We haven't been everywhere...but it's on our list.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lesson Learned on St. Lucia

Have you ever been to St. Lucia?  Did you pay approximately one million dollars for a car?  We ran into a little problem when we were there.  Everyone wanted to charge us tourist prices for transportation.  Even though we were tourists...how dare they?

We hate getting taken so we set out for another way.  And we found one.  Robby.  Robby had a friend who could get us a rental car.  It would only take 20 minutes to get it washed and ready for us.  Cool.  It was $40 instead of $200.

20 minutes later Robby told us the car was ready.  We walked out to the car, gave the guy $40 with a $20 deposit and he told us we would need to put gas in it.  The radio had been "removed" and one of the windows didn't roll down.  Hey...you get what you pay for. 

We hopped in, buckled up and headed to the nearest gas station (the car was on EM.PTY.)  We didn't sign a single paper or even show a drivers license. It was when we stopped for gas that we realized the license plate had been altered.  Pretty sure we were driving a hot car.  Stolen. 

Since we only had a day in St. Lucia we continued our day in our stolen car.  We returned it, got our 20 bucks back and chalked it up to an adventure.  We've never driven a stolen vehicle.  Now we had.

The lesson we learned - if you don't want to be taken for a ride by the tourist hounds, you might end up taking a joy ride in a hot car! Good times.  The stuff memories are made of.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Go Ahead...Ask Me!

We haven't been everywhere...but it's on our list.  Maybe I've been where you are going!  You will only know if you ask.  Let me know what you are planning and I would love to give you my tips and tricks.  It's always good to have a friend whose been there done that...right?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School

It's back to school for my little ones today.  Shouldn't I be happy about this?  Shouldn't I be cracking a Dr. Pepper screaming FREEEEEDOM!!! Shouldn't I be plannin a lunch and manicure with my besties?

I'm not going to get caught up in the shoulds and shouldn'ts.   This summer just went by too fast for me.  I guess this year I will anxiously await them coming home (or getting into my car since I drive carpool today) and hearing dragging out all the details about their first day.

It's going to be a great school year.  I can feel it in my bones.  My aching aching bones. 

Happy Back to School Day!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wild Rose - THE Restaurant

Some foodie friends of ours suggested we have dinner at the Wild Rose. After dinner we considered them dear, dear, indispensable friends. I'm not sure we ever would have tried this restaurant if it weren't for them. We will forever owe them. And now for the important stuff...

Pork Belly. Remember when pork belly was a trend? A fad? Every menu had something with pork belly in it or on it? Please Wild Rose. I beg you...when this pork belly trend fades, do not take this dish away. Don't get crazy thinking people are over this product. Your pork belly dish I will never be over. The grits, the sauce, the crisp - it's perfection. You probably should order one per two people. Otherwise there will be some awkward "who gets the last bite" moments at your table.

All of the salads at Wild Rose at great. I prefer their house and my husband loves their chopped. I'm sure their caesar is wonderful too but I'm just not a big anchovy fan. (I know...and I call myself a foodie).

After a refreshing homemade sorbet of the day you will get your main course. Lucky you. Here is where you can't go wrong...the Mahi Mahi, Beef Tenderloin, Pork Chop, Lamb, and Mushroom Ravioli. That is my opinion. My husband also loves the Ribeye, but to me it's just a good ribeye. The tenderloin is a little more involved with the bleu cheese and a knock-your-socks-off demi glace. We've had their special twice and neither times were memorable. They were both good I'm sure, but I don't remember walking out begging the chef for the schedule of when that special would be featured again. (Something I've done before...)

The dessert menu is great. Not Kurabuta Pork Belly great, but who can compete with that? My fave is the chocolate mousse because it's like, a real mousse. The texture is spot on. And the flavor is fantastic.

There are few restaurants that I love from start to finish. Thank you Wild Rose for getting it done every course.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stingray City - Awesome City

If you are taking your family to Grand Cayman and you aren't considering Stingray City we are in a fight.  Not a friendship ending fight, but I probably won't talk to you for a really long time.  A month? A year?  Who knows.  But lets avoid all of that and just book your family with Tours Cayman mmmmk?

I searched and searched for the best group to do a private charter for Stingray City. Our group had 21 people - 13 of which were small kids (9 months-9 years). The good news is we found the PERFECT group. Perfect for families, kids, adults, teenagers, grandparents - Shane and his crew at ToursCayman were perfect.
Because we were taking so many small kids we wanted to be able to be flexible. Shane answered all of my questions quickly and always asked if I had anymore questions. After my 15th email you would think he would be annoyed...nope. He was easy to work with, responsive, detailed and very kind.
We chose to do Stingray city and the BBQ on the beach. We wanted to get out to see the stingrays before it got to crowded so Shane arranged for us to be picked up from the dock (we were coming in on a cruise) at 8:15. He picked our group up and drove us to the boat where we met our crew for the day. I misunderstood ship time and local time. We arrived at 7.30 local time and called him and he came right over. Even though it was my mistake he was there in 10 minutes to get us.
The crew was perfect for the kids. They had a stuffed animal stingray and gave a 5-10 minute schpeil on the beautiful creatures, did boat safety and rules, let the kids ask questions then allowed them to enjoy the boat ride. They had water and juice in coolers on the boat so our little ones wouldn't get dehydrated.
We arrived and although it was a little wavy the guides handled our child infested group smoothly. We had as much time as we wanted in the water with the beautiful rays. They let the babies kiss them, helped the older kids swim with them and taught the dads how to catch them. We got stingray massages and swam with them, getting on and off the boat to our hearts content.
When we got back on the boat we were told we had enough time to go to Starfish Point if we wanted. The moms huddled and decided the kids were doing great so we gave the go ahead. OH. MY. This place is not to be missed either! We found big, beautiful starfish in the water and the beach was perfect for our kids. It is small, remote, and the most beautiful water and sand you will see. The bigger kids and dads went snorkling and found conch shells which one of the guys cleaned out for us to take home. The kids were reeling with excitement.
Next we headed back to the dock where Shane picked us up and we reluctantly said goodbye to our crew. They had been kind, flexible and very patient with our group. We were all very pleased with how the day had gone. (As I booked this excursion I had visions of screaming babies, seasick kids, whiny people, hot people...it was the absolute opposite...)
We arrived at 7 mile beach for our beach BBQ. Another thing NOT TO BE MISSED. You will NOT, I repeat, will NOT be able to find a better lunch on Grand Cayman. Chef John has been cooking up his BBQ chicken for over 40 years. The BBQ sauce was out of this world. Unfortunately it is a secret family recipe so I will just have to dream about that sauce until my next trip to Cayman. We had chicken, coleslaw, corn on the cob, rice and beans, waters and sodas and the chance to chat with a wonderful wonderful man and his wife. The kids finished their food and played at the beach until it was time to get back on the ship. That was another thing - Shane asked how long we wanted to be at the beach and he was there 10 minutes early to pick us up. Totally catered to our needs.
Overall, I couldn't have been more satisfied with how our day turned out with ToursCayman, Shane and his crew. If you are going to book a private charter I can't imagine there is a better company out there. I am sure their group excursions are top notch as well.
Thank you ToursCayman for giving us the perfect Caymanian day!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paradise Beach: Cozumel

This beach club is perfect for families coming off cruise ships. We had read to get there early in order to get a chair but apparently we arrived on a slow day because there were more than enough beach and pool chairs. The pool was lovely. Very nice, very clean, perfect temperature and large. They had a nice big step for the little kids to play on while the bigger kids swam. We couldn't get them out of the pool! The bathrooms and facilities were nice and at $2 per person it was a bargain! We bought our 7 year old the $12 wristband to do all of the beach activities. Our family loved the ocean trampoline and all the slides. The downside was the beach wasn't very nice. Rocky getting out there and water was murky. Not dirty or sketchy, just not clear water and white sand. Our kids who love swimming in the ocean were having a hard time.
But the chairs are comfy - there are plenty in the sun and in the shade. The food was good and decently priced and the pool area was pristine. What a fun and easy excursion!
Unless you don't have little kids with you...then you definitely need to dive in Cozumel.  The best drift dive I've ever been on!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Only One Wafel Cart Will Do...Must Have Dinges

Wafels & Dinges. Be still my heart. There are plenty of options for a waffle from a truck in New York City. But really...there is just ONE. Wafels and Dinges. I used to order their normal wafel with speculoos, chocolate, and whipped cream. My latest experience the super friendly, nice wafel worker in the cool hat suggested I try the speculoos ice cream. I'm good. I like to stick with what I know. But wait. I love ice cream and I love speculoos. Sooooo....
He could tell I was in a bit of a conundrum, so he offered to do a half scoop of speculoos and a half scoop of the speculoos ice cream. THANK YOU wafels and dinges guy. It is now my lifes mission to introduce you to something that will forever change your life. This stuff was good. Ridiculously good. There is one teeny problemo. I can take speculoos, bought straight from the wafel cart, home. Home to enjoy and stretch until my next trip to NYC. How the heck do I get speculoos ice cream on a plane? How? Seriously!!! Someone tell me how. Because c'mon...I just told you about the stuff...you owe me one.