Thursday, June 30, 2011

Banana Mango Chutney Recipe

The picture above is of my lunch the other day at Caribe. It's my favorite appetizer on our menu and I love to make a lunch of it.

See that crispy, chewy fried flat bread in the photo? This recipe is not for that. See that little red dish (it has hot sauce in it)...this recipe is not that, either. See the channa chickpea mixture tucked in the bread? Nope, not the recipe for that. See that wet, mushy looking little pile of stuff just under the green onion garnish? Bingo!

This is the recipe for one of the best parts (in my opinion) of the "Doubles" pictured above. It may not be much to look at, but this fruity, spicy chutney is packed with deliciousness that compliments seafood and meats. And doubles. I love every part of doubles, but it's just not complete without this little topping. I always end up asking for a little more ;-)

After a little arm-twisting, Tony decided to share his recipe.

Banana Mango Chutney
by Tony Panelli, Executive Chef, Caribe Caribbean Bistro

1 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Medium red onion, diced
3 Cups vinegar
3 Tbsp. Jerk Seasoning
2 Mangoes, diced
4 Tbls. Pickapeppa sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Cup raisins
1/8 Cup Tabasco sauce
4 Bananas, diced

Combine brown sugar, onions, and vinegar and bring to boil. Add jerk seasoning, mangoes, pickapeppa sauce, raisins & Tabasco sauce. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. Add bananas last. Chill. If too thick, add water to thin.

Tony serves it with Trinidadian Doubles or Marlin, but it's good as a topping for any seafood or grilled meat.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Would you like puppets with that? Staff spotlight: Liz Schachterle

(above) Liz Schachterle (left) & Elise Langer of Millie & Tillie

If you've come into Caribe any time in the past year, you may have had Liz bring you your meal. But did you know when she's not at Caribe, she's making puppets, writing shows, and performing shows as a puppeteer with Open Eye Figure Theatre?

She's a woman of many talents and you and your kids can enjoy her creativity at live performances of "Millie & Tillie" on stage, and all summer during Open Eye Figure Theatre's Driveway Tour performances of "The Adventures of Juan Bobo" and "The Amazing Cow Boat."

The traveling puppet shows are short, fun & free. I don't know about you, but those are things I look for when choosing entertainment for our kids!

2011 Driveway Tour
All performances are free, family-friendly, and open to the public.

The Adventures of Juan Bobo
June 1st-August 7th
Summer 2011 Driveway Tour - locations, dates & times on website

The Amazing Cow Boat
June 1st-August 7th
Summer 2011 Driveway Tour - locations, dates & times on website


Millie & Tillie
July 8-24
Open Eye Figure Theatre
506 East 24th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00pm
Sundays at 4:00pm
Reservations highly recommended; call (612) 874-6338 for reservation,
Suggested donation at the door: $5 adults, $1 for children 12 & under.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Banana Recipe: Coconut Curry Bananas

Coconut Curry Bananas. Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Here is a recipe for Coconut Curry Bananas, as featured on TV during a banana cooking segment on Twin Cities Live Like most of Tony's recipes, it's an easy one to tweak and adjust to suit your taste. It's shown on TV with grilled, jerk-rubbed red snapper, but is a tasty accompaniment to any grilled fish, meat, or just over plain rice.

Coconut Curry Bananas
by Tony Panelli, Caribe Caribbean Bistro

1 Cup coconut milk
3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
3 large bananas

Peel and slice bananas into 1" rounds. In a medium sauce pan, add desired amount of coconut milk, up to 1 cup (can be adjusted for taste & sauce consistency). Stir in curry powder and ginger, and add bananas. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until bananas just begin to fall apart. Serve over basmati rice. Goes well with grilled fish or pork.

Summer Grilling Recipe: Grilled Tilapia with Jerk Butter & Roasted Root Vegetables.

Summer is upon us in Minnesota (finally!). Looking for something different to try on the grill? Here is a recipe Tony's served as a special. It's easy to do in foil packets on the grill. Any fresh herbs from your garden will work, and any fish, really (fresh caught in Minnesota, perhaps?). Don't be afraid to experiment with the ingredients. It's an easy recipe to change up to suit your tastes.

Grilled Tilapia with Jerk Butter and Roasted Root Vegetables

Tilapia (or any other white fish) fillets
1 Lime
Fresh thyme (or other fresh herb)
1/2 C Butter (1 stick), softened
Bottle of jerk marinade
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Yuca
1 Carrot
1 Sweet potato
1 Taro
1 Plantain (green)
1 Tblsp. olive oil

Grilled Tilapia
Cut a large piece of foil for each fillet; large enough to make a pouch. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 fillet on each piece of foil. Squeeze lime over fish and salt and pepper to taste. Top each with 2 sprigs of thyme or other fresh herb. Close foil tightly, leaving air space inside for steam to cook the fish. Grill for 7 to 9 minutes or until fish is fully cooked. Cooking time will vary depending on the temperature of the grill.

Roasted Root Vegetables
Heat oven to 350º. Wash, peel and cut all vegetables into thin, fry-size strips, no thicker than 1/8". Put in mixing bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper (as desired) and toss until vegetables are coated. Spray coat sheet pan with cooking spray and place vegetables on pan. Roast for 20 min 350º or until vegetables are tender.

Jerk Butter
Place stick of butter in mixer w/ 2 Tblsp. jerk marinade. Mix until well incorporated.

When fish is done, top with 1 Tbsp of jerk butter and serve with root vegetables.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We have a winner!

We chose Christine F.'s entry as the winner. Christine nominated her mom, Melinda to win the two VIP dinner tickets to the Dole Banana Dinner.
Congratulations Melinda!

Here is Christine's entry:

Good Evening and thank you for the chance to win tickets to your VIP Dole Banana Dinner.

I'm excited to nominate my mom, Melinda, for the honor. I believe she would enjoy an evening on the town as a break from the craziness of her everyday life. Things in her world are truly "bananas!" Not only does Mom work as a high school principal's secretary, she helps organize the scheduling of all the 2000+ students in the school (no small task). When her work day is done, Mom comes home to the house we share with our crazy dog, who has yet to realize he's a dog. One of their favorite snack foods to share actually happens to be bananas (though if it comes in the form of her home baked banana bread he's even happier). Finally, Mom lends constant support to a network of friends and family around the country without a complaint. I rarely see her take a moment out of the day for herself, and I would think that enjoying your VIP Dole banana dinner would have great "a-peel" to her.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope you could consider "Dole"-ing out the banana dinner honor to my amazing mom, Melinda.

Best Regards,
Christine F.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Contest: Enter to Win VIP Tickets to DOLE Banana Dinner at Caribe

DOLE Caribe VIP Dinner
We have 2 tickets to give away ($120 value).

April showers brings...bananas!

The folks from DOLE Bananas caught wind of Caribe's interesting uses of bananas in the menu, and, as part of their "Go Bananas After Dark" tour, they've asked Caribe to partake in the Twin Cites stop of their tour.

We're excited to help DOLE show local food bloggers and the banana-loving public that "bananas aren’t just for breakfast and lunch anymore."

On Thursday, May 26th at 6:00pm, together with Shaina Olmanson, the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography we will host a VIP media event, featuring a four course, banana-centric dinner menu created by Tony Panelli, and some new signature banana drinks (alcohol) to enjoy that evening. The dinner is for a select group of Twin Cities food bloggers, food writers, and media to get the word out about creative ways to enjoy bananas...after dark.

But wait! We thought, nobody's more "VIP" to us than our own customers! Our supporters! You! So we requested that we be allowed to give away a couple tickets to OUR VIP's.

And two tickets we have.


Nominate someone (it can be yourself!)...anyone who deserves to win VIP tickets to our 4 course banana dinner.

Nominate by sending us an email telling us in as many words and pictures as you like, why they (or you) deserve to win.

Email: heidi @ caribemn . com (minus the spaces)
subject: "VIP ticket contest entry"

Do you know a couple who desperately deserves a night out?
Know an aspiring chef, home cook, foodie, or food blogger who'd love to schmooze with food media guests? Know someone who's just plain bananas for bananas? Nominate them!


Make us laugh...or make us cry...but make us say, "yes! This person must win!"

This is not a random drawing. Simply emailing us a name will not count as an entry. We (Tony, myself, and the staff) will be choosing who we feel is the most deserving entry to win based on the email entries you write and send us.

If you are nominating someone other than yourself, email addresses of nominees are not needed at this time. Should your entry win, we will email back and request the necessary information to contact the winners.


Deadline for entry:
Send us your email by Friday May 6th

Winner will be chosen by Thursday May 12th (entrant will be notified by email, winner announced on our Facebook Page)


The small type...

Family members of Caribe staff & owners are not eligible to win.
Entries must be sent by email only.

By entering, you grant Caribe permission to publish your entry online and in our email newsletter (private contact information will not be shared, last names can be omitted if requested). Winner will receive two tickets, via email invitation. Each ticket includes admission to event, four course dinner, and two alcohol banana mixed drinks (per person). Any further question? Don't hesitate to ask:
heidi @ caribeMN . com (minus the spaces)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Evening for the senses: Caribe Beer Dinner

Sharone, setting the stage for an intimate dinner.

Every beer glass was washed, sanitized, polished and inspected closely to ensure it was "beer clean." Without perfectly clean glassware, the beer will not form the desired head upon pouring.

Adam Schulte, the certified Cicerone from Ale Jail starts off the evening with a fun sensory trick we all got to try, and encourages guests to breathe deep, take in the smells, and savor the flavors.

After frying the tostones, Tony & LaRonn quickly plate the first course.

The Amuse Bouche before it got whisked away to the dining room: Salt Cod Ceviche, toston, with avocado relish. Paired with Hennepin Saison.

The food guy & the beer guy.
With each course, Adam speaks about the beer, and Tony speaks about the food.

Back in the kitchen, the staff works like a machine (even with me in the way!) LaRonn & Tony pull the hot appetizers out of the oven & within minutes they are all plated and ready to serve.

II. Appetizer: Pionono (a "mini piñon"), topped with coconut chutney. Paired with Weihenstephaner Hefe.

Tony talks about the next course, explaining cooking techniques, ingredients used, and answers questions.

"This is soooo good!" was heard several times in the back, as we got to sample dishes once everyone in the dining room was served. Sharone (left) and Jenn.

In another well-choreographed act, they pour, drizzle, garnish & send off the third course.

Guests at Adam's table are served the third course.
III. Soup: Gazpacho topped with black bean sauce and micro greens.
Paired with Flat Earth Belgian Pale Ale.

The fourth course is underway in the kitchen.
Rum glazed jumbo shrimp sits in the pan of bubbling glaze; waiting to top the Paella.

Tony pulls the cover off the steamed mussels & I grabbed a picture.
Here they are, just before being scooped out and plated with the Paella.

IV. Entrée
Caribbean Paella: Saffron rice, spicy chorizo, jerk chicken, octopus, mussels, langoustines, almonds, golden raisins, roasted sweet peppers; topped with rum glazed shrimp. Paired with Lagunitas Maximus IPA.

The Paella is served.

These LaTrappe chalices are specially designed for the LaTrappe beer, made by monks in the Netherlands, to be served in. They feature a tiny etched feature in the bottom to enable the carbonation to originate from the center of the glass.

Tony sprinkles powdered sugar over the Banana rum cheesecake, made locally by Muddy Paws . It was complimented with pineapple caramel, whipped cream and fresh berries.
Paired with La Trappe Quadrupel.

Shortly after the cheesecake course was served, Tony and Adam surprised guests with an extra beer; a pour of Rodenbach, as we toasted to celebrating our first year in business!

A happy chef.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twitter & tasting. How the beer dinner came about.

It began on Twitter. @CaribeBistro met @AleJail. Adam from Ale Jail had a question. Heidi (me) from Caribe tweeted back. And not long after he was eating our food; we were tasting his beer, and soon planning a beer dinner.

If you haven't heard the buzz on Twitter yet, we've teamed up with Certified Cicerone (similar to a sommielere, but of beer. There are currently less than 200 of them in the United States) Adam Schulte, of Ale Jail, to put on Caribe's first-ever beer dinner.

What's the big deal? Isn't it just beer and dinner?

If you're already a connoisseur of fine beers, you probably know all about beer dinners and food pairings, (and several of you have already made your reservations). But if you've never heard of a beer dinner, you're not alone.

Yours truly was skeptical at first when Adam first tweeted me a message, asking if he could bring by some beer to try with our food. I mean, my only prior experience with beer was with whatever was cheapest on a night out in college. I'm a grown up now. Beer? No, I'll have wine, thanks. I, after all, had graduated from the college days of quarter tapper nights and never looked back. Was I really missing out on anything?

And then Adam sent me descriptions of the beers he had in mind to maybe add to our menu. Here are a couple examples that piqued my interest:

Flat Earth Belgian Pale Ale:
Toasted biscuit malt meets banana, spice and floral hop aromatics. Caramel sweetness lends to a medium body before the beer dries on the finish. A very versatile food beer.

Lagunitas Maximus IPA:
Orange zest and herbal hop aromas combine with subtle malt sweetness and balanced bitterness. A powerful beer for powerful food. Try something spicy!

Whaa? Was this beer he was talking about? Add to this list a bright, effervescent, aromatic German hefe who's yeast swirls in the bottom of the bottle, a quadrupel made in the Netherlands by Monks, and a refreshing saison made in New York. Everything I (ignorantly) thought I knew about beer had changed.

Why April, 2011?

In all honesty, we hadn't considered looking into specialty beers since Caribe opened last year because, being such a small restaurant, we barely met minimum order quantities as it was with the more mainstream beers we carried. And, truly, we didn't know what we were missing. But Adam persisted and took it upon himself to not only bring us samples (that instantly won us over), but lined us up with distributors who could work with our "smallness."

We figured a new beer menu like this deserves celebrating. And what better way to kick it off, than to have Adam pair the new beers with a 5-course Caribbean dinner and talk about the beers at the dinner? Tony's prepared a fantastic menu, (which we'll reveal later on the website) and Adam will join us for the dinner to discuss the beers, fill your glass, and answer questions.

And, to make things sweeter, the dinner falls mid-April, which happens to be Caribe's 1-year anniversary. Another big reason we want to (need to!) celebrate this month.

Now what?

So where does this leave me? I've now tasted all the beers to be featured in the dinner (also shown and described here). I love the new beers. I can't wait to try them with various dishes on our menu. I'm no longer an ignorant beer-scoffing snob. I'm humbled, eager to learn more, and look forward to sampling more unique beers from Ale Jail, which, by the way, is an experience in and of itself. If you haven't been by the store, you're in for a treat. If you're not sure where to start, Adam can help you put together a custom 6-pack from the walls lined with beautifully labeled bottles you won't see in other liquor stores.

So that about sums up my enthusiasm! This beer dinner is more than just a pairing of fine beer and food, but a pairing of Tony's passion for Caribbean cooking, with Adam's passion for beer. One can't help but get caught up in the excitement when creative, delicious ideas collide. So much so, that I admitted to Adam how I was sipping some wine the other night and kinda wished it was a beer. "It's OK," he assured me, "it's part of the process."

More information

To get the word out about the dinner, we've been having fun with "the story"- beers escaping Ale Jail and taking Caribe hostage. Watch the site, as the story continues to unfold (was the chef really taken hostage? Or was he conspiring all along?) while we draw closer to April 18th.

The beer dinner is by reservation only. Tables are still available. Call the restaurant to get on the list: 651-641-1446

Monday, January 31, 2011

Caribe Valentine's Day Menu, 2011

This Valentine's Day, we'll be dimming the lights,
lighting the candles, and dressing up the dining room
to set the stage for a romantic evening.

Trust us; she will be impressed (and have you to thank).

Ladies: There will be molten chocolate cake (need I say more?). Now is the time to start dropping hints. Make it easy for him; just show him this menu!


Valentine's Day, Monday February 14th, we will be open for dinner from 5pm-9:30pm, and in place of our regular dinner menu, we will be offering a special prix fixe Valentine's Day dinner menu.

Call now: 651-641-1446 to reserve your table.
(if you call after hours, just leave a message and we will return your call & confirm your reservation.)

There will be two dinner options:
a 3 course dinner, & a 5 course dinner, each with optional wine pairings.

The wine for the wine pairing will be selected by our staff, who will choose the perfect wine to best accompany each course. Wine pairings will be a 1.5 oz. pour of a different type of wine for each course. Wine by the glass or bottle will also be available, as well as our full beverage menu.


Valentine's Day Menu: 3 Courses

3 Course Dinner ~ $37
Optional wine pairing, add $15

~First Course~
Spinach & Arugula Salad with Avocado relish and citrus vinaigrette

~Second Course~

Choice of the following:

1. Grilled Lamb Chops with jerk beurre blanc,
and pigeon pea cassoulet.

2. Grilled Rib Eye Steak with caramelized onions,
roasted garlic and yucca mash.

3. Seafood Paella. Seafood and saffron rice
cooked in Jamaican coconut rundown.

4. Pan-seared Pork Medallions with apple chutney
and roasted tropical root vegetables.

~Third Course~

Choice of the following:

1. Cafe con Leche Créme Brulée

2. Piña Colada Panna Cotta with berry coulis

3. Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake (allow approx. 10 minutes extra prep time)

4. Tropical Fruit Bread Pudding


Valentine's Day Menu: 5 Courses

Same as the 3 course dinner, with the addition of an appetizer and soup.
5 Course Dinner ~ $50
Optional wine pairing, add $20

~First Course~
Arepas (3): Salt cod ceviche, curried bananas, and pulled pork

~Second Course~
Chick Pea and vegetable Curry

~Third Course~
Spinach & Arugula Salad with Avocado relish & citrus vinaigrette

~Fourth Course~

Choice of the following:

1. Grilled Lamb Chops with jerk beurre blanc,
and pigeon pea and chorizo cassoulet.

2. Grilled Rib Eye Steak with caramelized onions,
roasted garlic and yucca mash.

3. Seafood Paella. Seafood and saffron rice
cooked in Jamaican coconut rundown.

4. Pan-seared Pork Medallions with apple chutney
and roasted tropical root vegetables.

~Fifth Course~

Choice of the following:

1. Cafe con Leche Créme Brulée

2. Piña Colada Panna Cotta with berry coulis

3. Spiced Molten Chocolate Cake (allow approx. 10 minutes extra prep time)

4. Tropical Fruit Bread Pudding

Please note: Our regular dinner menu items will not be available on Monday, Feb. 14. Coupons, special offers or friends & family discounts are not valid during the Valentine's Day dinner. Walk-ins welcome, but tables will only be guaranteed with a reservation made prior to Feb. 14. Prices do not include tax or gratuity. Reservations must be made by phone 651-641-1446 or in person; not via email.

Caribe Caribbean Bistro. Phone: 651-641-1446 791 Raymond Ave. St. Paul, MN 55114