Last night was the Taste of Cayman. Last year was canceled due to weather, so this year should have been even bigger. Nope.
The moved the venue to Boatswain's Beach, the new Turtle Farm which was a really dumb move. I realize that there's a huge push on to show off Boatswain's Beach to the public for many reasons, but the bottom line is that Boatswain's Beach/Turtle Farm/Cracked Conch area cannot handle the amount of traffic/cars that were going to show up. Boatswain's Beach parking lot was overfull, Tortuga Rum parking lot was triple-parked with people blocking other people in, because they could, Cracked Conch/Divetech's parking lot was a zoo, and cars were lined along both sides of the street almost from Sharon & Seb's old apartment through to nearly Coconut Bay.
For as long as I can remember, Taste of Cayman had been held at Safehaven. It kinda sucked if there was rain (and really, when does it ever rain in Cayman in the summer/fall?) but there was tons of parking, and a huge empty lot that people could park in behind the "grounds" plus all the parking at Sunshine Suites, Cayman Falls, the Westin and also the entire Safehaven (Now Regatta) office park.
Anyway, enough bitching about the venue, let's get on with the food. We entered and turned right. The Marriott Beach resort was right there, and they had a fruit punchy type drink, ginger-glazed beef, jerk chicken & some sort of fish dish. The jerk was good, not TOO hot, but still a good zing on the tongue. Their beef was pretty good, too. Just past then was Island Supply who had cheesecakes and whatnot, so we skipped over them (for now, we're not crazy) and headed to Chicken! Chicken!, Cimboco and Breezes. They had Conch chowder (I don't like conch, but I tried it and it was very VERY good) They also had some Chicken Chicken, uhh, chicken, caribbean cornbread and caesar salad. Yum, Yum and yum.
We realized then that we were at the end of the line, so we turned around and headed the other way (dumb booth setup, but I guess you gotta work with what you got, but I don't want to get back on the venue thing) Heading back the other way was the Cayman Sea Salt company with... wait for it... sea salt! The first thought was "how are they going to promote it?" but what they had was a selection of fruits and veggies and even chocolate, sprinkled with their salt. I made a beeline for the choccies, and everyone looked at me like "salt on chocolate?" but it was good. They also had tomatoes. mmmm tomatoes... moving along we made our way through the rest of the "booths".
Hemingway's at the Hyatt was pimping their new Thursday special, a Brazilian barbecue (the name escapes me at the mo, but those types of places are getting popular in the US these days) I tried the beef and chorizo, with black refried beans, and they were yummmmy. The Westin had tuna burgers with various dressings... wasabi mayo, fruit relish, etc. The Ritz-Carlton had quite a line-up for their offering: hand-cut french fries tossed in truffle oil and topped with parmesan cheese. Sounds great, but because of the demand, they couldn't keep up and the fries I got were undercooked and soggy. MJ said that she's had them at Periwinkle (one of the restaurants there) and that they were really good, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Sunshine Grill was there, they had marinated flank steak, but it was gone by the time I got there. I've had it there before though and it's good. It's in their Jamaican Chop House tacos. They also had their Chopped Salad which was good but reminded me of the last meal I had before I tried that detox regimen a few months back, so I didn't finish it.
We went back around towards the cheesecake booth and stopped in at the Cayman Sea Sense booth. Danny and Marnie from Off The Wall were manning the booth. I walked up with my plate in my hand, held it out and asked what kind of fish they were serving... Danny laughed and called me an asshole, but I don't think Marnie knew (at first) that I was just joking and gave me a dirty look :)
We made it back around to the cheesecake booth and got a little hunk of plain NY Style cheesecake, a hunk of Reese' peanut butter something, and a little square of chocolate chip cheesecake, and then they POURED BAILEY'S ALL OVER IT. Bliss. After that we grabbed some beverages and sat down at one of the tables and I started sliding into food coma.
We left around 10:30 and made our way down to Aqua Beach where Ratskyn was playing, and stuck around there til closing. (Midnight, because it was Saturday). Zac's family is in town, so they were all there, we were all there, Renee made an appearance all the way in from where she lives now (Cayman's equivalent of The Boonies) but overall it was kind of a quiet night at Aqua Beach. Between the Taste of Cayman going on and the Full Moon Beach Party at Calico Jack's, I guess everyone was elsewhere last night.
We got home about 12:20 or so and I crashed. Hard. Food Coma was waiting for me and as soon as I was horizontal, I was out like a light. I slept HARD right through, all the way up until nearly 11 this morning when I realized that the song in my head in my dream was actually the alarm clock. Just another Sunday in Cayman, everyone's coming over later to sit on the beach, drink beer and watch the bikinis parade by like one of those conveyor belt sushi restaurants. Life is good!