I said yesterday “who could ask for anything more?” I certainly couldn’t imagine anything more fabulous than what we already enjoyed, but Anguilla and the staff at Ani Avillas treated us to another unbelievable beach day. Felix had said that the beach he recommended for us was his favorite and when we arrived to see the pristine white sand shorelines of Shoal Bay, I could understand why.
I’d thought the beach set-up we had at Limestone beach was great but what waited for us at Shoal Bay was beyond words. There was a huge tent with picnic tables and benches, lounge chairs lined up right on the beach, chef Sweets and his assistants barbequing ribs and grilling vegetables, and Kaira mixing what she called “BBA,” Bananas and Baileys, Amplified. It seemed like magic. It would have been difficult to get all this done if we were staying right next to the beach but the fact everything had to be transported from the villa (~20 minutes by car) made it even more impressive. We had our own little pop-up restaurant on the beach- later on, we actually had a few beach goers come by and ask if they could make a reservation for dinner, really!
We had added 2 more to our merry party the previous afternoon, with the lovely and beautiful D. and gregarious E. joining us from New York. Our party was now 17 and it was really beginning to feel like a celebration, and there was a party to be had for sure. But I wanted to feel the soft powdery sand between my toes and stretch my legs a bit, so I took a long walk up and down the length of the beach. It looked like there was a quite a bit of new development along the shore and even a few small restaurants along the way. I was thankful for the perfect spot on the beach we had, and felt so lucky to have a great brother and wonderful friends to share this day. A quick dip in the ocean to cool down and a sip of Ms. K’s strong BBA later, I was called to the tent for our gourmet picnic on the beach.
I honestly don’t know how they managed to get all the amazing food on the beach for us, but we had everything from beautiful salmon and mahi mahi to barbequed ribs, grilled veggies with pesto to corn on the cob and caprese salad. I really thought we were having some burgers and hot dogs, but clearly Felix and chef Sweets’ definition of a picnic was very different from mine.
Speaking of food, we had two wonderful chefs cooking for us at Ani Villas during our stay. We had the ever-cheerful singing chef Shamash who made all kinds of yummy things at breakfast every morning and chef Sweets was in charge of our lunch and dinner each day.
I haven’t been on a scale since I returned from Anguilla but I know it’s going to take me a while to work off all the calories I consumed there. Some of our favorite things chef Sweets made for us were conch chowder, gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce, coconut shrimp, and lamb chops. He also did a beautiful tuna tartare for us one night, really great West Indian curries with freshly made rotis, spicy shrimp tacos, baked eggplants, luxurious beef tenderloin, and so on. Oh and his desserts! We liked his apple pie, but we all raved about his panna cotta and banana cream pie with fresh berries. He even fried mini doughnuts for us on our last night. With a full breakfast, delicious lunch, Kaira’s daily special cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a three-course dinner everyday, I never had a moment to feel even the slightest twinge of hunger the entire week.
*photo credit: A. Goldberg and P. Merelis