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Culinary Tour 2010 • Haiti

February 27, 2010 by Joan Nova in Culinary Tour Around the World, Travel Retrospectives | 24 Comments

Back at the end of 2009 when I announced the ‘south-of-the-border’ Culinary Tour itinerary, Haiti was to be stop #8. Several weeks later, the world was horrified by the devastating news of the earthquake. Since then, I’ve struggled with what to do. Would it be more respectful to cancel the stop? Or would now, more than ever, be a good time to embrace Haiti in the way we know best by celebrating its people and food? I decided to keep to the schedule but, instead of cooking, I chose to engage with the local Haitian community by patronizing Tropical Island, a Haitian restaurant in Boynton Beach. This is Lovely who works at the restaurant. Her momma named her well!

My decision to ‘eat out’ was threefold. (1) I hoped spending money in the community would offer some additional measure of support and solidarity. (2) It introduced me to a restaurant and people I might not have ever interacted with. (3) Although I don’t have recipes, it provides readers with a glimpse of authentic Haitian food, which I totally enjoyed. Each dish was full-flavored with a hint of heat from the scotch bonnet peppers.

Tropical Island Restaurant, 1600 N. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach, FL

The menu.

Conferring with Lovely about what to order.

Unpacking the take-out tower.

Riz et Pois Collés (Rice + Peas and a few baby limas), Banane (Green Plantains)

Picklese (spicy cabbage condiment)

Cabrit (stewed goat)

Legume (variety of mixed vegetables including eggplant, chayote, cabbage, etc.)

Lambi a la Creole (conch stew)

Instead of beans to accompany the white rice, they provide a soupy bean puree.

Griot (fried pork meat)

A Haitian dinner table @ FOODalogue, Boynton Beach.

Like any good foodie, I no sooner closed the refrigerator door on the leftovers  from dinner when I started to think about what to do with them. It was an early lunch the next day. :)
I took the chill off the rice and conch and then created layers of flavor. From the bottom up: arugula, rice + peas tossed with a bit of cider vinegar, a little bit of the picklese, strained stewed conch, topped with crispy plantain which I minced and fried with garlic and salt. Trés bon!

Let us not forget Haiti and its beautiful people. The food blogging community made an immediate (and continuing response) to the call for aid. There have been fund-raiser dinners, raffles, and personal transference of ad revenues among numerous endeavors. One such effort, H2Ope for Haiti has extended its one-week online raffle to March 7. You’ve got another week to buy a raffle ticket and bid for the item of your choice.

I believe the whole world responded with generosity and open hearts. It is my sincere hope bureacracy does not get in the way of recovery for the Haitian people…but I worry.

Haiti Round-Up: Wednesday, March 3

Next Stop: Cuba, March 8

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Erica says:

    Wow! What a great post, Joan!!!The food looks wonderful!

  2. If only we had such traditional restaurants here in the Great White North featuring Haitian foods. This gave you the opportunity to explore many food and taste sensations and support the community as well. The Haitians and now the Chileans now our support more than ever.

    • Joan says:

      It really was a good experience to go out and seek that traditional food locally. No trappings of fancy or trendy…just homestyle cooking.

  3. Bren says:

    wonderful post. amazing how so much of our foods are similar; we are right next to each other, after all. Don’t do conch, but my dad looooves it! It’s part of our Oriental Cuban food (from the Orient region). Can’t wait til your stop in Cuba to see what foodalougers come up with! Hope you’ll stop by and see the recap of STIR IT 28: Atlanta (and all the other cities). We had a great time celebrating and fund-raising for Haiti; so kudos to you for not canceling the stop.

  4. What a great idea, Joan, and now I’ve seen Haitian foods (and names….like Lovely) up close and personal! Superb effort!

  5. Liz says:

    Your tour has been wonderful and informative as well as tasty looking. This post is especially relevant. Thank you.

  6. Danielle says:

    Nice introduction to Haitian food, Joan. I had to take a break from the tour this week due to medical issues. Hope to be back on track and see you in Cuba!

  7. I think it was a great idea to do this Joan…the food looks delicious! Another great post for the tour!

  8. norma says:

    The goat made my mouth water. Next time I visit you must try.

  9. redkathy says:

    What a wonderful gesture of love and support Joan. The locals really appreciated it I’m sure. The food looks fabulous. If I ever get over to that side of the state I’ll be sure to check them out. You know home cooking is definitely my style!

  10. Buela says:

    I am so proud to be your friend, I think your thoughfulness has gained you a bigger pair of wings than you would have anticipated :)

    It is something I would appreciate experiencing when I visit next.

  11. Next trip – call me. I want to come, and I am NOT kidding! I am really good company!

  12. ap269 says:

    What a nice idea! The food looks delicious. For our tour, I had big trouble deciding what to cook because all recipes were so appealing!!! Ended up making sweet banana fritters which were awesome!

  13. Wonderful idea to visit an authentic restaurant – thanks for showing us this excellent glimpse into Haitian cuisine.

  14. peter says:

    I knew nothing about Haitian cuisines – until now! It looks delicious! I have to seek out some Haitian eateries in the city.

  15. Maria says:

    That really was a great post Joan! I enjoyed reading it from start to finish and think it is lovely you went on with your stop in Haiti as planned.

  16. Robin Sue says:

    Joan, what a great idea to visit a restaurant for the tour. I agree that they need all the love and support we can offer right now. Good for you! The items you chose look delicious but I must say the way you make leftovers look so good is the best idea yet. Love those layers.

    PS you are so right. I should have added a fourth S– salty!!

  17. sippitysup says:

    WOW! You are IT. I’ll keep the rest of it to myself. Well done well said. GREG

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