Bati Bleki, June 2nd, 2014

MAKE A RESERVATION AT IKE’S BISTRO. We are all invited to join visiting celebrity Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi, you didn’t guess, did you, from Italy, and our very own local Chef Ever de Peña of Ike’s Bistro, for a 5-Course Chef Tasting Menu on June 7th and 8th. Ike’s Bistro has been completely refurbished and revamped and will be the perfect setting for a culinary adventure. The chefs, says Carla van Loenen, Sales & Marketing, Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, will bring the Ike’s Bistro concept of Mediterranean & Caribbean fusion to the next level. Chef Yoji Tokuyoshi worked for many years in Modena, Italy, in a world famous restaurant, and he is ready to rock our world, because his cuisine is the meeting or the clash between the best products of Italy and his Japanese roots, not to mention the influence of his master chef mentors. Ever de Peña, one of Aruba’s youngest most talented chef is a wizards of that Carib-Med genre, and you should make a reservation now, because Ike Bistro will be selling out fast.

REAL PAIN IN THE BUTT. It aggravated me to see this week a very professional web site describing Aruba as One Tiny Island, One Huge Terrible Secret. The website, therealaruba.org, and the documentary on YouTube focused on the Death Chamber in the Wayaca Veterinary Clinic, designed to hold unwanted animals until they are humanely euthanized by the vets. True, I am not proud of the way we treat animals on the island, but for every unwanted dog we have one very loved one which is a 50% success story. Painting the island in such a negative light by a two-goodie-shoe, loud-mouth movie maker by the name of Melanie Bridgens, a bored un-christian Christian from Pennsylvania, may greatly HARM the PEOPLE of this island. And how are you going to feed the people Aruba once your misguided form of protest harms our livelihood? Why don’t you undertake the plight of the orangutans in Borneo where over 50% of the forest covering that island has been logged. If you harm that island’s tourism economy with your sensational reporting on the disappearance of the endangered pygmy elephants the filthy rich Sultan would still be able to feed his people, or just take off their head off, under Sharia law, whichever comes first. And by the way I am glad you solved all USA related issues that you have time to come down here and help us solve some of our own. Bottom line, please remember if you adopt pets, you must spay or/and neuter them.

EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE. One of our trophy hotels has been listed for sale with an international brokerage firm, and there is no shortage of would-be-suitors for that pretty purchase. I am sure that the present ownership intends to continue to run the property as a management company, once the real estate is sold. Evidently, ownership wants to maximize its position by selling, and continuing to manage the successful operation, because it believes it has a trophy asset. Now listed and marketed worldwide, who knows who will buy it? Whoever wants to pay the most. And there will be plenty of interest and perhaps the place will change hands before the end of the year. One member of the local business community told me that his local group of investors is not chasing, but that the government has to make a stand and pass a law banning additional all-inclusives! One more all-inclusive will be the death of Palm Beach restaurants, in the same way that the proliferation of kiosks on Palm Beach induced retail into coma, my source says.

POLE SITTING IN ITS 22ND YEAR. Would you believe 22 years have passed since the introduction of that crazy pole sitting ritual. Crazy but effective because it raises substantial funds for charity, this year for the charming Bon Nochi Drumi Dushi reading project. I visited twice, on Friday and Saturday. Zahira Zaandam volunteered to sit for 12 hours for a generous donation from Caribbean Mercantile Bank. When I returned the following day she was still there apparently she did not have the heart to abandon her friends. Good girl, she sat 25 hours. Jan Peter Rijnsaardt started the competition when he worked at Cafe the Plaza, and at the time they were sitting 65 hours. Last year they broke the 88 hour record, and they’re still there this Sunday afternoon with retired Dutch marine Kees Verwater, last man sitting. VIP pole sitter Minister Michelle Hooyboer Winklaar sat for four-hours straight on Saturday, wow. I could not do twenty-minutes, and without my phone?! Forget about it. Busy and efficient volunteer Nizana Solognier sported different stylish outfits both days and Olga Buckley reported it was a lot of organizational work, nevertheless she is happy that her project came into public consciousness and into publicity, full blast.

ASPARAGUS TWO WAYS. Last week we enjoyed the traditional asparagus a la flamande, at Screaming Eagle Restaurant, where the white Dutch asparagus was served with ham, boiled egg, young potatoes, parsley and clarified butter as an appetizer or main course. We also indulged our passion for the queen of vegetables with the irresistible Oeufs en Cocotte, egg cooked in a ramekin in the oven, covered with freshly shaved black truffle, white Dutch asparagus and toasted brioche. It was divine. Truffles says owner Sven Schneider come from France or Italy and are a very special delicacy. The Chinese he says, inundated the market with faux-truffles, but the ones served in his kitchen are the real McCoy. Chef Erwin Husken dropped in to check how we liked the food. We liked it. Then Sven told us that starting Monday, every Monday, all wines and champagne by the bottle are sold at florin prices instead of the usual dollar price. The restaurant wants to encourage guests to come in for nice wine and perhaps an appetizer, but no strings attached just come in and enjoy an expensive bottle for its price in florins.

NOISE ON PALM BEACH. Senior Frog’s Aruba got fined the third time for a noise violation this last week. According to attorney Darren Crouch, in December, a court-case decision limited the level of noise at the nightclubs on Palm Beach to 90 decibel at the speaker, which would allow those staying in the rooms across the street an interrupted good night sleep, with the cacophony kept to a minimum. But twice this month Senior Frog’s went over the limit and was fined Awg 5,000 plus/plus. The Sands at Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa now managed by Suzi Gnecco escaped that fate, apparently they are complying with the decree and only playing ear-pleasing sounds.

GEARING UP FOR OPENING. I met general manager Richard Velasco at the supermarket, he was shopping, escorted by his beautiful wife. You will be the first one invited to the grand opening of the new hotel, he said. Richard was referring to the former Aruba Westin Resort & Casino now Hotel Riu Palace Antillas, which is getting ready to welcome guests, no date set yet. Richard’s love affair with his resort goes back to the days of the Aruba Palm Beach, maybe even prior to that! RC@visitaruba.com