On the Honduran Island of Roatan
Directions... with a Machete
It wasn't quite 11:00 yet and there had just been a huge downpour. Things were pretty quiet as if the whole village was still asleep. But we saw a couple people sitting under the shady palapa near the "Ruthies" sign, so we approached with crossed fingers.
No one exactly jumped up to greet us. But one of the women pointed to the back deck, so we helped ourselves to a stack of chairs and found a table with a view. That's a little silly to say, since there were no "view-less" tables.
Don and Jorge took a seat and I just had to roam for a bit. I took this photo from the end of the the deck, near an open window which opened up to the tiny kitchen. It already felt like we'd intruded a bit, so I forced myself not to stick my head in to see what was going on.
The water was calm after the morning rain. I wondered about the narrow "kayuko" tied to the side of the covered dock. Who used that boat? Where did they go once they got in the boat?
Home From School
Directly below us, I heard the voices of 2 little boys speaking Garifuna. Since children on the island either go to school in the morning or afternoon, I guessed these kids were done with school for the day. I have some fun memories of walking home from school when I was a child, but I never got to wade through waters of the Caribbean!
There were no menus, but Ruthie told us what she could serve that day. Yellowtail was the catch of the day and she could make "Machuca". I had heard about that Garifuna soup made with coconut milk and fish. I was game. As Jorge told us stories of growing up on the island, (long before developers and tourists) we could hear noises coming from the little kitchen window. It was an almost comical slapping-thunking sound that came from that small room. "She's pounding your plantains for your soup." Jorge laughed.
Served with a Smile!
We enjoyed every minute of our long wait for our meal. Ruthie had done all the work herself in that tiny kitchen. We finally got a big smile out of her when we mentioned seeing her name on the internet. "You're famous!" We announced. Not too famous, because I keep trying to find that piece of info I read weeks ago about her restaurant and I can't find it! But she seemed pleased to know we'd heard of her.
Fish with a Smile
Actually Don's smile, could be seen as an expression of panic. But his past business trips to Japan have prepared him for things much scarier looking than this fish. Maybe that fish is smiling on the plate... or he should be, because the plate decoration makes him look like he has legs... which is funny. Don did a good job with his fish and gave Ruthie lots of praise.
Machuca with Kingfish
Okay, this photo display hardly looks appetizing, but I loved every bit about this meal, starting with the retro flowered china. Don shared his rice and fried plantain, which was served in a Tupperware style container. I spooned chunks of plantain mash and squeezes of lime into my funny looking soup. Then I was treated to a smooth and flavorful slurp of sweet coconut milk broth. The kingfish was fresh and melt-in-you-mouth yummy. And I'm not a huge fish lover!
Coming to Life
After finishing and lingering, Ruthie placed a paper napkin on our table with $25. written in marker. Who knows if that's what locals are charged. But we got plenty for that price and she messed up her kitchen just for us. I asked her how to say "Thank you" in Garifuna. I can't remember what it was, but I she laughed when I tried to repeat it to her. We headed out to the street and stopped to chat with the men who had just started up a game of dominoes. "Who's winning!" I asked. Which is a really dumb question since they hadn't started. But the man in the white shirt with stripes, was more than happy to announce that he was the winner!
afternoon personality just kicking in! I would love to visit Ruthie's in the evening when locals might be filling up the tables. But no complaints. I loved our quiet little visit, with lots of time to enjoy!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.