Have you ever flipped through the pages of a travel magazine and
wondered how all the people in the photos could look so well-coiffed
and serene? I discovered exactly how last week on my Caribbean vacation
in Eluethera, Bahamas.
After a full morning of boogie boarding in the aquamarine waters off Surfer's Beach,
my family was starving. We made our way to the northern end of the
island and hired a water taxi to take us on the ten-minute ride to Harbour Island.
Once there, we rented golf carts, the cay’s preferred mode of
transportation, and puttered past the town’s colorful clapboard houses
to Sip Sip’s, one of our favorite lunch spots.
As we pulled up, we noticed an unusual amount of commotion and
thought that perhaps a large group had just arrived. As we walked in
the door, however, we saw an over-sized camera, people holding light
reflector panels, a woman running around with a make-up powder puff,
and a stunning model. It was a photo shoot for Condé Nast.
Almost everybody else in restaurant had come straight from the beach
and looked the part – bare feet, sandy cover-ups, wet hair and all. The
impeccably made-up model, on the other hand, languidly sipped her
bright-orange mango daiquiri while gazing out over the pink sand beach
to the ocean beyond. The purple and red of her impossibly fresh
sundress and matching stiletto heels stood out dramatically against the
white deck railing. Two assistants used the reflectors to make sure
there were no unwanted shadows falling across her unflawed face. After
every couple of shots, the make-up woman went over to mist the model,
powder her nose, and fix her hair. It’s the army of people working
behind the scenes that make the models look so perfect.
It’s appropriate that I pass along this little tidbit of gossip,
because the name of the restaurant, Sip Sip, means “idle chat” or
“rumors” in the local patios. One thing that is certainly not a rumor
is the quality of their food. There is a reason that Condé Nast is
going to feature the spot – outstanding cuisine in a picturesque
in 2003, the restaurant mimics the traditional Nantucket style of the
other buildings on the island. One difference, however, is the paint
color, which can only be described as neon avocado. A large mahogany
bar is the central feature inside, but the coveted seats can be found
outside on the umbrella-shaded patio. The restaurant sits on a small
rise above the blushing beach, affording views of both the sand and the
sparkling Caribbean waters.
Some restaurants blessed with such a fantastic setting might not
feel the need to work very hard on the food. The American owner, Julie
Lightbourne, has taken the opposite tack however, producing fresh,
flavorful delights from her kitchen. While the menu has some
interesting options, like hot dogs smothered in conch chili, and jerk
chicken salad, the daily specials board is where the real treats can be
The standout dish the day we were there was the lobster quesadilla
with chipotle cream sauce. Imagine lobster thermidor on a tortilla. The
huge chunks of meaty lobster, washed down with an ice-cold Kalik beer,
were heaven on earth. Other delights we sampled included a creamy
mahi-mahi dip served with pita chips, jerk pork tenderloin with fresh
island greens, and a fried grouper filet sandwich with tangy tartar
sauce. Everything exceeded our expectations, including that mango
daiquiri that the model had sipped so seductively. We might not have
looked so good, but I bet we were a lot more comfortable.