LeVeLs UltraBar and Lounge

A dining experience is altered when you are invited to see a true Chef at work preparing your food. When skills displayed were honed over years and bare hands shape and form your meal, feeding the eyes before the mouth can taste. When knives work as an extension of the hand and raw is artfully combined with cooked in perfect balance, a meal is transposed to a pleasure.
Soft Shell Crab, Fresh Vegetables rolled in Rice
Usuzukuri - slices of Tuna with Ponzu Sauce
Yeah, I LOVE sushi. The pomp and circumstance of every roll, the performance art with the ability to satisfy and nourish and LeVeLs is may favorite place in Trinidad to get it.
Located at the western end of Ariapita Avenue in the capital of Port of Spain, this Ultrabar as they call themselves caters for a wide range of clients on four (4) levels, hence the name.
Beautiful Sushi Sandwich with Tuna and Avocado
My longstanding favorite - Acevichado Roll

Why My Favorite for Sushi

With a number of popular places in our small Republic now offering sushi, why is this my place to go to? Three (3) reasons: 1. Consistently great quality (head sushi Chef José rocks!) 2. Meaningful variety (no identity crisis reflected in the menu) and 3. Great, friendly service.

The LeVeLs menu serves up amazing quintessential hot and cold sushi items and includes LeVeLs specialty rolls, Specialities of the Itamae (japanese chef) from their kitchen like Japanese fried chicken - Katsu and their Epicurean delights - Guava Bar-Be-Que Ribs and Crab Cake Sliders alongside creative cocktails like Wasabi Martinis. What more could you want? Maybe something in your choice of atmosphere; outdoor spaces and a deck share the pulse of the avenue (great 'máco' points to see and be seen), the ground floor housing the sushi and drink bars are lively and at times loud, if that's your style, and the first floor with it's large comfy couches and leather armchairs more suited to the intimate art of conversation. The top level is a large private room opulently outfitted for those who can afford its exclusivity.
Classic Harumaki (Riceless) Roll

Must Tries on the Menu

The Acevichado specialty roll, a Tuna based roll topped with a white sauce so delicious I could drink it out of a cup. Ceviche Nikkei; Shrimp, Scallops and Octopus in their LeVeLs Ceviche Salsa topped with Sweet Potato Tempura. The Crunchy Roulette is LeVeLs' spin on pizza with Salmon, Tuna, Tobiko and Acevichado Sauce. The Curfew Roll with Octopus, Mushroom in Garlic Butter is fully cooked and flavorful. Try them all.
LeVeLs Specialty Crunchy Roulette -
a new spin on Pizza
Steak topped sushi
Visit LeVeLs any day of the week except Mondays and make new friends. 
LeVeLs is located at 1 Taylor Street and Corner of Ariapita Avenue Port of Spain and check out their Facebook page for details of their menu and specials.

For more pictures of the great food we've tried and highly recommend, visit the Belly in Hand facebook page and BellyinHand Foodspotting link.


Chaud Cafe & Wine Bar

My first impression of Chaud Cafe was “this does not feel like Trinidad & Tobago,” and the realization that I was standing in a manifestation of a step in our culinary evolution thrilled me.

"Order up!" Inside Chaud Cafe
Like most developing countries we mimic the trends of the first world, usually the big commercial ideas (and our versions are poor imitations at best), but every now and again we see the learnings of the good stuff; international standards, professional skills and intelligence applied to art and service.
Chaud Cafe another child of Chef Khalid Mohammed (one of three in the capital), is a restaurant/bar with big, bold ambitions well suited to a young developing city. It is a true Cafe, small in size, serving light meals , wine and  cocktails along with European style preparations of coffee.

Seafood Penne Pasta
Their fabulous Nicsoise Salad [love the anchovies]
The atmosphere is one of informal urbanity, while the menu remains fresh and metropolitan with something for everyone. Sandwiches on artisan breads, sweet and rich vegetable marmalades, caviars and tapenades to compliment the herb infused and encrusted with hints of Creole complexity mixed in with clean [feed the hungry man] simplicity.  There are choice selections of fish or meat and ripe crisp vegetables - nothing seems stale, everything has balance.

A Cafe Wagyu Burger [Wagyu Beef is prized and top class]
Affordable lunch specials of the day like Seafood Penne and Soup of the Day from scratch, an 8 ounce Wagyu Burger with Smoked Cheddar Cheese [which by the way is truly Awesome], Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels with Applewood Bacon and Beer are all available to dine in or take away.

We’ve tried just about everything with stand outs being the Wild Mushroom Salad on Toast with Spinach, Manchego Cheese and Aged Balsamic Vinegar, their crisp French Fries with Arugula Mayo and oh that Wagyu Burger. All others seem to vie for favorite (we are such suckers for good food).

Wild Mushroom Toast
With proposed changes to the menu to take effect this September, we hope this little Cafe that apparently could, continues to move our taste-buds and appetites for good food and good service in one place forward.

Open-air Dining in the Plaza which houses Chaud Cafe

Chaud Cafe is located at Woodbrook Plaza, 189 Tragariete Road, Port of Spain. Phone: 1(868) 628 9845.

See our Chaud Cafe samplings on Foodspotting and follow our pursuit for the Best Food in T&T on Facebook - it’s all good.



Carnival remains both a spectator festival as it is a player's festival, all happening on the streets and mobile for the most part. Food from our diverse ethnic backgrounds in a rage and better still, the portables - Rotis, Wraps, Sandwiches and Burgers (to name a few) all available from vendors on the streets, but holding its own not only at Carnival but all year round is a Trinidad and Tobago favorite - Doubles.

A Doubles - Skillfully Wrapped in Paper 

Doubles is of Indian origin and gets it's name from the two (double) fried dough 'flat breads' called bara each about palm sized, which holds the curried chick peas filling. This messy sandwich of sorts is usually dressed with tangy chutneys, hot pepper sauces and cooling cucumber and coconut preparations. It is eaten with the hands and best when hot (not warm).

Curried Chick Peas (or Garbanzo Beans)

Vendors are all over the country, in most every neighborhood, selling at make shift road side stands or out of car trunks (seriously).  Some have been an established family business for years, perfecting family recipes and gaining loyal followers while putting generations through school.

Wildly Popular - Soft Bara and Delicate
Chickpeas in a Sea of Curry Flavor

To find out where to get the best I thought may have taken time, effort and the fielding of much fierce debate - turns out not. Though the average citizen may enjoy and recommend his neighborhood doubles man's offerings, he will also agree that three vendors rise to the status of Best in all the lands: U-Wee, Medford Boys and Sauce. Don't take my word, poll the forty-six thousand fans of the Facebook page 'I Love Doubles' or the  thirty-six thousand strong of 'I love Doubles by Trinbago' (we did) and see for yourself. The three names topped the list.

U-Wee Doubles & Roti Shop near to the
University of the West Indies (UWI)
Campus in St. Augustine, Trinidad

U-Wee (my favorite) is for those who like a thick bra, filling with body and great condiments (thick too) :)

Medford Doubles: Located on the Main Road
Opposite the Medford Gas Station

The boys near the Medford flyover in have a yellow bara, not too thick not too thin and flavorful curried chick peas (channa as we call it). Their pepper sauce is wicked good. Have it slight if you are not accustomed to spicy foods.

Soft and melt in your mouth fried 
dough called Bara (Medford's)

Sauce (d Original) is at a busy junction in Curepe (North) Trinidad. Theirs is thin bara and slightly 'runny' curried chick peas but really tasty. The hot sauce is nuclear but addictive. Take it ever-so slightly.

Famous 'Sauce' in Curepe, Trinidad

Doubles remains very affordable ($3TT - $4TT) on average, with a few exceptions: D Doubles Den also in Curepe is one such extreme selling larger bara and choices of curried meat and fish to go with the chick peas for around $15TT - something new for the adventurous.

If you want meat....
D Den is the Doubles place for you. 
A Spicy Chicken Doubles

For more on the Best Food available in Trinidad and Tobago visit our Facebook page and our sightings on Foodspotting.


Never Far Away

I'm back!

Its not that I have not been inspired to write all this while, more like I have been overwhelmed. 
From Valentine's Day into pre-Carnival festivities, Carnival and its post season (Lent) I remain in awe of the place I call home. 

Infectious Soca/Calypso music, gatherings of friends & family that lasts all night into the morning with great food & wine. I found myself many times, stepping away form the party or the thick of the 'lime' just to drink it all in. My cheeks in pain from constant laughter, clothes stained from a spilled drink or sauce and leg muscles throbbing from dancing or standing for hours - then happily returning to the fun, having taken note (& being grateful). All joy.

Taking it all in


Valentine's Day in Paradise

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food," so says George Bernard Shaw, playwright and Arch-Better Foodie and this Valentine's Day I want to express love with love.

I married a hopeless romantic on Valentine's Day (no less) and every year while dating and thereafter, we do a version of the romantic time away; just two of us with hotel, dinner, flowers and chocolates-the whole sha-bang. You would think I would get tired of it but no, any opportunity to be whisked away, wined and dined and I'm a happy victim. There is however, noted with each passing year a growing desire to reach out and share the love with the other sweethearts of my life in a meaningful and less commercial way than semi-home made heart shaped cookies or a Hallmark card, and in keeping with my Foodie quests of finding and sharing the best, enter Chef Khalil Ali for the occasion.

Mini Chocolate Créme Brulee

Individual Tiramisu: Creme de Cacao infused 
Mascarpone, Amaretto and Vanilla Bean Ladyfinger....Oh Wow

Chef Ali of Pêche Pâtisserie makes me want to be a better food writer and photographer. At present I cannot adequately convey the intoxicating scents of their Chocolate Creations, the amazing textures of his Danishes, the silky richness of their Vanilla Bean Mousse, the sensuous feeling you get from his Truffled Belgian Chocolate Cookies or the food porn-like compositions of some of his Miniature Desserts. He is an artist and this Valentine's his art will speak for me.

Strawberry Danishes: Light Flaky Pastry 
with Savory Sweet Fillings

BaBa Au Rhum: Pate a Savarin in Citrus &
Vanilla Bean Syrup & 1 Shot of Angostura 1919 Rum

Tucked away in the residential area of Chaguanas' Lange Park, Chef Ali's Pêche Pâtisserie is inconspicuous but its fame burgeoning. People of all stations seek out this shop which is off the beaten path for sure, but once there you are made to feel welcomed, French Pastries are demystified and secrets of taming Chocolate are revealed.
Most surprising to me at first was the accessibility to a pleasant and personable Chef Ali himself, usually busy at work in an open work area to the front of the Pâtisserie. If not totally engrossed in some intricate pastry or chocolate detailing, he'll answer a question or two or encourage you to try a sample of whatever is featured that day. It doesn't hurt that this Le Cordon Bleu and French Culinary Institute graduate, who worked at two of the finest Pâtisseries in Toronto and under one of the top ten American Pâtissiers is young and good-looking too.:-)

CoCo: Coconut Dacquoise
Sandwiching a Coconut Buttercream

Truffled Chocolate Cookies: More like a
cross between a Brownie and a Cookie with a
Velvety Chocolate Taste you also Feel (seriously)

My V-Day plan is to deliver some of these treats to special friends and family; a little ribbon and soft paper lining is all that may be needed; the Pastries are the star and I'll let them spread their joy, I know I'll be feeling it (a Danish and a Tiramisu for me please). 
Even if you don't have a sweet tooth or the commercialism of Valentine's Day gives you nausea, I guarantee you'll feel loved the moment you feast your eyes on one of these delights and taste what dedication, determination and truly loving food can make, no matter where you end up in this paradise on February 14th.

Vanilla Bean Eclair - Divine

Delicious Sweets for my Sweets with love
from 'Belly in Hand'

To learn more about Pêche Pâtisserie and Chef Khalil Ali visit his Facebook pages or visit the Pâtisserie at 1020 Soldado Road, Lange Park Chaguanas (phone: 1 868 223 2433).

The Pêche Pâtisserie in Lange Park Chaguanas

Check out more Pâtisserie Food items at Foodspotting or the Belly in Hand Facebook page.