Monday Meal Review: Kiribati


I wanted our Kiribati Global Table to go perfectly. I had visions of something out of Norman Rockwell.

Loving family, smiles all around, big appetites. My two year-old eating $35/lb lobster and loving it.

Yeah, right.

“Ava, you want some lobster? It’s like… fish.”

“Uhuh” she said.

The first bite went in.

Is it good?


Approximately 13.3 seconds later she spit it out.


I died a little inside. That teeny bite probably cost $5.50.

Okay, maybe only $3.50.

As the dinner moved on, Ava never changed her opinion, although she thoroughly enjoyed dipping her rice into the coconut curry.

Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

As our quiet meal wrapped up, I looked at my husband and daughter, trying to memorize their faces.

In the morning, I flew to California for the Homefries retreat with Joy the Baker and her crew. It was my first time away from Miss Ava and while it was only for two nights it was so, so, so, so difficult.

Hoping to postpone the inevitable I:

– Ate my lobster very slowly.

– Repacked my bags twice, once in a backpack and once in a suitcase. Eventually, the suitcase won.

– Faked a cold.

– Tried to be really noisy on my way out, so that I would wake Ava and she would give me a big bear hug, preventing me from leaving.

– Considered packing my husband and daughter into my suitcase, but realized I didn’t have a suitcase big enough.

– Hoped the car was out of gas.

Here’s what happened instead:

I learned how to make killer brunch with these ladies-  Tracy of Shutterbean and Joy the Baker:

Mr. Michael Friedman taught us all how to take better pictures (and introduced me to the iPhone app called “Instagram”).

Speaking of Instagram, friendship bracelets took over my life and I captured it with the app. I could do a lot of damage with all this thread…

Later that day I learned that Gin is yummy thanks to this guy, Mr Nathan Hazard.

I’d be lying if I told you I did not skype with Ava several times a day.

At the end of the weekend there was fire in the mountains. Seriously. The resulting traffic detours almost made me miss my plane. I am not joking when I tell you that Superman was on call to bring me home to my family just in case.

Once I got to the airport (giddy to be seeing my family so soon), I did a little reading and learned that my article in AFAR magazine was the reader’s choice for recipe’s they’d most like to try. Double win!

As for when I got home – I hugged that baby girl so tight… sigh. Home really is where the heart is…


Roasted Lobster Tails in Coconut Curry [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

The two ingredient coconut curry was a nice change of pace for the lobster, but what fascinated me the most was learning how to present the lobster tail so beautifully. One could also simmer some plain fish in the coconut curry for a more budget-friendly Kiribati dinner.

What I liked least about this dish:

The sauce was good, but I was tempted to add aromatics like ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. You could do this, but it wouldn’t be as authentic (those items are all imported to Kiribati, not native).

Sweet Coco Pumpkin with Pandan Leaves [Recipe]

What I liked most about this dish:

Three ingredients manage to pull together an unusual and addicting flavor combination – the pandan is totally otherworldly. I’d recommend serving this hot on a chilly night, under the autumn stars.

What I liked least about this dish:

If you’re a big fan of the coconut “broth,” you might want to add a second can of coconut milk so you can be sure to have enough for everyone.

Ava’s Corner:


  1. Brian S. says

    Amazing how you can take the food from ANYWHERE — even a country few have ever heard of — and turn it into something wonderful.

  2. simone says

    Awgh… you are a brave mom!! I still haven’t been away from isabel overnight and I really dread even thinking about it… way to go! Looks like you had a good time and thank goodness for Skype 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      I’m not sure I’m going to do it again any time soon… what’s the opposite of mama’s girl… baby’s mama? I’m such a baby’s mama!

  3. Thanks for not waking her up that morning – it let me sleep a little more on your couch until she woke up happy, never suspecting how far away you were by then! Glad you had a good time and proud of your recipe doing so well in AFAR!

  4. Kelly says

    So glad you got to dodge some fires and made it back safely. The lobster looks super delish as well!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thanks Kelly – seeing the fire was quite the experience – especially since there was hardly any vegetation in those mountains. I’m not sure what was burning!

  5. 1. Bring that beautiful baby girl to the Lobster Bday bash in December. Aunt Panda will have her slurping drawn butter in no time 🙂 2. $35 a #?! You are going to have to come lobster shopping with me. I can get it for $13 at Bodean’s. 3. Next time you want to skip out on a trip to California, you know who to call. I’m not above wearing a brown wig 🙂

    • Sasha Martin says

      I was at Bodean’s… maybe because it was the Australian tails?? Craaazy.

  6. Simone says

    I just watched the video now (was secretly reading at work the first time… oops) hahahaa!! that must be my most favorite video to date 🙂 Love the last tag line!!! 🙂

  7. keith says

    Congrats on the reader’s choice, making it through first weekend away, enjoying a cool retreat and coming home!

    Do you think the coconut sauce is a tastier AND healthier alternative to butter!? 🙂

  8. Ava is too cute! I don’t think my 2.5yo niece would get anywhere near lobster, so I’m impressed by how long she kept that piece in her mouth.

    Thanks for sharing your HomefriesU pics! Looks like it was a blast.

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