Saturday, January 14, 2012


So we actually went out on a date last night. We haven't really eaten out in a while and while this was sort of an exploratory trip, it was still fun to go somewhere different. First up, we ran into the new grocery store, King's Pavilion, right outside the Port Zante cruise ship area. There's been a lot of commentary on the location and I sort of agree. Sure the downtown needs to be functional for the people who live here, but you also want it to attract visitors so they'll go farther than just the few stores near their ship. There's already a grocery store on the waterfront and others (including a branch of this one) not too far away. As it is, the galleries, Independence Park, old churches, and stores like Island Hopper get short thrift simply because people don't want to walk a few extra blocks to explore. Basseterre has a lot of potential, but I don't think a humungous grocery store is the answer. Seriously, look how big this is (most of it must be a warehouse). It was dark, so my pics stink, but you get the idea.

You'll note there's no grand opening sign or anything. I'm still flabbergasted at how new businesses open up in secret on this island. The only reason I knew about it was that someone mentioned it on Facebook. Ok, let's go inside. Zzzz. We're always excited about a new food shopping experience, but we were pretty unimpressed with this one. So much so, I didn't take any pictures. There was a deli with some take-out food that might make people happy (if they eat meat).  It looked a lot like their other store. Ho hum. Ok, let's go upstairs and get some grub at the Dragon Garden.

I have to admit we were a little put off by the stark, cafeteria-like interior, but we were determined to give the place a fair shake. Speaking of shake - or shaker - we thought the salt & pepper shakers were ingenious - they have lids to keep the moisture out. We want a set! It really doesn't take much to impress us.

We had a great view of the street and enjoyed people watching.

Rude! The boy is rude!
The items on the menu were pretty varied (peas fried with fungus & lotus?) and had lots of vegetarian options (you order by #). Be careful though. Under the Vegetable section were several tofu dishes. When we asked what they were (like what's the Stuffed Tofu stuffed with) many actually had meat in them. They make it from scratch though, so will leave it out if you ask. May I suggest they put more of a description on the menu so you know what you're getting (especially since their English isn't too good). They got a point deduction when they didn't have Diet Coke (they sell it in the store downstairs...). We judge a Chinese food place by its spring rolls so each got an order (2 each). They were delicious. We weren't starving, so just ordered a Cantonese stir-fry (came with white rice) and some mixed vegetable fried rice. The food came very quickly and, although had as bland a presentation as the restaurant itself, was very tasty. Plus the portion sizes were very big. No fortune cookies though. Of all the Chinese food places we've tried - King's Palace (just steps from this place), Star Chinese, and Formosa Gardens, we thought the food was the best at this one. The others tend to be rather dry and bland, these dishes had flavor (they still should have had soy sauce on the table). While Star is probably the cheapest, our meal + 4 beers total came to about $31US. Formosa has the best ambiance. The owners/staff at all these places are very friendly.

We then headed to the Shiggidy Shack to congratulate the friend that will be deserting us soon. Whaa. The band playing was The Core (Kore? from Nevis) and they were fantastic. There were quite a few band members. The 4 vocals had great harmony and the rest on the instruments were no slouches either. We like KC-5, Royaltiez, and Jazzique, but it's nice to hear new talent. Mr. X start them earlier next time! I decided to let everyone go incognito and didn't take any pictures, but watching our newly returned pal Heather try to dance on crutches was entertaining. Fun night out!

We had a great morning as well when, for the first time in 3 months, we weren't woken up by that horrid construction noise I just posted about (it was terrorizing us 7 days/week including holidays from 8am to 4/5pm). I don't know if it was just coincidence or the Manor heard my cries of desperation, but thank you.

Congratulations to our pal Kat who just finished the South Carolina marathon in 3 hours 32 minutes and qualified for the Boston marathon. Considering she's been training in 80-degree temps + humidity, I'll bet her lungs were loving the 35 degree temps for the run this morning. Great job Kat!!