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Island taste takes hold in Daytona
News-Journal editorial assistant Susan Irwin recently dined with friend David Bethea at the Taste of the Tropics Seafood & Grill in Daytona Beach.
Q. How did it look?
The tropical neon sign and spacious-looking A-frame building led me to imagine I was going to walk into a lush subtropical island. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and it reminded me of an IHOP. It wasn’t the atmosphere we were after, though, but the delicious taste of island food. Anyhow, the restaurant was very clean, as were the restrooms, and that’s a good sign in my book. It’s been in business almost eight months.
Q. What time and day of the week did you visit?
We picked a Monday and arrived at about 7 p.m. Beforehand, a coworker who is from Trinidad and Tobago told me the food was very authentic and homemade.
Q. How easy or difficult would it be to negotiate the restaurant in a wheelchair?
The parking lot, with ample parking for all, has handicapped slots situated on both sides of the front doors. The doorways are adequate to accommodate a wheelchair. The bathrooms also seem to be spacious and equipped for anyone’s needs.
Q. How long did you have to wait before you were seated?
We walked in the front door, and a man (later we found out he’s the manager) motioned us to tables to our left. Dinner seemed a bit quiet, and we found out later the restaurant is thriving on its lunch crowd with high hopes for the dinner crowd.
Q. How long before you were served?
The manager, serving as waiter, took drink orders and we started checking out the menu. David wanted to wait for him to explain the foods that were foreign to us, which turned out to be the best notion. Most of the foods, such as chicken, king fish, snapper, roast beef, pork chops and T-bone and sirloin steaks, also are served in American restaurants. It’s how they are prepared that is so different.
Two unfamiliar meats were goat and oxtail.
Q. What kind of appetizer did you order?
After talking the manager’s ear off, we decided to try the Caribbean pattie ($1.50). He compared it to a Mexican empanada, and it is pastry dough filled with a choice of ground meat, chicken or veggies with spices, then baked. We also tried and enjoyed coco bread ($1.50), a somewhat sweet and very soft bread.
Q. What kind of entrees did you order?
I ordered the small curried goat dinner ($7.25), which comes with red beans and rice and another side; I chose a fresh and tasty garden salad. I liked the goat brown stewed — similar to American beef stew — and, no, it didn’t taste like chicken, but instead a cross between lamb and beef. You have to be very careful eating this dish as it has a lot of bones. David chose the small portion of curried shrimp dinner ($9.45) and mashed potatoes — which we both agreed were delicious and were truly homemade, not from a box — and macaroni salad.
Q. What did you order to drink?
We had draft beer and a glass of pinot grigio. They also offer other wines and regional specilaties like Irish moss (Magnum), Nutrament, carrot juice, sorrel and ginger root and the usual sodas and coffee. Happy hour is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; draft beer is buy one, get one free, and wine is buy one, get one half-price.
Q. How were the desserts?
Four desserts are offered: Jamaican fruitcake, carrot cake sweet potato pie and sweet potato pudding, but the pudding ($3.50) was the only one available that night. We both ordered it, and it was very tasty.
Q. What was your total?
With tax, $36.59, plus $9 and change for our drinks, plus a $10 tip.
Taste of the Tropics
WHERE: 933 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday. Lunch specials are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MISCELLANEOUS: Cash or major credit cards accepted; no checks
PHONE: (386) 254-7556
Thank you News Journal !!
I feel like I just got a day off !!~