Quesadillas, Bahamian Style


I try to meet up with my friend Ben at least once a year somewhere fun since we live so far away from each other. Five years ago we spent an idyllic Christmas on Harbour Island and finally decided to return after some misguided attempts by me at winter sports. By misguided I mean that my idea of sports is an energetic game of Ping Pong. I hadn’t skied since my teens and was more than a little terrified but having based my hotel research more on food than quality of slopes, I felt reassured that even if I broke my leg on the first day, at least I would eat well for the rest of the vacation.


Coming from a long line of sun worshippers though, the call of the winter sun was just too strong so a few weeks ago, after what seemed like a brutal winter, we returned to the pink sands and clear blue waters of The Bahamas. Top on my list of reasons to return to Harbour Island were the Lobster Quesadillas at Sip Sip. It’s rare that after 5 years of craving a particular food, the reality lives up to the memory. In this case, they were actually better than I remembered! There’s something very comforting about returning to a place you’ve been before and knowing the lay of the land, even bumping into some locals that we had made friends with on our last visit as well as making new ones. It was a perfect vacation.


On my return to New York, with the snow falling outside, I tried to recreate those Quesadillas in the hope that they would transport me back to the slow bliss of Island life. It was a little hard to replace the grey sleet falling outside with the bright glare coming off the Caribbean Sea so I actually closed my eyes on the first bite and imagined that the cars outside my window were the waves lapping the shore. It almost worked until a siren came roaring down my street and rudely brought me back to reality.


So here are a few photos from Briland (as we learnt to call it) as well as my slightly more economical version of Sip Sip’s famous Quesadilla.


 The Landing Hotel


The Pigly Wigly where we stocked up on snacks for our sundowners!



Sunset from our balcony at The Landing.



One of the many art galleries on Harbour Island.



The View from the infamous Sip Sip.



Without a shadow of a doubt, the best photo of me ever taken. Thanks Ben!



Sip Sip’s board promoting the crown jewels.



The original Lobster Quesadilla (almost) big enough for two.


Shrimp Quesadilla

Serves 1-2



½ lb cooked shrimp
2 flour tortillas
½ cup of grated Jack cheese
½ cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese
Small bunch of scallions finely chopped
1 yellow pepper finely diced
1 red pepper finely diced


Chipotle Lime Crema 


1/3 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of chipotle sauce
1 generous squeeze of lime juice



1. In a large non stick frying pan heat a little butter or olive oil on a medium flame.
2. Place one tortilla in the pan and cover with shrimp, grated cheese and the white part of the spring onions.
3. Place the second tortilla on top of the cheese and shrimp.
4. Leave for a few minutes until the bottom tortilla has started to brown.
5. Using 2 spatulas, flip the quesadilla and brown the other side.
6. Transfer onto a cutting board and cut into 4 wedges.
7. Once on a plate, garnish with the diced peppers and green portion of the spring onions.
8. Mix all the ingredients for the lime crema and drizzle over the quesadilla before serving.


San Francisco


I felt oddly guilty going on a business trip in which the main purpose was to eat. It felt more like a vacation; planning every day around meals. I was pretty meticulous in my research helped by foodie friends who either live or have lived in the Bay Area. I mapped out the farmers markets, gourmet shops and restaurants that I wanted to visit and happily filled four days foraging for gourmet food. I fittingly ended the trip with an evening pilgrimage to Chez Panisse that fully lived up to its reputation.


I didn’t just eat though – I met amazing people too. I’ve discovered since entering the food world that people who are passionate about what they do are very generous with their time and knowledge. This was also true in the book world and I wonder if it is true in every business. The wonderful Jane Connors from the Ferry Building personally took me around and introduced me to producers that she thought I’d like to meet. The Ferry Building is a Mecca to food and on this particularly glorious sunny day the colors of the flowers and vegetables were almost cartoon like. I spent the whole day slightly overwhelmed by all the foods on display but happy in the knowledge that places like this still exist in the world.


The next day Samin Nosrat; writer, cook, teacher and all round omniscient foodie, met me for coffee and shared her (very long) list of favorite producers with me. These are just two examples of the extreme generosity I encountered from people to whom I was basically a total stranger.


Below are a few photos from my what I hope will be the first of many food foraging trips.


Anenomes outside the Ferry Building



Swiss Chard outside the Ferry Building



Carrots outside the Ferry Building



Crispy Imperial rolls at The Slanted Door



Toby’s Feed Barn in Point Reyes



San Francisco from Tiburon



The view from Route 1



The Golden Gate Bridge


Jerk Chicken Sandwich


I didn’t travel to St. Lucia for the food. I may be spoiled from years of dining in NYC but for me the Caribbean is more about a much needed break from the gray days of February than a culinary destination. This is not to knock local production. The bananas were the best I have eaten in my life: smaller, sweeter and packed with flavor! And the local beer, Piton, is a welcome addition to any meal. But for our vacation, the options weren’t enough to pull me off the beach and get motivated to really sit down and properly dine. So, when my husband found a deal in town for what he described as a wonderful jerk chicken sandwich I wasn’t overly optimistic but succumbing to his enthusiasm, I finally agreed to try it for lunch.


Two hours later, he was eagerly planning our day around this sandwich. I humored him as he gave time checks until he’d be taking his first bite. Then as he told me the time had drawn near with a smile on his face that one could only be described as ecstatic, I reluctantly pried my sundrenched body from its comfortable lounge chair and followed him into town. As we sat down, I was really not feeling hungry. Josh urged me to order something of my own but I said no, I simply wasn’t hungry; I would just have a bite of his sandwich. He asked again, but I politely declined saying I couldn’t possibly eat more than a bite.


Well that bite turned into two and then turned into me finishing half of his sandwich. My biggest crime; snatching some of the jerk chicken that had fallen on the plate which left his final bite as just two halves of a lackluster bun. It was just that good! Valentina later told me that my particular style of “sharing” was grounds for divorce. So, the dastardly wife that I am I figured I at least owed my husband a really good jerk chicken sandwich when we got home to New York.


The best thing about this recipe is it uses jerk marinade and hot sauce, my two favorite products from the Caribbean. Lucky for us, Baron’s International Kitchen sells a wickedly delicious version of both.


Jerk Chicken Sandwich 

Serves 4

4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
Jerk Marinade
4 brioche buns
1 tablespoon Caribbean hot sauce
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
4 slices provolone cheese


Pineapple Relish

1/4 cup finely cubed pineapple
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
3 tablespoons cubed yellow pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly cracked pepper



1. Marinate chicken in Jerk Sauce for 30 minutes (this can also be done overnight). 

2. Turn on broiler to high. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients of the pineapple relish in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Toast buns, then in a small bowl mix Caribbean hot sauce with mayonnaise. 

4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top. Lay chicken across rack and broil about 4 minutes per side (cook chicken until no longer pink). 

5. Top with cheese and return for 1 minute to oven. 

6. Dress buns with zesty mayo, lettuce and tomato. 

7. Add jerk chicken and top with pineapple relish. 

8. Serve with coleslaw, fries and either an ice-cold Piton or Rum Punch… and please, no sharing!