Sunday, 29 January 2012

An Island Girl in my Island World: It aint’ easy being Green in The Bahamas... but yo...

An Island Girl in my Island World: It aint’ easy being Green in The Bahamas... but yo...: Being environmentally conscious in Nassau is a bit of a challenge for me. In fact, it overwelmed me so much after living in Canada for 6 ye...

It aint’ easy being Green in The Bahamas... but you can help by making one easy green decision everyday!

Being environmentally conscious in Nassau is a bit of a challenge for me.  In fact, it overwelmed me so much after living in Canada for 6 years because I felt that without an island wide recycling program and most people in The Bahamas not making environmentally conscious decisions, that we were doomed and there was nothing I could do. 
However, as with other things living here in Nassau, I have learned it is better to do a little bit than nothing at all.  So, if you are one of those people that find making the decision to ‘go green’ is all or nothing, try some of my tips - and share any others which you may have for the rest of us. 
When I wake up each morning one of my goals are to make at least one ‘green’ decision for the day.  I try to buy as much organic food as possible but it is very costly here.  Another goal I have is to source out more local food products, because we have to start being conscious of the carbon foot print the food items on our table are making.  I even want to start my own vegetable garden but unfortunately not enough time for that at present! One day soon! 
  1. The easiest of them all - Grocery Shopping - take your reusable bags to the grocery store.  Try to keep them in the car, or in a spot that you will have to get them before you go to the grocery store.  I usually keep them in the trunk of my car so they are always there.  I also find that taking reusable bags not only benefits the environment but it helps me too - you only have about 4 bags and the handles dont cut into you like the plastic ones do.  And if you are a person like me who would rather come to near death and calamity in order to bring everything into the house in one trip than make more than one (don’t ask me the logic but its how i am!) you can put 2 bags on your shoulder and two in your hands!!!  However, if you happen to forget one week, just save the plastic bags for other household uses. 
  2. Reuse your produce bags - I actually have special mesh produce bags, but I have in the past forgotten them and used the plastic ones.  So what I do is just take the produce out and put it in the fridge and put the plastic produce bag back in with my reusable grocery bags to reuse it on my next trip. 
  3. Start composting - It took me a while to do this but now I made the plunge I am very pleased about it.  I used to cringe at all the organic waste that was going in the trash.  And when I forgot an item in the fridge only to find it when it was rotten, I felt terrible guilt throwing it away.  At least now I can compost it!  It’s so easy, I purchased two tumbleweed compost bins and imported them.  They are perfect because we have dogs and I cannot have an open compost pit... that would be a delicacy for them and disastrous for us! It is really neat, and I have a compost caddy on my counter with little ‘compost-able’ bags for it, and once it is full you trot it out to the compost bin and dump it in.  No mess, no stress! The reason I ordered 2 bins was because once the bin is full you do have to let it break down for 4-6 weeks.  So we will just add to the other one in the mean time and rotate them.  Then you can just spread the compost material around plants, trees or on the lawn of your yard for happy trees, flowers and grass!  If you are interested in purchasing a tumbleweed please contact me and I could look at putting together an order. 
  4. Carry your own water around and stop using plastic water bottles - and what better way than in a Tervis Tumbler!  I never leave home without my tervis.  It is great that a few restaurants like Chives have a big water jug and you can just fill up.  I hope more places will start doing that - but a lot of places you stop into like banks, and doctor’s offices or offices, do have a water cooler with the little cone cups.  You can just fill up your tervis and go on your way!  If you would like to purchase a Baark! Tervis and lid please email me at 
  5. Purchase the option with the least plastic/packaging materials or buy the bigger container.  If you can get two rolls of paper towel wrapped together, why buy 2 individually wrapped rolls of paper towel?  Also, I always buy the largest detergent option because those little ones do not last long at all! 
  6. Save items - Schools are always looking for used materials for crafts.  In fact, a friend of ours who has a student at St. Andrews gave us a list of items to save.  Just get a cardboard box and put it in your laundry room/car port or somewhere out of the way, and add items until it is full and drop it to a parent or school you know will benefit. 
  7. Pack your lunch! and Rethink that starbucks or that take out food - It takes a little prep work in the morning or the night before but packing your lunch is good for the environment, your wallet AND your waistline!  With all those benefits it's a no brainer.  Lunch bags are readily available at many places, and you can use plastic containers that can be used many times over.   In addition, can you can forgo a coffee once a week, or just take a traveling cup in to be served in that would help a lot! Does your office have styrofoam cups that you drink tea in every morning? Take your own mug in and use that! 
  8. Eat Fruit instead of a packaged snack - grab a banana, apple, or orange for your afternoon snack instead of a bag of cookies, chips or chocolate bar! Again better for your health AND the environment! 
  9. Don’t let water run down the drain!  Water wastage is my biggest pet peeve.  Don’t dilly dally in the shower, let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, and when you wash the dishes, fill up one side of the sink with soapy water, wash them, put them in the other side of the sink and then rinse a bunch of them.  
  10. Cans for Kids!  Do you drink sodas? Soda cans are one of the few items that can be recycled here in the Bahamas.  There are several drop off points, one being at the Bahamas Humane Society Shelter on Chippingham.  
  11. Cardboard recycling! Get a new big screen tv? or some shipments come in big boxes? Call Bahamas Waste - they now have a cardboard recycling division. 
Please share any additional tips that are specific to life in The Bahamas! 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Island Girl's Top 10 Restaurants in Nassau...a first in a series!

Off the beaten path (well not too far off) in my island World...

As 2012 rolls in I feel an incredible amount of patriotism towards The Bahamas.  I love the country that I live in and I want everyone who comes here to be able to experience the best aspects of it.  Today someone asked me what I really recommend doing and I was totally caught off guard.  It’s amazing how easily you forget your favourite spots when put on the spot, so this was part of the reason for my inspiration to do this series. 

I thought I would write a series of blogs giving people tips to things that I consider awesome in The Bahamas – so when people visit they do not miss out!

Since I love going to restaurants my first ‘Top 10’ will be my favourite restaurants in Nassau.  It is really fun to do a list like this because sometimes even I forget about places and this made me put my thinking cap on to reflect, and also verbalize what makes these places special.

  1. The Kitchen – I don’t like eating at just any place since you have to wonder what people put in the food.  I know the folks that own the Kitchen and they are good people! It is open for breakfast and lunch and their menu changes daily.  They offer a wide variety of Bahamian meals or traditional home cooked meals.  The yummy sandwich menu stays the same and their sandwiches are delicious.  If you are a sandwich connoisseur order the tuna salad.  
  2. Le Petite Gourmet – Another lunch spot, Le Petite Gourmet has provides a French twist on their dishes.  Chef Julie has a changing menu that always has a soup, a hot dish, a sandwich and a few other specials.  And if you do have dietary requirements Julie will customize two dishes into one to make your experience enjoyable.
  3. Chives Café – My favourite lunch spot!!! Chives is our healthiest option in Nassau, and there are always a couple of vegan options on the menu.  I plan my drives out west so I can stop at Chives while I’m in the area to either have lunch or at least pick it up to go.  Lise usually has premade meals to save you cooking that night.
  4. Seafront Sushi – This is my all time favourite restaurant in the world actually.  Perfect for Lunch or Dinner.  Sushi is my favourite food, and I have yet to go to a sushi place where I enjoy sushi more.  The service at Seafront is excellent as well! Try the headhunter roll, seafront crunch, birthday roll, sashimi appetizer, gyoza (steamed or fried) and the Seafront rice…just to name a few! But really you cannot go wrong with the rolls.  Be sure to sit downstairs – not sure why, but it’s much better!  Being gluten sensitive and lactose intolerant this is a great place for me.
  5. Olives – I’ve only been to Olives for lunch since I work in town.  The arcade where it is located reminds me of a little
    European street
    .  You can sit in a few different spots and they do have air-conditioned sections which is key for summer.  The best meal is an appetizer of fried calamari and a greek lamb gyro (or chicken) with fries, and a cool refreshing greek beer.  If you have dietary requirements like I do, they serve a nice array of salads. 
  6. Green Parrot Harbour Front Lounge – Location and ambience are my favourite and beat out Seafront in that department.  Sitting in the little courtyard makes me feel far away (and because I love traveling this is a great thing! And if you are visiting Nassau, you will just love it!).  A nice glass of wine with a thin crust ‘Yukon Gold’ pizza (mushrooms, potatoes and truffle oil) or ‘Napa Valley’ pizza (goat cheese, figs and prosciutto) are perfect for a week night dinner.
  7. Lucianos of Chicago – okay okay, I know I love the setting of Green Parrot, but this is my all time favourite setting on the harbour.  It was the home of first Prime Minister of The Bahamas, so the building offers charm and character whether you are dining inside or out.  It is on the pricier side in comparison to the other restaurants on this list but it is typically delicious and the service is usually exceptional.  This is not to say they don’t have an off night.  We have had a few, but I keep going back because it is a timeless classic and enjoyable place for a special dinner.
  8. Café Matisse – Again, a little more on the pricier side, so for me it’s a special occasion spot but it is such a pleasurable experience.  The service is ALWAYS wonderful, and the food is delicious.  Café Matisse closes for about a month in the summer while the owner goes to Italy, and then reopens with a fresh new menu.  It is the chosen spot for many business lunch meetings, and a popular dinner spot, so do make reservations.  If it is cool enough sit in the courtyard.  Can’t you tell I love dining al fresco?
  9. Nobu – Yes the chain… Nobu is located in the Royal Towers of Atlantis.  It’s trendy, it’s busy and it’s expensive.  So why is it on my list? Because there is no where else I can find a Lychee Martini! Be careful though.  One and I’m tipsy, two and I’m drunk, and three you’ll be carrying me straight home but they go down so smoothly. The famous rock shrimp and miso cod are also scrumptious.  Make a reservation if you can, if not, be prepared to eat in the bar area if it is a busy time of year.
  10. Blu – Is new! I’ve only eaten at Blu once so far but it made my list because I am a big fan of the rejuvenation of downtown Nassau, and Elizabeth on the Bay is the first new project.  The container port is being relocated and soon tourists will be able to wander down the harbour front and actually enjoy the beauty of the harbour.  I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia for four years, and the waterfront is the best spot to go, especially in the summer.  People could wander and stop at restaurants to eat and/or drink while buskers played along the walkway providing background music to be enjoyed.  The memories bring feelings of happiness and relaxation back to me.  And so that is how I felt when I ate lunch at Blu.  There have been varying reviews and it's not cheap, but my lunch was tasty and delicious and the service was first-rate.