Friday, January 12, 2018

Way too much of everything

was the Cayman Cookout's motto for today, or so it seems.  Way too much beauty and sun. 

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Way too much fun, with Chef Jose Andres arriving in a helicopter, from which he leapt into the ocean, where a jet-ski picked him up and dragged him to shore.  He made his hour presentation as much fun as always, his manic energy both boosting the crowd and feeding off it.

He also had his team prepare and share with us an absolutely sinful creation:  Jamon Iberico with Ossetra caviar.

Wow, was it delicious.

Way too much food at Chef Sean Brock's delicious but heavy four-course lunch at Andiamo.

His country ham--a special one he'd started some time ago--with local fruits and heirloom peanuts he brought with him was the lightest of the three savory courses, and it was filling.

Way too much heat under the pavilion tent for Chef Daniel Boulud's presentation, which despite being oceanside managed to wilt many of the audience members.  Despite that, Chef Boulud himself stayed calm and gracious throughout the hour. 

I'd like to say Chef Rick Bayless' presentation had way too much information, because he shared an enormous amount of data with us--as well as serving us a great taco--but it really wasn't.  Chef Bayless is a great communicator who comes across as an amazingly nice guy. 

Way too many people at the Barefoot BBQ on the beach, where a wide assortment of food stands served freshly made delicious small treats while a live band played and people ate, drank, and mingled.  Oh, and we watched a guy in a jet pack perform in the dark over the ocean for us. 

All in all, it was a typically great Friday at Cayman Cookout, which is to say, quite an amazing day.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Excess is now the norm

At least for the duration of the Cayman Cookout, too much is the baseline, and we go only up from there.

Today's events began with a caviar and champagne (I skipped the champagne, of course) lunch that Paramount Caviar hosted at Blue by Eric Ripert.  The menu promised many treats

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and the chefs delivered: every dish tasted great, including the dessert, which fortunately for me did not taste too strongly of coffee.  It's hard to complain about a lunch that includes a dish with Ossetra caviar.

Meanwhile, outside the weather rewarded the organizers with a perfect day.

After a short break, I spent an hour sitting under a tent on the beach, listening to and watching a demonstration from Chef Dominique Crenn and her team.  I've never eaten at one of her restaurants, but after tasting her food here, I will hope to do so the next time I'm in San Francisco.

On the way to her demo, a grackle in a nearby bush decided to announce her/his presence.

He clearly was not afraid of me.

Back at the room, the hotel had left this odd treat.

It proved to be surprisingly tasty.

Another break, during which I was lucky enough to enjoy this dusk view. 

It was then time for one of the many Cayman Cookout traditions: the auction and wine fair/buffet dinner.  This is the place at which years ago I bought the week in an Italian villa. The event was the most crowded I've seen it.

Fortunately, the food remained good--though not great--and I managed to escape without buying any stays anywhere in the world.  Though I would have preferred it far less crowded, on balance I have to call it a success.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A trip to Caymana Bay

All the usual weather sources forecasted rain for today, but they were all wrong; it was absolutely beautiful.  This late-afternoon shot shows about as bad a sky as we had today, and no rain fell from it.

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Almost all day, the sky was sunny and mostly clear, with only lovely white cloud tendrils ambling overhead.

Instead of sitting oceanside, I opted to go into Caymana Bay, enjoy some Indian food for lunch, walk a bit through the small local farmers' market, and eat a cup of gelato.  A rooster and hen were also taking the air; you see a lot of chickens around here.

A few folks enjoyed the fountains whose sole purpose seems to be to let people choose to get wet.

After some time doing email and reading, I walked over to Andiamo, the resort's Italian place, for a lovely waterside meal of Caesar salad and pasta.

I love being here, doing little, and (mostly) not feeling guilty about it.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rain and sun and ocean and sand

Today brought rain and sun and despite it all was still beautiful. 

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Rather than risk my usual lunch outside, I grabbed a small plate of snacks and a Diet Coke from the club lounge.

I'll miss my privileges there, which vanish tomorrow and don't reappear until next week.

When the rain stopped, it was time to sit in a chair on the beach, sip a virgin mango daiquiri, and contemplate life.  After enough of a walk on the beach to heat me up, I worked up the stamina to go into the ocean up to my neck and then to dive underwater.  The water felt way better after the walk than it had before that time.  I followed this up with about two minutes in the equally cool pool and was completely refreshed. 

Dinner tonight was at the marvelous Blue by Eric Ripert.  I won't hit you with pics of all the courses, but I have to show off their signature tuna foie gras masterpiece, which was every bit as delicious as ever.

It's hard to explain this dish, but suffice to say that it's been on the menu at Le Bernardin and here at Blue since Chef Ripert first created it. 

A good day despite the rain.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Out came the sun

Clouds still littered the sky, and occasionally gray fingers of dense clouds raced across the beach, but overall today was a much prettier day.  I took advantage of the weather to move to the beach for a chunk of the afternoon.  I forgot to bring my phone, so you'll have to settle for this view of the beach from my room in the later afternoon.

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I enjoyed lunch--sliders, side salad, water, and a virgin mango daiquiri--from a covered chair facing the ocean.  I walked into the ocean only up to my knees, because the water was so cold, and then it was back to the chair.  I dipped only my feet in the pool as I enjoyed the late-afternoon tradition here of shaved ice, in my case a cone with half raspberry and half strawberry.  Eating it was almost as much fun as watching the many kids enjoy theirs.

My capacity and need for resting and sleeping continue to amaze me, but I'm indulging them and doing very little here.  That seems to be just about right.

The club lounge continues to be a nice retreat for snacks, healthy and, in this case, otherwise.  After dinner, dessert was two nibbles from the offerings on display there.

Being here makes for a very easy life indeed, and I am doing my best to relax all I can.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Gray sky, lazy day

Stronger, larger waves and gray skies showed the effects of nearby storms.  For me, the message was clear: take it easy.

So I did.

After a ton of sleep, I woke up in time to attend the huge brunch at the Seven restaurant.

A non-alcoholic, very tasty fruit drink started my meal.

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My main course featured a custom omelet (cheese and some veggies), way too much bacon, sausage, an egg Benedict, and a side plate of grilled cheese with lobster and tomato soup.

All of it was tasty, above average brunch fare--with a view to the ocean to die for.

Yes, the dessert station was amazing.

I sampled a few of its offerings later. All were good, though none exceptional.

The afternoon continued to deliver the morning's message, so I passed my day in dozing and reading and writing, all to the soundtrack of the waves.

I accomplished very little and am completely fine with that.  Others are complaining about the weather; I am enjoying the cool air.

An entirely lazy day at the ocean.  Exactly what I needed. 


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