While visiting cities and countries and spending 10 days walking around and exploring cultures and sites is certainly fulfilling, sometimes we just want to sit on a beach. We'll generally alternate between what we call "beach vacations" and "cultural vacations." In September of 2012, the t:e organization was looking for a beach vacation.
In the running was Mexico and, of course, one of the many islands in the Caribbean. The missus had visited Nevis some years back and had a wonderful experience at the Four Seasons resort. My arm did not need twisting.
First things first: you just thought "what is Nevis?" Or, you knew right away. It's that type of place. Small. Off the beaten path. And very friggin' awesome.
We flew from New York to St. Kitt's, where we were met by a car service and whisked off to the Four Seasons ferry that would take us directly to the resort on Nevis. I highly recommend this method of arriving at the resort. There's something very relaxing about pulling up to a dock at a resort, rum punch already in hand.
On the way from St. Kitt's to the Four Seasons Nevis.
Closing in on the resort. What you see is almost the whole island.
Our room was not yet ready when we pulled up to the dock, so we pulled up a bar stool (shocker) at Cabana, the casual beach/pool bar/restaurant, where we would be spending a lot of time this trip. The cocktail list leans toward islandy drinks, and I was fine with that.
A clear abuse of shallow depth of field. I should be embarrassed.
'Nevisian Smile' - think Pina Colada, but you're sitting next to a volcano in Nevis.
We ordered a tuna nicoise, and what would quickly become a favorite dish: conch with pickled vegetables. This dish is fantastic. Tender conch, with pickled cucumber, some sweet peppers, a bit of fresh herb. The "broth" was briny, not much unlike the liquor from an oyster (liquor is the best part of the oyster eating experience). I ordered this dish every day. And so should you.
The Four Seasons has two basic rooms (and, of course, rooms that I can't afford). Some face Nevis Peak, and some face the water. We chose the Nevis Peak view, knowing that we'd be upgraded since it was off-season and we booked through American Express, and were very pleased with the ocean view. But I can certainly see the allure of waking up to the majesty of Nevis peak every morning.
There are several buildings, some of which are in front of pools. You might consider requesting the buildings that aren't, and request a second floor room, for additional privacy.
There are three pools, including an adults-only pool. Some basic water sports are available right at the resort, and some decent snorkeling. Lots of fish and lobsters and sea turtles. Not the greatest clarity when the sun is behind the clouds, but certainly good enough snorkeling for hobbyists.
Adults only pool
The golf course is supposed to be pretty good (at the very least, the views are spectacular), but since I don't play I didn't care. We did, however, spend hours on the golf course, taking pictures of monkeys. There are monkeys all over the island, much to the chagrin of Nevisians, and a shit load on the Four Seasons golf course. I highly recommend taking a walk up to the back nine to check them out. They're a funny lot, and if you're vaguely interested in wildlife, they will be sure to keep you entertained for hours. Since it's a decent walk to the back 9, you might want to go to the pro shop and tell them you're going to the driving range so you can get a cart. It'll cost a few bucks, but it's worth the convenience. Conversely, you can ask the front desk to have someone bring you up. Getting back, obviously, is a bit trickier, but at least it's downhill. Did I mention it's as hot as b*lls in September? Bring water.
If you're like me, you might also spend hours on the beach taking pictures of crabs and birds and the random dog that might make its way onto the beach.
The beach in front of Sunshine's, Lime, and Chevy's, just down the beach from the Four Seasons.
A few months back, Travel Channel aired two episodes of Burger Land, a great show on hamburgers hosted by George Motz. I figured that was it for the show, but they've restarted with some additional episodes.
George is an affable character with some admirable sideburns and a real passion for burgers. He did, after all, write the book on the subject. The show is shot and edited well, and is a real pleasure. Don't miss it.
After catching the third episode, "Hollywood Hamburgers," which featured a place called Pie 'n Burger, I knew what was happening for lunch.
The Pie 'n Burger cheeseburger consists of two four ounce patties, smashed down with a can of tomato juice, cooked on a flat top, with pickles, cheese, and a Thousand Island style dressing. It also has lettuce, which I generally skip when making burgers. This style of burger is right up my alley.
Here is what my version looked like. For some reason four ounce patties on TV are much smaller than they are in my kitchen. I wouldn't recommend eating a burger this rich more than once a week. Or, whenever you catch Burger Land on TV.
Table with a view at Sunshine's, overlooking the compound
Sunshine's website says "no visit is complete without a stop in at Sunshine's where you can meet the legend himself, Sunshine." I think they're right.
The colorful little shack call Sunshine's is located on Pinney's beach just south of the Four Seasons resort on Nevis. In a compound which also includes Lime and Chevy's. No doubt you've heard this a million times if you've looked for info on Sunshine's. I suspect the rest of this report will sound familiar as well, but that won't stop me.
Sunshine's interior. Casual and comfortable, much like Nevis.
My expectation was that I'd be going to Sunshine's for their famous rum cocktail called "The Killer Bee." I did not realize that the food is outstanding as well. But first those Killer Bees...
It was Small Business Saturday, and the plan was to support a small business, local to us. That never happened, but we did drive out to Westport, CT, to try the Black Duck Cafe (featured on Triple D a few years back). It was a fine little spot. I mention this because I noticed that right down the street from the Black Duck is Tarry Lodge, the Batali-Bastianich restaurant that I'd long heard about, but never considered driving to. We stopped in for a looksee, and liked what we saw. A bit of googling lead us to the realization that there's another Tarry Lodge, closer to t:e headquarters, in Port Chester, NY. Which is where we ended up for lunch the next day.
And I say all of that to bring me to the Tarry Market, which we found is right next door to the Tarry Lodge in Port Chester. What a great little spot. Artisanal salumi and bacon, great looking vegetables, some ready-to-eat dishes, excellent staff, and a glass-front refrigerator displaying slowly rotting meat. Dry-aged meat, that is to say. I had to get some. At 30 bucks a pound (the same price as the not dry-aged stuff apparently), I thought it was a pretty good deal.
I asked how long the short loin had been holed up in that fridge, and the fella told me "about 50 days." I'm not sure I believe that, as 50 days is quite a long time to dry-age beef. What I do know is this strip steak was incredibly tender, and flavorful, no doubt thanks in part to the butter/fat treatment I like to give steak...
Here's the thing about Peter Luger's steak: it tastes funky. You can really taste the aging on those steaks. I've had dry-aged steak from various sources, at various restaurants, and not one gets to that level of flavor and funk. I started thinking that perhaps that butter sauce of theirs also contains tallow or beef fat. Fat from those big old nasty rotting carcasses. Even if I'm wrong, I've found that this is a great way to get that flavor on your steak. Here's what I do:
Awful Arthur's is located on Beach Road, right across from the beach in Kill Devil Hills. The vibe is definitely "shore" and nautical, and the big long bar seemed packed with regulars and locals. Every single table was taken at lunchtime on a weekday. This place seems to do a business.
We stumbled on The Kill Devil Grill whilst searching for decent places to eat during a recent trip to the Outer Banks. OBX has a shit ton of restaurants, most of which are mediocre as far as I can tell. But, there are a few gems, and The Kill Devil Grill is one of them.
Situated right across from the beach on Beach Road, you'd think it'd be another somewhat sticky, sandy, kitschy place. But it's not. It's clean, sleek, and cool...and somewhat kitschy (a tiny old diner with an addition on the back). More importantly, the food is damned good.
Have you had enough of New Jersey? Here at the t:e organization, we get that way, generally several times a year. But, this is a self-proclaimed "New Jersey-centric" blog, so the "editor" refrains, for the most part, from talking about food from other parts of the globe.
On the one hand, I think this focus makes tommy:eats a unique blog; after all, its purpose isn't to focus on the "editor-in-chief" and his personal exploits and various interests outside of food (you know little about me, and I prefer to keep it that way). But rather, its purpose is to focus on the good stuff in, and sometimes around, New Jersey. You come here, and you read about food. No bullshit, no filler.
But, alas, I, the "managing editor" of tommy:eats, do run out of New Jersey-centric topics on which to opine, as any reader no doubt realizes. This is largely due to the fact that I rarely post about a restaurant that I simply do not like...of which there are many, at which many of my dollars are spent. These are wasted meals, and wasted opportunities to share a good experience...not to mention wasted money.
So what's an "editor-at-large" supposed to do? Just ignore his fan base? Well, yes, usually. And you will be especially ignored if you think I fancy myself an "editor." Maybe change the rules a bit?
There is, I should note, a precedent for this rule tweaking. As you no doubt don't recall, I enjoyed the hell out of the navel-gazing Lollapalooza report from my first year with this blog. I wrestled with posting it, as it wasn't NJ-centric. But at the end of the day it made me very happy to share that experience with people. After all, it contained reports of hot dogs, steaks, burgers, pizza, and music. And if you don't enjoy at least one of those things, you're probably not reading this right now.
Something's got to give here at the t:e organization. To heck with it! We love NJ, but there's a lot more good stuff out there, just over the Jersey border somewhere, right? And some of you might even end up where that stuff is.
So who wants to hear about Texas BBQ? WOO-HOO! Let's do this thing.