For nine days, I lived in absolute paradise at one of my favorite resorts. The Iberostar Grand Paraiso in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is staffed by amazingly cheerful and competent people from all over the world, housed with top-notch amenities, and of course, equipped with the most amazing food and drink I have experienced at an all-inclusive resort. I have so much to share with you from my trip, but first I would like to share my experience with an eight course menu at L’Atelier.
This past Monday, I was able to celebrate my 23rd birthday with a wonderful meal shared with family. This whole year has been full of blessings and looking back in retrospect brings bittersweet happiness. After having such a great experience at a new sustainable seafood restaurant, Hook and Barrel, I wanted to share the beautiful food I had the pleasure to enjoy.
For the table, we ordered the Bacon Figs & Brie starter. There was a generous serving of brie en croute drizzled with blueberry jalapeño. Every bite of hickory bacon wrapped figs and cheese was delightful! We joked about the brie en croute being mistaken for chocolate éclairs, and I honestly feel like I would believe it if someone told me they were desserts.
My parents shared a She Crab soup (this is a half-portion; they were kind enough to split the serving). What is most impressive about the food preparation is how fresh it is. Each soup is crafted at the time the order is placed, so the brightness of fresh vegetables is a welcomed surprise. The food is overwhelmingly fresh and so satisfying.
My mother ordered the Angry Clams pasta, described on menu as “Bull’s Bay clams, cherry bomb peppers, tomato, basil, white wine butter sauce served over linguine.” She really enjoyed how light and flavorful this dish was.
My father ordered the Pan-Seared Scallops, described on menu as, “Benton’s bacon, roasted corn, grape tomatoes, corn puree,[and] basil aioli.” Can I just say that these were the best scallops I’ve ever had? The purée and aioli, for one, were the perfect accompaniment. When I say that the scallops melted in my mouth, I do not say this lightly. There was absolutely no grit, so I’m confident that much care was given to how the seafood was prepped and cooked.
I ordered the Crab Cakes on recommendation of our server. He was adamant that being a Maryland native, these were top-notch crab cakes. No fillers, just pure crab. He was so right. I loved the sweet tartness of the tartar sauce, but honestly, these could have been enjoyed sauce-free. I ordered sides of balsamic brussels and roasted vegetables, both very fresh and perfectly prepared.
The proprietor of the restaurant is a well-known pastry and baked good extraordinaire. Her first culinary venture is Croissants Bistro and Bakery, with its second location being attached to Hook and Barrel’s building. I guess you could say a major perk of having affiliation with the bakery is access to beautiful cakes like this one.
The cake itself was so light and fluffy – everything you want out of a vanilla cake. With the buttercream icing, it was a sweet dream. Fortunately, it was not overwhelmingly sweet, so we finished our slices without feeling bogged down by a blood sugar crash hours later.
We couldn’t finish the cake, so we packed the pretty leftovers up and saved them for later.
I’m so glad we tried this restaurant out because every part of the experience was wonderful. If you’re a seafood lover who appreciates fresh and lovingly prepared food, Hook and Barrel is more than worthy of a visit to Myrtle Beach.
My birthday this year was a wonderful time and I loved the time spent with my family! I’m so blessed to have experiences like this and the ability to enjoy the fellowship.
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2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
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