One of my dearest friends loves palm trees and the beach. When my work relocated me to Memphis, she and I would often escape to her favorite local “island retreat”. I moved to Santa Barbara 12 years ago, and a few years later, to Chicago. The memory of this neighborhood tropical getaway got lost in the shuffle until, by chance, it found me.
A few weeks ago, a group of local friends and I embarked on our own brief “staycation”. This time, we had been invited to try some of Bahama Breeze´s legendary island cocktails. I am rarely up for re-exploring a chain restaurant, but the idea sounded like fun, so I accepted. I am so glad I did!
As soon as we arrived, we were directed to the eatery’s deck. The weather was perfect, and the live music along with a fanned breeze, immediately whisked us away from our corporate mindsets. Our business casual attire suddenly seemed to clash with our surroundings.
As our friends gathered, the food also began to arrive. Plate by plate we were treated to Caribbean-inspired dishes that included staples such as plantains and pork.
Everything was delicious. The conch fritters and the coconut shrimp were particularly memorable, though. I was snapping pictures as fast as I could, but the food kept disappearing!
The crowd’s favorite drink was the Painkiller, a delicious mix of rum, cream of coconut, orange juice and a touch of nutmeg. The name definitely resonated with this group of overworked professionals, so I ordered a round for the entire group.
I went back on Saturday, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that service on a busy weekend was just as remarkable as the attention we experienced on a Wednesday night.
I had the grilled tilapia with lemon and butter, which was perfect, and just because I already know what the locals do, I got a Painkiller to blend in. I had little room for dessert, but I got this Key lime pie recipe for you as a souvenir.
Grab a few friends and check out your neighborhood Bahama Breeze. Your own escape to the islands might be closer than you think!