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We’ll Eat Anything Sexy Marco Serves Us

As Mr. Mike Ballard and I have traveled the world searching for our next home, we’ve encountered numerous expat communities in places that sometimes surprise us.

Expatriates are people who live outside their native countries, and they do so for many reasons. Some have moved for work, others have moved to follow loved ones, and then there are the lucky people who have retired overseas, often to tropical locales, to enjoy the fruits of their labor under a palm tree on the beach.

Roatán, Honduras, is a melting pot of all these types of expats mixed with a population of friendly locals who enjoy communities with names like Sandy Bay, Mount Pleasant, and Parrot Tree. Tourism and fishing are two of the major industries on Roatán, both of which take advantage of offshore reefs that are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

While I practically ate my weight in seafood during a recent dive trip to Roatán, one of my favorite meals from that adventure was decidedly American.

Ginger’s Caribbean Grill was our lunch stop every day after diving with Roatán Divers, whose shop is next door. Ginger and her husband, Chef Jeff, are Texas natives who relocated to Honduras. In addition to amazing Caribbean seafood dishes, they also serve a few American favorites, like their famous chicken and waffles every Sunday during brunch.

There’s something about a crispy, salty piece of perfectly fried chicken atop a fluffy, slightly sweet waffle that checks all the flavor boxes. Mike likes his dusted with powdered sugar, while I prefer blackberry preserves with mine. The boys have always liked their chicken and waffles drenched in maple syrup. I mean flat-out .

Whichever way you enjoy yours, there are a couple of easy tricks for making consistently juicy, crispy fried chicken, and a single ingredient makes it much easier to achieve than you might think.

Fry up a batch for yourself and let me know what you think!

This week’s subscriber exclusives: You can’t have fried chicken and waffles without the waffles. My recipe for the Best-Ever Waffles uses basic ingredients with one small addition that ups the flavor. And it goes without saying that these waffles are terrific with any toppings you like, whether that’s fresh fruit, whipped cream, syrup, jam, powdered sugar, ice cream, caramel, or fudge sauce.

Our favorite server at Ginger’s Caribbean Grill in Roatán, Honduras, is a fun guy who calls himself Sexy Marco. Whether we were there for Sunday brunch or a post-dive lunch, Sexy Marco served delicious cocktails with a huge smile. Sexy Marco’s Brunch Punch takes a classic Caribbean beach drink and turns it into a pitcher cocktail that’s perfect for a leisurely chat with friends in the sunshine.

Subscribers to Around the World in 80 Plates have exclusive access to these weekend brunch treats.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Trim any fat, skin, and tendons from the chicken and cut large breasts into two or three pieces each. Place a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag inside a large bowl, and add the chicken to the bag. Pour the buttermilk into the bag and seal tightly. Refrigerate overnight, leaving the bag inside the bowl to catch any drips or leaks.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil to 350°F. Prepare a draining station by lining a sheet pan with paper towels and placing a cooling rack on top.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme and stir to combine. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, pressing firmly with your fingers to coat the chicken thoroughly and tenderize it a bit in the process. Fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding your skillet and to maintain an even oil temperature. Rotate each piece to cook evenly on all sides. The chicken is done when the outside is evenly brown and the internal temperature measures 165°F on a quick-read meat thermometer.

Remove cooked pieces from the oil and place them on the rack atop the paper towels to drain excess oil. Salt both sides of each piece to taste. Serve warm.

This week’s subscriber exclusives:

  • Best-Ever Waffles: You can’t have fried chicken and waffles without the waffles. My recipe uses basic ingredients with one small addition that ups the flavor. And it goes without saying that these waffles are terrific with any toppings you like, whether that’s fresh fruit, whipped cream, syrup, jam, powdered sugar, or even ice cream with caramel or fudge sauce.
  • Sexy Marco’s Brunch Punch: Our favorite server at Ginger’s Caribbean Grill in Roatán, Honduras, is a fun guy who calls himself Sexy Marco. Whether we were there for Sunday brunch or a post-dive lunch, Sexy Marco served delicious cocktails with a huge smile. Sexy Marco’s Brunch Punch takes a classic Caribbean beach drink and turns it into a pitcher cocktail that’s perfect for a leisurely chat with friends in the sunshine.

Subscribe now

Food and folklore from my travels to over 100 countries.

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