Bati Bleki weekly Recap, July 17th, 2016

The Chophouse is officially open, at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa

The Chophouse is officially open, at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa

This coming Wednesday, July 6th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm, the Cohen family members will welcome friends of the resort and local dignitaries to the Chophouse, the new incarnation of the Manchebo French Steakhouse.

Legendary Hotelier Ike Cohen created the French Steakhouse in the 70’s when French cuisine was all the rage. It changed and evolved over the years, introducing the south American style Churrasco steak with Chimichuri sauce, and taking Snapper Veronique in cream sauce with grapes off the menu.

But this time, the change is more than just a menu item, it is a true transformation.

The dining room has been completely redone, from floor tiles, to light fixtures, and the elegant dark wood trim on the columns and walls. New furniture including comfortable banquettes, crisp linen, and modern glassware, dinnerware and silver were purchased; the place is a symphony of cream and chocolate colors, shining glass and live piano music.

Pianist Eddy Samson says that even his 70 year old piano was renovated, and continues to occupy a shiny spot in the heart of the restaurant.

The bar area at the Chophouse is dedicated to Japanese food with chef Mylene Lapinid. Known as, Omakase, the intimate Japanese sushi bar is now slightly bigger, offering seating along the bar top, or at high top tables.

We visited the Chophouse last week and because we were a sizable group we got to taste everything. I started with the Alkaline Salad, I know, strange name, it’s a healthy black quinoa and mushroom salad designed to help restore the body’s Ph, I loved it. We also tried the mini Keshi Yena, served in a cast iron pot. All appetizers were generous and super tasty from a mountain of Calamari Rings to a delicious Beef Tataki. The famed grilled Churrasco was a crowd-pleaser and the Cajun Tuna was met with applause. We liked the sides best, we got one of each, the grilled asparagus, the roasted Brussels sprouts the mashed sweet potato, it tasted like Thanksgiving, and the cauliflower au gratin!

The meal started with an inviting bread basket and two kinds of butter spreads and concluded with an Apple Strudel a la mode. Ike would have been pleased, because we finished everything on our plates.

The girls/boys in the dining are always sweet, thank you Phyllis, Joreine and Harold for taking such good care of us!

Executive Chef Ever de Pena told me that the menu is now simpler and healthier in the spirit of the time, and that he intends to tweak it every few months to make it more seasonal, and to give diners more choices. So far, having been opened for two weeks, the Keshi Yena and the Rib Eye Steak are the menu best sellers, in competition with the Almond Crusted Grouper, and  the Butternut Squash Bisque!

Congratulation to the F&B department, it’s a big change, after 50 years, but I have to say that it feels organic, and just right.

For al fresco diners, the Chophouse features a small outdoor patio and serves romantic dinners on the beach. The restaurant just reopened June 17th, so make your reservations at Tel: +(297) 582-3444

An Old Story Making Waves, or the shxt in, shxt out project!

Once upon a time there was a minister in charge of the local dump and in an attempt to reduce the volume of trash in the Parkitenbos landfill he approached the makers of automated greenhouse and nursery equipment, from Tennessee, or perhaps they approached him, to purchase FLUFF MAKERS, “designed to convert baled or compressed materials into usable media ready for potting.” In other words, in his great wisdom, he decided to apply an unproven technology to the island’s trash challenge, and signed his name on the dotted line committing the island to the investment.

That happened ten years ago, under the yellow party flag.

The plan which reportedly cost 28 million florins never worked well. The machinery did not separate the trash, and did not remove any contaminants from the mess; it just changed the consistency of the material. Of the three lines installed, only one managed to work part time, blowing fluff all over the place. Then the government changed its flag to green and the yellow-tinted plant and plan were abandoned.

Because that’s how it works here: Yellow government handles yellow-colored projects. Green government only favors green-hued projects, and turns its nose on others.  As you know, the colors don’t mix!

And that’s exactly why the current MinInfra has been dragging his heels on the last payment of 1.8 million florins, owed to Bouldin & Lawson, the American manufacturers of the famous fluff machines, and this week the court reiterated, that the money was due, and that government color or mind changes did not matter.

B&L delivered what they promised. The fact that it did not work well had nothing to do with them, because they delivered exactly what Booshi Wever bought; I guess he believed he could eat soup with a fork!

So the ten year old case of a wasted waste processing plant that never worked made headlines again this week. And some politician attempted to link that debacle to the EcoTech and EcoGas projects, which are totally unrelated, because they are 100% privately funded, and have nothing to do with fluff.

Bottom line, Bouldin & Lawson, the garden and nursery experts that were hired to reduce Aruba’s garbage volume, must be paid, and if it weren’t for the stubbornness and false pride of the officials we could be making fluff right now.

ATARDI for sunsets and romantic dinners

First of all congratulations to Romeo Penacino, who is now the executive chef of the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino. I spoke to him this week, and he did not even mention the fact that he was promoted. The man is not just a master chef, he is also very humble!

ATARDI started its journey here as Simply Fish, a toes-in-the-sand restaurant at the edge of the water, at one of Aruba’s most popular resorts. And because all beaches are public and cannot be built on, or obstructed, the resort operates a pop up operation nightly, trusting the beach to sun worshippers until 4pm, then staffers arrive to set up tables and chairs three feet from the water, in time for sunset and romantic dinner!

They break it all down at night, restoring the beach to its pristine emptiness.

Last year, Simply Fish Restaurant was deemed perhaps too simple. Then following some market research, the restaurant was given a new name, besides comfortable new furniture, white linens, fire torches and a more refined dinner menu.

We visited servers Oscar and Fanny at ATARDI this week. They report the repositioning worked, and the number of dinners on the beach is up. Guests love the setup and menu items and come back often for Lobster Tail served swimming in a pool of lobster bisque with chunky roasted potatoes and fresh asparagus, or the delicate Macadamia Crusted Grouper, with bok choy and black quinoa chaufa in a creamy red curry sauce. I just described our dinner menu to you. It was divine.

Other main course that caught our eye and were recommended by Oscar, the Blackened Mahi Mahi with ajo blanco, and roasted red pepper sauce, or the Lamb Tenderloin, with roasted pumpkin, asparagus and pear, au jus.

The Atardi menu includes many contemporary touches, which pair nicely with the classic recipes in dishes such as Lobster Salad with apple and celery, or the Tropical Bouillabaisse with rich seafood in coconut milk, saffron sauce.

That classic and contemporary theme weaves its way across the menu, making it all sound both, familiar & fresh. Example: Salmon with roasted potatoes, and green beans, that’s the classic part, escorted by orange and fennel salad, orange-mango sauce, that’s definitely new!

For dessert we tried the coconut cake, with coconut-white chocolate filling between layers of vanilla cake, coated with toasted coconut, sitting in a cute puddle of pineapple sauce. Wowow.

The coffee was great, a real espresso, we must have had wine with dinner and because we enjoyed it so much, I don’t remember what it was

Atardi, meaning late afternoon, early evening, in Papiamento means a lot to locals, it is an inspiring tune by the father of our culture Padu del Caribe, have a listen and picture yourself having dinner on the beach!

Show broadcast on social media.

Nahr media and Vibrations PR collaborated on a recent video production documenting a dialogue and interesting conversation with different points of view around a dinner table at Fusion, Alhambra Casino & Shops. Dinner guests included singer Levi Silvanie, columnists Rona Coster and Arien Rasmijn, musician Sergio Jansen and singer songwriter Pearl Dumfries. They enjoyed great food and discussed music in general and their personal preferences in particular, while having appetizers and main courses. They never got to dessert. The footage will be aired on social media. Thank you Fusion for the gracious hospitality, and thank you Maria Silva for the opportunity to break bread with talented people.

Mark Your Calendar

ATECH Coming back September 15th to 17th, for three days of key note speakers and conference events. Super Early Bird badges are for sale right as we speak. Tristan Every reports that more than 100 international startups signed up for chance to demonstration and pitch their ideas, out of those, 12 were selected to participate in the conference, and compete in the demo pitch championship. Tristan is devoting his time 100% to ATECH and just concluded his stint at the government Bureau of Innovation., an imposter

 I recently got an e-mail regarding investments in Aruba, courtesy of LandAruba website, but no, it was not the government, it was a Venezuelan-born developer ‘borrowing’ the government’s name for the purpose of presenting his own projects. The e-mail introduced Ankor condo hotel, and Solarium Suites exclusive realty, which I have never heard of. He also advertised: “Buy a piece of paradise, the BEST investment in Aruba at the lowest price,” and continued to say that his “projects are made by the best professionals in the business, with a unique style that sets them apart in the island.” He answered the POR QUE ARUBA and followed it with Razones Para Invertir en ArubaIt’s all good, but why under LandAruba’s name?? Apparently, Armando Mucci, has been here for a long time, but he did NOT learn not to over-promise and he did NOT learn not to infringe.

Pika’s corner offers local food

Pika’s Corner, on Palm Beach, with Chef Creutzberg is in the kitchen, is your best bet for local food at reasonable prices. Hubert Solagnier opened Pika’s Corner recently. He tells great stories, how he escaped disaster when he managed to successfully sell his Sport’s Bar at Brickell Bay, and how at a funeral, he heard that the old Palm Beach Refreshments restaurant was available for sale. He also met the maker of pallet wood furniture on time, when he needed tables and chairs for his new operation. In a nutshell, a lucky guy! Hubert now serves local cuisine, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from that great location. So next time a visitor asks you where he/she can have local food, send them to Hubert for Sopi Carni or Galina Stoba, with Funchi or Pan Bati, and awa cu lamunchi. The chalk board has a list of daily special including stewed goat, tongue, tripe, cucumber or pork, and different soups every day. Keshi Yena Hubert says always sells out first. He is also planning a different, more detailed dinner menu for adventurous visitors who want to try local specialties! Sunday BBQ: Don’t forget he serves BBQ every Sunday.



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July 17, 2016
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