BATI BLEKI BUZZ, November 24th, 2015

OPPOSITES ATTRACT. Dutch fashion designer turned teacher Mirte Engelhard, gave a six-week long course on the island at Atelier 89, in Oranjestad. As the finale of her couture experience here Elvis Lopez, the creative genius at the head of Atelier 89, decided to recruit support for his idea of producing a runway show in San Nicholas, in the street, under the stars, at the foot of an historical building, now under renovation by the Monument Fund. Elvis made it happen with the help of Maria Silva of Vibrations PR and many other culture and art related icons, including the Minister of Tourism, who helped bring the spectacular show to the too-quiet, nothing-ever-happening town. The show opened with beautiful singer Raphaela known from her role in the short local film Abo So. As she sang Mirte showed off her own collection, for the hip professional business woman, designed in dark city colors, with many surprising, sexy elements. Following Mirte’s collection, her students introduced their creations, each of them showing off from 4 to 15 pieces, and we were totally impressed by the fashion-forward ideas and the perfect execution of the garments, all true to the “Opposites Attract” theme.  Fresh fashion designers included Jamilla Phillip, with a sporty collection titled Flumes; Maureen Tjon Sie Kie, with a collection titled Always a Match, pairing Eastern and Western elements; Diva Candice Richardson, showed a fun frilly Creative collection; Velvet Zoe Ramos presented a Semblance of Chaos, and after the break Caithlin Chong, with her collection I am no Nedd, featuring recycled jeans fabric; Mena Dirksz explored the Young in Every Age, and Ligia Violenus, revealed Design Within, just before the Greek inspired  Tharros collection by Charlene Croes. The finale with designer Darwin Winklaar, presented 15 models on stage, with styles dedicated to his mom, and inspired by Coco Chanel. Back To Violeta was a complex and sophisticated masterpiece and surprised audiences with its freshness and originality. Champagne during the show was yummy. Elvis and Maria thought about everything. FINALLY, we shouldn’t have gone to Saco Di Felipe after the event. It was greasy and sinful, it weighted heavily on our conscience, all night. And crabby Bobby who runs the place wouldn’t let us use his bathroom. What kind of San Nicholas hospitality is that? But overall we had a great time!!

DINNER AT L.G. SMITH’s STEAK & CHOP HOUSE. Zugheila Lindborg invited us for dinner recently. It was a surprise. We thought it will be an introduction to chef Augusto Riofrio Mapelil and a consequent tasting. As it turned out it was a private press dinner. We sat around, talked and chewed, drank quite a bit too. So what does the press talk about when no one is watching? Tito Lacle bragged about Noticia Cla and its 7,000 daily users. He seems happy to be doing what he does. Nelson Speed Andrade reflected on the reopening of the refinery, expressing his full support in the event the government found a buyer. Some other conversations, I missed, having to run back down into the street when I realized I paid for parking of the wrong car. Duh. Anyway, Lady Z. was the perfect hostess, she agreed to share the CAB ® Steak & Blue Cheese Bruschetta with onion, roasted tomato jam, spinach, and Kalamata olives with me, then we split that day’s special, slow cooked, juicy, tender short ribs. Chef Mapelli came around to introduce himself to press members. The recently arrived Peruvian-born culinary wizard talked about his plans to tweak the L.G. Smith’s Steak & Chop House menu and continue offering top Certified Angus Beef cuts, tasty sides, super-delicious starters and sinful desserts. Mapelli, a personal friend of Aruba’s Iron Chef Teddy Bouroncle, Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, worked in various countries in South America for the Renaissance and the Starwood brands, but when he heard about the island from his fellow-Peruvian friend, he responded favorably to the Aruba Renaissance offer to come live here and contribute his talent to the stylish restaurant which recently underwent a facelift, with new China and refreshed decor. Peruvian cuisine is among the most varied and best in the world, and I say, if the Chef hails from Peru, you can bet on it, that he can cook!! L.G. STEAK & Chop House: 523 6195.