Cinnamon roasted tomatoes are something everyone needs to be doing. I know I’ll fo’ sho’ be trying it when my tomatoes are ready in the garden. According to hotel/bistro Owner John, it’s a simple recipe of putting tomatoes in a casserole dish with cinnamon sticks and baking for an hour at 350. I may be missing something in that recipe (olive oil?) but I guess I’ll just have to play around with it!
And that, my friends, concludes our dinner date. Only one more post in this series – DESSERT!