Upon arriving on the island, I was greeted by a coworker who took us to the office and offered us our first meal in Belize. When I landed I was pretty hungry, so I was willing to eat anything. The lunch was a simple salad with grilled chicken, corn, tomato, and the best croutons I’ve ever had in my life. We were told the salads came from Sabine’s Corner and to visit when we were looking for a place to eat dinner. This quickly escaped my mind, because I learned so much that day that it was hard for me to process anything fully.
After a few days of getting situated, I found myself thinking about the croutons that we had and wanted to revisit that delicious experience. I was pleased to learn that the home of those croutons was just a few minute’s walk from the office.
Naturally, being new to the island, I was willing to try anything and everything. Like most of my experiences in Ambergris, I was accompanied by my good friend that I traveled to Belize with. We walked into Sabine’s Corner and were greeted by a smiling tattooed woman that we later learned was Sabine herself. The dining room looked like it was located on a porch, and the rest of the restaurant could have been a small house complete with a full bar.
The dining area features five tables and is decorated with lights and a variety of hand-written and printed signs, with one big sign that reads, “Sabine’s Corner: Austrian Comfort Food.” There was only one table open; the rest were filled with people eating or sitting satisfied with their full stomachs.
We sat down and Sabine excitedly offered the special for the evening, meatloaf. I knew immediately that’s what I wanted. It was delicious. I’m not a food critic, so I can’t tell you all of the ingredients I tasted or describe the texture (or any other food-related descriptors), but I can tell you that this meatloaf was everything that was promised to me; hot, tasty, and comforting. The meal was filling and satisfying. She asked if we saved room for dessert. I hadn’t, but we split a fried Snickers bar anyway. Again, it was amazing.
Since our first visit, we have been hooked. Almost daily we contemplate walking down the street just to see what the specials of the day are. We’ve fallen into the habit of visiting Sabine every Tuesday. We walk from the office and are greeted by Sabine’s enthusiasm. She’ll tell us the specials, which always sound delicious, or encourages us to try the schnitzel, her favorite item on the menu. The food comes out fast, a factor that I find to be the most satisfying because I’m very hungry by the time the work day has come to an end. Meals at Sabine’s always leave me stuffed. My favorite meal so far has been the stuffed peppers.
I began noticing a trend on the island. Many of the restaurants and businesses are owned by expatriates. I thought it was amazing that people from all over the world were coming to Ambergris and opening restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses. The mixture is eclectic and I began to wonder how everyone found themselves on the island and opening up shop. I selected Sabine’s as my first place to explore.
Sabine is a graphic designer from Grac, Austria, and continues to practice graphic design while on the island, working remotely. Her parents, Elizabeth and Eddy, were on a trip to several Central American countries and found themselves in Ambergris Caye permanently. Two months later, Sabine joined them and hasn’t looked back. She said she loves it here and has no plans of leaving. She says the weather is perfect and she has everything she needs here.
Sabine’s family are very active members of the community. Elizabeth runs the kitchen, cooking out of the small kitchen in the back. She prepares the food that her family grew up on. Sharing her cooking talents with the people on the island is a gift, one that I will remember after my time here. Elizabeth’s husband, Eddy, teaches exercise classes in the area.
When she’s not working, Sabine loves to sing. I’ve had the chance to hear her sing karaoke at Crazy Canucks and she is very talented. One gentleman I talked to compared her singing ability to that of Janis Joplin.
Going to Crazy Canucks and seeing expatriates and vacationers coming together is an inspiring image. People from different countries and backgrounds have all found beauty in Ambergris Caye and have made it their homes or their favorite place to visit. Ambergris Caye, Belize, is a true community and is always growing.
If you’re ever visiting San Pedro and are looking for a nice home-cooked meal, I highly recommend Sabine’s Corner. Try the schnitzel!