Month: February 2016

Location, Location, Location

I’ve heard that the secret to success in the restaurant business is “location, location, location”. This advice appears not to have reached Flo Darville, who started Flo’s Conch Bar on the southern end of Little Harbour Cay (pronounced “key”) in the Berry Islands, a less-visited island chain in the Bahamas. Flo passed away recently and the establishment is now run by her son, Chester Darville who, along with his helper, Lovely, and cook, Edna, make up the entire population of Little Harbour Cay. Since we were coming south through the Berries, we felt compelled to stop and eat here and we’re glad we did.

Chester Darville Portrait

Chester Darville Portrait

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Anchors, a way

Elsa is becoming such an old salt. This morning she complained that she hadn’t slept last night because we were tied up at a marina, rather than at anchor. “It’s so still here,” she said, rubbing her face and yawning.

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Bahamas Been Berry Berry Good So Far

So: We’re in the Berry Islands! Grand Bahama was fun, but now we’re in an area that’s truly like what the brochures advertise: tiny, low islands with superfine white sand beaches and shockingly clear water, whose colors go from deep blue to a pale aquamarine. You can see the bottom distinctly through more than twenty feet of water. It’s unbelievable.

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Whether the Weather Be Fine

We’ve been holed up in Lucaya for almost a week, waiting for better weather in order to sail south towards the Berry Islands. (It feels like the Gulf Stream crossing all over again.) Every local we’ve chatted with says this has been a weird winter, with more storms and unsettled weather than usual. Most of them assume it has something to do with El Niño.

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Conking the Conch

Shortly after we tied up in West End a local fisherman came to our boat selling lobster tails and conch. It was pouring rain and the wind was blowing 20 knots, but he was cheery as could be. “Just caught them today!” he said. Drew couldn’t resist, so we brought out some ziploc bags and he filled them up with his catch for a grand total of $20.

Conch (pronounced “konk”) is a local specialty here. You probably know what the shell looks like; inside it lives a large sea snail whose meat is fairly neutral-flavored so it can be prepared in lots of ways. The trick is getting the snail out. We have one of Mimi’s old cookbooks aboard, “The Cruising Chef” by Michael Greenwald, which describes how to extract a conch from its shell in hilarious/lurid detail. (Step one involves vise grips.) Sounds like a challenge, so we were happy to have pre-shelled and pre-cleaned conch.

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