HI and HI Again

SeaBKsteakAnother long overdue post! So overdue in fact, that we have visited twice now, and I will in fact be heavily referencing the original visit, since I wasn’t able to get to all of the things that I wanted to revisit on round 2. And where is this place that I speak of? Aruba of course, and the Holiday Inn Resort more specifically.

Originally, we did some recon last March/April to check out the “updated” Holiday Inn, and to give an all inclusive a try, with the hopes of maybe bringing all the kiddos with us in the fall. It went so well, that we booked a trip for the seven of us for the fall, right from the hotel room via Skype.

Since this is a food blog, I’ll leave the long hotel description to our TripAdvisor post, and focus on the food/beverage situation.

Where to start! Well, drinks were plentiful, as creative as could be if requested, and more than strong enough.  Banana daquiris and sangria were always great treats, and they always had plenty of Pino Grigio on hand for me, vodka and sodas for L. I was particularly fond of their sangria recipe, as it had lots of bits of fruit, a nice taste of cinnamon, and not too sweet.

The food was more than satisfactory, delicious on the whole in fact, but lets be honest, not gourmet, nor did we need or expect it to be.

Here’s the 411:

Corals Buffet Breakfast: Plentiful, lots of variety, with the highlight being little arepas, as well as shredded beef, which made appearances at most of our AM adventures.

Corals Buffet Dinner: Standard fare, good for families and kids, and they had Bitterballen! Dutch treat of scalding lava meat/gravy balls. *for goodness sakes wait till the damn things cool down before biting!*

Oceanside Bar: Spent quite a few afternoons there, delicious Greek salad with sooooft pita and tasty dressing (this was not on the menu on our fall trip), overly heavy, greasy fish and chips, wings, which I liked, but L wasn’t as keen on, they remind me of the Fried Chicken TV Dinner! Giant chocolate chip cookies, that were okay, but not quite worth the calories/sugar coma, hot dogs and quesadillas also very delicious. Gyro which we tried in the fall: Superb!

Seabreeze Restaurant: Great for lunch or dinner, wonderful open wall restaurant, fantastic service, enjoyed the salmon, steaks, fried chicken, the Aruban Cuban sandwich and many other dishes, all presented beautifully and no real gongs on anything… oops except the tuna tartare, which just had a little too much sesame oil on it. And the desserts! Wow, we don’t usually indulge, but… coconut creme brulee, cheesecake, pineapple carpaccio with ice cream, and who could forget the key lime pie.  Just amazing, and don’t forget to add a delicious espresso to round out the flavours. Special mention to Eddy, he goes above and beyond and we were grateful for his extra assistance when we needed it.

And now the unexpected best for last: Pizza Now! A service at the Seabreeze and Oceanside Bar where you can get a million pizzas (okay, not that many, but L did try to hit that number) brought to you whenever you wanted! Oh the joy of the thin, crispy, hot crust, topped with either a standard assembly from the menu, or design your own. I cannot do the taste of these things justice here. The brilliant bonus for us was the fact that they have big bowls of chili flakes on request, and the spicy deliciousness of this was almost too much to bear. They haunted us from spring until our recent revisit weeks ago, where L recreated the million pizza munch.

So, although the food scene outside the resorts in Aruba is delicious and exciting as we have detailed in a previous post, the Holiday Inn with the all inclusive option proved to be quite rewarding too, and doesn’t stop you from venturing out to your favourite offsite treats for a couple of nights.

Those pizzas aren’t going to eat themselves (though they would if they could!), get to the HI Aruba as soon as you can!

K&L 😀

Connecticut… you’re out of order!

blackduck2012Totally out of order! Because we have to go waaaaay back to October 2012 for the goods on this post, despite already writing up the new years festivities. So…we had designs on revisiting friends and food down Connecticut way again, as we had the summer before (see posts Connecticut Connections and Hangover Town: Table for 2 ), but the summer got away from us and October ended up being the last month in the calendar that we were willing to make the drive before the risk of snow was in the mix.

Plans fell into place and we set out on the road early on a Friday morning, late October. The travel was long, but without issue and we got to try subs from a place called Jreck Subs, recommended by some contractors in Home Depot just after we crossed the boarder and thought there may be a Subway in there like there are in Canada. Now let me just say that in the states on the highway, there is a Subway about every mile it seems, so no problem finding our old familiar friend, but why not try something different. We thought they were saying “Direct Subs” so it’s lucky we actually found the right place! Italian subs on jalapeno sub bun… very delicious and different.

After many hours of driving, including locating a wine store near our destination to procure important supplies, we arrived at the hotel.  A quick beverage and freshening up and off we went to visit friends and critters. We got an awesome welcome from all! Then off to haunt the Black Duck again… this time I remember the food, but forgot to memorialize it with pictures.  All I can say is make sure you have their blue cheese dip, never had one as good as theirs anywhere! Great food and company and some late night visiting.  Turns out I’m allergic to something at the new place our friends moved to, but it was so warm that we could actually sit on the porch, which was the only way I would have been able to stay.

*Unfortunately, about a week later the Duck was almost under water due to Hurricane Sandy, and our friends were without power for quite a few days. They of course got through it with their usual sense of humour and if you can’t change it, just get on with it attitude!

Back to hotel… LATE! But up at okay time. Found a squash court/fitness centre to enjoy so we spent some time there “detoxifying”… I mean working out. We then decided we were too hungry, and it was too late to go back and get ready to go for lunch, so we went straight to the Valencia Luncheria, the delicious home of arepas and guasacaca sauce noted in our hangover post. And it wasn’t there!!! Is this another Snacky’s??? Nope, the arrow said it was just down the street and bigger and better than ever. And now licenced! Woo hoo! Batidos and sangria please! Along with all the other favourites from last year.

Later on, we had another visit where we were introduced to one of our now favourite cheeses: bellavitano balsamic vinegar , try it! Then we tried to go to  Wilson’s BBQ featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives, but they were closing. So we found a pizza place, oddly named World’s John’s Best Pizza, and ordered a large so we could have some for breakfast, but ate the whole thing… it was that good.

The next morning found us at Super Duper Weenie for our second visit before hitting the road for home.  We had a Chicago dog again, tried a Californian dog, and had some of their fresh cut fries.  Very tasty, but not the level of deliciousness of our experience the year before, when we wolfed our first Chicago dog in the jeep. A good base however for the long trip ahead.

Made it back to the great white north safe and sound. Very much enjoyed Connecticut 2012! Should we get an unexpected urge to drive about 20 hours in the span of a couple of days, we would go back there for sure! Hopefully the Duck is dry!

K&L 😀
Black Duck Cafe on Urbanspoon

Is this the only Snacky’s in Aruba???? (Update!)

Snacky's is goneYes! Well, it WAS the only Snacky’s in Aruba 😦  Sadly, on superfoodies second trip to Aruba in October, we wandered down Palm Beach on Tuesday looking forward to a return visit to the little shack on the sidewalk. It was there, but locked up!  We dragged ourselves back to our hotel area and went back to Bugaloe Pier, which never disappoints.

Now the year before, the proprietor sometimes didn’t quite open at the times he said he would, so we had hope that this was the case, and were anxious to head back the next morning.  Which we did… only to find the same thing, Snacky’s very closed for business. Instead of continuing the daily torture, L popped into a shop near the shack and inquired.  They confirmed the worst.  Snacky’s don’t live here anymore.

You might think that being so close to South America it would be easy to locate another vendor of delicious arepas, empanadas and batidos, but you would be wrong and as disappointed as we were.

Fortunately since our first visit, we have mastered the art of the batidos and the arepa, so all was not lost, and L says he likes the way I make them better than anyone’s including Valencia Luncheria in Connecticut (which we did get to visit a few weeks after returning from Aruba, so we got our fix at last).  I choose to believe he is telling the truth 🙂

I imagine if we find ourselves back in Aruba, which I’m sure we will, we will have to check back, just in case it was a temporary spat between owner and shack… hopefully they have made up by then, and are making beautiful music… I mean delicious snacks…. together again.

K&L 😀