I had seen the mobile food van often on my way to and from the Rum Point/Cayman Kai area, located directly across the road from the Crystal Caves.
Usually, there would be some locals and tourists gathering at the picnic tables set up around the van while smoke spiraled from a barbecue grill. I had never paid much attention to it, thinking it was just some bright yellow trailer parked alongside the road; then some visitors started talking about the Island Bites menu at my Wyndham Reef Resort performances.
On a recent trip to the North Side, the aroma from that barbecue turned me into a drooling hungry fool, so my wife and I made a stop at the Island Bites Cay-Mex Grill.
Caymanian chef Huey Crawford is the man behind the scheme and dream. He has created a transportable, high-end, low-priced, farm-to-table-style restaurant offering a fusion of local and international fare. Chef Crawford brought us a menu and when I asked for the definition of Cay-Mex compared to the conventional Tex-Mex cuisine, I was not prepared for a lesson in fine culinary science.
After experimenting with a blend of different herbs, spices and local produce – the freshest ingredients – he was finally satisfied with his unique carte du jour. Though the sauces make for the best meat tacos and burritos ever, Crawford makes sure not to leave out his vegetarian friends – he includes plenty of vegetarian options to supplement the menu.
After teaming up with Tracy Ebanks in 2013, the two perfected the bill of fare.
Chef Crawford’s local south-of-the-border creations are designed by using the highest quality ingredients paired with bold flavors. He offers salads, tacos, bowls, burritos and desserts, serving them in an outdoor, casual setting or as part of the private catering service customers can book. His versatile menu is rooted in traditional Mexican recipes fused with island flavors, naturally accommodating a variety of preferences.
My wife and I started with homemade nacho chips and an amazing pico de gallo salsa … yum! The taco selection was extensive, so we had samplers of everything – especially after Crawford gave us the pitch on his recipes. Locally sourced organic produce is the foundation of this chef’s dishes: A commitment to serving natural and sustainable ingredients, with fresh meats and fish.
For example, how about ordering some tacos stuffed with mahi fillets and lime cream or the pastor pork marinated in pineapple and an achiote paste? Then, there is the taco filled with carne asada steak in a lime, cilantro and chipotle blend. These are all fresh, non-greasy choices and taste delightful.
Ahhhh, but where does the “Cay” in the Cay-Tex figure in this menu? Try the jerk and mango sauces, the banana milkshakes, homemade coconut or rum raisin ice cream, tamarind juices and, of course, the process of that low-and-slow smoking barbecue cooking jerk that intoxicated me in the first place.
On your way north or back to the metropolis of George Town, make a stop at Island Bites Cay-Mex Grill. And, if you need a shot of tequila, you can BYOB (bring your own bottle).
For catering, delivery or advance orders, call 938-2483 or check the website at www.islandbites.ky.