Category Archives: Other Cool Places

Island Report: News, events, and happenings around Aruba…

Island Report: News, events, and happenings around Aruba…
By Sue Campbell for Nights Publications

Beach tennis at Red Sail Sports

Beach Tennis at Red Sail Sports
Courtesy of Red Sail Sports

This island is burning up with beach tennis fever and now you, too, can learn to play Aruba’s most unique game at Red Sail Sports Beach Tennis Club.They have their own courts and you can either just come out to play, take private lessons, or join or organize group clinics with professional instructors. They even have a beach tennis shop where you’ll find the best gear and sportswear. Look for them on Palm Beach between the Marriott Surf Club and the Holiday Inn. www.aruba-redsail.com

A jolly way to protect the reefs

Marine Park Foundation Bracelets Aruba
100% of the proceeds go to the Aruba Marine Park Foundation – Photo Courtesy of Jolly Pirates

Jolly Pirates, one of the island’s premier sail and snorkel operators, has implemented a unique program to help preserve Aruba’s marine treasures. When you buy a cheery trio of bracelets at their souvenir shop on MooMba Beach, 100% of the proceeds go to the Aruba Marine Park Foundation, which is charged with heading up the island’s im­portant reef protection and preservations programs. The bracelets make great keep­sakes of this happy island and are a great way for you to give back while enjoying Aruba’s pristine waters. For more details visit www.facebook.com/ArubaMarinePark.

Adopt an island pet

Animal Rights Aruba (ARA) online at www.animalrightsaruba.org and the Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF) at www.arf-aruba.com
Animal rights foundations and
shelters in Aruba.

The island’s animal rights foundations and shelters are always seeking homes for their charges, and they make it easier than you think to take a furry new friend home with you. Another helpful option is to act as a chaperone for a dog or cat heading to a new stateside home. To view the hundreds of heartwarming success stories about island pet adoption and find out more, visit Animal Rights Aruba (ARA) online at www.animalrightsaruba.org and the Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF) at www.arf-aruba.com.

Local dance troupe delights

Dance Troupe - Popcorn Club Aruba
Courtesy of Popcorn Club Aruba

Seek out the dynamite dance troupe Popcorn Club Aruba as they entertain with explosive dance shows featuring local, international folklore, street, carnival, Latin, and contemporary styles. Tyrone Olainka Chirino’s Michael Jackson-style solo is unreal! The troupe really is “a pleasure for your eyes, ears, heart & soul.” Established in 1989, they have always strongly encouraged Aruba’s youth to express themselves through creative pastimes. Catch them at their regular shows at Tamarijn Aruba on Monday night on the pool deck. Visit the Popcorn Club & Dancers Aruba on Facebook.

San Nicolas news

Carubbian Festival - San Nicolas
Photo Courtesy of Luis Mejia.

The “Sunrise City” has been getting all kinds of upgrades this past year: the new Carnival Village is now open and the new Carnival & Festival Museum and its workshop are well underway. Baby Beach has also been given a facelift with beautiful landscaping and new food and beverage services. The brand-new Joe Laveist Sport Park is another beauty and the perfect spot to catch the local talent. And don’t forget to head out to San Nicolas on Thursday nights for carnival in the streets with the Carubbian Festival.

Eco-chic for a cause

Eco-chic Jewelry by Enamora Treasures
Photo courtesy of Enamora

Enamora supports families in Ecuador in economic difficulty by helping talented local crafters to sell their beautiful handmade eco-chic jewelry and accessories to the world through their online portal. The artisans are especially grateful that Aruba has shown such support for this worthwhile cottage industry, and you can help, too. Some of their unique treasures can be seen at The Dutch Pancakehouse showcase, or you can make an appointment to see them. You can also order online anytime by visiting their website at www.enamoratreasures.com.

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Aruba Trip Tips 2nd Anniversary Giveaway

We can hardly believe it! Aruba Trip Tips is turning two years old on June 25th.
In celebration of this special milestone we are having an Anniversary Giveaway.
Some cute Aruba/Beach prizes to thank you, our friends!

Here are our Anniversary Giveaway Contest Winners!

aruba-triptips-second-anniversary250winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Welcome To The Pirate Shack! Please Meet Captain Al…

Our goal here at Aruba Trip Tips is always getting the word out on everything Aruba has to offer. Sharing Hidden treasures on the wonderful island of Aruba with new vacationers and even returning vacationers is what we’re happy to do. Personally, I believe one of the richest assets the island has to offer are the Aruban People themselves. Sure many islands in the Caribbean offer beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, exciting and interesting things to do, but the charm and the allure of the people of Aruba is the soul that adds that something extra which sets this island apart from many. They don’t call it the Jewel of the Caribbean for nothing. Traveling there for over 11 yrs now has allowed me to meet many lovely and interesting individuals. We have made friends and have had experiences some would probably not believe that are true but we’ll share those tales for another day.

Remarkable enough and somewhat ironic, there is one individual we never met in Aruba while vacationing there. However, thanks to technology and our quest for always trying to find extraordinary things about the island our paths were fortunately crossed with a rising star in radio broadcasting live from Aruba, Aldrich Marchena aka Captain Al.

His warm charm and exotic accent has been exciting the airwaves for the past year now with his special blend of music, style and appeal on his thrice-weekly show–THE PIRATE SHACK. His online radio station STUDIO 69, basically started out as a hobby reaching more or less several countries which has now blossomed into a reach of over 22 countries and growing. He is a businessman by day and an online Radio DJ by night. If it wasn’t impressive enough to have a full time job working by day and DJing 3 nights a week our friend Captain AL is also happily married and a devoted father which exemplifies the spirit of the Aruban people.

Apparently talent and passion for radio runs in the family. Captain AL’s first mate, his lovely wife Diana is a DJ as well on Studio 69 Online Radio Aruba. Her show can be heard on Tuesday and Thursday night from 8:00 pm est to 11:00 pm est. Even more interesting is the fact that the good captain’s grandfather is one of the founding fathers of radio on Aruba. His story seemed to grow more remarkable as we got to know him and we felt given his family’s past and present contributions certainly qualified as a hidden treasure worth sharing with the world. Aruba Trip Tips is honored to share for the first time with our readers a unique interview with this talented DJ on the rise who graciously devoted time for us to share with you some of his story…

The Pirate behind the Pirate Shack
1. Are you Aruban?
I am what we call in our local language Papiamento “un Arubiano puro di lombrishi”, to the English speaking readers this would translate to, “yes, I am a pure Aruban deep to the bellybutton”, I was born on December 31, 1972 in Oranjestad, Aruba. Raised on the Island for about 12 years and after that my parents sent me to Miami, Florida to live and study there. After I graduated from High School I decided that I wanted to take some time off from school and I went traveling “somewhat around the world” moved to Long Island, did New Jersey, Boston, and Philadelphia for a while, I even went to Canada to venture in teaching Salsa and Meringue classes, after a while of traveling around I decided it was time to come back to Aruba, but after living on the island for a couple of years, teaching windsurfing and living “THE LIFE” that all young adult wishes to live, I still felt that this is not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wasn’t quite ready yet for “The Island Life” so my stay on the Island rapidly became very short,… it was time to get back to school and go to the University, so I went to the Netherlands to study, after studying for a Masters in Business Administration and International Business Computer Science Communication in Music Scene at The European University in The Hague I was ready to come back to Aruba… and so I did!!!,…  

2. How did you get started as a DJ? Why radio?
It’s funny to say this Bill, but I don’t actually remember when I actually started as a DJ or if I can even consider myself a DJ. The thing is, my grandfather (may he rest in peace) Albertico Arends, was the founder and owner of the first AM and FM Radio Station here on the Island of Aruba, (Voz Di Aruba and later on the Canal 90). I remember as a young kid going to the radio station and playing music on the radio with my grandfather, thus, I guess I can say I have radio in my blood. But to actually put a time frame, I would not even know where to start… I guess a safe bet would be to say, that I was born into Radio Broadcasting,…

3. Why did you choose to call your show The Pirate Shack? Why did you use a Pirate as a symbol?The Pirate Shack Logo new 2015 9pm
The name “The Pirate Shack” actually came from a long time ago, come to think of it, I guess you can say this is actually the first time that I started going to my grandfather’s radio station late at night without permission with my friends to play “our” type of music; the type we like on the radio,… I remember my grandfather getting really pissed off at me for “stealing the keys to the radio station” ,.. can I actually say pissed off??? (Ooops! sorry, said it again,.. hahahaha) anyway, I remember sitting in the main studio of Canal 90 Fm one day with a couple of friends and thinking what am I going to call the program we were about to do,… all of the sudden, it all came to me… how we “snuck into the station like pirates” so I call the program that day “The Pirate Shack”. From the start my friends like the name for the program, and started calling me Capt. Al.

4. What kind of music do you like to play and why?
You know Bill… I am an Eclectic person, I like all types of music and I think that is why I always say during the program… “It’s The Pirate Shack and anything can happen”… I honestly can’t say that I have one specific genre that I like, but if I have to choose I guess my 3 favorite genres are between, Alternative Rock, Salsa and Reggae,… however you can easily catch me listening to New Age or Classical and Instrumental music during the day…

5. Do you work with other Radio Stations on Aruba?
Sometimes I still go to my grandfather’s radio station and play around in the studio and on Wednesdays my wife and I have a “pre-recorded” Mental Health radio program called “Perspectiva Psicologico” (Psychological Perspective) that is dedicated as part of our commitment to the local population of Aruba since one of our companies is a mental health facility (Idea Psychological Center). During this program (which airs pre-recorded every Wednesday at 9pm on Canal 90) we bring forth everything that has to do with mental health and how to improve it on Aruba.

6. I understand your Grandfather was in Radio also. Can you tell us more about that?
Wow Bill,.. this is a question that will amaze you and most of the people that had once upon a time visited (or will visit) the Island of Aruba…. It was October 9th 1954 when my Grandfather’s first radio station called “Voz Di Aruba” officially went on the air. Despite not being fully set up, it was due to a “National Emergency Information” that the station went on the air before it was fully set up and ready for broadcast. You see, on this day something really bizarre happened with the weather on Aruba… As you know Bill, Aruba has perfect weather all year around, being below the hurricane belt it allows us to have lots of sun and nothing but clear blue sky’s… However on October 9th 1954 could probably be classified as the worst weather that Aruba has ever experienced. Gusts of winds, lots of rain and somehow during all of this it started to hail on Aruba… Now, keep in mind, (for those who have not been to Aruba yet) it is always…. I mean… ALWAYS between 82 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 72 – 74 % all year on Aruba… and now… it’s hailing on the island, people were getting paranoid and could not understand what was happening on the island. At this time the authorities (let’s say the government at the time) asked my Grandfather if there was any possibility that he could set the radio on the air since this was classified as a national emergency…

I remember my Grandfather telling me that he was very nervous because the radio was not fully set up yet and he was still waiting for the main antenna to arrive from the United States. Still he took the responsibility and Voz Di Aruba went on the Air on Oct 9th 1954 transmitting the events that were happening with the weather. This helped with restoring the public order and chaos that was going on when it started to hail on Aruba… Yes, I know,… for all of this to had taken place that meant that the initial idea of my Grandfather must had come before that bizarre day in October of 54,… My “Opa” (Grandfather in Papiamento) told me that his initial idea (or like he liked to call it “My obsession yet My Passion”) started on a trip he made to Cuba in the late 40s early 50s when he went to play “Bala” (Baseball in Old Papiamento) with the all star team of Aruba… this is when he first came in contact with “radio broadcasting” and sure enough when he came back, radio broadcasting became his obsession and passion for the rest of his life.

A couple of years after Voz Di Aruba went on the air, my grandfather decided he wanted to go on the FM Bandwidth and started working towards his 2nd radio station, but now on FM instead of AM,.. This wasn’t as easy, it took a lot of time to be able to get the proper equipment and permits to broadcast on the FM bandwidth,… but sure enough, exactly 2 weeks after I was born, on January 13, 1973 Canal 90 Fm Stereo had gone officially on the Air making my grandfather not only the first person to bring radio broadcasting to the island, but now he was the first to have started Fm Radio Broadcasting on Aruba and turning him into the broadcasting legend he is today.

I know my grandfather had received many acknowledgments and recognition for all that he has done for the Island of Aruba, but you know, something that not many people know, is that for my Grandfather there was nothing more fulfilling than that first “Emergency Broadcast” he had done during that bizarre day in October of 54.

The Man behind the Pirate
7. Were you inspired by your grandfather to pursue radio in his footsteps?
You know Bill, to be honest to you,.. I was always inspired by my grandfather, he was a very intelligent, well traveled person. He always had the most interesting stories to tell me when I was growing up. I enjoyed spending time and learning from him. However, I have to say that I did not pursue radio broadcasting before Studio 69 and “The Pirate Shack” came about, yes, sure I used to sneak into the radio station and played music on the air, but I never thought of it as my future, I guess it is due to the fact that I like to be independent and I wanted to do my own thing instead of going into the family business. The fact that today I own my own Online Radio Station called “Studio 69 Online Radio Station Aruba”, is purely coincidental and a bi-product of 3 things; my hobby combined with the necessity to suppress sound from traveling in my office building or conversation from being overheard in adjacent office spaces. I guess the last contributing factor is the busy lifestyle that comes with being an entrepreneur led to the need to have a recording studio to pre-record our local program “Perspectiva Psicologico” which is being broadcasted every Wednesday night at Canal 90 since 2012.

Nevertheless, I do think somehow and in so many ways he has inspired and made it much easier for me to feel so comfortable behind a microphone, broadcasting and entertaining my fans with what I enjoy doing, in fact it is actually the way I relax and disconnect myself from my “real job”,… managing companies.…
Hmmm, but you know something Bill!!!,… How funny can it be,… after all these years, it isn’t until now, with this question of yours and this article, that I can finally understand what my grandfather’s quote “My obsession yet My Passion” really means.

8. What’s your goal with the Pirate shack? Are you trying to get the word out on Aruba through your show?
Considering all the facts that led to Studio 69 were purely coincidental and the fact that “The Pirate Shack” was originally the result of me being a “spoiled kid” who just liked to break in to his grandfather’s radio station just to play music with my friends, I would have to say that I did not have any goal for “The Pirate Shack” in the beginning, but now that the obsession has become my passion, I can’t tell you. The one sure thing I will tell you for sure is that it’s all up to the fans where they want “The Pirate Shack” to truly go. As for getting Aruba out there, well I am Aruban, I love my little Island, and yes, if I can help Aruba by spreading the word around the world, well that’s what I’ll keep doing.

9. How easy was it to open up a Radio station on Aruba?
First, I have to clarify that Studio 69 is an Online Radio Station broadcasting 24/7 from Aruba to the World, and is not a “Local Bandwidth Radio Station” and can only be heard online and not via “regular radio waves”. This means that all the local broadcasting permissions nor standard broadcasting equipment were not necessary or applicable for starting with Studio 69. In the case of Studio 69, we already had our recording studio and our “Company In-house Station” that I had hooked up to the recording studio and a local in-house amplifier. One particular day I needed to ask my good friend Elvis Kock who is the “sound engineer” for Canal 90 (my grandfather’s radio station) if he could come and do a special equalizing on my recording studio, while he was doing the equalization he told me,… “you know what Al,… did you know it is very easy for you to go live on the internet? You already have all the necessary equipment, it’s all hooked up and ready to go,… you only need one small little thing to do it with a good quality” Well of course my first question as a businessman was,… “How much is this hobby going to cost me???” hahahaha,… with a big smile on his face he told me “$35.00 and I have a spare one in my car”,… I guess to answer your question, it was very easy for me, and it only cost me an additional $35.00… hahahahaha,…

10. Do you have a local audience or is your audience global?
I would have to say, since it all started out with me and my friends playing music on the radio, I would like to say that my biggest audience is local, but the reality is that since we started broadcasting online, it has opened up a global audience and now it seems that “The Pirate Shack” and Studio 69 is building a much bigger audience all around the world. Some countries we know that are listening to our programming online are: Aruba, United States of America, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Panama, Israel, France, Mexico, Greece and Suriname.

11. How has the feedback been from your audience in Aruba?
The most common feedback we receive at “The Pirate Shack” is that they love the program and enjoy the music. Some tell us about their experience while in Aruba, and they like that we have “The Tourist Event Section” where they can find out in advance all the events that are going to be happening on the Island of Aruba. The best part about it is that they have been informed about things to do before they arrive to the island and that has helped them to enjoy the local events that normally tourist don’t get to hear about.

12. What are your long term goals with your show?
Well Bill, like I said, “The Pirate Shack” is the way I “de-stressify myself” and relax from my daily life,… We don’t really have a long term goal for “The Pirate Shack” yet and it really all depends on the fans to decide the true faith and goal of the program, but the one thing I can assure you is that I will keep bringing “The Pirate Shack” for the fans as I’ve been doing and enjoying playing all types of music for them. So, as for the long term goal!!! I guess we will be on the air presenting “The Pirate Shack” for the time being…

13. Do you recommend your show to tourists about getting the word out on Aruba?
Yes, I highly recommend for the tourist to listen to “The Pirate Shack” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 9 pm local Aruban time (GMT -4) on Studio 69 Online Radio Station so they can find out what Aruba is all about and why it is nicknamed “The One Happy Island”…. And who knows,… maybe someday they will actually be able to enjoy Aruba like the locals do.

14. You’re on 3 nights a week do you plan on doing your show on the weekends sometime in the future?
Hahahaha, that is a very common question that I get asked often by the fans. I honestly have to say that there are some thoughts being put in to that we are considering it or doing something totally different during the weekend, but nothing is set in stone yet… I guess it all boils down to what the fans want, after all without the fans, there can be no Pirate Shack… 😉

15. Is there anything you would like to share with your Audience regarding any up coming shows or events that they should tune in for?Studio 69 Logo
Well, to just tune in to Studio 69 Online Radio Station every day, and “The Pirate Shack” for all the upcoming events on Aruba so they know in advance what’s happening and where to go, what to do while visiting the Island of Aruba… and if they happened to miss the show, well then they can always go to our collaborating web page www.ArubaTripTips.com for any additional information about Aruba.

16. Where do you see yourself and your show in 5 years?
Hmmm,.. where do I see myself and the show in 5 years,… well, as for Studio 69; our online radio station,… we have big plans and with some innovative ideas in Radio Broadcasting that will revolutionize this industry in a couple of years, as for me as an entrepreneur I would hope to be getting ready to retire and hopefully passing my wisdom to my son, having more time to enjoy the good things life has to offer, to enjoy quality time with my better half,… hahahaha,… if all of this goes according to plan, well I’ll be having much more time on hand, so I guess there will be much more of “The Pirate Shack” on the air…

I guess my grandfather said it well,… Music Radio Broadcasting, it’s an “obsessive passion”

Our hats off to our good friend Aldrich Marchena, a.k.a Captain Al and a tremendous thank you for allowing us here at Aruba Tip Tips for sharing some very personal, inspirational and fascinating insight into a truly rich past. Our debt is to your Grandfather and your shared passion we now enjoy today. So there you have it folks if your looking for a true pirate of the Caribbean who enjoys sharing his treasure with everyone, his beloved Aruba, check him out on Studio 69 Online Radio Station. He’s not only entertaining but is also a great source of information and can be heard 3 nights a week. We are also proud to announce that we will be partnering with Captain Al and the Pirate shack to get the word out on Aruba so please check us out if you’re interested in planning a trip…..Masha Danki Capitan Al!

Follow The Pirate Shack on TUNE-IN RADIO at:
http://tunein.com/radio/Studio-69-s260217/
Twitter and Facebook

Also catch the Live Stream at:
http://www.ez-corporation.com/studio69onlineradio.html

We welcome Captain Al and the Pirate Shack on our websites, www.arubatriptips.com &www.arubafestivals.com.

Written By Bill M.



Book Review: Doug Pitassi’s 15 Best Restaurants in Portland

best-restaurants-portlandWe consider ourselves well-traveled and knowledgeable about food maybe even foodies but we know little about Oregon  and it’s star city, Portland. The closest we’ve come is driving on the Pacific Highway as far as Gualala in Mendicino County.  As you point yourself northward towards Oregon, we noticed that the foliage changes –we found a cooler, wetter landscape covered in lichens and palm fronds. Before reading Doug’s book our knowledge of Portland’s food culture was limited to comic skits about the sustainable lifestyle mindset from the goofy yet hilarious show Portlandia. In one scene the waitstaff is asked by diners to provide the chicken’s bio before they eat the meal. All humor aside, it is apparent that in Portland the quality & craft given to produce an exceptional food experience is what defines the local cuisine.

We found that to be the overriding theme in the reviewing the book “Doug Pitassi’s 15 Best Restaurants in Portland”. Doug moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2013 and has fallen in love with the region he describes as “populated by those who fearlessly sought new frontiers and deeply valued the bounty that the fertile valley continues to readily provide”. The philosophy in Portland embraces sustainable, seasonal choices that ensure freshness and consistently outstanding quality. This terrific little book can be your personal concierge when visiting Portland and need help deciding where to dine among the onslaught of fabulous choices.

Firstly the book fits beautifully in any carry-on bag as it is slim and lightweight. Although I try to study my destination in advance sometimes my first chance doesn’t happen until I’m in the air and on my way. Knowing my own crazy travel schedule, you may also enjoy settling in with a good book and a glass of wine on your flight.  While the book is a quick read and could probably be completed in an hour it is the perfect way to get excited about dining in a new city. The flight  from NY to Portland would run approx. 6hours & 25 minutes giving you ample time to include this book as part of your in-flight entertainment.
My only thought on it’s physical dimensions is at half it’s height it would make a terrific purse guide–also wish it had photos & maps.

In Doug’s introduction he tells you why Portland has a culture that attracts eclectic foodies and world renown chefs to its dining community. The belief is that quality food is worth waiting for giving chefs and admirers the atmosphere to encourage creativity.
While he admits that the book is not intended to be exhaustive he indicates that  each chapter was an attempt to show a diverse array of choices in Portland. The general structure of the book is the introduction followed by 15 chapters–one for each restaurant that he has chosen. He opens each chapter with a bit of history about the restaurant or the food style. His descriptions are visual and  he devotes time and care to describe the unique nature and decor of each restaurant and why it is amazing!

Doug’s writing really shines when he describes the signature dish at each establishment. His food descriptions provide a vivid and mouth-watering image of the restaurant’s specialties.
As you read you envision yourself enjoying  each tasty dish and you make notes that say the next time I’m in Portland I’m definitely dining based on Doug’s suggestions. Some of the restaurants he recommends include: Scandinavian (Broder Nord), BBQ (The People’s Pig), Thai (PokPok), Italian (Nostrana), Sandwiches (Meat Cheese Bread) and more.

The book was a fun read and we can definitely see it as a handy asset to have along with you on your next trip to Portland, Oregon. It would work best in combination by cross-referencing restaurant websites for menus and ambiance on your mobile device as links are provided at the end of each chapter for further information.

Happy Travels, Happy Dining!

http://www.amazon.com/Doug-Pitassis-Best-Restaurants-Portland-ebook/dp/B0161XSS4Y/

http://dougpitassi.com/

https://twitter.com/dougpitassi

*Disclosure: This product was received as a sample in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising.



butterfly-farm-aruba

Butterfly Farm Aruba: A Magical World

concept/writing by Eileen M. editing/writing by Gina L.

Aruba Trip Tips just came back from a Great vacation in Aruba..!!! This year we did a very interesting and fun family event. We went to The Butterfly Farm–what a lovely place and very informative. The farm is nestled between the Eagle Beach & Palm Beach areas of Aruba. butterfly3 butterfly4We were surrounded by these beautiful creatures enjoying the freedom of this natural and safe habitat. It was an otherworldly experience as we realized we were in their domain. There is a short 15 minute tour available, where we were shown the chrysalis room and learned about the butterfly’s life cycle. We also learned the names of the many breeds that live at this butterfly conservatory. butterfly1These beautiful creatures aren’t as weak and delicate as one might think they are. We now have an even greater respect for them and enjoy their beauty in a whole new way!!!! For more information pls check their website: www.thebutterflyfarm.com butterfly-dinnertime butterfly2 An opportunity to see beautiful Monarchs, Blue Morphos and other species up close, you will be amazed how these magical creatures perform their transformation from caterpillar to aviator. Feeding time was an exciting scene when all different types of butterflies came together to feast on the divine sweet nectar of the tropical fruits placed out for them. To learn about all the different butterflies that live at the butterfly farm you can read this wonderfully informative page at their website: www.thebutterflyfarm.com/our-butterflies Never knew there were so many beautiful variations in the Lepidoptera family–scientific name for butterfiles. We learned that on our visit and we highly recommend it as a fun family outing in Aruba.



Paname French Restaurant

Paname French Restaurant

1068 2nd Avenue

New York, N.Y. 10022

(929)277-0348

www.panamenyc.com

Review by Christina & Salvatore Canzoneri, August 2015

Paname French Restaurant on 56th St & Lex. is a lovely French Bistro, it is in a word is a delightful…

We were met by our lovely host the amazing chef/owner Bernard Ros. Chef paname-chef-rosRos, who’s owned a number of restaurants in NYC over the past 40 years, is an engaging and enjoyable host. While we were there he would routinely stop at tables to chat with his guests treating each as if they were old friends.  And that as much as the simple, inviting decor, with a hint of Art Deco in the wall hangings gives Paname an air of casual coziness that defines what a bistro should be about.

As the evening progressed the lights were lowered to match the fading daylight and the room glowed warmly as the lovely meal progressed. The ambiance was gentle, soothing a quiet murmur of diner’s conversations was complimented by a romantic European soundtrack of timeless love songs which was truly sensual and hip.

Wine: Chilean Chardonnay, Cabernet

paname-wine1

Without a wine list I felt a bit vulnerable trusting Julia, our server to select a Chardonnay to please my finicky expectations. She nailed it! The Chard was smooth & buttery….the way I like it. My husband was equally pleased with the smoky Cabernet that was selected for him and we were both two glasses pleased.

Our Prixe Fixe meal was $38 per person and tasted more like it should have cost closer to $100 for that we were treated to ——–

paname-amuse-bouche
A savory morsel to awaken the palate.

Amuse Bouche : Porcini Mushrooms & Avocado Pate w 2 Sauces

Appetizer:

panamenyc-escargot
Delicious twist on a classic French dish.

Escargot in Baby Potatoes with Garlic Butter

panamenyc-crabcake-remoulade
Golden and crisp with the perfect remoulade.
paname-remiseenbouche
A refreshing surprise with a hint of spice.

Crab Cakes w Remoulade Sauce

 

 

Remise en bouche: Watermelon with Feta Cheese & Pine Nuts

 

Main Course:

paname-fish
Delicate and moist! Crisp Pistachio Nuts add texture.

Filet of Sole with Citrus Vervaine and Pistachio Nuts, Bergamot Oil

paname_steak
Juicy and perfectly seared shell steak.

New York Shell Steak with Shallots and Sauce Bordelaise

Dessert:

paname-chocolate-volcano
Hot espresso is poured over to form a soup. Incredible!

Chocolate Volcano

paname-apple-tarte
Spun sugar basket with fresh creme and berries atop.

Apple Tarte

Finale:

paname-dessert
Captures the violets of Toulouse. The sweet evening in a glass.

Violette Sorbet & Passion Fruit Champagne

And the food is simply: delicate & delicious. Paname’s menu is nicely-sized so as not to overwhelm and is generously balanced with food that appeals to your eyes as well as your taste and preferences. Chef Ros told us that his goal is to serve good food at a price that people not on expense accounts can afford and he succeeds brilliantly.

It seems that Chef Ros keeps his costs, and his guests’ dinner cheques, down by shopping for all his food himself, instead of having a food purveyor bring the food to him, which has the added bonus of allowing him to select high quality ingredients himself, and by running his restaurant himself not relying on a large staff. Which doesn’t mean that we were served by harried and overworked staff. In truth our server, Julie, the only one on duty that night we were there, was both friendly and attentive to our needs.

paname-meWe HIGHLY recommend Paname NYC as the perfect dining experience for a date night, family gathering or intimate celebration.

The meal made you excited to be in the moment with someone dear to you, by your side, sharing this delightful repast. Thank you Chef Ros, you truly know how to bring joy to your guests through your delightful culinary creations.

(We were given this meal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% our own.)



Aruba Carnival 2015 is Here!

by Amalia Reyes

It’s February 2, 2015..and while for most of us that means hoping and praying for a groundhog to predict that we won’t be submerged in 6 more weeks of winter…in Aruba it means that Carnival is well underway! But, a day is not enough for this happy little island to fully express all of the joy it has to give-no, you see, February simply marks the second half of this sensational experience-oh, and by second half, we actually mean second MONTH.

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This year marks Aruba’s 61st annual Carnival celebration which takes place in both January AND February, giving you plenty of time to head out and celebrate with the happiest of people in the Caribbean!

Imagine a day where the colors of the rainbow come together in a marvelous array of outrageous costumes, eye popping floats, and classic Caribbean beats that’ll have your body moving in ways you never thought it could! With the eclectic sounds of soca, salsa, calypso and steel drums filling the streets with intoxicatingly good vibes, we can only imagine how hard it would be to sit still! There is definitely never a dull moment during Carnival.

If you’re traveling to Aruba this month, make sure to catch the rest of the festivities taking place till February 16th! Make sure to head down to Oranjestad to catch Aruba’s Tivoli Lighting Parade on Sat. February 7th @ 8pm for a spectacular display of tiny little lights illuminating everything from the dancers to the floats and definitely make sure you don’t miss the burning of King Momo on the 16th! For those of you who don’t know, The Burning of King Momo is the event that both symbolizes the end of Carnival and falls right on the eve of Ash Wednesday.

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For more information about events or schedules for the month of February, feel free to visit http://www.aruba.com/things-to-do/calendar-events-2015 for details on location, times and different events you can attend.

Happy Carnival Everyone!



Aruba News: Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA)



LE PETITE CAFÉ: A UNIQUE STONE GRILL RESTAURANT

Welcome to Le Petit Cafe
by Amalia Reyesle petit cafe in aruba

Although “Petit” may mean small to those who know french, this restaurant is one that is capable of leaving a large and lasting impression on anyone who stops in-whether it be for a bottomless cup of coffee or tea or for Le Petit’s signature stone grilled meals…you will certainly be nothing short of impressed.

Located in front of the breath-taking Playa Linda Beach Resort on the Northwestern shores of Aruba, this quaint little restaurant has been serving their guests since 1980; providing authentic, family-owned quality food and service to both land lovers and beach combers alike.

Being a family owned business for two generations, it comes as no surprise that Le Petit is all about customs and traditions, even dating back to Ancient Egypt! A true feast combining virtually all of your senses, Le Petit provides you with a hot stone (Be careful! The stone is said to be a sweltering 600 degrees!) on which you may either cook items offered on the menu or, with a day’s notice, Le Petit will prepare an item that is not already on the menu.lepeitcafeplancha You may  also bring your own food/fresh caught fish to cook as well! Not only is “romancing the stone” one of the healthier/more unique ways to dine on the island, but it is also fat-free and absolutely mouth watering! Can you say winning? (Say it with us..WINNING!). Items that are offered to be grilled on hot stones can be viewed here.

If however you are looking for an inexpensive breakfast where you can eat as much as you want for $9.95 go no further! From 8:00 AM Till 11:00 AM you can get the following:

Omelette (w/ Ham, Cheese, Onions and Green pepper) scrambled Eggs sunny side up, Eggs over easy, Poached Eggs and Boiled Eggs are served with the following:
Bacon, Sausage, Fruit of the day, Home made Potatoes, Pancakes, toast, Orange Juice, Coffee and Tea. Half off for Children under 10 years of age.

Dinner is served from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM nightly, and reservations can be made online or at +(297) 586-4046.

For more information feel free to visit their website: http://lepetitaruba.com

We hope you’ll enjoy your unique dining experience as much as we did! Bon Appétite Aruba!



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The Flying Fishbone Restaurant: Getting Engaged in Aruba

The Flying Fishbone Restaurant: 

“Try and Imagine The Most Romantic Moment Ever…Getting Engaged in Aruba”

“After much research, curiosity and careful consideration I had arrived at a decision, ARUBA!!!”

Little did I know that my interest in this enchanting little Island was setting the stage for what would eventually be the next significant chapter in my life. The stars were aligning and destiny’s plan was unfolding.flyingfishbone400

I met her… the soon to be, love of my life, about 6 months after my first visit to Aruba. We both proceeded very slowly with caution since we both had been hurt in the past and genuinely cared about each other, but did not want to mess things up foolishly by rushing into things. A year had past and I thought that I would try giving another Caribbean island a chance for vacation all the while my gut was telling me to go back to Aruba. Against better judgment—I picked another island thinking that it would be a chance to experience a different location and culture. There was a heavy price to be paid. Aruba felt betrayed and she was going to let me know how she felt. Needless to say that I pretty much encountered monsoon season, rampant mosquitos, flooded hotel room, rocky beaches, unfriendly islanders and was almost assaulted by an intoxicated tourist. Point taken! I redeemed myself the next year by going back to Aruba but taking my then girlfriend with me for the first time.
This was the first time traveling with a girlfriend to another country and it was her first time to Aruba. It didn’t take much convincing since I had shared many a tale of my first trip and mentioned how friendly the people were in Aruba. The Aruban people were the genuine salt of the earth people, and yet astonished me again on my return. My mind was blown when the Bell Hop from the same Hotel we had last stayed at actually remembered me and my father from our first trip two years prior. Not only did the bellhop remember me and repeat stories that we shared with him before, but a waitress at one of the finer restaurants remembered me and my Dad as well. Keep in mind that literally hundreds of thousands of tourists visit yearly. How was this possible? These reunions were like meeting an old friend that you had missed for a while. My girlfriend was very impressed at how sincere and down to earth these folks are. The personal interactions experienced by her validated my claims and removed any doubt she may have had before she came. She too fell for Aruba’s charm and had become as enchanted as I was leaving us with magical and memorable experiences. We came back year after year and with every year that we visited our love for each other grew stronger. It was no longer a vacation spot the yearly ritual to return had become a part of our lives and an absolute necessity.

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After several years had passed, I had finally decided to profess my love to my then girlfriend and honor her in the best possible way I knew I could. In 2009 we had heard about the Flying Fishbone
in Aruba and wanted to experience what others were raving about. Well, if you like to have your candlelit table in the water while viewing the sunset to be accompanied by a very tasty meal then this is a place I would recommend to anyone seeking a romantic date. Although intimate to some, families and large groups are easily accommodated as well. As the night descended the lighting overlooking the water began to glow and the miniature palm trees decorated with lights came alive too. The stars twinkling above and pleasant trade winds gently blowing only added to the experience. Needless to say my Girlfriend and I found ourselves in that perfect, timeless moment to be forever etched into our memories…the stage had been set. Upon our return to Aruba in 2010, I decided to pop the question at one of our most romantic spots–The Flying Fishbone. I was very nervous and tried to be calm without letting on so I casually recommended us to eat there for dinner. I remember being so nervous that the little brown box of the engagement ring was making me nervous as I constantly checked my pocket to see if it was still there or if it fell out somehow. While being seated at our favorite table, in the water, I was still trying to think of how I was going to pop the question. I knew I had to do it, but how. I decided to pretend and go to the bathroom, but my intention was to really speak with the waitress and ask her to take pictures of us while I would be proposing. She was happy to help but suggested if I were also interested in having the ring in the box placed on a plate with “Will You Marry Me” written in chocolate syrup and a sparkler to boot. She also said that another couple were getting engaged there that evening as well and had agreed to the plate presentation. The plan was that they were to take our desert orders and that a staff member would unexpectedly approach me while waiting for desert to inform me that there was some trouble with the taxi we had ordered in advance to come pick us up after dining. I was to follow her, but secretly go to the kitchen for a last minute inspection of the plate and provide the engagement ring with the brown box. So all the pieces were in place. I tried to relax and not check my pocket as much as to not be so obvious. Thanks to my paranoia though I had to check one more time and thankfully I did because for whatever reason the box happened to be half way out of my pocket and could have fallen into the sea. Holy Cow! As if I wasn’t nervous enough….yikes! That was way too close–I would have been done for before I even started! Could not have been more freaked out! Then shortly after that the other couple getting engaged on my special night across the sand began their ritual. It didn’t help any that everyone in the restaurant started cheering for them and applauding. Thankfully that they were almost directly behind my wife so it was hard for her to see what was going on…the glasses of wine she drank didn’t hurt either. Me feeling nervous and thinking that somehow she was going to catch on to what I had planned I quickly said that they were celebrating a birthday. Hoping that would distract her and throw her off in case she had any suspicions. Incidentally, the restaurant that evening seemed much more crowded than the first time we went. This was it! no turning back now I have an audience of about thousand witnesses. Well, it felt that way anyway.

Dessert time finally arrived and so did my cue. In pre–rehearsed fashion a lady approached our table and said that there was some trouble with the taxi we ordered earlier and asked if I could follow her. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My wife looked a little puzzled and I pretended to be too, got up, and followed her. I gave them the engagement ring with the box and we all agreed that it was to go down in 2 minutes so I returned to my table. I played dumb and said that it was minor miscommunication. My girlfriend was seated facing the sea and myself, but I could see everything going on behind her. As if everything took place in slow motion I remember clearly my wife being caught up in the moment yet again and wore a pleasant smile of satisfaction. I noticed the water server, a young woman, positioning herself to my left side with the camera I gave her earlier. Then the moment of truth! as I saw the waiter slowly approaching with the plate and the sparkler set atop firing off I began to grab her hand and knelt on one knee in the water. My eyes welled up as I gazed upon this most beautiful human being and was grateful to have her in my life. As the waiter placed the plate before her I began to profess my undying love for her. As all eyes stared at me I drew the courage from the positive energy that filled the air that night and stated with conviction, ”Will you marry me?” With all the beauty that I fell in love with she at first had a quizzical look as she stared at the plate and then her eyes began to stream and stream and stream. It appeared that all my planning finally achieved success, but the patrons and myself included did not hear a “Yes!”. I did have to inform her that the other diners were waiting in breathless anticipation and it wouldn’t hurt letting me know too. The poor thing was so overwhelmed and caught up in the moment that she lost her ability to speak so she nodded up and down while smiling and crying. I proudly stood up and faced the gathering of warm anxious faces and said with confidence “She said Yes!” only to be met with a round of applause from the entire restaurant and even the other engaged couple came over to congratulate us. Other kind folks wanted to take our pictures and some of the women there were teary eyed themselves.

My Fiancee had revealed to me why she had a quizzical expression on her face. In all the excitement I forgot that she had ordered some kind of brownie desert and as it turns out the box the engagement ring came in was brown and was almost the same size of a brownie. I could not have planned that better myself. It did not register with her at first what was going on. It also didn’t help that the written proposal on the plate was stated as a condition of the sorts. The kitchen mistakenly wrote, “Would you Marry Me?” instead of “Will you Marry Me”. Till this day we laugh at the little things that made that event that much more special. We married 1 year later and have been celebrating the anniversary of our engagement at the same spot in the sea, at The Flying Fishbone, every year since.

The Flying Fishbone-Excellent staff, Excellent food and Excellent memories!