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If you’re vegan (or even vegetarian), you know how hard it can sometimes be to find restaurants that cater to your needs. At Christopher Columbus Condos, we want your vacation in Grand Cayman to be about relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, not about struggling to find a place to eat. To help you out, we created this guide of some of our favorite restaurants and cafes that offer vegan menu items:

Vivo

You don’t have to go far to enjoy vegan meals at this cafe—it’s only five minutes from Christopher Columbus Condos! Vivo offers delicious meals made from locally-grown ingredients and gorgeous views of the sea.

While not everything on the menu is vegan, most dishes can be prepared to accommodate any dietary restrictions.

Some of their vegan options include vegan omelets, chick-veg parmigiana, and vegan curry.

I visited for breakfast on my last trip and I am still thinking about the fresh orange juice and French Toast (made from spiced rum-infused coconut milk, cinnamon, and vanilla). To make the experience even more memorable, I was visited by a tiny green gecko who was quite interested in my blackberry compote—it was too good not to share. ;)

The Greenhouse

Located on Church Street in George Town, The Greenhouse is the perfect place to stop in for a quick pick-me-up. They have an exclusive menu with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. I suggest trying the strawberry banana smoothie with coconut water—it’s one of the best smoothies I’ve ever had!

Ristorante Papagaillo

If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience with vegan dishes, Ristorante Papagaillo is the perfect place for you. While their vegan menu is small, they offer a number of vegetarian items that can be made vegan. I had the Fusilli Primavera, a savory pasta dish full of fresh veggies and tossed with a rich vegan sauce that was to die for.

What really makes Papagaillo so special is the environment. Situated on a saltwater lagoon at the edge of Barker’s National Park, Papagaillo’s unique structure is constructed of bamboo and other woods and features a stunning thatch roof. When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by its longest-serving team member—Humphrey Bogart, an African Gray Parrot. The main dining room offers dinner and a special attraction, with massive windows looking into the habitats of different parrots, macaws, and cockatoos. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place.

Bread and Chocolate

Located in the heart of George Town, Bread and Chocolate is 100 percent vegan, 100 percent of the time. Bread and Chocolate is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and, much like Vivo offers a selection of dishes you can feel good about. Some of their menu items include the “Impossible Burger,” vegan shepherd’s pie, porkless sliders made from barbeque jackfruit, tacos, and waffles. Bread and Chocolate is one of the best places to enjoy a delicious meal that is sure to meet your dietary needs.

Tukka

Visiting the East End for a day? Tukka is the place for a great vegan meal. This seaside restaurant features Australian cuisine with a Caribbean flair that respects dietary needs. Their vegetarian menu offers a variety of dishes that can be prepared vegan or gluten-free. Enjoy your meal with a side of breathtaking sea views and a specialty drink.

Casa 43 Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar

Casa 43 is one of our favorite places to visit. With more than 80 different tequilas at their tequila bar, a friendly staff, and delicious food, it’s one of the most happening hidden places on the island. Much like other restaurants we’ve featured here, you have to ask for the vegan options, but they do have some tasty vegan options nonetheless. Make sure you say hello to our friend Max while you’re there :)


Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for something new, you have plenty of opportunities to enjoy delicious cuisine that fits your lifestyle in Grand Cayman. Know of a place with vegetarian or vegan menu items we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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You know what’s awesome about Cayman? It's even beautiful when it rains. Most of the time, our rain comes and goes in quick spurts (lasting no more than an hour), but every once in a while, we get a day when the sun doesn’t seem to want to shine. For those days we’ve made a list of things you can do and ways you can enjoy a day in Cayman rain or shine!

Visit the Cinema at Camana Bay.

On a rainy day, there is nothing better than sitting in a dark theater eating a big tub of popcorn. As the only movie theater in Grand Cayman, a trip to the Camana Bay Cinema is a unique experience that features all the latest films, a packed concession menu, and comfortable seating. The state-of-the-art theater offers a cozy place to relax with the family out of the rain.

After the film, take a stroll through Camana Bay. Though the area is mostly outdoors, there are plenty of local shops to duck into such as 3 Girls and A Kiln, Forever Summer, and West Indies Wine Company. Stop by Books & Books to pick up some new reading material or board game for a night in at your condo. There are also plenty of restaurants to stop by for a snack or a full meal.



Experience the National Gallery

Stay dry and view some beautiful pieces of art at the National Gallery. This cultural hub features artists from all over the world, showcasing some truly stunning examples of visual art. From traditional Cayman artwork to internationally recognized masterpieces, the National Gallery is sure to amaze. You can easily spend a couple of hours moving from exhibit to exhibit, taking a moment to appreciate each brushstroke and sketched line. You can also check their calendar to see what fun events they have coming up for your family to enjoy.

Tour the Distillery

Have you ever wanted to see how your favorite spirits were made? At the Cayman Spirits Company Distillery Tour, you can! The 30-minute tour of the 5,000 square foot facility will give you a taste of how some of Grand Cayman’s favorite rums and vodkas are produced. The best part is you get to taste all of the results at the end of the tour. If you find one you like, you can bring it home for a nice drink on the beach later.

Have a Night In

The best part about staying at Christopher Columbus Condos (besides the views, of course!) is the fact that every unit has a fully stocked kitchen, television, and comfortable furniture making it the perfect place for a relaxing night in. Many of the condos come with fun board games you can enjoy. Head down to Foster’s to pick up the ingredients for a delicious home-cooked meal or order delivery pizza from Gino’s and then gather round for a movie. There’s no better way to spend an evening.

Pamper Yourself

Just because it’s dreary outside, doesn’t mean you have to be, too. Rainy days are the perfect days to focus on relaxing and getting in some self-care. Consider getting a massage, visiting a salon for a full mani-pedi, or get stretching at one of Grand Cayman’s yoga studios. If you’d rather stay in your condo, consider a homemade face mask you can make with simple kitchen ingredients like sugar, coffee, and honey. Let the face mask do its job while you kick back with a book and a cup of tea.

Try Some Place New

With so many restaurants to choose from on Grand Cayman, there’s bound to be one you haven’t tried yet. Here are some of our places to add to your list:

  • Yoshi: One of the only places to get authentic Japanese cuisine on Grand Cayman, you can’t miss Yoshi if you enjoy sushi, hibachi, or other Japanese favorites.
  • Boggy Sand Caribbean Kitchen: Located a short drive from Christopher Columbus Condos, Boggy Sand is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Their diverse menu offers a variety of American favorites, comfort foods, and Cayman dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for fish, pizza, a burger or a salad, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste buds. They even have vegetarian options!
  • Every Bloomin’ Thing: If you’ve never attended a traditional afternoon tea service, this could be your chance. The EBT Tea Room features an assortment of teas, sandwiches, and homemade pastries and scones making it the perfect place for lunch. Despite being the spot for a traditional tea, EBT prides itself on being a casual dining experience anyone can enjoy.
A delicious plate at Yoshi.

Go to the Beach Anyways

We aren’t here to tell you how to live your life, so if you’re feeling the beach, go for it! Hey, you’ll already be wet so what’s a little rain anyway? As any mom would tell you, just make sure swimming conditions are safe and no lightning is present.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

There’s no need to put your vacation on hold because of a little rain. Grand Cayman offers so many activities for visitors it would be impossible not to find something to keep you having fun while staying dry. Just remember to take a look outside after the rain has passed to see if you can spot a rainbow. It makes for the perfect photo. 😉

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One of the best questions you get to ask while visiting Cayman is “where are we going to eat next?” Boggy Sand Cafe is a Caribbean-inspired restaurant, located in the Jacques Scott Market Place, just 1 km from Christopher Columbus and next to the West Bay Foster’s Food Fair. In addition to knock-your-socks off food, the best part of my Boggy Sand experience was getting to meet Farah.

Upon first arriving at Boggy Sand Cafe, we were greeted with a huge smile by Farah, who would be our server. She seated us among an array of cheerful purple and green flower arrangements and joked we could take photos for the restaurant’s TripAdvisor page. Her warmth and humor were magnetic, and before long we were chatting.

Farah is from Jamaica originally, and she came to Cayman in the 1990s to work. When it comes to the island, she “loves everything about it,” from the peaceful atmosphere to all the friendly people, locals and tourists alike. "It's a very nice place to work." Farah has been at Boggy Sand as a food and beverage server since the restaurant opened, around one year ago. She said she’s big fan of the restaurant’s Caribbean menu and it’s bright and modern decor. In her down time, you can find Farah at the gym, where she likes to keep fit and active by doing little bit of everything—weightlifting, cardio, you name it.

While we waited for our food, I noticed that Farah checked on the other guests often, happily making conversation and asking questions with her dynamite smile. Since she seemed to enjoy the aspects of her job so much, I asked her what drew her to serving. “I have a passion for food and service. I love it, so I’m doing it!” she said with a laugh. Making people feel at home and comfortable is one of her great joys, and she loves to be around lots of people. Plus getting to meet so many new and different people at the restaurant is a big perk.

When it comes to the menu at Boggy Sand, you will be spoiled for choice. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as daily specials featuring extra Caribbean flair. Farah said her personal favorite dish is the jerk chicken, which she says is little spicy, but not overwhelming. Jerk chicken made its way to Cayman from Jamaica, so it also serves as a reminder of her home. 

If you’re looking to really shake up your next meal, Farah recommends the turtle stew, an authentic Cayman dish, adding “you have to be adventurous!” when you’re choosing your vacation eats. My personal recommendation is to start off with some spinach dip, which is served with fantastically seasoned sweet potato chips, and then check out their pizza menu. I had the margherita and I still dream of it now that I’m home—there's no skimping on basil at Boggy Sand!

Farah made us feel so welcome and taken care of during our visit that we didn't want to leave! Though Caymankindess radiates from all around the island, Farah's warmth and cheer was above and beyond. Next time you visit CCC, take the short trip down the road to Boggy Sands for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or maybe even all three! Be sure to say hello to Farah and ask for her menu recommendations for the day.

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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 vÄ«vō 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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"He's like your favorite uncle," were my fiance's words after we met Max Hillier at Casa 43. Max is the co-owner of Casa 43 Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, and he spreads positive energy wherever he goes.

taco and steak from casa 43

Max has one gear, and it's GO! If he's passionate about something, strap on your seatbelt and try to keep up. From the short time I got to spend with Max, I could tell that while he is extremely motivated by success, he doesn't get lost in the weeds or lose sight of what really matters in life, either. You pretty much want to be this man's best friend after meeting him.

As the title tells, Max is originally from South Africa. He became a world traveling dive instructor and adventure seeker at a young age, living and working in places like Cayman Brac, Micronesia, Egypt, Mexico, The Himalayas and more. Through it all, he kept coming back to Cayman Brac, and when he found out that one of the resorts there was looking for a manager he told their corporate team that he could do that. Even though he had no experience managing a resort he told them that he knew Cayman Brac better than anyone, and due to his contagious passion and determination they hired him.

While living in "The Brac" (I learned locals call themselves "Brackers."), he also became President of the Sister Islands Tourism Association and helped them create a whole new brand to promote both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. 

In the meantime, while Max was living on "The Brac" his parents moved to Grand Cayman; and so they were able to visit quite often. After his father passed away, Max wanted to be closer to his mom and moved to "the big city" or as it's better known, Grand Cayman.

Things were pretty serendipitous from there. He got invited to play golf with some guys—several restaurant owners and property owners, including the man that owns the building that now houses Casa 43. He said he had no golfing experience, but he must have played decent enough because they invited him back. This same group of people, who would become great friends of Max's, ended up introducing him to his would-be business partner Lloyd. When the space became available (a small back-door type of space that you literally enter in a side door behind Copper Falls Steakhouse) Max and Lloyd's buddies told them that they should open a restaurant there together. Lloyd knowing the Cayman culinary scene inside and out and Max being a branding guru was a great combo, and they decided to go for it. The trick was in deciding what type of restaurant to open. They aspired to open something that would work for the community and the actual environment of the space. They envisioned opening a place that made people feel completely immersed and transported once they walked through the doors. 

Again, serendipity took the wheel. Max met his would-be wife, Candice, at a Pirate's Week Festival and began traveling back and forth from Atlanta to see her (where she lived). While in Atlanta, he stumbled upon a great Mexican restaurant called Alma Cocina; what he referred to as a modern Mexican kitchen. He knew this was the type of restaurant that he and Lloyd needed, and now all he had to do was convince Lloyd. Max got Lloyd to come to Atlanta with him for research, and after 2 days and 13 restaurants he saw Lloyd's lightbulb go off when they entered Alma Cocina.

From there they decided to open Casa 43, a culturally immersive, authentic and up-market Mexican restaurant in the "little hole in the wall space" behind Copper Falls Steakhouse. When I walked up to the restaurant for the first time, I was somewhat skeptical as we had to go around the side of the building to enter a side door, and then you walk in and it's this amazing little place. You feel like you've discovered some exciting underground secret.

max writing specials, gaucamole, aztec god decor


Max drew inspiration for the decor, the food and the branding from a life-changing 5 month stay he'd had in Mexico during his world-traveling days. Every dish is thoughtfully crafted. The Aztec calendar is incorporated into their logo, and 43 is their address. The menu boasts that their tortillas are hand made by a woman named, Sandra and points out things like Max's favorite salad. Plus, they claim to have the best kid's menu on the island with options like Mahi Mahi with vegetables.

They decided to add the Tequila Bar concept as a part of the experience, too, and now serve over 80 different tequilas including a $100 shot which Max called the YOLO shot. The entire bar is great, though. We had the best mojitos of our life there and at my fiance's begging, I asked Max for the recipe twice which he somehow avoided. ;) Max shared that it's important to create a conversation in every aspect of your business, and they have definitely achieved this—setting a new precedence in my opinion.

bartenders waiting on guests at bar

My favorite part of the entire experience though was entering the restaurant, and I think Max explained it best, "You're going to feel like you've been welcomed into somebody's home." And that pretty much sums up CaymanKind.

P.S. Today is Casa 43's 2nd Birthday! If you're in Cayman stop by and give them congrats or wish them a Happy Birthday on their Facebook page.

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deck looking over marinaThe day I walked into Catch Restaurant & Lounge to interview owner, Walter Fajette, was also the day the power went out across all of West Bay (due to a car taking out an electric pole). It was lunchtime and the restaurant was without power. Things were a little hectic, but Walter still made time to sit down with me to tell his story. Amidst all of that, Walter was cool, calm, collected and extremely courteous and welcoming. Five minutes in and I was already impressed. His Italian accent didn't hurt either. :)

Walter moved to Cayman from Italy in 1996, planned to stay for 6 months but ended up staying for 20 years instead. He relishes the relaxing lifestyle, but has by no means been lazy with his time here. He and his business partner Cristiano own and operate two extremely successful restaurants on the island: Catch and Agua.

Seven years ago, after working as wait staff together at Calypso, Walter and Cristiano decided to open Agua. Walter has always had a thing for hospitality having started hotel school at 13 years old in Italy and working at Disney Land in Florida early in his career. He loves talking to people, has a great knowledge of the American pallet and likes to surprise guests with thoughtful details. Walter used all of these talents to help turn Agua into the popular upscale restaurant it is today. A couple of guest favorites include Peruvian Ceviche and Wasabi Tuna.

table set for twoJust about 2 years ago, when Walter and his partner heard about a real estate opportunity near Calypso at Morgan's Harbor, they jumped at the opportunity to open another restaurant. They knew exactly what kind of restaurant they wanted to open because they had worked next to the property while at Calypso. While Agua has a city vibe, they wanted to do something totally new with Catch by creating a restaurant with the same quality and service patrons of Agua had come to know, but this time with a Caribbean vibe. Walter and his partner have been intentional with every detail in creating the Catch atmosphere; from the colanders that your bread is served in to the doily coasters wrapped around your glasses and the decision to skip table cloths for a more genuine feel it's all been thought out. Guest favorites include the Tuna Sashimi and the Fresh Catch which changes everyday with options like Trigger Fish, Yellow Fin Tuna, Black Fin Tuna, Grouper, Snapper, Mahi and Wahoo.

Many patrons will eat at Catch one night and then turn around and go to Agua the next night. Repeat customers ask Walter where he'll be working, so they can catch up with the amiable owner—many have become like family. After talking with Walter, it's easy to understand that he is a big part of the restaurant brands and that he truly loves the business. When vacationing he likes to do research by trying new restaurants and describes himself as a visual customer—paying attention to the details and what delights him, so that he can consistently incorporate fresh new ideas. Once he and his business partner have mastered something, they strive to add something else to the mix.

Walter kite surfingAside from co-owning two awesome restaurants, Walter also owns a kite surfing business. Before actually opening either restaurant, he turned his passion for kite surfing into a business by teaching it. As he talked about the water sport, he lit up with such joy and explained that it helps him clear his head. I reminded him that it was dangerous and he just laughed and said that the first thing he does every morning is check the wind. Apparently, 15-20 knots is the perfect wind speed for a great kite surf. You can often catch Walter "up in the air" at Barker's National Park which is a favorite spot for local kite surfers.

engaged to be marriedWhile describing his love for Cayman, Walter said the #1 thing is the weather. It's almost always the same and makes the lifestyle more relaxed. It allows him and his fiancée, Sandy, to enjoy hours on the beach together and because the weather is so nice you need less things. You can throw on a t-shirt, pair of shorts and flip flops and be out the door. What was cool was seeing two totally different sides of Walter. He said that he loved the restaurant business because no two days are the same, but he loves Cayman weather because it is always the same. I guess we all need some things to surprise us and some things to rely on. Having a good mix is a great recipe for life. Walter and the love of his life are getting married in April, and they are very happy to call Cayman home. Many well wishes to the happy couple!

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tropical drinks and bartenderMeet bartender Ricardo, aka "Ricky Ricardo." He's been featured in The Cayman Compass as bartender of the month and bragged on in several online reviews, including a Trip Advisor review titled "Ricardo is the best!" After meeting him at Cayman Cabana in Georgetown, I easily understood why. He was so funny, made easy conversation with us and was a joy to talk to. Plus, he challenged us to try the pull-up bar at the Cayman Cabana, which all made for a delightful and unexpected lunch.

Ricardo is originally from Jamaica and loves working in Cayman, but he does miss the mountains of his home. Home always has a special hold on the heart, but Ricardo has made a wonderful life for himself here in Grand Cayman. When Ricardo was looking for work, he was offered a job here and in Canada. Ricardo chose to stay true to his Caribbean roots and made the choice to come to Cayman, and he's been here three years now. In Cayman, he loves going to the beach, catching fish and meeting people at the bar. He also really likes going out to the East End. He says it's like going to the country. It's quiet, peaceful and has less noise.

Susan doing a pull up.While visiting with him at Cayman Caban, he whipped up a couple Swanky Lemonades and Bahama Mamas for us. As we questioned the pull up bar at the actual bar, he challenged each of us to take a turn. We were all hesitant and asked him to go first. He said he was "injured" and couldn't do any anyway and that we had to go first. Susan, the workout momma in our group, decided to accept the challenge. She actually was able to do one! The rest of us took a turn, but had to get a little extra assistance in getting our chins above the bar. :) After we were finished, Ricardo jumped up there and cranked out 30-ish pull-ups like it was as easy as breathing. So much for that injury... :)

Without Ricardo, our lunch would have been ordinary but, because of his boyish attitude and Cayman kindness, we had one of the best lunches in a long time. What's better than good food with an ocean view and lots of laughter? Thanks, Ricardo!


   
         

 
 
         
Susan doing pull-ups at Cayman Cabana.
 
 
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The Brooklyn Sign in Camana BayWhen you first walk into The Brooklyn, you'll instantly fall in love with the stylish interior. It's urban, hip and welcoming. The lighting is perfect, with large windows on the left of the main dining area letting in natural light and lights with over-sized lamp shades hanging at just the right height above the crowd. There are also beautiful wood tables, cool distressed bar stools, walls in trendy colors, an amazing tin-style ceiling and lights that spell out BRKLYN on the ceiling off to the right in the smaller dining area.

When I walked in with a group of friends, we were greeted by a friendly host and were seated at a corner table with an awesome street-style painting poised directly above the table. The subject in the painting oozed style and confidence.  We started off with a round of waters and then dove into the white wine and local beer selection.

We heard that pizzas were their thing, but the waiter assured us that the appetizers, pastas and entrees were just as delectable. I browsed the pizzas and saw specialty choices like the "Jammin'" pizza that featured jerk chicken and the "Fun Guy" that touted truffle roasted mushrooms as one of the toppings. They also had dependable favorites like Pepperoni, Four Cheese, Supreme and Meat Lovers.

Lights spelling out BrklynTheir pasta and entrees did look very appetizing, too. The pasta choices included the trusty Spaghetti and Meatballs and Chicken Alfredo and bolder choices like the Hearty Seafood Linguini that had four different seafood meats: clams, mussels, shrimp and salmon. Among the entrees there was a Roasted Chicken dish with mushroom marsala sauce, asparagus and mushroom truffle risotto (can you tell I'm obsessed with mushrooms?). I also spotted the Braised Beef Short Rib that came with garlic potatoes and a lemon and garlic-sautéed spinach.

I ended up going with the Jammin' chicken pizza. Two of the other ladies ordered the Orchard pizza and The Brooklyn Wedge salad to split. Another friend ordered the Goat Cheese salad and the final order was the chicken Brooklyn Sandwich. While we were waiting on our main dishes the waiter brought us bread poised perfectly in a terra cotta planter. The volume of the bread sat right atop the planter, and we all agreed it was a cute touch.

Jammin' Pizza from The BrooklynWhen the orders came, we were ready to dive in! The blend of BBQ sauce, jerk chicken, mango and veggies on my pizza was a wonderful medley for the taste buds. I'd rate the spice at about a medium, so if you like spicy food but can't handle super spicy then this will still definitely work for you. The small bits of mango really helped knock the spice down. I also bartered a piece of my pizza for a piece of the Orchard pizza. It was a savory pizza that included poached pear, prociutto, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and a truffle honey drizzle (where is an OMG emoticon face when you need one?). It was so rich and delicious. The keepers of the chicken Brooklyn Sandwich and Goat Cheese salad had nothing but great things to say as well.

After taking what seemed like our 50th photo of the food, I felt the need to confess that we were taking photos for the Christopher Columbus blog for fear of being judged for the eccentric amount of photography. The waiter laughed and said not to worry. We chatted for a bit, and I discovered that he had actually moved to the island to take advantage of the new job opportunities with the opening of The Brooklyn and of course to enjoy this island which he had fallen in love with. The manager came over to check up on us, and we struck up a conversation as well. He told us that he stayed at Christopher Columbus Condos on one of his first trip to the islands for his honeymoon! The small world adage is definitely true on this intimate island.

After our nice chat, the manager sent over a dessert pizza-pie that was sinfully good. It was made with Nutella, fire-roasted marshmallows, caramel and had graham cracker crust sprinkled on top. It seemed we didn't leave a single crumb behind. We left the Brooklyn feeling happy, trendy and full. We all agreed that it was an amazing meal and that we would enjoy the chance to visit again in the near future.

The Brooklyn is located on Market Street in Camana Bay. They also have outdoor seating if you're in the mood for enjoying the beautiful Cayman elements. Check out their website for their full menu and dining hours: www.thebrooklyncayman.com.

Comments 2 Rating: Rated 5 star by 1 people.

Camana Bay is a modern, walkable community with lots of shops, restaurants, recreational areas and even some residential opportunities. The newly developed island town (on the west side of Grand Cayman island near Seven Mile Beach) has been in the works for approximately 8 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

canvas tarp in Camana BayThe beautiful Caribbean inspired architecture and urban townscape are worth a visit alone. The commercial corridors are decorated with with multi-color lighting, lavish island landscaping, welcoming patios and courtyards, benches and water features. My favorite features, though, are the canvas tarps that are artistically stretched above the community in many shapes and colors and the exquisite main corridor that ends at the mouth of the bay.

view from observation towerWhen you visit the community you should come hungry and allow time for a meal, shopping and exploring. First, I suggest walking down the main corridor and appreciating the street view, then you'll want to make the 75 foot climb to the top of the seriously amazing Observation Tower. The views of Camana Bay and beyond are incredible, but the climb up is just as impressive as there is a mosaic mural (one of the largest of its kind in the world) that covers one of the walls for the entire climb up. If stairs aren't your thing, they also have an elevator that stops at each floor so that you can still enjoy the mosaic on the way up.

beet smoothie from JessesAfter a climb like that, it's time to reward yourself by indulging in some delicious cuisine. I suggest Waterfront for brunch. As its name implies it has awesome seating right on the waterfront. We went on a cheery Sunday morning and enjoyed ahhhmazing breakfast food and perfect mid-morning cocktails (extra-spicy bloody Mary and a mimosa made with grapefruit juice). Jesse's Juice Bar and Mizu are perfect lunch options. Really, the group I travel with has made several trips to Camana Bay just for Jesse's Juice Bar. They make healthy smoothies and can be conveniently accessed from one of the parking lots for quick "swing by's." Mizu has great sushi in a swanky little atmosphere. 

For dinner, try Karoo or Ortanique. Karoo has a Brie Burger that is to die for, but fair warning: It is huge! I also had a lemonade ginger cocktail that was made with fresh lemonade. Ortanique is also a culinary joy with desserts that are too good to be true including home made ice cream and warm bread pudding.

Books & Books shopAfter you've had your fill of food you can walk it off by visiting the local retail shops or strolling through the community. There's a cool independent bookstore appropriately called, Books & Books that is great for browsing. They also have regular events including a weekly children's story time. There's also a coffee shop that is conveniently joined to the shop.

If you're in the mood for clothes shopping, there are a couple of luxury shops - NKY Collection stores for men and women and The Jean Bar with premium denim. There are also several retailers that sell swimwear and resort-wear as well as several accessory shops and jewelers. 

If you're looking to chill out, there is a movie theater with regular showings as well as a multitude of special events to choose from on an ongoing basis. For example, every Wednesday night there's an event called Open Canvas where artists set up canvases and paint at will. It's fun to stroll by and see what they're creating. If you have kiddos with you, be sure to check out the water spouts which are popular play areas. With the holidays coming up you'll also want to make repeat visits to see the area transformed into one of the best decorated locations on the island. If you'd like more information about Camana Bay, they have a lively website that's updated daily:
www.camanabay.com

entrance to Camana Bay
   

tarp hanging over town
     

Mizu asian bistro
  sand angles swimsuit and resort shop
  creative tarps hanging over town
Comments 2 Rating: Rated 4.5 star by 1 people.
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