I’m going to be honest here and let you know that I’m finding it a bit challenging to organize the 10 days of Trinidad that I just experienced. It was a whirlwind from farms to fetes, food to new friends and a lot of work with a touch of play.
I’ll start with my favorites which is of course is amazing friends and tasty food! Before you read on, I invite to jump over to the post from last year when I tried everything edible within reach. Just click this little link and you’ll see much more of what Trinidad has to offer!
Breakfast: What trip to this island would be complete without a double or three? Doubles are a common street delight that contains channa, an option of pepper sauce and a cucumber chutney. Here’s a photo of famous George and his stand. Note to self and others: Please try other doubles on this island as they range so much in flavor and texture. Joe, thank you for ordering me three separate kinds so I could try the variety of sauces and spices. Amazing friend you are!
Here’s what I’ve found in regards to Trinidad and their pepper sauce. “No sauce” is obviously the most mild, “Slight peppa” is supposed to be spicy but tolerable and “heavy peppa” is rarely ordered due to the extreme kick. Because I’ve ordered heavy peppa several times and questioned if they forgot to even add it… I can only assume they went light for the visitor since “you don’t know Trini peppa”.
Dear Trinidad, please follow through with your peppa threats… I like to sweat a little.
Feeling more for a green start to your day? Option 2 is a farm in which invites you to walk, snoop, pick and eat straight from the vine (or in other words, my happy place). Welcome to U Pick vegetable farm and coffee shop!
It’s a large open property located on Tucker Valley Road in Chaguaramas. There’s several green houses, rows of vegetables and my favorite part which was an indoor area that provides fruit, veggies, snacks and drinks. Lets work from the inside out.
If you’re similar to me, you’ll start selecting away until your arms are full and a staff member will politely (with a concerned look) offer you a bag or basket after you’ve almost dropped the melon. Here, they have creatively placed these adorable wagons for your shopping pleasure.
Care to choose off the vine? No problem!
I was lucky enough to hop in the truck with Perry and head off to the corn fields. This immediately brought back memories of the post Can chickens smell a chicken?
If you ever find yourself on the green mountainous island of Trinidad, I highly suggest you make your way to this fresh farm, not only for your edibles, but an experience leaving you with a green thumb!
Lunch: I had a bundle of fresh fruit with me so I was in search of something to complement it. Look what I found! Homemade plain yogurt with crushed almonds and dates inside. I appreciated that there was no food coloring or artificial flavors. You could clearly taste the nutty enhancement from the crunchy almonds and the true flavor of the dates that were the only added sweetness to the combo. Delicious!
Dinner party (for the boys): Cards, drinks, meat and Mac pie.
This wasn’t the Macpie that the restaurants slab on your plate, this was Auntie Linda’s homemade delight. I believe I gave her more entertainment than she expected as I jumped around the kitchen like paparazzi. I loved watching her try and contain the shy smile that so often smirked along her face. I asked her how many times she’s made this and her response was the same look you’d get from asking a surfer how many shorts they’ve owned or questioning the number of guitar picks a musician has jammed through… Uncountable.
Now let me introduce you to my new friends (and dinner company) that so willingly took me under their wing in full determination to enhance my trip. From left to right is Samantha, then Tiffany, Ashleigh and Shaq. Girls, it wouldn’t of been the same without you! (More events to come with these lovely ladies).
My dinner with the girls above: Roti! Please notice there’s no microwave, ketchup bottles or machines around this stand. Just hard work, busy hands and real ingredients. In typical West Indies restaurants your options may include chicken, conch, goat, beef, shrimp and channa. Vegetables can also be added including potato, lentils, pumpkin, okra and spinach as well a variety of condiments like pepper sauce (hot sauce), a cucumber-cilantro(ish) sauce they call shado beni and a sweet chutney being the most popular. On the street, your options can be limited but never short of a tasty original Roti.
I ordered an all veggie with extra pumpkin and Ashleigh proceeded to get me a beef and potato to try as that’s more common around here. Perfect hosts if you ask me!
It wouldn’t be right if you finished one of these with clean hands, so as a backpacker would, I raised my sauce covered fingers with (what I can imagine) a look of debate on my face. “Hmm, option A- wipe them on my pants. Option B- find a friend with a water bottle or… smile with pride when Ashleigh caught my attention”. She walked me over to complete my experience with the proper hand wash that most street Roti vendors offer.
Midnight snack: (Of course typically taken on the way home after an evening of partying) On this night, we stopped for one of my favorite local flavors, Trini corn soup! Every recipe is different but generally in contains corn, squash or pumkin, peppers, onion, garlic and spices. Some venders will throw in dumplings and all will offer you pepper sauce and shado beni (the cucumber cilantro-ish item described above). Thank you Raj and Clint for treating me to this indulgence… And the friend who let me finish his.
Next post: The reason I’ve actually landed myself here in Trinidad. Lookin forward to the beginning of fancy feathers, jewels, hairspray and hair play!