Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweet Traditions Bakery Cafe. Saint George's. Grenada, West Indies.

I have to say that this is the most legit bakery in Grenada.  They have a wide selection of baked goods at great prices and they have a lot of customers daily (high turn over rates= everything's always fresh).  

Their treats have a certain style to them, different from what I'm accustomed to in America.  For example, their cheesecakes are more on the whipped cream like than the traditional American, dense and rich, cheesecake.  All differences aside, I think that they're great and that everything is worth trying out.  There aren't that many bakeries around the island to begin with and with the ones that exist, this one is my favorite. 

Chairs and tables are available inside and best of all, the bakery is air conditioned.  Also, If you have other shopping to do (souveniers, postcards, clothes, shoes) Esplanade Mall is the place to be.   

My favorites:
*Brownie (Sometimes they over-bake them a bit, making them a little chewy. MmMmm)
*Corn Muffin. Corn Bread, Heck Yea!
*Butter Bread right out of the oven (the butter is more prominent this way)
*Their Chicken is various sauces are really good in flavor and size too!
*Beef Grande Patty (I like these patties better than the traditiona Jamaican patty since they're not nearly as oily)

Business Information
-Local Pastries, Desserts, Lunch, Smoothies, Coffee, Soft Serve Ice Cream
-Location: Esplanade Mall. St. George's Downtown. From SGU take the Grand Anse or Grand View Inn bus. Get off at Texaco. Walk up around the corner towards roundabout to local bus stop. Take a #1 bus to St. George's (2.50EC).  Get off at last stop.  Walk towards the other end of the bus terminal, pass bootleg DVD wall.  Bakery will be on your left (past front entrance of Esplanade Mall).
-Phone: (473) 440-1600
-Hours: M-Th 8am-6:30pm; Fr 8am-7:30pm; Sa 8am-6:30; Su Closed
-Menu Down Below

Click to Enlarge

***All prices are in EC

Lunch & Soup Specials Available Daily
Full 15
Half 9.95

Regular 4.95
Large 7.95

Enjoy Our New Chicken Meals, Chicken Portions and Chicken with Fried Bakes.  Available Daily in your Favorite Flavors.
Sweet and Sour
Honey Mustard
Mild or Hot

3 Pieces (1 flavor)
6 Pieces (up to 2 flavors)
9 Pieces (up to 3 flavors)
12 Pieces (up to 4 flavors)

Signature Butter Bread Melt (All Served with Cheese)
Cheese 5.50
Salted Salami 6.95
Honey Ham 6.95
Turkey Breast 7.50

Soft Served Ice Cream (Vanilla, Chocolate, Vanilla and Chocolate Twist)
Cake Cone 4.50
Sugar Cone 4.75
Waffle Cone 5.95
Cup 6.95

"Sweet" Chillers
Frozen Chocolate Truffle 9.95
Ice Blended Coffees 12.25
Crunch Coffees 13.95
Frozen Frappes (coffee free) 10.95
Frozen Chai Lattes 11.95
Non-Fat Yoghurt Smoothies 9.95
Tropical Fruit Smoothies 7.50

Whipped Cream 1.50
Add Chocolate or Caramel Sauce 1.00

small (2.50)  medium (2.95)  large(3.50)  jumbo (5.75)

Iced Tea
small (1.95)  medium (2.50)  large (2.95) jumbo (4.95)

small (2.75)  medium (3.50)  large (3.95)

Hot Chocolate 3.50
Tea (Regular) 2.50
Tea (Earl Grey or Herbal) 3.50
Coffee (Instant) 4.50
Coffee (Brewed) 5.95
Cappuccino 5.00
Chai Tea Latte 6.75

Chicken and More
6 piece portion  (regular 10.50  with sauce 11.00)
9 piece portion  (regular 15.50  with sauce 16.50)
12 piece portion  (regular 19.95  with sauce 21.75)
3 pieces & fried bake  (regular 5.95  with sauce 6.50)
3 pieces & one side (regular 9.50  with sauce 9.99)
6 pieces & one side (regular 15.50  with sauce 15.99)

New Chillers
Iced Cappuccino 8.50
Tropical Fruit Smoothies (Mango, Banana Strawberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, Kryptonite)

Categorized Under "Restaurants. Menus. Reviews"

Esplanade Mall. Saint George's. Grenada, West Indies.

 Business Information
-Location: Saint George's. Take the SGU Grand Anse Bus and get off at Texaco.  Walk up around the corner to local bus stop. take #1 St. George's to last stop (2.50EC). Walk to the other end of the bus terminal.  Walk past the bootleg DVD wall. Mall will be on your right. 
-Hours:  M-Sa 7am-7pm; Su Closed unless there is a cruise ship in port

What you will find in this mall (~50 stores):
Jewellery Stores
Duty Free Shopping (candy, perfume, watches, other imports)
Souvenir shops (postcards, handmade items, t-shirts, "Grenada" items)
Subway Sandwiches
Local Hair Salon
Western Union
Shoe Shops
Spice Shops
Appliance shops
King House Chinese Restaurant
Creative Do It Your Best hardware store
Sweet Traditions Bakery Cafe
Lime Cell Phone Store

Grenada's Spices are Top Notch!
King House Chinese Restaurant
Click to Enlarge
There are a couple of Other Shoes Stores in the Mall.
Western Union
There are a lot of clothing stores for women.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where To Go For ____? + General Advice for Prospective and Current Students and Their Significant Others

This  "Where To Go For" section has been built of answers from various Significant Others that kindly filled out my "Where to Go For__," survey.    

Our aims: to help current and prospective SGU students + their significant others in figuring out where to go for everything (food, services, items, entertainment, etc.).  General advice is also included below.

Many thanks to everyone that took the time to fill out my survey!!! I had a blast reading your answers.

Business Directory
Restaurant. Menus. Reviews.
Things to Do, Sights to See
Downtown St. George's

Describe Grenada in one sentence.
*Grenada is an amazing place and experience, but it's all in how you take advantage of it and embrace it.
*Grenada is a beautiful country that will change you for the better if you keep an open mind.
*Humid, delicious fruit, unpredictable weather, beautiful.
*If you weren't in school, you'd love it here!
*I miss it there =(.

Expenses and Banking Advice
*Try to set up and stick to a budget. Grenada is expensive!  Sign up for the Frequent Shopper Card at IGA. 
*We used Charles Schwab bank for our checking account. They have a free checking account with no minimum balance and ALL ATM fees are waived and there is no currency exchange fee, so you can truly use your debit card the same way you do in the US. 
*If you fly American Airlines.  Sign up for the frequent flyer program.  Your miles will rack up fast! 
*Scotia Bank is sister banks with Bank Of America. You can withdraw money from Scotia Bank's 24 hr. ATM machine located across the street from Food Fair (~ 6min drive from campus by public transportation).  Max withdrawal for me 1,500 EC a day.
*Charles Schwab! Seriously, I don't have to worry about anything because Schwab is so wonderful! Easy to set up, easy to transfer, cash checks through their iPhone app.  You can do anything by mail.  You can pull out money anywhere or use their card at IGA without extra charges, and their phone support is amazing. Also, their checking account has a better interest rate than my previous savings account...
*Try to sign up for credit cards that waive foreign transaction fees. These small fees will add up each time you use credit card for grocery shopping, etc.
*If you're from Canada, set up a Scotia Bank account before you come.  Then you can use their ATMS 24/7 at no charge, to get cash.
*We got the Venture credit card, because it earns flyer miles.

Best Advice you can give to newcomers?
*Go with the flow, and try to enjoy it. Your time in Grenada will go fast.
*Embrace the new opportunity, get to know the locals, get involved in the community and enjoy the goes by too quickly!
*Keep an open mind and be respectful of their culture. Don't expect things to work the way they do in the US. See everything you can and do everything you can while living here. If not working, use this time to pursue new goals and dreams. Write down some things you want to accomplish while living abroad.
*Get out there and experience and discover the island. You won't be sorry
*Enjoy the island while this experience last.
*Things are more expensive here. Things/people move very slowly here; don't expect the same pace as back home.
*Take life here one day at a time. Be patient and keep yourself busy.
*When looking for an apartment, make sure that the walls, ceiling, and floors are light in color. It makes finding mosquitoes easier (you can save yourself loads of agony). 
*When looking for apartments, ask your landlord how close and frequent school buses run. 

Apartment Recommendations 
*Von's Apartments ( – great location, great landlords

*We lived on campus then at Sugar Apple Apartments in LAE. I would recommend both.  Campus was 
great for being new on the island and learning the island and the bus system. The a/c wasn't bad either!!! But...I wouldn't recommend campus for more than the initial term, b/c it's too expensive. 

I liked where we lived in LAE. You didn't have to have a car as the bus stopped at the bottom and our landlords would take you to the grocery once a week and to school/bus stop if it was raining. The landlords were Mike and Jackie Cowan. They have a facebook page: Sugar Apple Apartments. Their email is It was a little expensive too, but we felt safe there. Most of the community knows the Cowans as they run the hashes.

*I would recommend Mont Toute for price, bus route and accessibility to groceries.

*Yes, in LAE right off the bus route by Charcoals. If you are a bus-er, you can catch the bus going either way. It's towards the beginning of LAE, so it's usually a very quick bus ride. Unfortunately, you have to work out grocery shopping or take two buses, though it's about 5 minute walk to the Texaco. Our building is only a few years old and in great shape! 

Randy (456-6413) is a good, chill landlord who always posts openings on the SGU post. His prices are very reasonable, so they fill up quick.

*I would recommend Bougainvillea Apartments to newcomers. If you're without a vehicle, it's close to stores, banks, the beach, local bus routes, and directly on the SGU bus route. The rent is reasonable, premises are safe (guarded nightly) and landlords quite reliable. (Rent varies based on 1 or 2 bedrooms, and 'standard' vs. 'superior' apartments.) 

*I live at the Grand View Inn and Absolutely love it. It includes rent, cable, a pool, laundry, twice weekly housekeeping, and all the air you want!  The staff here is wonderful and very accommodating!
Contact Information:
-Phone: 1 (473) 444-4984
-Address: Morne Rouge, Grenada

*I suggest living in Benoits Apartments, though the apartments are a bit on the older side (plumber had to come in to fix a leak one time).
-about 5 minutes bus ride away from campus
-1 min walk to SGU bus stop. Buses run frequently.
-Dirt Cheap rent. My bed, bath, kitchen (all separated from one another) = 600 usd a month.  Also, I run the AC (super cold)  24/7 and that's ~an extra 200 usd.
-across the street from a grocery store (CK's). Next to Texaco mini mart (closes late night 7 days a week). Next to Chinese restaurant, Burger joint, Barber, Excel Plaza (gym, movie theater, MNIB mini grocery, subway).
-The only thing about where I live is that it's busy with locals walking all over the place.  Apartments are on a main road and a local bus stop is right across the street).  I've never had any trouble at all. Actually, I got to know a lot of locals that I see often.
-My area is safe since it's in the middle of a busy area. Also, SGU bus stop is right in front of Texaco (where there is always a guard on duty).
-My landlady is fast at addressing concerns and she's super nice.  Her name is Mrs. Ashby. 1 (473) 417-7554

Top 5 places to Visit

I have a Things To Do, Sights To See section that includes details and pictures of some places listed below. 
  1. La Sagesse, Lavera Beach while turtles are nesting, magazine beach, hashes (Grenada Hash House Harriers), Waterfalls
  2. Underwater Sculpture Garden, Laver Beach for turtle watching, Mt. Carmel Falls, Grand Etang, BBC Beach at sunset
  3. Belmont Estate, see monkeys at Grand Etang, Jessamine Eden Botanical Garden, Forts
  4. Belmont Estate, 7 Sisters. Downtown St. George's, Annandale Falls, Mt. Carmel
  5. Mt. Carmel, Belmont Estate, Grand Anse Beach, Fort Frederick, Fort Matthew, 7 Sisters
  6. Annandale Falls, La Sagesse Beach, Belmont Estate, Botanical Garden, Spice Market downtown
  7. Grand Etang
  8. Magazine Beach, Belmont Estate, Lavera Beach (turtle watching), La Sagesse Beach, waterfalls
Top 5 items that you encourage everyone to bring to Grenada

Here is my entry on What to Pack.
  1. sunscreen, bug bite cream, favorite toiletries, camera, books
  2. toiletries, kindle, hygiene products like make-up and face wash
  3. plastic baggies- various sizes, bug spray, sunscreen, face sunscreen, decorations
  4. brita pitcher and replacement filters, e-book device, popsicle tray
  5. sunscreen, bug spray umbrella, laptop (w/ external speakers), Kindle, hard drives full of entertainment
  6. towels, mementos, fancy outfits, swimsuit, a pair of shoes that can get muddy and ruined
  7. bug spray
  8. bug spray, sun screen, bedsheets, light blanket, adapters/converters
  9. batteries, favorite seasoning (i.e. montreal steak spice, greek, italian), strong reusable grocery bags
  10. bug spray sunscreen, long lighters (for stove and oven) cheap beach raft.

    ***Try packing your toiletries, extra clothes, and food/water in your carry on just in case your luggage doesn't make it to Grenada with you on time.  Also, restaurants in Grenada close very early so if your flights get's in late, you won't have anywhere to eat.  In the event that you're left with no food at all, check out my Food Directory for places that might still be open (and if you're lucky, one that also delivers).  The gas station at Texaco closes late 7 days a week. They often have bread, eggs, and all of the basics.  Take a taxi there if you're alone and don't want to deal with riding the school. bus.

    Here's a 24/7 taxi that I ride with often:
    Morain: 473-536-2220 (mobile)
                 473-443-5310 (home)
Best Pizza Deals
Glover's (2)
Prickly Bay ½ Off Monday Nights (3)
Rick's Cafe

Best Tasting Pizza
Rick's (3)
Prickly Bay (6)
La Boulangerie (2)

Best Local Food
Food Truck on campus lunchtime
for a more $$ night out, Boot's Cuisine
Roti at Sugar Shack on Campus
Creole Shack in town (2)

Where to buy household needs upon arrival.
Purcells- downtown (2)
Sunshine Store downtown
Immediate needs- ACE (3) or Creative Do It Best. (3) Anything else that can wait, downtown.
Hubbards Grand Anse Shopping Centre- best for kitchen (2)
IGA (3)

Gifts for Children
Sunshine Store- downtown (3)
Grenada Craft Center
Spiceland Mall- they have a fair selection (2)

Best Dessert
Umbrellas (2)
Nick's Doughnut World
Beach House Restaurant (2)

Hotel Recommendations For visitors
Grenada Grand has an awesome “fantasy pool” (3)
True Blue Bay
Grand View Inn

Favorite Beach
La Sagesse
Grand Anse (5)
Flamingo Bay
Magazine (3)

Favorite local fruit
Fresh Pineapple
Secret Fig or Rock Fig (2)
Mangoes (3)
Water Lemons (3)

Baby Supplies
downtown across bootleg dvd wall
food fair for basics (diapers, toiletries)

Art Supplies
Bryden and Minors downtown and Spiceland Mall (7)
find natural supplies (like driftwood and seaglass) around the island

Craft Supplies
Little Craft Store downtown above dentist
L.A. Purcells

Sunshine Store
Ace Hardware (2)
Creative Do it Your Best
Best Ice Cream
Rick's (home of Sugar and Spice Ice Cream) (6)
Belmont Estate

Favorite Restaurant
Umbrella's (5) (casual)
Ali Baba's
The Beach House Restaurant (3) (fancy dinner)
Choo Liet (Cheap Chinese)

Hidden Gems in Grenada
Hidden Beach
Botanical Garden
Hot Springs
Quarantine Point
La Sagesse Beach

Fish Friday
Try it at least once for the experience and by boat for a more scenic ride.

Best Nachoes
Mr. Chipotle at options (2)
Umbrella's (2)

Favorite Local Dish
Roti (2)
Salt Fish Sauce
Stewed Chicken
Macaroni Pie 
Breadfruit Salad
Guava Cheese Candy
Calalloo Soup

Best Chinese Food
Choo Lite

Best Indian Food
Campus at Gazeboo (5)

Best Burger
Umbrella's (6)
University Club (2)
Le Chateau at the entrance of Port Louis Marina

Most Overrated Burger
Charcoals (3)
Mc Donalds (LOL)

Best Fries
Umbrella's (4)

Best Sandwiches
University Club

Frozen Yogurt 
Yum Yum Cafe located in Spice Island Mall

Best Thing You Like About Grenada
The laid back way of life.
The kids.
The incredible scenery.
The sense of community.
Hashing, nature, and it's something different.
Diving and Snorkelling
There's Mango Trees in my backyard.

The Worst Thing About Grenada
*I'm not there
*Their view of most Americans based on the rudenesss of students expecting US living
*The heat (2)
*Mosquitoes (2)
*Cost of living
*How customer service is slow and disorganized (4)
*distance from loved ones

Out of The Ordinary Experiences
*While driving down the main road in LAE I had a bull charge my car. Luckily I have witnesses ;)
*Everyone here is from somewhere else. Where else could you go and have that in common? Take the time to see other cultures, traditions, personalities, and learn about acceptance of people who are different. Take the time to breath in the fresh air (when you aren't nearby vehicles with bad exhaust) and remember that this is a new experience...for you, for everyone. Be kind if it's easy for you, and don't be afraid if it's not.

Anything I left Out?
*The Question of … How awesome if Jessie Leath?
*Value MD Packing Lists
*Smoothies at NY Bagel are delicious and are a good value.

*Kids :), Beach, Pool
*Volunteering, beaching, blogging, SO events, new friends
*Volunteer, read, see the sights, learn a new skill (or refine an old one), go out of your way to make new friends
*Home Learning, Blogging, Projects, touring around the island, photography.
*Bring a hobby or craft supplies with you. Getting a job here is not impossible--don't expect it, but don't think that you can't get one. Torrenting or free TV sites. Start exploring cooking--nows the time! Sea glass hunting!
*Turtle Watching, Volunteering, Snorkeling, and Diving
*Crab racing at the Owl

Le Papillion French Creole Cafe Review. Grenada, West Indies.

Angela and Grace. Partners in Crime.
-Good For: breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, fresh baked bread and pastries, coffee, dessert, special occasions
-Location: Siesta Hotel- Morne Rouge.  From SGU, take the Grand Anse or Grand View Inn bus. Bus stop in front of Siesta Hotel (past IGA). Let your bus driver know where you're going and he'll stop at the nearest stop. 
-Hours: M-F 7am-6pm; Sa-Su 7am-4pm
-Phone: (473) 418-0639
-Price range: $$
-Check out Le Papillion's Facebook Page for updates, special deals, and menu changes

I had the pleasure of celebrating my great friend, Angela's birthday at Le Papillion Cafe along with a couple of other great friends Grace and Yunah.  This restaurant was perfect for our birthday celebration: There was a nice breeze coming in throughout our whole stay, service was great, Angela was given a free birthday cake, they had a fun and interesting menu, an SGU bus stop is conveniently located right in front of cafe, the food is reasonably priced (for its out of ordinary unique selections), and there are loads of options for desserts.

Their items overall are a bit more in price than your average Grenadian local food meals, but you can say that prices justified by the uniqueness of their selection, cute cafe ambiance, and convenient location.  Oh, not to mention the freshness of their house baked goods.

From what I've herd from friends and their friends and family, this place is a favorite and I can see why.

As far as taste goes, some items were good to at least try once and there are others that I'll be ordering again on my next visit.

What we ordered:
*Mango Smoothie -  tangy and not so sweet (no milk used)
*Iced Blended Cappuccino - A light blended, not nearly as sweet "frappuccino"
*Apple Ricotta Fritters - A deep fried ricotta and apple batter.  I'd definitely get these again. They're delightful, fun, and tasty.
*Goat Cheese Tomato Tart with Beet Root Salad - the Goat Cheese Tomato Tart was my favorite item of all.  I highly suggest for everyone to try it out.  At first I thought that the tart would be too strong because of the goat cheese, but that wasn't the case at all.  There's great balance between all of the ingredients. The salad was simple and I was hoping to get more flavor out of the beet root. 
*Sticky Cinnamon Swirl- I didn't get to try it.
*Pork Terrine with Toasted Walnut and Raisin Bread- I didn't enjoy the Pork Terrine because it was a bit on the bland side, though the goat cheese was subtle and delicious.  Their Walnut Raisin bread was nice too. 
*Morning Glory Bread (The first time I tried it, it wasn't sweet enough for me, and the second time around, it was too sweet hahaha).  Sweetness aside, it tastes like a lighter version of a carrot cake combination of some sorts.
*I ordered a roast beef sandwich to go for my husband.  All I remember is him taking the top part of his sandwich off because the bread was too thick for him.  He said that the sandwich was ok. From what I saw, they don't put much in the sandwich besides roast beef.  They also include a side of house made pickles.

I met the owner of this restaurant and she's very very nice. When I talked to her, she told me that she tries to keep the menu fun and interesting.  She's definitely doing a great job at it.  I'll be coming back to try the other items on the menu. 

Angela, Grace, Yunah
Housemade Jams.  I really really liked their Guava Jam.  It's sooo good, but the other two jams (orange marmalade, nutmeg) were too bitter for me. 
Mango Smoothie.  It's tangy and fresh tasting. Not sweet at all. 
Apple Ricotta Fritters 
Pork Terrine with Goat Cheese w/ Toasted Walnut Raisin Bread
Sticky Cinnamon Swirl 
Bottom: Tomato Goat Cheese Tart and Beet Root Salad
Complimentary Morning Glory B-Day Cake for Angela. Yaaay. 
Sweet Treats Menu
group shot downstairs at Siesta check in counter in front of a big mirror
Categorized Under "Restaurants. Menus. Reviews"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bananas Restaurant. True Blue. Grenada, West Indies.

**Bananas Tapas Restaurant, Sports Bar and Night Club
delivery available- Everyday 6pm-9:45pm; Delivery fee varies depending on size of order (If you have an order worth more than 50EC, they will charge 7EC.  If 100EC, they will charge you 10EC).
-Cuisine Type: Pizza, Burgers and Fries, Salads, Local, Mexican
-Location:  True Blue, St. George's.  From SGU, take the Grand Anse or Grand View Inn Bus. Bananas is right after the fork in the road. ~2mins away from campus.
-Hours:  Daily 6pm-10pm
-Phone:  (473)-444-4662
-Price Range: $-$$
-Happy Hour: 5pm-7pm 2EC off of all alcoholic beverages.
-Entertainment: Billiards (they have great tables) 10EC - 1/2 hr; 20EC - 1hr. Foosball 5EC - 1/2 hr. 10EC - 1hr 

Banana's pizza resembles the American pizza a bit more in that it's sauce is more on the neutral tomato side  than say, Rick's pizza, which has a sweeter kind of sauce. I like their pizzas because they're yummy and fresh.  Their wings on the other hand, are a bit on the small side and are not nearly as tender as other wings I've found on the island.  I tried their soy sauce and honey garlic wings.  Sauce was great, but again, portion on the smaller side. I have higher standards for wings since there are so many great ones around the island (Dodgy Dock's dollar honey garlic wings are in the lead for #1 so far).  

Overall, Banana's food is good, atmosphere great, and I enjoyed playing both billiards and foosball.  

I have yet to try their burgers. I've herd great things about them, but I'll just have to wait and see.  Updates soon to come. 

I love their Burgers... Next to Umbrella's burgers, they're great.  Most of all, I like how the bun is American style, soft/fluffy/topped with sesame seeds.  

For those that depend on delivery, they're fast on their feet, and only charge (7EC) compared to Umbrellas (varies depending on size of order, but on avg. 15EC). 

Hanging out with the boys.
Warning: This is not nearly enough for 5 people. Order double. hahahahaha.
Virgin Pina Colada. Not bad at all. 

Categorized Under "Restaurants. Menus. Reviews"

Orange and Chocolate Softened Spiced Pears on Top of French Toast

Remember those pears you ate in elementary school... the simple syrup drenched ones that came in little sealed plastic containers? I actually loved them to death as a kid.  Here's staying true to my childhood likes and growing up at the same time.   

How can I describe this dish... It tastes and smells like Thanksgiving? Hahahaha. Why yes, that's perfect. 

Note: If you would like the flavors to develop further, let the pears soak in the sauce over night before serving on top of your french toast.  I couldn't wait so I just went for it ;)

3-4 servings; 20-30min

French Toast
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
couple of dashes of salt
2 tsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter
2 slices thick absorbent white bread (I used the white bread from deli counter IGA)

Sauce and pear
1 bosc pear (IGA) peeled, cored, and cut into slices
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp white wine
1 star anise
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
big pinch salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cold water
1/2 tsp corn starch

unsweetened cocoa powder
whipped cream or cream fraiche (optional)
vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. For pears and sauce:  heat a small pot with juice, water, wine, star anise, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, salt, and sugar. Mix well.  bring to a boil, add pears, then turn down heat to a simmer.  Simmer ~15min or until pears come out to desired consistency.  stir occasionally.
2.  Combine all ingredients for french toast.  Taste mixture to adjust for salt and sugar.  If your liquid is not salty/sweet enough to begin with, your french toast will come out flat and boring.  Both salt and sugar should be a bit over usual taste.  When cooked with bread, flavors will even out.  Soak bread thoroughly 
3. Scoop out pears and place to side.   Mix cold water and corn starch.  add to sauce. Cook for ~1 to 2 min more or until thickened. turn off heat. strain sauce into a bowl to remove star anise pieces.
4.  Heat non stick pan medium high heat.  When heated through, add a generous pat of butter.  Wait until butter is no longer opaque.  Quickly coat one slice again in left over mixture before placing in pan. place face down. repeat.  don't touch until one side has browned. swoosh pan back and forth with handle to loosen bread from pan. turn heat down to prevent burning.  flip over and brown other side of each slice.
5.  Plate:  Take one slice of french toast. top with pears, sauce, and dusted cocoa powder (you can use your mini strainer for dusting).

Categorized Under "Recipes with Pictures"