Four Ways to Party Like a Bahamian at the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival
|Fresh conch salad. Worth the wait.|
Most people think of Nassau/Paradise Island when they think of the Bahamas, but the country actually consists of over 3,000 islands, cays, and islets. Each island has its own pulse -- from the casinos and glitz of New Providence (where Nassau lies) to laid-back Bimini where Ernest Hemingway famously fished and drank.
If you don't have time for an island getaway, let the islands come to you this weekend at the 36th annual Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival in Coconut Grove. The Grove, by the way, is steeped in Bahamian culture. Miami's first black settlers were Bahamians, who made Coconut Grove their home in the early 1800's while working to build Miami from the ground up.
Bahamian culture is alive and well in Miami, especially in Coconut Grove and this weekend, that culture is celebrated with a two-day free street festival along Grand Avenue. On August 4 and 5 from noon to 8 p.m., get your Junkanoo on and celebrate like a Bahamian.
Walking through the festival, you'll be accosted by all sorts of tantalizing smells of ribs, chicken, and fish cooking on the grill. Try them all -- but don't miss the conch. Queen conch is a staple in the Bahamas. Known for its gorgeous pink shell, this large gastropod is abundant in the clear blue waters of the islands. Served in fritters, broiled, cracked, in sandwiches... it's all delicious, but the best way to eat it like a native is in a freshly prepared conch salad.
Be patient, because lines form as your conch salad is prepared to order. Fresh, raw conch, straight from the shell, is chopped with some onion, peppers, lime juice, and Bahamian chiles in a flashy display of knife skills that would make any CIA-trained chef jealous. Worth the wait, indeed.
The "official" beer of the Bahamas, Kalik is made by the Commonwealth Brewery in Nassau. It's light and refreshing; we liken it to a Corona. It's also perfect after eating some of those Bahamian chiles we told you about!