Monthly Archives: August 2011

Restaurant Improvement

My hope in Aruban restaurants is somewhat restored. Amongst all of the American chain restaurants, we’ve found a couple gems.

Two nights ago, we went to Papillon. I don’t think it’s a chain, but it almost has that feel to it (well-appointed, theme-oriented). It also has great real estate on the high-rise strip. But the menu is what brought us in. After a quick glance it looked like they had some decent vegetarian options for me, and some good fish options for Brady (his focus for the trip). It didn’t disappoint. I had the risotto cakes and Brady had the sea bass. We both really enjoyed our meals.

And tonight, we went to Amuse Bistro. It’s a cute, french-themed restaurant tucked back from the main road that goes through the high-rise area. We found it after walking a bit and looking at several posted menus. Amuse Bistro had the best combo of vegetarian and fish options from what we saw tonight. It was delicious. I had a pasta dish (with truffle oil :)), and Brady had their catch-of-the-day (grouper). We both cleaned our plates, and ate dessert even though we were full. It was great.

What really bummed me out, though, was that Amuse Bistro wasn’t full. When we were seated, we were the third full table there (out of 20 or so tables). The other couples left before we received our food, leaving us the only table there for the rest of the night. I don’t get it. The food was awesome, and plated artistically to boot. Our server was attentive and friendly, but not overbearing. And we were there at prime dinner time (seated at 7:45pm).

So, why wasn’t this place full? I can think of a couple reasons. 1) It’s tucked back a bit from the main street, but only about 20 feet or so, and it’s on the less-crowded side of the street. 2) The menu has great options, but the descriptions don’t do it justice. 3) It’s not a flashy American chain. I could just be cynical, but I think reason #3 is the main culprit. That really bums me out. People, if you’re reading this in preparation for your trip to Aruba: step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Go to Amuse Bistro, or at least try a restaurant that’s not a freakin’ chain!

OK, my rant ends here.

Tomorrow we’re renting a car, which will give us better access to downtown Oranjestad and more local restaurants. =)

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Snorkeling At Malmok Beach

Great day today. We took the bus about 20 minutes north to Malmok Beach. It’s past all of the high-rise resorts, in more of a residential area. We saw some tourists, but mostly locals were on the beach with us. It was a nice change of pace.

There is a small patch of sand, surrounded by a lot of volcanic rock. There are also palapas for shade. Brady and his pink/red skin was super grateful for that. The water has a lot of rock and coral, perfect for snorkeling. We saw a spotted eel, tons of fish and my favorite – a turtle!

Best of all: the only thing our snorkeling trip cost us was bus fare – $4.60 round trip. Right after we finished snorkeling, two large catamarans parked and unloaded a ton of snorkelers. Apparently we picked a great spot, paid a lot less and got to see some great wildlife on our own schedule.

I forgot my camera cord, so can’t upload any of our pics, but here’s one of Malmok Beach that someone else took:

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Day 3 In Aruba

So we’re on day three in Aruba. It’s been great to relax and not worry about anything. Today, we’re going to try out another beach, maybe one that has good snorkling off shore.

Yesterday, we hung out at Eagle Beach, the one right outside our resort. The sand is awesome and sugary. The water is great too…perfect temperature and beautiful colors. There are lawn chairs and palapas available for shade.

The one thing that’s stuck me so far in Aruba is that they really cater to tourists. Almost too much. We went to the high-rise area last night for dinner, where there are a ton of American restaurant chains (Tony Roma’s, TGI Friday’s) and others that apparently the tourists prefer (Senior Frogs). It was a nice area, but it felt manufactured. We always prefer to get a dose of local culture when we travel, and we definitely didn’t get it last night. Maybe we’ll try somewhere else tonight.

 

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Off to Aruba!

Bags are at the door. Lola is anxious (she always is when our bags are packed). And, we’re basically on our way once our ride gets here!

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5 Days Till Aruba

Only five more days till Aruba. I already have my packing list going. It includes yarn to continue my baby blanket mission. And Game of Thrones, the book I’m currently reading. And bathing suits, sundresses and snorkel/scuba gear. That’s pretty much all I’ll need. 🙂

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Granny Progress

I made some good progress on my first granny square this weekend! I know this isn’t really a traditional granny square (normally a bunch of little squares would make up a blanket, but my blanket will be one big square). I think it still counts.

grannyprogress

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Working Out vs. Training

We went on an 18-mi bike ride today. Our standard route from the house. It was really nice. Relaxing. I forgot how nice it is to exercise when not training for something. There’s not as much pressure and I tend to enjoy it a little more.

I’m thinking of either the New York or Chicago marathon in 2012. But until then I’m free to do what I want. I like that. It’ll be nice to have the fall and winter without working out around a training schedule.

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