Posts Tagged ‘Grand Cayman’

Bonus Cayman Post – Singh’s Roti Shop

Saturday, August 20th, 2011 by virginia

So on our way from Georgetown to Seymour’s Jerk Centre, we passed by a place called Singh’s Roti Shop. It was another local joint that I had read about before coming to Grand Cayman. The shop features Trinidadian and Caribbean cuisine, and I really wanted to try a roti, a sandwich wrapped in a flaky flat bread.

Because we were already on our way to Seymour’s for lunch, I knew I wouldn’t have much of an appetite if I ate a roti immediately beforehand, so Josh suggested that we get a sandwich to go and eat it later, since our hotel room had a refrigerator and a microwave. I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same as eating the roti fresh, but it was still better than not trying the sandwich at all.

The woman at the counter who took our order was very friendly, and when we ordered the curried chicken roti, she said we would love it so much that we would be back again the next day. That’s a pretty confident statement, and I liked that she seemed very passionate about her food. We also tried to get an order of doubles, which is curried chickpeas sandwiched between two fried flat breads, but unfortunately they had run out. It’s only served on Saturdays so I guess it’s very popular.

The menu

I really wanted to tear into the warm roti right away but I exercised some restraint. The next day, before we headed out to get marinated conch at Alfresco, we briefly microwaved the roti until it was warmed through. The flat bread was still flaky, but probably not as flaky as it would have been had we eaten it fresh. I was also surprised by the size and heft of the roti, since it looked pretty small when it was all wrapped up tightly in foil.

Curried chicken roti

When we cut it in half so that we could share it, the smell coming from the curried chicken was absolutely incredible. The chicken was still tender, and it was layered with soft, mashed potatoes. The curry was the typical yellow curry, but this version was extremely flavorful and complex. We could see all the layers of the flaky roti, and each bite was a wonderful mix of spices and textures.

Autopsy shot

Josh and I absolutely loved the curried chicken roti from Singh’s, and the woman was right, I absolutely would have gone back the next day to get a fresh roti had we not had a flight to catch. The shop itself is very casual, though there are tables where you can sit and eat inside. The curried chicken roti was C$7.50 so while it’s not dirt cheap, it’s pretty reasonable and one sandwich will definitely fill you up. The roti was one of the best things we ate on our trip, which says a lot considering we ate it after it had sat in a refrigerator all day and was reheated in a microwave. I would definitely recommend trying it out, and if we’re ever back in Grand Cayman, I would go there again in a heartbeat.

Singh’s Roti Shop
Corner of Dr. Roy’s Dr. and Shedden Rd., George Town
Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman Day 5 – Alfresco

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 by virginia

Sadly, day 5 was our last day in Grand Cayman. Most of the crew left after breakfast so we said our goodbyes over waffles at the Comfort Suites. Josh and I had booked a flight in the late afternoon so that we could have some more time to explore the eats on the island. The main item I wanted to try was marinated conch, which is sort of like conch ceviche. I asked the woman at the front desk for recommendations and was told that it wasn’t conch season so she didn’t think we’d be able to find it anywhere. Drat!

In the hotel lobby, there were copies of a magazine that had menus from several dozen restaurants. While Josh packed up our stuff, I combed the magazine from cover to cover in search of a place that listed marinated conch. I found it on the menu of a restaurant at the other end of Seven Mile Beach called Alfresco. When we checked out, I asked the woman at the front desk if she would call the Alfresco to see if they were indeed serving marinated conch that day, as I didn’t want to make the trip out there for nothing. She made the call and gave us the thumbs up, so off we went.

We headed up West Bay Road and caught a bus almost immediately. The driver knew where Alfresco was and dropped us right in front. The restaurant has two seating areas, one inside and one outside. We checked in with the waitress inside, who told us to sit anywhere we wanted, so we headed for the outdoor area which is a deck right along the beach. The view was simply stunning, and there were umbrellas and trees around to keep us in the shade.

The tables on the deck right along Seven Mile Beach

There were some sort of grape-like fruit dangling from the trees above us

Lizard on the deck

Even though it was pretty early in the day, I ordered a frozen strawberry daiquiri to drink. Hey, it was our last day of vacation! Josh got a Caybrew, and we sat back to enjoy the view. We saw Eric (one of Josh’s former coworkers who we were hanging out with all week) walking up the beach and called him over. He apparently had taken a stroll along the entire length of Seven Mile Beach (which is really only about 5.5 miles), and he definitely looked like he needed to sit down and drink some water. He ended up joining us for lunch on the deck.

Caybrew and strawberry daiquiri

My bad luck with restaurants continued, as we learned from the waitress that their fryer was broken. This meant that I couldn’t tried cracked conch, another Cayman specialty that is kind of like fried calamari, but with conch. They also only served turtle on Fridays, and it was Sunday. At least they had the marinated conch though, which was our whole point of going to that particular restaurant. Since it was early, and we had just eaten breakfast, we decided to stick with just the marinated conch while Eric ordered a jerk chicken sandwich.

The marinated conch was prepared in a traditional style, with strips of peppers and onions and mixed in a spicy tomato sauce. The conch itself didn’t have too much flavor, but it did have a chewy yet crunchy texture that I enjoyed. It reminded me a bit of the texture of jellyfish, which I love. The sauce wasn’t too spicy, more sweet and tangy. Josh thought it was a bit too ketchup-y but I didn’t mind. The conch was served with saltine crackers, which was an interesting combination, though I preferred eating the marinated conch on its own. It was a refreshing dish on a hot day.

Marinated conch served with saltines

I was disappointed that we weren’t able to try cracked conch or some form of turtle, but I did enjoy the marinated conch. I think I was expecting more of a traditional Peruvian style ceviche, which is marinated in citrus, but this was an interesting dish. I liked the ambiance at Alfresco, and the view on the deck really couldn’t be beat. Eric enjoyed his jerk chicken sandwich immensely, so I think Alfresco is definitely a place worth checking out. The menu was pretty reasonable, with most dishes under C$15.

After we paid our bill, we went down to the beach to take some more photos before heading back to the road to catch the bus. While we were waiting for the bus, we saw a green iguana sitting in a tree above us, which was pretty neat.

Looking all the way down Seven Mile Beach

Swimmers enjoying the water

Looking up the beach the other way

Iguana dangling from a tree

We ended up catching the bus heading in the wrong direction, but the driver said we were near the end of the line and he would be turning around soon. It gave us an opportunity to see a bit more of the island so I didn’t mind. The turnaround point was Boatswain’s Beach Adventure Park and Turtle Farm. Funny story about the farm – one of my coworkers went to Grand Cayman as part of a Caribbean cruise. They took the excursion to the turtle farm, except she thought it was for turtle conservation. They went through the tour and saw all the baby turtles, etc., and at the end of the tour, they asked her if now she wanted to taste turtle. Needless to say, she was shocked, and only then realized that it was a farm, not a conservatory.

I wish we had time to visit the farm, but we had to get back to the hotel to pick up our bags and catch a cab to the airport. We had to make a stop first at the Beach Suites to pick up our camera battery charger from the front desk, and ended up walking back to the Comfort Suites via the beach one last time. We walked quickly, as we thought we were running late and we had been told that the airport in Grand Cayman gets really packed on Sundays so it takes a long time to get through security. We shared a cab with Eric and arrived at the airport only to find that our flight had been delayed several hours. Awesome.

So it turned out we had plenty of time, and got through security pretty easily. We did a little duty free shopping to kill some time. Josh bought a nice rum, a nice scotch, and a bottle of cheap rum for me. We also picked out some rum cakes, a Grand Cayman specialty. Tortuga is the name brand of rum cakes, but we opted for the cheaper Blackbeard brand. We did pick up a mini Tortuga rum cake and plan on doing a taste test to see how different or similar the two brands really are.

When we checked into our flight at the desk, they told us that no meals would be served on the plane so before we boarded, we picked up some Jamaican patties to go. They only had chicken left, and only one that was the local Cayman Island Taste brand. The other was a Jamaican brand, though I don’t remember the name. The two brands were actually pretty different. The Island Taste patty had a richer brown sauce in the filling, while the Jamaican brand had more of a classic yellow curry flavor. Both had flaky pastry crusts, and I enjoyed both of the patties.

Two different brands of Jamaican patties

The flight home was pretty uneventful. Ironically they did end up serving food on the plane, some jerk chicken that was nowhere even close to Seymour’s jerk chicken. I stuck with the Jamaican patties. We arrived back in NY much later than we planned since our flight was so late. We quickly got in a cab, eager to get home, and wound up with the worst driver ever. He missed the exit for Manhattan and ended up driving us 20 minutes into Long Island before figuring out how to turn around. He also had no concept of changing lanes, and would almost come to full stop on the highway when it was time to switch. I was terrified the entire ride.

We finally got home much, much later than expected, finally concluding our five day trip to Grand Cayman. We had a blast hanging out with everyone and were thrilled to take part in Claire and Sean’s wedding. It was definitely a trip we’ll always remember, full of good food, great fun, and even better company.

53 Town Hall Rd., West Bay
Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman Day 4 – Seymour’s Jerk Centre and Myrtle’s

Monday, August 15th, 2011 by virginia

We were pretty tired the morning after Claire and Sean’s wedding but probably not as tired as the people who partied on the roof afterward. Claire and Sean had organized a brunch at their hotel so we made our way over to the Beach Suites, via the beach of course. After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and pancakes, plus some slices of leftover wedding cake, we felt re-energized. Silva, Felipe, Justin, Josh and I decided to head over to Georgetown, the main town on Grand Cayman, to check out the sights.

We took a bus to Georgetown, which we found was the best method of transportation. The buses, which are really just large vans with blue license plates and have stickers on them that say WB1 or WB2, run back and forth on West Bay Road and the fare is C$2 or US$2.50 (they take both forms of currency and will give you change in whichever one you prefer). Although there are bus stops along the road, the buses will pick you up anywhere. You can flag them down like a taxi, or if they are coming up behind you, they’ll give a little honk and you can wave at them to stop for you. They’ll also drop you off anywhere along the road, so it’s almost like taking a taxi, except much cheaper. Taxis are very overpriced compared to the bus, so I would suggest taking the bus whenever you can.

In Georgetown we pretty much just walked around. There wasn’t a whole lot to see – we were a bit disappointed. Sure, there were lots of souvenir stores and jewelry shops, but we were expecting more historical buildings or colonial architecture. The biggest attractions seemed to be Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Cafe. I guess the town mostly caters to the cruise ships that come in. All the stores boasted duty free signs, but only for the cruise ship passengers. We didn’t find anything interesting to buy, but the stores were nice for their air conditioning. It was really hot out and extremely humid. I ended up overheating at one point and had to find a bathroom to run some cold water on my face and wrists in order to cool down.

Random roosters outside the Tortuga Rum store

Pretty feathers

On the coast in Georgetown - there were groups of people snorkeling nearby

Can you see the little crabs along the edge?

A random anchor

Pirate ship!

We had some milkshakes and smoothies at a place called Paradise, which is right on the water. It was nice to sit and enjoy the view and the slight breeze. Afterward, we headed back toward the center of Georgetown, away from the water. There was a post office, a library, and a war memorial, though still not much to see. We took a few pics then continued on our way.

Post office

Pretty square with the library in the background

Peace memorial

I don't remember what this statue was for but it was around the square

Our next destination? Seymour’s Jerk Centre.

I hadn’t done much restaurant research on Grand Cayman before we arrived because I wasn’t sure how much free time we would have. Of the minimal research that I did, however, all signs pointed to Seymour’s Jerk Centre, which is famous for its jerk chicken. I knew we had to go there so we convinced the crew to meet up for a late lunch. I hadn’t seen pictures of the place beforehand and was surprised by how rustic it was. It’s basically a hut that houses the barbecue smokers where they cook the meat, a small kitchen where the workers prepare and serve the meat, and two picnic tables in the back where you eat. We could smell the barbecue from a few blocks away, and let me tell you, it was pretty enticing.

The jerk centre in its entirety - the smokers and the kitchen are on the left hand side, the picnic tables are on the right

The smokers where the meat is cooked - the smells coming off were absolutely incredible

The menu is pretty straightforward. There’s jerk chicken and jerk pork, fried fish, and a handful of other choices. We all got some form of jerk, since it is a jerk centre after all.

The menu

We were the first of the group to arrive but we were surprised to see Claire’s parents already there eating. They both enjoyed their meal, though I think Aine may have found the jerk seasoning to be a bit too spicy. We placed our orders and were just sitting down to eat when the crew from the Beach Suites arrived, including Sean and Claire. The rest of the Comfort Suites crowd followed shortly thereafter, and we all squeezed into the larger of the two picnic tables.

Josh and I decided to get an order of jerk chicken and an order of jerk pork to share. They also do a combo platter for single diners who would like to try both meats. The meats were wrapped in tin foil and served with two slices of white bread. We ended up forgoing silverware and just tore into it with our bare hands. Both the chicken and the pork were absolutely fabulous. I might have liked the pork a bit more, but only because there were pieces of pork belly in the mix, and I love pork belly. All of the pieces of pork were succulent and tender. The jerk seasoning was spicy but not overwhelming. The spices tingled on our tongues and lips but we could taste the different nuances in the seasoning.

Succulent pieces of jerk pork

The chicken was a mix of all parts as well, though I preferred the dark meat thighs and legs. There was a bottle of vinegary hot sauce on the table, which we liberally doused on the meats to add even more zing. I used the white bread to make little sandwiches out of the meat, and even though the portions were huge, I stuffed myself silly until all we had left were a pile of bones.

Tender jerk chicken

I absolutely loved Seymour’s Jerk Centre. The jerk seasoning was the best we tasted our entire trip, and the chicken and pork were obviously slow cooked so that they were falling apart tender. There isn’t much in terms of ambiance though, which might turn some people off. Like I said, it’s basically a hut. You eat outside on picnic tables, and there are lots of flies flying all around. Admittedly, the flies were a bit annoying, but I guess it’s part of the experience. This is an authentic, local joint. Everyone we asked knew about Seymour’s, and it was totally worth the trip. This was definitely one of my favorite meals in Grand Cayman, and I highly recommend it.

After lunch, we took a bus back to our hotel and changed into our bathing suits, then walked back over to the Beach Suites to meet up with everyone. Claire and Sean were finally able to hang out and relax with us for a bit. We hung out in the water for a bit, and then decided to get some exercise in with a friendly yet competitive game of ultimate frisbee. It was pretty tiring running around in the soft sand, so we took frequent intermission breaks and ran into the water to cool down. It was a tight game but our team ended up victorious, which is always nice. It was definitely a fun time, if a  bit exhausting.

We finished the afternoon in the pool, enjoying some frozen drinks from the swim up bar. The sun was starting to set and it actually got a bit chilly in the pool so we started to make our way back to the Comfort Suites. Josh decided to have fun with his wide angle lens on the walk back, taking lots of pictures of the beach, the water, and his footprints.

We took a short break before dinner, taking our time to clean up and relax a bit. For dinner, we decided to try out Myrtle’s, which was recommended to us by a few locals. It was noted for serving authentic, local Caribbean cuisine. We took the short walk over to the restaurant, which is located in a strip mall just down the road from the Comfort Suites. It’s nothing fancy, but we were there to try out the food.

When we walked in, the place was packed with rugby players. There was a tournament going on and a lot of the players were staying at the Comfort Suites as well. I think it was the team from Barbados, and they took up the whole outer room of the restaurant. We put together a few tables near the bar and settled in. We got a round of lemonades, fruit punch, and sodas, and tried to decide what we wanted to eat. I was debating between the turtle burger and a few other items, but then we got some bad news.

Because the rugby players were such a large group, the kitchen had prepared a buffet style feast for them. That meant they didn’t have capacity to cook many items on their regular menu, including the turtle burger, turtle soup, and marinated conch, all of which I really wanted to try. The choices we did have were pretty limited, but there wasn’t much we could do.

Josh and I decided to get conch fritters to start, which were better tasting than the fritters we had at the Beach Suites. There was more conch mixed in that added a chewy texture, and the flavors of the spices in the mixture really worked well. I just wish they had been slightly crispier.

Conch fritters

Josh wanted the shrimp curry from the menu, and fortunately, it was available. The curry sauce was a bit weird though, not what we were expecting. We thought it would be a yellow curry, similar to the curry that came with the curried chicken, but this was more like a brown curry that was sweet and sour. Josh asked for it spicy but it didn’t have too much of a kick.

Shrimp curry

I ended up ordering the stewed beef, which was not on the menu, but I guess it was one of the dishes they had prepared for the rugby players. It turned out to be a fantastic dish, with soft, tender beef that fell apart with the gentlest prodding of my fork. The beef was cooked with potatoes, carrots, and onions, and enrobed in a thick, rich sauce. All of the entrees were served with rice and beans, a small salad, and two pieces of fried plantain.

Stewed beef

Overall I was disappointed that we weren’t able to try out the normal menu at Myrtle’s, but what we had was pretty good. It’s simple, local cuisine, nothing fancy. Prices are a tad lower than some of the more upscale restaurants that we went to, but still kind of pricey compared to NY. I think the shrimp curry was about C$17, and the stewed beef was C$14.50. There’s a small extra charge if you use a credit card, but all the prices are laid out clearly on the bill and you can pay in Cayman or U.S. dollars as well. Service was friendly, and it’s definitely a nice, low key joint. I just wish I could have tried turtle!

After dinner we headed to the Beach Suites once more and hung out at Bamboo, of course. We had a nice semi private area in the corner because the bar was full, and we had a few round of drinks before saying our goodbyes to everyone, since we all had different flights out the next day. The walk back to our hotel via the beach route was peaceful as usual. It was our last full day in Grand Cayman so it was kind of bittersweet, but we managed to pack in a lot of sightseeing, food, and fun.

Seymour’s Jerk Centre
Shedden Road, Georgetown
Grand Cayman

Queen’s Court Plaza, West Bay Rd.
Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman Day 3 – The Main Event

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 by virginia

Our third day in Grand Cayman was the whole reason for our trip – Claire and Sean’s wedding! I have to admit, when I woke up that morning, I was nursing a bit of a hangover from the previous night. Too many Cayman Blues, I think. Claire was smart about insisting on going to bed at 10 pm the previous night, precisely to avoid how I was feeling!

I ended up skipping breakfast because I was running a bit late but Josh thoughtfully brought me back some english muffins so that I could eat something to help settle my stomach. I was supposed to be at Claire’s hotel room by 11:30 so I quickly showered and gathered the stuff I needed for the wedding. In the process, I managed to stain my bridesmaid dress with some sunscreen. Oy! Fortunately it wasn’t too noticeable, and we were able to get some of it out later with Shout wipes.

I made my way to Claire’s room at the Beach Suites, and that’s when all of the fun began. Gathered in the room was Claire’s mother, Sean’s mother, and the three bridesmaids, Sara, Lauren and me. Claire’s sister Jill, the matron of honor, was unable to make the trip to Grand Cayman because she is due very soon, so she joined us for the festivities via Skype, which was so sweet. It was a total girly day, with Claire getting a mani/pedi and each of us getting taking turns to get our hair and makeup done. We spent the whole time chatting and laughing. We also snacked on the spread that Claire put out, an assortment of cheese, crackers, salami, fruit, crudite, hummus, and sun-dried tomato pesto.

Claire getting her makeup done with her cute bridal robe on the back of the chair

The bridal bouquet

From Claire’s balcony, we watched them set up the ceremony site on the beach. The view was just gorgeous, and although the weather would turn later that evening, the sun was shining and the lighting was perfect for the ceremony.

The arch in the lower middle of the picture is where they set up the ceremony site

Gorgeous view

When the photographer came, we had a lot of fun taking all kinds of pictures, both serious and silly. At one point, we bridesmaids ended up on Claire’s balcony wearing only white towels. I’m not sure what people thought if they looked up and saw us, but I think it made for a nice, whimsical photo. Finally, we got Claire into her dress and all buttoned up, and she was ready to roll. I have to say, she did make a stunning bride. After one more set of photos of Claire with the ocean as the backdrop, we headed downstairs for the ceremony.

I have to say, the wedding planner at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites was definitely on top of her game. She gave us our cue, and off we went, all down a straight line until we hit the beach and to the ceremony site. Claire and Sean were both beaming the whole ceremony, and it was really just a lovely, wonderful occasion. Both Silva’s and Josh’s readings went off without a hitch, the marriage licenses were signed, and soon Sean and Claire were proclaimed husband and wife.

The cocktail hour was next, up on the roof terrace of the Beach Suites. The reception was originally scheduled to take place there, but the incoming rain scheduled for later in the evening meant moving the reception indoors down the road at the Britannia Golf Club. The cocktail hour featured passed canapes, a seafood table, a cheese table, and a table of assorted dips and spreads. My favorite canapes were a beef carpaccio flavored with truffle oil and a shooter glass with fresh mozzarella and tomato. We watched the sun start to set from the roof, and then we piled onto buses that took us over to the golf club.

At the golf club, dinner was held on a covered porch that overlooked a pond on the golf course (which was good because it started pouring rain while we were eating). There were about 50 people altogether attending the wedding, so it was the perfect setting for such an intimate gathering. First we watched Claire and Sean do their first dance (which included a dramatic dip at the end), and then we were seated and they cut the cake (so that it wouldn’t get ruined in the heat). Dinner was served, and each course was pretty fabulous. Claire and Sean are both food lovers, and they planned a great menu.

The appetizer was fire roasted shrimp on snow peas and cucumber noodles, served with a curry yogurt sauce.

Fire roasted shrimp on snow peas and cucumber noodles

The first course was Florida greens with grilled zucchini, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and crisp shallots, served with a lemon vinaigrette.

Florida greens with grilled zucchini, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and crisp shallots

For the entree, we had a choice of grilled tenderloin of beef with red wine reduction and wild mushroom ragu, pan seared mahi mahi with cumin spiced plum tomatoes, herb crusted chicken breast with exotic mushroom stuffing, or a vegetarian option. Each entree was served with buttery mashed potatoes and veggies. Josh and I split the grilled beef tenderloin and the pan seared mahi mahi.

Grilled beef tenderloin with red wine reduction and wild mushroom ragout

Pan seared mahi mahi with cumin spiced plum tomatoes

Dessert was an assortment of sweets, featuring a slice of chocolate fudge cake, a passion fruit coconut tartlet, and dobos torte (a Hungarian layer cake).

Dobos torte, passion fruit coconut tartlet, chocolate fudge slice

There was wedding cake as well, a vanilla cake layered with chocolate creme, but my camera battery died before I could get a shot of it. We were all bursting at the seams by the time dinner was over, which meant that we had to hit the dance floor to burn off all those calories. What followed might not have been the most graceful scene (and it was pretty awkward at some parts – funky chicken anyone?), but we had a blast dancing our hearts out. Claire got so into the action that the bustle on her dress broke, but Sara, who apparently is a home ec genius (earlier in the day she ironed Claire’s veil without a hitch and helped me fix the stain on my dress), managed to sew it back together while we were standing in the bathroom.

We were pretty much all sweaty messes by the time the last dance was finished, but everyone was happy and still pumped up. We continued the party back at the Beach Suites, visiting our Canadian bartender friend at Bamboo. Felipe, Silva, Josh and I called it a night around 1 am when Bamboo closed, but apparently the party continued up on the roof after we left. While we were sad to find out the next day what we missed, our walk back to the Comfort Suites was pretty spectacular. We took the beach route once again, and there were brilliant flashes of lightening in the distance over the ocean. It was a little scary for me (since I hate looking at dark bodies of water at night), but an impressive sight nonetheless. It was a dazzling end to a wonderful day.

Grand Cayman Day 1 – Stingers and Cimboco

Monday, July 18th, 2011 by virginia

We had a long morning of traveling to get to Grand Cayman from New York, but our trip was a breeze compared to the people who were coming in from Ireland and California. After an early flight to Charlotte and a three hour layover where we met up with a few other friends, we were finally headed to the island. Unfortunately, it was gray and rainy when we landed, but our spirits were still high. We were on vacation after all!

After clearing immigration and customs, we headed outside the airport to find a taxi to take us to our hotel. To our surprise, Claire and Sean were standing there, waiting to greet some of their family who had arrived on the same flight. We exchanged a few hugs and made plans to meet up at their hotel bar at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites later on in the evening. Then we all piled into a huge taxi van that took us to our own hotel, the Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach, which was about a mile down the road from the Beach Suites.

Checking in was a breeze and we made plans to meet up at the bar, Stingers, for drinks and food. We dropped our bags in our room, which was perfectly fine but nothing too fancy. It was an alcove studio with a little sitting area and a small kitchenette area with a nice breakfast bar, a sink, microwave, toaster, and mini fridge. Our only complaint was that the air conditioner sounded like a jet engine, but at least it did its job in keeping the air cold.

Stingers is located out the back of the hotel, next to the pool. It’s open air but covered, so we were safe from the rain. Josh and I started off our island vacation with some appropriate frozen drinks – a strawberry daiquiri for me and a pina colada for him. We also split a jerk fish sandwich, our first taste of the Caribbean. The sandwich was really flavorful, with lots of spice on the fish. The fish was perfectly cooked, moist and flaky, and we enjoyed the burn from the jerk seasoning. The fries were good as well, thin cut and crispy.

Jerk fish sandwich and fries

Even though it was still raining after our late lunch, we decided to head to the beach anyway. We figured that we would be getting wet regardless, so a little rain wouldn’t hurt us. It was actually quite nice, since the beach was nearly deserted due to the weather. We were a little chilly when we first got into the water, but we warmed up pretty quickly. We had fun bobbing in the water and hitting a beach ball around. There were also some fake coral formations in the water so there were lots of fish swimming around. We donned some goggles and watched the fish dart in and out of the formations, and we did our best to avoid the spiny sea urchins.

When the air got a bit colder, we finished off our afternoon with a dip in the hotel pool, which was quite warm. It was also convenient since it was located right next to Stingers, so we enjoyed a few beers and cocktails while we were in the water.

After we retired to our rooms for a bit to shower and clean ourselves up, we rallied the troops and headed to Cimboco for dinner. It was billed as a Caribbean cafe, and the menu looked pretty good. Plus it was close to our hotel and in the direction of the Beach Suites, where we were going to meet up with Claire and Sean for drinks afterward.

The restaurant was pretty casual and had a nice colorful decor. The menu has a mix of Caribbean style dishes as well as pizzas and pastas. Josh and I both ordered a Caybrew to drink, which is the local Cayman beer. It was pretty light but perfectly drinkable, and refreshing in the heat.

Cayman Caybrew

To start, Josh and I split the plantain wrapped callaloo for our appetizer. Callaloo is like the local version of spinach, and it was rolled into fried strips of plantain. The rolls were served on a spicy Cayman style sauce that tasted like pureed tomatoes and peppers. The plantains were the savory kind but still had the banana flavor, and it worked well with the sweet and spicy sauce. I wished there was a bit more callaloo in each roll, but otherwise, it was a nicely composed dish.

Plantain wrapped callaloo

For our main course, Josh and I shared the banana leaf roasted snapper and the Carribean roti. The snapper was a perfectly roasted filet served with okra, carrots, zucchini, and a stuffed tomato. There were also pieces of creamy coconut infused cassava, or yuca, underneath the fish that had a great starchy texture to it and good flavor. The star of the plate was definitely the snapper though, with its flaky meat and well seasoned outer crust.

Banana leaf roasted snapper

The Caribbean roti was a wrap featuring curried vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, onions, and chickpeas. I was expecting more of an Indian style roti, which has many flaky layers, but this seemed to be an ordinary flour sandwich wrap. Nevertheless, the curried vegetables were very tasty, and there was a yogurt raita sauce and a tangy chutney on the side for dipping.

Caribbean roti with curried vegetables

Overall we all enjoyed the food at Cimboco, as well as the laid back atmosphere. We didn’t have a reservation but we didn’t have to wait too long for a table for eight of us. Service was pretty efficient, and I liked how the menu tried to incorporate local flavors wherever possible. Prices were pretty reasonable as well, with entrees topping out at about C$20, but most items were about C$15 (the fixed exchange rate is US$1.25 to C$1). Food in Grand Cayman was generally on the more expensive side compared to NYC, but they do have to import a lot of items. Plus the exchange rate doesn’t work in our favor. Nevertheless, I thought the restaurant was pretty good and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for something casual but still with a nice atmosphere.

After dinner, we continued walking down West Bay Road towards the Beach Suites. It was a bit scary because the sidewalks were narrow and there weren’t really any shoulders on the road, so cars would pass by us very closely. At the Beach Suites, we met up with Claire and Sean and their families for a few drinks, first at Hemingways, and then at Bamboo, which closed later. We ended up going to Bamboo most nights during our trip, so we made friends with the bartender there who was originally from Canada. All in all it was a great first day in Grand Cayman despite the rainy weather, and the best parts of our trip were still yet to come!

P.O. Box 30725, Behind Comfort Suites, West Bay Rd.
Grand Cayman

P.O. Box 30786, Marquee Plaza
Grand Cayman

Two Fat Bellies Hit the Road – Grand Cayman

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 by virginia

We were recently in the beautiful Cayman Islands to celebrate the wedding of our good friends, Claire and Sean. It was my first time in the Caribbean, and the beaches and water were as gorgeous as I expected them to be, maybe even more so. We had a great time hanging out with old friends and new friends who all made the trip out to witness the nuptials.

It was a long weekend of celebration, full of good food, multiple drinks, and lots of laughter and joy. Claire’s family traveled all the way from Ireland, and much to my delight, I discovered that the blog has an Irish following (hi Aine!). It was really lovely to see two families come together, as well as close friends from all over the country, to wish the happy couple well.

The bride looked stunning, of course, and the groom couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. It was a great trip, and one that we’ll always have great memories of. Slainte!

A gorgeous stretch of Seven Mile Beach - who wouldn't want to get married in paradise?