Bati Bleki October 1st, 2012

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. On Thursday, Café the Plaza will be celebrating its 21st anniversary. Over the years the Dutch café had nurtured a loyal local following, there to enjoy the almost-best-sate-in-town, with super friendly service in a casual ambiance. You will meet the two owners at the bar on Thursday, Hans Notter and Harry Koeman. Hans had to deal with some serious health challenges lately, but he will be there to meet and greet his guests, many of them met at the café, dated at the café, got married at the café, had kids in the café, and regularly bring these kids to play around the plaza while sipping cocktails and watching other people do the same. The café’s claim to fame is its training grounds function, as many of Aruba’s restaurateurs and entrepreneurs got their start as bartenders there. Before opening their own businesses and reaping success, they ‘trained’ at Hans’ and Harry’s expense: Chaos, Bingo, Fishes n More, 2 Fool & A Bull, just to name a few. Pa bien on your landmark achievement, we’re looking forward to a fabu get-together.

MY HOME, MY CASTLE. Expo Cas made the Renaissance Convention Center look small, the place was choking with products and people. I liked the Thiel Materials N.V. display of pavers with pica-boo grass, Anthony Thiel always prepares nicely for the expo, and the Office Systems new closets. Carlos Maduro has good taste in women’s shoes, I wanted to buy, before I realized he was selling the shelves not the stilettos!  Elmar & CMB partnered to market solar electricity systems for alternative clean energy and were received with unprecedented interest. Turn key price? Awg 24,000, for Awg 325 savings a months. Remembering that both Elmar and Caribbean Marketing Bank employ very smart business people, with the emphasis on biz, it’s definitely going to be beneficial for them. Will it be equally good for the consumers? Banker Cisco Quant says yes, 7% is a very low interest rate for that kind of money, besides Elmar can be trusted that systems will be reliable. I am however going to wait, before purchase. Banker Javier Wolter is my neighbor. If he puts the contraption up on his roof, I will too.

SANDEMONEUM. Brickell Bay’s plan for Beach Tennis Courts and retail is visibly taking shape, as construction is concluding around a recreation area with a bar, courts and shops. The small resort however remains for sale, for those who have big bucks, as owner Mike Posner wishes to at least double his investment, if not triple. Resort general manager, the full-of-himself Juan Keyter conceived the plan in which he would become a Moomba-competitor, sans view, operating a kind of hang-out, in plain view of the street traffic.  I called a number of time, left messages with inquiries about the date of completion, or retail space availability and never got any of my calls returned, Jeffrey Fingal, Juan’s lieutenant in the marketing department, also never answers any calls, why would he, if the boss doesn’t. The valuable Hooters & Benihana space, is still vacant, with a number of jewelers eyeing the place, but so far no one is rich enough to take it.

DON’T MIND ME I AM JUST RENOVATING. El Gaucho Argentine Grill is transforming the heart of the restaurant in the style the Caminito district, in Buenos Aires, with brightly painted sections, colorful tile work, cozy booths, covered with genuine cow hide, and lots of fun, creative touches. You will be impressed. Also Casa Tua Pizzaria is getting a total overall on Palm Beach with owners Victor & Daveed Nataf putting their great sense of décor to work having been in business there for eleven years. The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Casino & Spa will unveil two exciting restaurant upgrades in time for the high season, welcoming a new, upscale Mexican restaurant and a refurbished Ruinas del Mar. The plans include an inviting lounge situated on a floating deck over the existing reflecting pool, and a glowing bar with an extensive tequila selection hanging a sparkling shot glass chandelier.

HELP FOR DOGS, THE NATURAL WAY. The heat is tough on our four-legged friends, wearing a fur coat in the blazing sun, it’s also tick & flea season, so here is a piece of advice, so simple, you’ll laugh. Spray a vinegar solution on the pet. Mix 1 part water and 1 part white vinegar. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and use it to spray the pet’s whole body every day. This keeps fleas away because the insects don’t like the taste or smell of vinegar. You may also mix 1 tsp. of vinegar with 1 qt. of water and pour some in the pet’s drinking bowl. Keep the rest for future use. According to experts this keeps both fleas and ticks away for most pets and is safe. The vinegar changes the taste of the water slightly but not enough to make the animal stop drinking it. I know you want an expensive and complicated solution, some nuclear bomb for fleas and ticks, no need, simple white vinegar, and additionally, your pet will never suffer from kidney stones, since vinegar dissolves any calcification. You may also bath your Dushi with a homemade shampoo that contains vinegar to keep fleas away. Mix 1/3 cup glycerin, 1 cup lemon dish-washing liquid, 1 cup white vinegar and 1 quart water. Place the solution in a large bottle and shake to mix it thoroughly. According to Partnership for Animal Welfare, this shampoo adds moisture to dry skin, and kills the zoo.

MI PUEBLO ON THE RADIO. Every Saturday morning when I race to exercise at Aqua Windie’s starting at 8am, I catch the last ten minutes of Mi Pueblo on the radio, Magic 96.5 and find the program fascinating. Very sincere delivery, and always filled with interesting and informative personalities.   When I return from the pool and the supermarket – my winning Saturday morning combo – I listen to Ruvette Dirksz, this girl has a fun radio personality, playing great music, delivering easy commentary, love your show!

PROMOTIONS. Peggy Navarrette Harms, is now the new marketing coordinator at Amazonia Churrascaria as Irma Bijen returned to ECO Destination Management, where she has worked before and feels like a fish in water. Peggy who worked for De Palm Tours for quite some years, and for a restaurant or two, is well suited for her new adventure, good luck girls, go show them how it’s done!

BATTLE OF THE FOOD TRUCK, A SUCCESSFUL EVENT. The Battle of the Food Trucks unfolded on the parking lot of the Trop Club & Casino over the weekend, as nine island snack trucks and snack shacks  participated in the event co-sponsored by Presidente Beer, from the Dominican republic. With wall to wall entertainment, the trucks culinary offerings were judged in two rounds, on Friday night by a group of visiting American food experts and on Saturday night by a number of local food-maven. Tia Rosa, a family enterprise serving Patacon, a sandwich made with slices of twice fried green plantain instead of bread, mixing ham, cheese, some lettuce, tomato, onions and a variety of sauces, won the first prize, while the Hollywood Smokehouse and Chalo Burger shared the second place, the smokehouse with a series of delectable slides, filled with beef brisket, pulled pork, grilled grouper and sausage, accompanied by zingy sauces, and Chalo with a giant tasty burger. Chachi Snack, in the third place was praised for his chicken piccata laced with peanut sauce! Suyene Tromp Executive Administrative Assistant of the Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino had the pleasure of recruiting the trucks and convincing them to move from their regular locations around the island, for just one night, while Casino Manager Winfred Trimon, enjoyed the incredible traffic it brought to the parking lot and the Trop Casino.