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Blog Home > Archive (June, 2017)

In this month’s Cayman Kind, we would like to introduce you to Michele (pronounced “Mi Ke’ le” for those of us who do not know Italian), the proud owner of Vivo Cafe & Restaurant.

Michele, who is originally from Italy, boldly immigrated to England at the age of 31 without understanding a word of English, to fulfill his desire to study culinary arts. Although he loved the culture and vibrancy that London is famously known for, like many Londoners he longed for sunshine and warmth, which quickly brought him to Cayman. Although he only planned for a short stay, he fell in love with the Island that he has now called home for over 6 years.

organic sodasAfter working for various restaurants on the Island, Michele decided to pursue his dream of owning his own in 2015. Thus Vivo Cafe was born. The word VIVO originates from the Latin vīvō and means 'alive' or 'to live'. Michele’s greatest passion in life, other than his beautiful family, is to educate his customers on the incredible health benefits of ‘live’ foods by offering organic vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free cuisine. He also strives to do this in the most eco-friendly way to our planet, and claims to have what he terms as the only “360 degree sustainable” restaurant in Grand Cayman. As an example, the serving plates are made from Kasha wood from a sustainable forest, the utensils from bamboo, and the napkins from wheat straw.

Coming from North American, I was naturally skeptical of the the idea that vegetarian or vegan food could satisfy my traditional Midwestern taste, no matter how I felt about sustainability. Michele was quick to point out that Vivo’s biggest fans are often devout carnivores who have never experienced quality vegetarian options. Vivo’s Trip Advisor reviews certainly backed this up with an astounding 96% Very Good or Excellent rating, and they are currently ranked #1 out of 18 restaurants in West Bay. But as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the coconut. Since locally sourced coconut is abundant on Grand Cayman, it is one of the staples on the menu, and is often used as a meat substitute. From my personal experience, both the coconut ceviche and coconut bacon were surprisingly delicious.

Next time you are in Cayman, stop by the restaurant and say hello to Michele. He loves to welcome new guests. Vivo is located on the beautiful Northwest shore of West Bay, and offers a peaceful and breathtaking view of the ocean from tables and a bar-style counter that faces the sea. You can visit their website here for more info.

view at vivo restaurant

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Cayman Girls Trip

Sometimes a girls trip is just what I need to relax, make a few wonderful memories, and eat delicious food with my favorite ladies.

What better destination to do all of these things than Grand Cayman? Once we had the destination and our group finalized, we also had to plan for travel and arrival times. With 9 women arriving on 3 separate flights on the same day, this step was an absolute necessity! 

After everyone made it to the island safely, we headed to Christopher Columbus where our refrigerator was already stocked with all of our special food needs to get us through the week, thanks to Kayann Stephens of My Kayman Concierge.

Later that night, our first dinner of the week was delivered to our condo by Angelo Guizio, owner of Edoardo’s Italian Restaurant – mouth watering dishes, no prep and easy clean-up!

When day two came, we were ready to soak up some sun and feel the sand between our toes! All it took was a few steps out of our room onto CCC's private beach.  

After a full day lounging on Seven Mile Beach we were ready for dinner. Tonight's stop was Calypso Grill  in West Bay. Thanks to Marcos Ebanks and his big taxi/van for nine (almost like it was made for us), there were no parking hassles at one of the most popular restaurants on the island! After a week of delicious eating, the ladies declared Calypso Grill to be the favorite!

On day three it was time for some serious shopping! The group headed to Georgetown to hit the jewelry stores. Kirk Freeport even brought out the champagne when they saw the sales adding up! Thanks Raj and Susan. The shopping wasn’t over without a stop at Camana Bay with lunch at The Brooklyn, and a look at the island from the sixth floor observatory Tower. The beautiful underwater mosaic mural wall makes for the perfect photo background. It is a truly beautiful work of art – not to be missed. Our dinner that night at Morgans, on the water at The Cayman Islands Yacht Club, was a perfect way to end the day.

Day four was our day on and in the water, boating to Stingray City, snorkeling the coral reef, lunch at Kaibo, and a stop at Starfish Point. Kayann, our concierge, came through once again. She set us up with Captain Chris Bailey of Cayman Adventure Tours, and sent us off from the Yacht Club with a platter of fresh fruit and warm wishes for a great adventure. Captain Chris took amazing professional photos of each of us with the stingrays, and got even the most fearful comfortable enough to kiss the rays!

After an amazing day on the water, dinner was a joint effort by all back at the condo, with each of us ready to relax for the evening. This girls trip turned high school slumber party on more than one night. What better way to enjoy the company of good friends, than sitting around in our PJs, sharing stories, and drinking wine? (Well, maybe that wasn’t part of high school!)

A long standing tradition at Christopher Columbus is the beach barbecue by Chef John. The chef, now in his 80s, with help from his many family members, serves a meal of chicken, ribs, salads, rice and beans and homemade pies that would be the envy of every backyard (in this case, beachside) cook! With a picture perfect sunset photo, Lisa, our office manager, was on hand to record our last night together before four of the girls headed home the next day.

Managing our five, but missing the four who went home, we journeyed to the South Sound for another shopping/browsing stop at Pure Art. This place is a must – a bit of old Cayman with a quirky and totally charming collection of everything from fine art to fun jewelry, beach signs, and accessories for the island home. After Pure Art, the serious shoppers were still in shopping mode, so we made a stop at the tee shirt shop, Sun Dog, and the Kennedy Gallery to view more fine art. 

During this trip, we had our share of delicious island cuisine accompanied by a myriad of tropical cocktails and plenty of wine, although the best part was making memories with friends. Kayann, our concierge, came through one last time after learning our interest of the benefits of coconut water, stopped by the condo with coconuts. They were peeled and ready for a straw, one for each of us. We found they tasted best when a splash of rum was poured into each – do the health benefits still prevail? We like to think so!

The best part of our girls trip was being together in a beautiful setting, laughing, sharing life stories, making new ones, and strengthening friendships. The trip was such a success, we are planning to return in two years to celebrate some milestone birthdays. And what better place to do it than this island paradise!

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