Blanchards Beach Shack: I give it five starfish
There are several surprises that hit you when you visit this little food shack at the far end of Meads Bay. First of all, the place is incredibly cute. The term "shack" brings to mind weathered wood and splinters. Yet, this particular shack oozes charm, with it's thoughtfully placed beams, freshly painted in bright, Caribbean colors. Secondly, the staff are so friendly, I felt like I was in an island tourism ad. Idyllic first impressions out of the way, I wasted no time getting down to the business of lunch. Which brings us to the third surprise: This shack serves gourmet fare. The coconut-curry mussels caught my eye (then won over my taste buds), as did the chunky gazpacho. I made short work of a pair of beef barbacoa street tacos, then went back for the jerk chicken. Buy the time my belly cried "uncle," I had managed to down three or four blackened mahi bites, and was already plotting my selections for lunch the next day. The swankier, sister restaurant next door is touted as one of the best in the Caribbean, and it's obvious the Shack food I had just polished off originated from the same, brilliant culinary mind. Which leads me to the fourth surprise: For $3 you can rent a lounge chair on the lovely beach just beyond the shack, digest for a while and replay that delightful meal over and over again in your head.