I found myself back in the Caribbean—Antigua, to be more precise—after a month’s family visit and conference hopping in Europe. It may, therefore, be excusable that I was still in a high-wired mode expecting efficiency and quality as we set out to get some dinner on the night of my arrival.Being Pentecost, I was not surprised to find shops generally closed, but as several restaurants and bars had been open for lunch, I kind of expected the same at dinnertime.
My husband decided he didn’t want to go to the Nelson’s Dockyard area because it is the most touristy part of the island and there are supposed to be superb restaurants all over the island. So we set off from our hotel at Falmouth Harbor in search of a charming place with a good view and even better food. An hour and a half’s driving around on ill-lit roads lined with shuttered-up restaurants had gradually lowered our expectations and we drove back humbled and hungry to Nelson’s Dockyard, only to be told by the security guards that everything in there was closed, too. Still not taking in the enormity of the situation and continuing to look at him expectantly, the guard smilingly enlightened us on our dining prospects: there was a pizza joint on the corner, which was the single source of nourishment for the night.
Although nonplussed and overdressed, my gurgling stomach soon convinced me how wonderful it would be to eat pizza once again—even though the chances for good pizza in the Caribbean are usually on the slim side. The wooden box euphemistically called a take-out restaurant was humming and heaving with a sun-kissed sailing crowd in shorts and flip-flops standing around tiny tables, nursing beer-bottles and gesticulating with pizza slices, which were flapping even more due to a strengthening wind. Squeezing past them and miraculously not ending up with tomato sauce on my dress, I made it to the counter and beheld a brisk little man wearing pink eyeglasses. He was evidently Italian and the owner of the establishment, and equally evidently he was making a lot of money that night; the whole expat community of Antigua was lining up for his pizza, his beer and his Sprite. Seeing only four more bottles of beer in the fridge behind him, I prayed the woman in front of me wouldn’t buy all of them, and my prayer was answered. (The guy behind me couldn’t say the same thing as I took the last two bottles.)
As I am allergic to tomatoes, I begged for a pizza bianca, which he graciously promised me and topped with mozzarella, ham, spinach and ricotta. My husband opted for a traditional marinara. As soon as we received our steaming boxes, we rushed out into the dark and rain with the determination of hungry people and after a two-minute drive we were sitting on the patio of our hotel, tearing away at our pizzas. Mine was unbelievably good: thin, crunchy, bursting with taste. I determined to point this out to him as soon as I swallowed a bite of a rather unladylike size and congratulate ourselves on the happy ending of our culinary quest, when I noticed a steady trickle coming from the slice he was busy biting into. Then I noticed that the dark patch at the bottom of his box and I wondered whether it could have got so wet in the rain. In the faint lamplight, however, I soon saw his chin shiny with oil and his eyes filled with horror; the pizza was like a sponge so full that it didn’t even need squeezing to squirt oil. They must have been running low on tomato sauce and diluted it with oil. I had never been gladder of my inability to eat tomatoes; there was a poetic justice in ending up with a perfect pizza lacking the ingredient that most people consider its most fundamental one.
|Location||Nelson Dockyard road, 012345 English Harbour Town, Saint Paul, Antigua And Barbuda|
|Price Range||$$ (10-30)|
|Hours||Mon – Wed: 5:00 am – 11:00 am|
|Services||Takes ReservationsWalk-Ins WelcomeGood For Kids
|Payment Options||Cash Only|