Friday, October 16, 2015

The Charles Dickens Theorem

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days...well, that's a bit extreme on both ends.  This day did posses both ends of the spectrum, violently shifting at times.  It would provide hope, then steal it away and leave it harder to get back up.  So many of my friends had really rough days too - sorry to all of you...may tomorrow's tide bring a brighter day for us all.

I really do my best to post nothing negative in my blog.  A couple times I've been asked - "why didn't eating at our place make a blog post?"  Well, if I didn't talk about it then it's likely because you didn't want me to talk about it...just trust me.  No one was the cause of this terrible day, well nothing mortal, perhaps eternal...but that's a subject for another post.  

Anyway I digress, and with few pics to keep you interested I can't afford digression.  My day started when Carlo and Ernie's closed for the night and the BTIA Board finally called it a night.  The actual meeting ended hours earlier - but lets face it the real progress and action happens after the meeting. The bonding and networking on beers 4 + is lasting, the planning effective, and the plans will move...maybe.  Got a few hours of sleep and got up at 6am for what was to be a GREAT day for the Ecologic Divers.  

We've put a lot of work into planning and prep of new trips.  We spent time designing foods and plans; we executed those plans...things were going so good and the team was really rocking.  We were going to have the biggest day of the season so far and a great 'test day' for all off shore trips coming up.  Then the worst fears were realized, the winds picked up and the heavens pissed on us...basically pissed all over my f-ing Cheerios.  We adjusted one way, and another, tried to make back up plans...and Mother Nature (that ruthless biotch) thwarted our every effort.  

So much investment in food, plans, prep, labor - to ruin.  The crew was great, the plans went off perfectly, and our confidence is high for our next off shore trips; but the bank doesn't take "confidence" when payroll comes around after the rain washed all our revenue down the drain like that silly Itsy Bitsy Spider. But just like that like that silly spider, I will climb the spout again.    

I won't detail the rest of the ups and downs...but at the end of the day I was ready to lay face down in the Sargasso and let the tide carry me away.  Then I thought I didn't want to get my phone wet so I got up.  And it's a good thing I did.

I initially laid down after closing the shop to nap or die...whatever at that moment.  When my new friend Heidi decided she was going to try the new joint in town - Nook - and invited me along.  I certainly obliged; though I had dinner plans already, they were for late dinner, so splitting an app and having some fun chat was certainly a good change from 'laying down to nap or die'.  PS - since I didn't eat much I won't give Nook a full review yet; I'll just say I was very pleased so far.  Heidi was so kind to buy my app and drink!  I always have a hard time feeling okay letting people buy me things, but I'm getting better at being gratefully accepting.  When you can put aside the fight to pay and just accept a friends generosity you find a warming in the heart.  To feel that value that the friend puts on you, to be worthy of them spending their hard earned resources just to spend some time hanging out.  Makes an inside smile happen :)

Belize CFS Sandbar HostelAfter that it was on to Sandbar Hostel - where Brittney was cooking up my favorite meal, Chicken Fried Steak and Mash, for a few lucky souls (Matt, Sara, Eric, Jeff Parker, and another fellow who's name has escaped me).  Amazing. I can't talk about it without my belly crying tears of joy.  Knowing that such a great CFS cook is only 200 yards from my house.  I tell you the generosity to personally cook up a family meal for us to enjoy - I'm truly speechless.  Kindness at it's height.   The real treat wasn't the food. It was the friends at both dinner stops!  Many times the friends here have made a very positive impact in a very needed time.
I could've had that CFS, or even a better one if such existed, alone and not felt the total attitude adjustment that I got between the two hang outs.  Being a bit of a recluse I can easily forget that important fact.  We all find a day when we get stuck in the shit - and having hands to reach out is more valuable than nearly anything we can come up with ourselves. 

Perhaps more importantly is when you have the opportunity do - you reach out?  I try.  Likely not the best at it by any stretch...but I hope to always do better.  Be a good neighbor and all that jazz right?! RIGHT!!  Everyone has a bad day and it's our jobs as friends to extend a hand.  Sure, I still need to win the lottery to make payroll, but passing time with great friends and feeling that since of value is priceless to the hidden emotional confidence that is so key to success.

Help those around you and build that confidence, allow their help to fill you with a joy and a warmth of value.  We'll all be better people for it. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Food Explorer - Cayo Belize

So I recently spent a bit of time doing more inland exploration.  Cayo is an amazing district!  I absolutely love it.  Our time was spent 60/40 between San Ignacio Resort Hotel (from here out known as SIRH), and the ranch at Banana Bank.  Details on the resorts and the amazingness of the stays will come in future posts - today is all about the food on the trip.

I struggled a bit with structure here.  Should I go best first or saved for last?!  I didn't want people to fall asleep before the good part - but no one wants to end with a sputter either.  Finally I decided the best way was to order the meals as they were eaten through a day - not necessarily by day mind you - but lunches (cause I had no fabulous breakfasts worth talking about), snacks, dinner, desserts.  Let the highly professional (not) assessment of Cayo food offerings commence!

bacon burger belize cayo
Mount Bacon 
Do you see what I see?  I said "sure, add some bacon" when asked by the waiter.  His manager would be happy with the upsell, and let me tell you - I was more than happy with the MOUNTAIN of bacon that showed up; thick cut heaven on a bun.  SIRH wins an award for best bacon upgrade I've ever can barely see the meat under that stack of bacon.

cayo belize guava limb cafe
Guava Chicken Wings
The Belize Tourisn Board awarded the 2015 Restaurant of the Year award to Guava Limb Cafe.  Being in San Ignacio that put it as stop number one on the culinary exploration list.  Our experience surely didn't disappoint, so much so that we went back both days; just couldn't pull away to a try a local rice and beanery when this wonderment was being offered up.

Cayo belize guava limb cafe
Port Loin Panini
Day One pick went to the Guava wings.  Perfectly cooked, and that sauce was a sweet guava bbq mix up that was killer.  They'd be in the conversation for best wings in Belize. Day two saw me going with the Pork Lion Panini (and a side salad cause I was already sick of french fries - what is wrong with me?!).  It was massive!  I didn't even need to eat dinner that night; I did of course eat dinner...but I didn't need to eat it.  The pork was great - I should've asked for some of that wing sauce for a bit of a topper - but I didn't think of it.  Guava Limb is very generous in their portions.

guava limb cafe cayo belize
Shrimp Wontons (what was left!)
Peanut Sauce
My travel mate is pretty much a walking food disposal so appetizers were a must, even with ginormous portions.  One was the shrimp wontons...OMG...could've eaten 15 dozen.  The first day were spring rolls.  The springs rolls were fine - but what blew my mind like a Cat 5 Hurricane going through the house made of straw was the peanut sauce.  When it first arrived I thought it spicy mustard...which I was really looking forward too (cause when I ask on San Pedro they look at me like I'm not in a Chinese restaurant asking for a staple they invented).  So first taste was a bit sad - but then it was 180'd and my life was changed forever.  What you see is me eating the left overs with my finger...what you don't see is that I also licked out the ramekin.  Yep, and I'd do it again.

san ignacio resort hotel cayo belize
Filet Mignon
What's better than a bacon wrapped filet?   2 of them...herb butter patties melting atop; creating rivers of goodness flowing over the side like the many Belizean waterfalls in the Cayo District.  Too much food - after the first filet I was in love, part way through the second it was a chore.  All be it my favorite chore of all time.  Also - why does Google not know that "mignon" is a word?!  Really?!  That is a crime against humanity, Google! Bet they are big PETA supporters...oh well; more steak for me.

san ignacio resort hotel cayo belize
Cookies, ice cream,
"Cayo" Lime Pie

The "Cayo Lime Pie" - to freaking die for. Possibly the best I've had.  The food was good at SIRH...but these desserts were phenomenal.  Much more tart than I'm used too, but very well balanced with the creamy sweetness of the custard.  Presentation was flawless - appearing that the little bits on the meringue had been set individually (and maybe there are). A quick note - I had a cookie on two occasions.  The first was as described as follows - the second was likely cooked in the same batch; however two days of fridge time in between left it limp and tasting like a fridge...if the cookies aren't fresh - skip them and go with the Cayo Lime Pie; however if the cookies are fresh, be about to change.

Perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I thought it a thing of myth and legend.  After SIRH I believe it possible...not yet achieved, but a possibility that is attainable in my lifetime. This cookie was firm and stood solid when held out, but gave way to a bite like soft warm butter with a firm outer shell.  It was moist and giving, yet the sugar was so plentiful it had crusted on the outside like an armour (that is how the rest of the world spells "armor" for my American friends) of love crystals.  Surely the rest of the people in the restaurant thought I was getting "extra special" under the table style attention as I involuntarily shifted and "oh'd" as I ate this bit of love crafted just for me.  I assure you I wasn't getting any such attention.  So why was the cookie not perfect? wasn't as big as the table.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Year One

dive sail snorkel fish ocean paradise eco ecological
Ecologic Divers Dock,
San Pedro, Belize -
Photo by Robyn Clark
A year in.  Completed the entire season and now a bit of "down time" before the next season...I guess I get some - taking a few days to head to the mainland again to explore another district of Belize. Orange Walk last time, now it's on to Cayo; which is supposed to be fabulous - but that's a post for future Kendall.

Business Perspective - 

In total it was a great season.  Certainly not without its issues and certainly not without a few failures - but those that know me understand that I look at a failure as a moment in time; something you learn from, don't dwell on, and get up from smarter and stronger.  Never really been big on making all my goals public knowledge, while I thought about listing them for my 6 readers I decided against it.

A taste however is always on the menu.  My main goal is going to be cut very close...and I'll happily share about when it's complete; pass or fail...I'll tell you.  I think we're gonna achieve it though.  The major company goal was to make enough money to get two engines to get Blue Attitude back on the dock - and WE DID!!!  Engines acquired (a post in itself...) and being installed now.  Can't wait to have her back on the dock.

Overall I take my time when I'm new to an operation - and we all had a lot to learn this year; the change to a charter model drastically adjusts cash flow management (I'll spare you the details, but to some of my "number geek" friends it is quite exciting).  Cash flow management can be such a challenge as we may have need to save cash to provision charters during slow periods, or pay guys while we all take our 2 weeks in September.  So you're always looking and thinking "we I think I'm gonna make that maybe I can spend the money today?!"  Never a good idea but you got do what you gotta do.  The other trick is the meaning of tomorrow.  If someone is going to pay me money "tomorrow" that means at some point in the distant future in hopes that I'll forget about it - guess what...I won't forget...just get annoyed and not do business with you again!  However if I owe someone money and they want to collect it "tomorrow" that means 'write me a check cause I'll be on your dock to pick it up before the roster crows and if you aren't there I'm liable to burn your house down.'  So there's that...
Sailing Birthiversary Party for Parker
and "Jake" - a top memory 

Personal Perspective - 

Ah...I live in is good!  Living abroad is an amazing experience.  It's really interesting the change in perspective and goals in life.  I say that - but I know plenty of people that live here and are basically the same I'm sure they were in their "previous life", if you aren't fitting in the community here - you're not learning something about life.  

The bars get old.  I do enjoy seeing friends and chatting, so that means bars.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoy my time there...but I also enjoy my money staying in my wallet!  It is nice that it's hard to walk past Lola's without someone yelling "HEY Kendall, come in for a drink!"  Of course that drink usually means I'm not getting home in the near future...which is not a bad thing...most nights.  

Girls and dating - still a non-existent scene.  My brother's at Lola's right now...and I'm supposed to go chat with his girl's friend.  So I will...not like he needs my help - *update ahead - fun girl.  Women are just too much effort. Perhaps I'm still suffering from "post marriage jadedness" or some such thing.   There has been a girl or two of interest; but sorry folks...I don't kiss and tell.  Lets just say nothing lasted.  One I wasn't quick enough with (oh well).  One turned into a "you coming over" every night girl (I don't play that - ain't nobody got time for that shit).  One I still chat with, never went out with...I mean dang...she's young; not illegal young, but girls under 30 are crazy and I'm not keen for short term stupidity with girls that live here.  A couple had true colors that were extremely unappealing.  In the interest of openness and honesty - I do have a good friend to pass some time with.  We know we're not either one's future, but it's fun for now...and we keep each other from making bad decisions with other people.  Something to be said for that.  
Okay - time to head to met the brother and do my brotherly duty.  After last nights "season's over" party with the boys I'm pretty done...but I won't leave a brother hanging.  UPDATE - Thank God I didn't leave a brother hanging; what a night.  That late night led to another super late night. Sure I had to fly around the country, conduct business, and watch a parade on 3.5 hours sleep.  But those be the nights that life is about.  When I'm breathing my last I can pretty much count on the fact that I'll be treasuring the times I didn't reach home till 4am...not the times I was sleeping by 9pm.  

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lamanai Landings; Crocs, Crops, other words...

Lamanai Orange Walk Hotels Lamanai Jungle Mayan
View from my was a rough few days ;)
Let's start today with a little lesson in Mayan language arts.  Thousands travel to Lamanai annually to explore this amazing ruin site - however next to no one knows where they are.  "Lamb-in-eye" as everyone says it means 'city of much insects' in the Mayan language.  But they didn't name the city after insects (side note - not one bite that day!) they instead named it after crocodiles...submerged crocodiles to be more accurate - "La-mon-eye-een" is the city of submerged crocodiles.

Its great to get away.  Everyone needs a few days every now and again to get a bit of a recharge in the system, and even if you do have to work a bit each day - the change of scenery and a few new experiences makes a world of difference.

Balcony = Croc spotting station
My most recent trip to the "center of hell" (according to our Accounting Manager) turned out to be so lovely that 2 night easily became 4 nights.  Lamanai Landings was a great little unexpected bit of paradise in the middle of what I thought was going to be a buggy, sweltering, suck fest.  To be completely fair I found the entire area district of Orange Walk (that I saw) to be really very nice.  The hotel is 3 miles outside of town, and situated on their private lagoon.  All the rooms have patios over the water, so you get a wonderful cooling breeze.  Best part is the crocs in the lagoon!  Killed a lot of time staring at crocs.

Lamanai Landings Mermaid Restaurant Orange Walk Belize
Being a family business guy, and general supporter of most things Ecological, Lamanai Landings had many practices that I really appreciated.  One being they grew the blackberries that were in my blackberry Mojito, The other being their dedication to the village they are in and supporting the residents of that village. Tower Hill Village is comprised of about 165 residents - and somewhere between 30-40 of them work in some capacity on the Lamanai Landings project; be it in construction, cleaning, guest service, etc.  Every Thursday is kids movie night too; all the village kids are invited to come in and enjoy a nice AC filled room with movies playing; great opportunity for local fellowship., Claudia, and that other girl
perched atop the tallest temple. Sorry "other
girl"...I'm sure you have a name.
We of course went up to Lamanai and did that tour - it was fun - but Lamanai Landings has many unique tours and offerings that make it a special place and separate it from the pack.  Since the hotel just opened in July many tours are still being tweaked and brought together to create the best experiences, and given the personal attention from Blanca and Enrique you're sure to enjoy them.  Perhaps the most unique (so unique that most Orange Walk residents don't even know it's there) is the cenote tour.  It's a private cenote - so you've gotta go with LL.  They offer many variations of the tour; you can get a quick dip, or relax on a private floating dock (being constructed now); nothing like enjoying a private lunch in your private cenote, listening to only birds and monkeys and things.  Then perhaps getting a massage from their massage therapist as the water calmly laps beside you.  Good day. scaling her
way down to the cenote
Lamanai Landings private cenote
Other fun stuff includes exploring the lagoons - soon to be opened up in a bird watchers parades (another LL exclusive to the area), tours of the rum distilleries, enjoying Orange Walk town and their amazing tacos.  Croc spotting while on a night river safari was super fun...I did get to wrestle a mighty croc, and I won.  Course he was only like 3 feet long, so he didn't stand much of a chance.  FYI - before you spam me for being insensitive to creatures you should know this - I'M JOKING.  I wrestled zero crocs.

I wasn't going to mention being scared out of my mind - but I suppose I should.  I rode in a real car, on a real road for the first time in nearly a year on this trip...scared me to death.  Seriously.  I can only wonder how I handle driving in traffic and such again some day.  I jumped at the chance to ride in the back of the truck one day - I handled life much better back there.  Also rode a bike with gears for the first time in forever - I'm out of shape.

A few more random pics:

Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid
Spider Monkey Belize Lamanai jungle river
Spider Monkey

Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid
Llamanai Landings Hotel, Marina, and Smokey Mermaid

Sunset Orange Walk Belize Horse Village Western Country
Sunset - Town Hill Village; Orange Walk, Belize

We were so lost till we found this sign

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Things I Miss

Camping river Colorado
Okay, to properly get into a frame of mind close to where I am - maybe that will make this post better - you'll need to crack a Shock Top, or a Blue Moon, or even a PBR...ah...a PBR.  When I land (whenever that happens) in the states I'll be buying a case on the way "home".

Home.  Where the hell is that?  I typed it up there, then had to go back and put the quotation marks around.  Like it was a solid place in my mind...'home'...was a solid place.  But it isn't.  I'm in the middle I'd say.  Between here and there.  I loved it there.  I love it here.  Very different reasons for both - and likely nothing that can ever be combined into one place.  Has anyone found that one perfect place?  Does it exist?  Maybe for them.  Not for me.

ANYWAY - enough of that...have you cracked that beer?  Now turn on your preferred music player service; Pandora, iWhatever, Amazon Prime for me (thank you Amazon for a decent player that works in Belize and doesn't suck up hardly any bandwidth).  Plug in one of the following stations - John Denver, Mumford, no...make it John Denver; but the Amazon one is better than the iWhatever one.

There needs to be a strong point made right here - no people are being mentioned in this post.  Not because I don't miss anyone!  I miss loads of people terribly.  But there's simply not enough space on blogger to describe all the people I miss and all the ways I miss them.  So don't be offended that you aren't listed - cause you ARE MISSED.

BMW Rally Racd
Big Red Racing - Rally Colorado
A rally race weekend - Man o man.  What an amazing time those are.  Road tripping with the boys (sorry...NO NAMES!!); even towing disasters lead to plenty of cool experiences and adventures.  A couple days of driving, a few days of mad wrenching and racing and running all over the place. Basically no sleep, little food, some beers here and there, lots of sweat, some tears (from knuckle busting usually), and endless good times.  Must do that again.

Long camp trips - totally unplugged.  It was awesome...I'd tell people "I'll be checking my phone at least once a day here and there over the next week or so till I get back" and I fully intended to.  Then I pulled off onto the dirt, and by the time I was 10 miles from nowhere and even farther from electricity and cell service - that phone sat in the console for the next week.  Oops.   Time with the people on these trips was some of the best time I ever spent in my life.  One year I spent 3 days alone in the bush before they arrived.  I went to "stake" out a campsite and was more than happy to spend a bit of time naked in nature.  I hunted my dinner and scavenged my lunch...scavenged out of the cooler and hunted steaks from the icebox.

I wonder if I'll die if I go too long without looking at the world from the top of a mountain.  Seeing peaks upon endless peaks.  Wondering how a world with so many people on it can seem so vast and empty.  Feeling the chill of the mountain breeze work it's way throw your layered clothes and onto your skin.

Mountain biking, sledding, hiking, road biking - even though I tended to keep to the bike trails as I didn't want to get run over.

Sitting on my patio.  Thunder storms, chasing tornados, rain, hot chocolate as the snow falls...

A dear friend once called me a Hobbit.  As I look at the adventures of life, and the things I miss...I realize more and more she is right.  I'm a Hobbit.  Even my feet are hairy.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Can Hear Them, Crawling On The Floor At Night

The following is based on real events.  No names were changed as no one is innocent or in need of protection.  The pictures that follow are artist renderings....and I use the term artist EXTREMELY loosely.  

As of the writing of this entry I am simply lucky to be alive.  I hope what is being recorded in the following passage is not the final thoughts and writings I’ll ever record…but if they are; it’s been a good life.  This fear of impending death consumes me as a result of an altercation I had in the hallway of my apartment building, and two subsequent events. 

Returning home the other day, late…like 9pm…I was in a tired haze when I saw him.  I live on the 3rd floor and our paths crossed as I came off the stairs onto the 2nd floor landing.  He was huge, a hulking figure so large that it took my brain more than second to process what I was truly looking at.  Was I imagining it?  Did I get beaten and mugged and this was some sort of dream as I lay dying in a puddle of blood and wash water?  No…it was really happening.

The biggest spider I’ve ever seen staring me down.  Though I heard no voice I know he issued a telepathic threat.  His un-wavering stance made his intentions very clear; he would not yield.  I knew he was going to follow me, into my home, into my bed, and eat me.  There was only one logical option – a preemptive strike.  The first salvo fired was my foot in an attempt to crush him; but I was half too slow, and half lost my nerve when I realized that as my foot was going down his legs were still on either side of my sandal (see my highly skilled drawing just left).  I was sure he’d pick me up and throw me like a lee rag doll (lee – Creole for “wee” or small). 

He jetted to my left seeking refuge between the floor and a railing.  I took off my sandal and quickly fired a second salvo – once again too late as he slipped under the railing and out of sight.  Since then two of his cronies have made feeble attempts on my life. 
They were much smaller, but gray and hairy and had ferocious fangs…so still imposing (pictured just right).  The first attacker died at the hands of my body guard, Gaylynn.  His assault was made in broad daylight at the dive shop; I cried, Gaylynn squashed him with her bare hand ninja action…laughed at me and called me a baby.  The second was bigger than the first, today it came at me, once again in the shop…no Gaylynn here to save me, and he got away from my pathetically thrown water bottle, stealthily disappearing in the cracks of the wall. 

He’ll come again.  I’m sure the bounty on my head is high; perhaps 3 flies and cricket I’ve heard some say.  But it matters not – they’ll never find my treasure. 

Some ask how I sleep at night knowing doors don’t stop these fiends – well I’ll tell how…in the dark, my eyes closed, hugging a body pillow.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ramblings of a Fool

Belize chalk party
Gaylynn and Eric after
chalk party @ Caye Caulker
Lobster Fest 2015
Well hello again.  Suppose I've been away from this a bit long...I looked through my "drafts" and realized I've started a good many blogs and not completed a one - so I elected to crumple them up and throw them all in the bin; such as it is anyway.  Kinda anti climactic to just delete a draft really.  I was seriously tempted to print them, crumple them, and chuck them in a bin.  It's always looked so fun in the old movies...just another item lost to technology I suppose.

So what have I been up too?  Crap tons really.  Since we've spoken I've done lobster fest in San Pedro and Caye Caulker, 4th of July, my good friend Kira came to visit, BTB Awards dinner, got voted on the Belize Tourism Industry Association crap tons.  The real issue is I got kinda bored talking about doing cool stuff.  It become mundane pretty easily really.  I mean Jake from State Farm hula hooping with a rip in his pants so 'mini Jake' is on display is something everyone wants to read about...but I just got tired of writing about it.

beach lobster dinner belize
Sue, East, Eric eating lobster @
San Pedro Lobster Fest 2015
 I wrote a lot of blogs, well 1/2 blogs that I crumpled for the bin, on the more emotional/thoughtful side of life - you know...what this blogspot was originally intended for...but never took the effort to really sit down, finish a thought and put it out there. Here I sit a year out from leaving my job, almost a year out from leaving Colorado, and 11 months out from leaving the US behind. I have no idea where that time has gone.  Time flies.

The older you get the faster time goes, but my God...if it continues at this pace I'll be dead before I know it.  Last night at the BTB Awards they gave some special acknowledgements to Celi Nunez McCorkle for all she's done for San Pedro.  It was astonishing to see what she had done over the course of her life; the community that came up around her efforts, love, and dedication to Ambergris Caye.  Many times I look at my life and realize I have no idea where 36 years has vanished, and I have a real fear the next 36 (okay I'd be lucky to get another 20) will be gone tomorrow with nothing to show.

Then I realize that maybe I don't need anything to show.  What does one really need to "show" for their life, other than a life well lived?  I think perhaps this will be another blog post...

Good night.

Firework from Caribbean Villas 4th of July
PS - The 4th of July party needs a mention oh wow you put on a show Peter and Caribbean Villas.  I mean holy cow you blew my socks off.  Bit of genius maneuvering there near the end as well.  The fireworks were supposed to kick off at 730, but "the boat captain was late" (year right) so the show didn't start till much later - but I didn't notice.  I easily had 4 more drinks and hung out with numerous friends and didn't even really notice the delay.  If the entire couple hundred people had a few more drinks too - then that was a very profitable "delay".  Though a show like that could not be cheap - I've heard rumors of $10K (not sure if BZ or US); but the show was PHENOMENAL.  For a Brit to throw a party for the US Independence day and come out of pocket for that many explosive on.  Go to Pedro's and congratulate him on the show in the best way possible - ringing that damn bell.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PORN - Food Porn Anyway

Disclaimer - I didn't even proof read this once...and I'm not's who am I.

When I think about the most missed items from my previous life, many are food related.  Restaurants, and dishes that you just can't find down here.  I will say there is some phenomenal eating in and around San Pedro - and if you know where to go you can really knock out some amazing culinary experiences.  They don't all have to come from a restaurant either - I fancy myself a pretty good cook really (had you sampled the grouper I just cooked you would likely disagree...but I can't nail them all).

I tend to enjoy telling stories as I write - but my brain is kinda fried.  So while thinking and remembering these events as I re-count them for you; I won't be using my normal story telling style, but more just a 'here's a picture and description of the event' type of approach.  Or they at least won't be one cohesive, we'll see what comes out.

street meatHome Cooking is often underrated.  I'm not a genius in the kitchen, but I have a few dishes that I like to think I've conquered. Tacos is one for sure.  I make an crazy good taco.  My secret?  I do have a proprietary sauce that is yumilicious.  But really in my opinion the shell is the biggest factor.  There are a million taco vendors here and they all have one major issues - the shell is instantly soggy and the goodies fall out the bottom.  It's really not tough to make a decent taco but apparently I'm the only one here that can.  Casserole's are my other favorite - not for the yum factor, but you cook once and eat for days.  

Home cooked desserts are also fun times.  This little beauty is a S'mores dip...chocolate, marshmallow, grahams to dip in.  Sara made that little gem.  I will be copying her - but I'm gonna slip some peanut butter chips in mine.

Meatball grinderSo I'm not sure this is a new place (new owners at least), but certainly new for me - Island Buzz Cafe and Grill.  So happy I found this place; thank you to my friends over at 365 Belize for their write up that got me moving that far south to try this place (not that its far south - it's right by Island Academy (but that's way outside of my normal 3 block radiu); for a much more professional review of this joint check out their post.
Philly Cheese SteakI originally tried this place for breakfast with Laurie (aka and was floored with the attention to detail in the food.  I can't tell you how long it's been since I've had a proper croissant.  Flaky, layers, amazing.  Lunch with my brother the next day was just as staggeringly delicious.  Yes my fellow San Pedronos...a great sandwich is available on this island - no more going to Caye Caulker just to visit Paradiso Deli.  I had the special, a meat ball grinder, and my brother did the Philly.  From bread to ball and even over to cole slaw and potato things...greatness.  Attention to detail that you can taste. Even the blackberry cobbler (not pictured cause I ate it) was PERFECT.  No doughie grossness; a crisp flaky layer with great black berries just below.  I can still taste that meatball, slightly crisp exterior with juicy tasty interior.  The will be having lobster specials now as well...they only have 3 table so I don' know where everyone will sit, but we'll sort it.  They also do box lunches and such for events.  

filet mignon  Finally got south and tried Black Orchid...despite the lack of menu prices on the website I broke my rule and went.  So glad I did.  My brother and I started with some meatballs - amazing.  Great choice.  I'm gonna actually call this a meat salad so our meal appears healthier.  What we really came for was the steak. We're simple men - meat, potato, rum.  I went with a bit of a surf and turf option and was happy for it.  The shrimp was good...the steak was great.  I think Eric's official review was - "You can tell this was marinated in love...I don't even want to swallow."  I couldn't say it any better than that.  So - natural question - I love Casa Picasso, I love Black Orchid.  So which is my favorite?  Now I know what parents mean when they say they can't choose a kid...ugg.  Well...both.  I think about it all, from the great reception, caring owners, joyful faces and service, atmosphere, FOOD, and I can't pick a clear favorite.  There are items that each does better than the other.  I'm not going to say them though - I think both of these places stand atop a big heap together and should be experienced by the masses.

 <---That is Eric's "pure steak joy face".  Really I don't know when I've seen him near as happy as when he's eating a great filet.  On a separate note I was lucky enough to attend Red Cross welcome dinner at Casa Picasso, which is of course and mainstay favorite of mine.  I had, you guessed it, the filet; and I must stay Chef Jeff is doing an amazing job at CP; he's really killing it in this dudes opinion.  Back to the food. My neighbors on both sides had some Bacon Jam Mac & Cheese for dinner; dear Sara Jean was kind enough to let me dip my filet in her left overs - so we're talking a perfectly cooked amazing filet with cheesey bacony friends all having a party with your taste buds.  It was likely one of the greatest things that has ever been in my mouth.
Rum Fireball Blackhawks
If you haven't had the wings at Lola's then you're life isn't complete. The grilled cheese and tomato soup is also an amazing combo...simple style comfort food.  Who doesn't love dipping a cheese sandwich in tomato soup?!  Cheers to the Blackhawks!  Thanks for a fun time Steve, Trevor, Jean, my new Irish friends, and of course Robbie...never ever ever let me leave a bar with Robbie ever ever ever again...never.  Well, until the next time!

I've noticed that I have many many "thoughtful/emotional" blogs 1/2 way written.  I never seem to able to finish them; largely for fear of causing "innocent people" some sort of emotional distress...but I'm working on them.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

SAGA and the Bowl of Pudding

Food porn's been busy - I sat down after a long day and realized I needed to proof (yeah, you likely won't believe me, but yes I actually proof read this) and post my blog.  I got off the couch with the intention of fetching my lappie and publishing a blog...yet I found myself back on the couch with a bowl of pudding!  Pudding consumed - blog being published.  Priorities...

The day began much like any other day...I woke up.  The major question of the day - to go or not to go to the SAGA fundraiser tonight.  Being a guy that is finely tuned to all the energies and 'signs' that come my way (by now anyone that knows me is wondering how many Colorado Brownies I ate...none...), I studied the rain as it fell ever harder in the morning.  When it hit the "cat and dogs" level of pouring rain I decided to heed the sign: I must support the cats and dogs of San Pedro - a fundraising I will go!  TRUTH - it did rain 'cats and dogs' this morning but I didn't think of the reference till my bother said "funny it was raining cats and we're supporting cats and dogs" when we were at the event.

The event of the day - SAGA Humane Society was having a cook-off!  Looking back at the handy dandy FaceBook event dealie-whopper I see they had free shots...not sure how I missed that...but I did. These fine folks do a lot of good for the 4 legged...actually we have to really just call them cats and dogs around here cause I've seen more than one that doesn't have 4 legs...friends.  You should totally like their FaceBook page and stop by to walk some dogs!

Was I rolling at the VIP table?  No.  Did I want to be?  No.  I got to sit with my pals, in the corner - nice deep bench with fabulous cushions.  Luna Loca is a cool venue.  Spent some time there over Easter weekend and had a good time then too. Friendly staff, good drinks, fun specials...good place to check out.  I don't get there much cause it's outside this hermits 3 block radius - but you should check 'em out.

On to the meat of the cook-off...and really the main reason I went.  First, I really need to apologize, I'm about to say things that will not be appreciated (especially by my biggest fan the unnamed travel writer that loves me so very much); won't mention who these dishes belonged too, and I certainly won't hold it against them beyond the confines of this event.  I was last in line (too much time chatting), and these fines folks gave of their time and resources to help this great event - so kudos to them!!  But I still have to critique, so on to the "what the heck did you come to a cook off with out enough food awards" - #1 - Bacon Wrapped Dates, #3 - Ginger Peanut Butter Sauce and Carrots (to be fair I got some carrots), #5 - Tropical Cheese Meatballs, #6 - Chicken kabob with Peanut Butter Sauce.  Yeah 1/2 the field failed to make it to end of the race.

Food Porn
It must be noted, that Victoria generously donated her meatball to me.  Apparently the slight hint of spice (that I adored) was too much for her fare pallet...good news for me.  Had the meat ball made it to the end of the race I MIGHT have voted for it.  It would've been top two for sure.  Even though I ate one I could not in good conscience vote for someone that didn't complete the event. This left me with #8 as the clear winner.  Licks was responsible for this little slice of heaven.  Very well cooked, the chutney was perfect and complimented the sesame tempura fish excellently.  The presentation was also astonishing; the only garnished dish that was served.  Spot on from plating to pallet - my vote - and the peoples vote - Congratulations to Licks on the event win!!

It was a good evening.  Not a late night, just quick enough to feel relaxed, but not too slow that you got bored between eating/raffle/speech/etc.  SAGA put on a great event again.  I'm not sure what the overall financial donation total will be - but while I was there they received two generous donations from anonymous sources; one for $1000 BZ and another for $300 BZ.

It should also be noted that SAGA needs help!  Cash is good, but you know what else can be great - your time.  Animals love companionship - and that's tough when you're in a cage.  So one day when you get bored why not head over and take some dogs for a walk?! Can be a great time.

Well...good deed done for the day.  Time to go chat with hot chicks online all night.