Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Break 2K11

Russell and I just arrived home from a fabulous trip to Grand Cayman. We had 3 days to ourselves and we shared 3 days with Russell's parents and we had a blast the whole time. Here's a rundown of our week:

Wednesday: we woke up bright and early (except there was nothing "bright" about 3am) and the first leg of our flight took us to NYC. "You must be mistaken" you might say. "Grand Cayman is south of Durham, NC not North". But no, apparently this was a normal flight to take if you wanted to get from RDU to Miami, FL. Our flights were uneventful and we arrived in the mid-afternoon in Cayman where we quickly learned how to drive on the left side of the road and use round abouts. Russell has been to Cayman many times but he's never had to fend for himself....let's just say there was lots of laughing and screaming for our lives as we made it to the condo. Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Fran have done a fabulous job renovating the condo and it's adorable. We had a perfect view of the ocean! We quickly went to the grocery store which was our first indication that the Cayman Islands would not be a "cheap" vacation. We spent twice the amount that we spend at Costco and got half the amount of food...oh well. We ate well while we were vacationing! We ate dinner at Pappagallo, a cute Italian restaurant with and island theme. Apparently, there are MANY Italians in Grand Cayman because there are yummy Italian restaurants everywhere!

Thursday: We had a cooking day. We learned how to dissect a coconut and experimented with recipes from our honeymoon. We had coconut banana pancakes and we also made coconut oatmeal cookies. The pancakes were unfortunately mediocre but we had a ton of fun making them! The cookies were outstanding and VERY easy to make. The key is the fresh coconut. Here's the coconut oatmeal cookie recipe below:

Taveuni Palms Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

¾ cup brown raw sugar

½ cup shredded coconut (fresh is key, see coconut dissection below)

½ cup rolled oats

1 tsp vanilla essences (extract)

1 egg

½ cup vegetable oil

First mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then slowly add egg and add vanilla essences into the dry ingredients. Slowly add oil for the right consistency until all wet. Roll one teaspoon full in cookie tray and flatten with a fork. Bake until golden brown. Remove the cookie from the tray as soon as the tray comes out of the oven.

Here are pictures from our coconut

For lunch we walked to the Ritz Carlton and had a fruit plate and fish tacos which were good but not remarkable. Our walk was about 3 miles down and back and was a much needed bit of exercise For dinner we had samosas, another Fijian recipe. Russell manned the roti making (he's gotten to be an expert) and I made the potato, onion, and bean mixture. We accompanied the samosas with guacamole and it was scrumptious!

Friday: We had coconut banana french toast and it was FABULOUS! We followed breakfast by some beach reading and then a trip downtown. I can't say that I ever want to visit downtown Cayman again. It's pretty gross actually. Tons of cruise shippers shopping in tourist traps, many of the people were rude and tacky. If nothing else, we observed some reasons why people might not like frat boys or Americans in general. We did see some pretty jewelry at exorbitant prices. Later in the day we tried to take a run but it was during rush hour and there aren't many sidewalks so between sucking car fumes and dodging cars we got in about 2 miles. Instead, we walked the beach and the scenery (and air) was much more beautiful! We finished our evening at a Peruvian restaurant called Agua. We loved it and we met a very nice couple that had been vacationing in Cayman for 2 weeks. They were so nice AND they gave us their bottle of wine bec
ause they got sick of waiting for their added plus for us :) We had cevichi, short ribs, and some really yummy fish. Great atmosphere, friendly wait staff- we highly recommend Agua!

Saturday: We began the morning with a LONG kayak adventure from our condo to the furthest point of the island that we could see. The shore makes sort of a crescent shape so we kayaked to the point of the crescent. The trip out to the point was smooth sailing, er, paddling and we rode some waves, leisurely paddled, and saw a giant iguana on the shore. The trip back was a bit of a different story. The wind was blowing against us and we had to paddle our hearts out to get back to shore. At one point we felt like the harder we paddled, the further away from the shore we became. Luckily, that was just an illusion and we made it back safely and tired! We then quickly cleaned up and headed to the airport to pick up Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Fran. As expected, the rest of the day was spent eating and relaxing. We had lunch at Full of Beans, a coffee shop with great salads and sandwiches and dinner at Luca, an Italian restaurant which was also outstanding!

Sunday: We ate french toast again followed by more relaxing. We had a late lunch of curried fish tacos, fried cassava, and homemade coconut basil pesto. Here are some pictures of our spread:

We visited Edwin Bozeman, Fran's first cousin who has a place down the beach, where we had a bit of a Memphis cocktail hour before dinner. It was nice to meet new family as well as Memphians that I hadn't met before. Cocktail hour was followed by dinner at Eduardo's, yep, another Italian restaurant! I'm sure you may be concerned at the amount of Italian we've been eating in Cayman but don't fret- they are all very seafood based and you can rest assured that we ate PLENTY of fish :)

Monday: This morning we had homemade banana muffins. They were pretty good but I'm going to stick to my original banana berry bread recipe and switch things up by baking it in muffin tins instead of loaf pans. We had a scrumptious lunch at The Great House which has been on the island for a very long time. It has very yummy food and beautiful views of the ocean. We followed lunch with a trip to the hardware store. This wasn't just any hardware store. This is like a Bed Bath and Beyond combined with a Lowes! Russell and I had fun exploring and we helped Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Fran stock the kitchen with a few new appliances and tools! Later in the day Christopher arrived. We were sad that we only overlapped a day and a half with him but
we made the most of our time together! We had dinner at Neptunes, another Italian inspired restaurant, where we sat on the patio right next to a large, akward statue of Neptune himself. Here's a picture...feel free to laugh:

Tuesday: This was our last day of vacation so we decided to make the most of our trip! Russell and I woke up early (I forgot to tell you that I slept in until at least 9 every morning...unbelievable) around 8 and took a bike ride to the turtle farm that also included an estuary. You're going to love the pictures that follow. We had a great time exploring and I LOVED holding all of the turtles!

When we got home, we cooked lunch for everyone: leftover curried fish, cassava fries, pesto, grouper, black beans, guacamole, and salad. Here's where a kink in our plan came in- while cutting the cassava I say to Russell "Hmm, I smell rat poisoning". He suggests that I google that and I find that raw cassava contains cyanide, to be exact, enough to kill a cow. Yum. Healthy. Some cassava roots contain more cyanide than others, and apparently this one had a lot. After much reading I decided that as long as I cooked them well the cyanide would go away and we would be fine. We cooked the fries until they were very well done. Everyone tasted them and liked them but Russell and I were paranoid and threw them out because we were sure that we still tasted cyanide and feared that we were killing our family. Moral of the story- be careful when you cook cassava! Lunch was followed by a trip on a Captain Marvin cruise boat that took us to Sting Ray City and snorkeling. Captain Marvin is now 94 and he has 14 children. He no longer takes the boats out but he greets everyone when he arrive back and shore. When Russell was little, he took many cruises with Captain Marvin himself! We took a tourist photo op to get our picture made with him. You'll see great pictures below:

We ate our last dinner at Calypso where we had outstanding appetizers- ceviche with tomatoes and lime and sushi grade tuna spring rolls YUMMY! We finished our dinner with sticky toffee pudding (I must learn to make this soon) and shortbread crust filled with dark chocolate ganache...SO GOOD!

Wednesday: Bright and early airport trip again! Our flights were mostly unremarkable except for the man who sat by us on the way to Miami...he wasn't sure about personal space and casual conversation rules meaning he thought it was fine to give us back handed hits on the legs to get our attention followed by discussions of politics and social issues including homosexual rights and Nathan Bedford Forest. Good thing Russell and I are tolerant people.


  1. Great blog, adorable turtles! I LOVE the picture of the parakeet biting Russell! His face is priceless!

  2. I'm so glad you read it :) I have lots more great pictures too bad I hate blogger!