The residents of Vieques romantically lament it’s “another shitty day in paradise.” For us, it’s an island of white-sandy, postcard-perfect series of beaches.

We arrived at the Amapola Inn on Christmas Day, in the southern town of Esperanza. It’s smack in the forefront of the street’s central pub, and beyond that facing a wide arch of sand and clear waters.

To sweeten things off, the inn’s in-house restaurant — Bili, offers food to die for. Eva Bolivar from the kitchen room is apparently one of the top 4 gourmet chefs in Puerto Rico and even used to lay out the dinner table for the governor. I’m a steak lover and a pretty darn hard one to please. That said, Bili served up one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, right up there with TNT Steakhouse in Cairns and another restaurant in Penang (the name eludes me).

Angus Skirt Steak at Bili

There are a few steak entries in the menu, but the one I’m raving about is the Angus Skirt Steak, planted on top of a crispy-fried mofongo. My lowest requirement for an acceptable steak is a bloody core. The slab of red meat not only came dripping with red juice after each cut, but came layered with A-grade texture. Every bite brought out a delightful mix of carbon and alcohol goodness that lingers on the inner walls of your mouth a long time after you’ve stopped chewing. US$21 was way too good for value.

Next: New York City! (for the 3rd time)


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