So I started this blog for Belizean food. Now, if you have ever been to Belize you would've quickly noticed that we have cultural influences from all over. Our core group that have been here since it all began are the latin influences from our neighbors Mexico & Guatemala, and then we have our Garifuna food, our Creole foods, Maya influences (also tied in with the latin influences) and recently over the last few decades we've added to our list Indian, (belizeans actually do like a lot of curried and spicy foods), Chinese (who doesn't like it?), and even some more Caribbbean influences from our fellow caribbean islands.
So with that said I also decided that once a month I will feature a local restaurant that serves up some good food...and today I introduce to you
CHAP'S Bar & Grill...
This funky little restaurant is now hands down my favorite in Belize city...from the fun but relaxing Mexican music playing during lunch I feel as though I really was in Mexico. The owner, Christian Riveroll, is very friendly, makes you feel welcome and has a laugh that is very intoxicating and instantly puts you in a good mood.
He greeted my friend and I with menu's in hand and directed us to our seats where he offered us the infamous Margarita. Now, I do pride myself as a Tequila connoissuer, I love the stuff. This was by far one of the BEST Margarita's I've ever had...and strong!
After a chat and a drink we finally decided on what we were having. Rebecca went with the Arracherra with cheese and served in a whole wheat tortilla. Now I must say Christian did an excellent job on his menu. He has several vegetarian dishes, which is pretty much unheard of in Belize city, as well as health concious dishes and some not so health concious dishes...we stayed in the middle. So, for our first recipe of the day we go with...
The Arrachera Taco w/ Whole Wheat Tortilla
Now, this looks simple but if you want the Chap's Bar & Grill results it will take you about 2 days to make. Yah, nothing good ever comes easy...unless you go to Chap's and just order it :) Now I'm just gonna add one more thing...if you've been to Belize you'll know our beef isn't the best which is why it's usually served well done or stewed...occassionally you can get a good young cow but most of the time it's chewy and kinda tough. When I tried this it was like biting into a marshmellow...smooth, tender and just melted in my mouth...ok, ok now the recipe...
1. Salt the beef, just dump tons and tons of salt on the beef and let it sit there for about 2 hrs. After that rinse it off.
2. Wrap the beef in Papaya leaf for 24 hrs of course in the refridgerator...we don't want you getting sick now.
3. After your 24 hrs wrapping is done Make a marinade. Whichever one is your favorite, Do it to your taste you'll be eating it after all. Now this is the second to last step...Marinade the beef for another 12hours...
4. Final step, (I know was taking a while huh?) Grill it. Then finally yes we get to eat this Bad little taco...from what i've tasted it's definately worth the wait if you want to make this yourself.
Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 cup All Purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
*extra flour for rolling
1. In a large mixing bowl add the whole wheat flour and the all purpose flour. Rub in the shortening by hand until the mixture looks and feels like oatmeal. Make a hole in the center and add in the boiling water and mix in the flour/shortening mixture until the water has been evenly spread. sprinkle a little bit more flour on top and knead.
2. Make small balls (about golf ball size) and put them in a tray, cover with cloth and let it sit for about 1 hour or up to 8 hours. The longer the softer.
3. Flatten one of the balls to the thickness u prefer then put it on the hot griddle/comal and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. reapeat this step til your balls of whole wheat flour are done.
*If you go to chaps and order the arrachera tacos you have a choice between corn, whole wheat and flour tortillas... :)
Now for the next dish which is the one I chose...I like spicy, and I have a rediculous weak spoy for chipotle peppers...So I went with a less popular choice than the taco's.
Say hello to my little friend...(and the 2nd BEST dish i ever had.)
Chipotle Chicken w/ Mexican Rice & Tostones...mmmmmmmmmmm
This I must tell you needs to be eaten slow enough to savor and enjoy but quick enough so that you can finish before the peppers and spices kick in ;) but if you like spicy and you enjoy the burn...take your sweet time :)
Chipotle Chicken. (A lot easier than the Arrachera)
1. Take your boneless chicken breast, pound it with your meat pounder season with lime salt & pepper and Grill.
2. Make your chipotle sauce...Chap's blends Mayo and canned chipotle peppers in a blender and it's divine. That as you can see gets poured on your chicken.
3. TOSTONES!! These are my favorite now. You take a GREEN Plantain, mash it and fry it, but there is a method here. Youn only fry it half done then you take it out sprinkle salt and then throw it back in the fryer until it's finished. these are delicious you MUST try them.
4. Mexican Rice cooked with blended cilantro, garlic and a small lil bit of coconut oil, you can add green peas and some carrots if you like but that is completely up to you.
See that one was a lot more simple and equally as good. Chap's Bar & Grill is located at 1668 corner Seashore Drive & University blvd in Belize City, their phone number is 223-1299 and they are open Tuesday- Sunday from 11am-2pm for lunch and 6pm-10pm for dinner.Closed on Mondays & Open only for lunch on Sundays. On the weekends this funk little hidden gem stays open til 11:30 for dinner on Friday and on Saturdays closes at 11pm for dinner and word on the street is this little bar can get quite fun on the weekends at night. Rumor also has it that they have quite a fun Cinco de Mayo party...you might want to put that one on your list.They also have delivery & pick up service as well as a nice $10bz menu for lunch. Here are a few more pictures for you to enjoy of Chap's Bar & Grill. The exchange rate in Belize is $2bzd- $1usd so if you're visiting stop by for a $5usd lunch :)
Tortilla Soup...from what I've heard it's amazing.
Taco toppings: (Top) Red Tomato Salsa & Green Tomato Salsa (Bottom) Onion/ cilantro salsa & Green pepper sauce