GORGEOUS NEW STORE. The new Eva Boutique for elegant Gottex beachwear and bathing suits checked into the space diagonally across Fort Zoutman. The store is also nicely stocked with Joseph Ribkoff clothing, and displays tasteful accessories and sandals. In other words Liza Blok did it again, quietly, without telling anybody but I found out anyway when I went to the Censo two weeks ago!
TASTE OF TEXAS. L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chop House currently hosts a very dynamic celebrity chef for Taste of Texas, and will be serving his special signature recipes from July 24th to August 16th, in collaboration with Certified Angus Beef. The three-week promotion is an annual much-anticipated affair, introducing a different, exciting, celebrity chef each time. Chef proprietor Antonio Vidal is the star of the show for 2015, he owns Ranch 616 in Austin, Texas, and runs the kitchen with great exuberance and ease. This super-size Texan with smiling blue eyes met the press on Friday afternoon for a little informal chat about food and life and totally charmed his audience with his passion for cooking and his fun personality. Embark, Savor and Linger, are his three favorite words for appetizer, main course and dessert, indicating that he is set to deliver a sublime food experience. With the culinary team at the Renaissance Marina Tower, the chef also hosted a cocktail party and tasting at sunset, on the resort’s picturesque pool deck. Guests lined up for tapa-size complimentary hors d’oeuvres, paired with nice wines, and returned again and again for Chef Antonio’s Sopa de Fideo, Beef Shoulder Tenderloin Tostones, Crispy Bang Bank Shrimp and Slaw and the totally awesome Texas Two-Step Pork and Beef Tacos, with caramelized onions, peppers, tomatoes, and guacamoles on corn tortillas. The chef prides himself on original sauces and unique desserts, so make your way to L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chop House within the next three weeks, before Ranch 616 reclaims him!
VISITOR ON A MISSION. Alvin Koolman, our former Valero Energy refinery manager is in Aruba spearheading a committee in charge of evaluating the reopening of the now defunct refinery. Koolman is an independent energy consultant, and we couldn’t get any other information from him, except, there is interest, I cannot say who.
DOLBY ATMOSPHERE. The Palm Beach Plaza Mall cinemas are already pretty fantastic, with comfortable bucket seats and great sound. Imagine they have just improved them with Dolby Atmos, which is short for atmosphere, and has movie-lovers around the world all excited. Dolby Atmos is a sound format that engulfs the viewer in a bubble of sound, making the movie-viewing experience more immersive and multidimensional. Noelia Alsina, sales and marketing coordinator, invited friends of the theaters for a private event, starting with a cocktail party, the moved the crowd into the premium large format auditorium, for a screening of Ant-Man, in CXC, Caribbean Cinemas Extreme. Then they came around with popcorn and soft drinks to make us even happier. Sure, you have to wear 3D glasses to enjoy the “real” surround sound, and to see yourself fully immersed in the action. Your kids would love it!!
SUSHI IN TANKI LEENDERT. We recently went for lunch at E Sushi Shap, in Tanki leendert, which advertises Japanese cuisine with an Aruba and Caribbean taste. Red-haired Chef Andriani Geerman made us some tasteful salads and rolls; they looked beautiful, tasted fresh and were reasonably priced. The restaurant is small and intimate and the chefs work in full view of diners, to background Reggae music. I have had sushi by Chef Geerman before, at Nos ClubHuis, Hadicurari, at a special event serving Lion Fish dishes. I promised myself to stop one day at Tanki Leendert, and I did. The place wasn’t busy, so we hardly had to wait, and the experience overall was very enjoyable.
VISITING ARUBA RECONNECTING WITH FRIENDS. Scott and Ann Derrickson stopped in Aruba with their adorable kids for a summer vacation, on their way from Myrtle Beach, to St. Thomas. Yes, Scott is returning to work for the Marriott International in the Caribbean. They went diving, they sailed, they spent hours on the beach and in the water, and every evening in the company of their local friends. Mashelle Zeolla and her son Nicolas joined the party, flying over for vacation from Dubai, entertaining her friends with emirati life-style stories and incredible past anecdotes from her Cairo, Egypt saga. Scott and Ann promised to return more frequently now that they are just an island away. Mashelle invited us to visit Dubai, and tour the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, and the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, an Autograph Collection Hotel, United Arab Emirates, where her husband Rick is currently employed.
JOINED AHATA. The house of Mosaic joined the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association and in honor of that happy affiliation Fernando Mansur hosted a small champagne reception at the residence, inviting press members to mingle with AHATA and ATA personalities. The Mosaic team recently got a special American Meeting Planners’ award for its breakfast at Arikok Park setup, creating magical décor and ambiance in the wilderness for a visiting incentive group, on behalf of the Aruba Convention Bureau. Enjoying the casual get together mom Marjory Mansur, auntie Faride Mansur, and collaborators Jerusha Rasmijn, Bettina Daal, Joseline Croes, Jontsje Tilma, Maria Tesresa Madariaga, Stephanie Koole, Maria Silva, Vanessa Rasmussen and lucky guy Jim Hepple!! Cars were graciously parked by Alvin Howell, for Whooz Next, his son’s security company on contract with the House of Mosaic.
MISS TEEN IS CROWNED. Cas di Cultura was rocking Sunday night for the final event of Miss Teen, with Hilary, Daniela, Wenyi and Shevonne, landing glittery crowns and well-earned titles. After a very strong opening number featuring pirate girls in a fantasy dance sequence the evening slowed down considerably. While we liked the two emcees, and the stage decor, we thought the evening was just too long. With the farewell speeches and the gown presentations taking forever we found it challenging to remain seated in our chairs. So try to speed it up, ban hair weaves and extensions, tone down the va-va-voom factor, eliminate the jerky hair flipping, and you got yourself a winner, after all, it is a junior pageant. Jolanda Salas who won the title years ago reminded me that Miss Teen gowns at the time, were required to have puffed sleeves with fancily trimmed cuffs, keeping the couture prim and proper.
IN DIRE NEED OF A FACELIFT. Both the California Lighthouse and the Visitor Center at Arikok Park are in need of TLC. I know that some big restoration is planned for the lighthouse, but meanwhile, perhaps someone could improve the look of the haphazard red and white barricades around the faro, and get a coat of paint on the sun-bleached wooden walls and decks of the neglected visitor center?? [email protected]