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Bonaire


qwertyy
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Thanks to a couple of PM birdies, I got some great recommendations for my week in Bonaire. I was staying at a resort a 10-minute walk from town--and a very bleak, badly lit walk at that--and I dived all day every day, so I didn't make it in that often. But when I did, it was worth it!

My first day's lunch at City Cafe was mediocre. Two kroketten were hot dog-sized, deep-fried sticks of whipped meat. What kind of meat I'm not sure; nor did the server, who said, "It just says 'meat' on the box." Wrapped in white toast and dipped in tasty Dutch mustard, it was okay. All in all, it's a pretty good bar, with a nice view of the water, a chill vibe, and what seemed like okay pub fare. It's a good place to stop for a few drinks.

My next lunch in town was much, much better. It Rains Fishes is a neat restaurant, fancier, but not so much that you need to put on makeup or nice togs or anything. Also a lovely view of the water. Don't let the name fool you--there actually isn't too much fish on the menu, but then, I just needed the one dish, right? The catch of the day, dorade with caper cream sauce, was fabulous. The fish itself was seasoned and cooked perfectly, the sauce was great, and the veggies were beautifully turned and cooked just barely. It was served with side bowls of okay rice and salad. The service was also the friendliest and most competent I've had in recent memory. Caveat: if you decide to end your meal with a coffee with Kahlua or some other booze, they will bring it to you in a huge balloon wine glass topped with a pile of whipped cream. WAY girly, but WAY tasty too. :rolleyes:

The last meal topped it all. I'd been told that Mona Lisa had the best food on the island, and heard the same from my fellow divers, but I was marginally surprised when I got there. The bar is tavern-ish, the tables are what might be charitably called "80s hotel conference meal"--pink polyester linens, etc.--and it's not located on the water. When I arrived, the bartender told me that the kitchen wasn't open for dinner yet, and he couldn't have been nicer about arranging a table outside for me and transferring my check once they opened. The server brought very nice bread to the table accompanied by compound herb-garlic butter and a tart tomato spread that I could NOT stop eating. But I needed to so I could tuck into my wahoo carpaccio starter, which was just mind-blowing. Topped with a chopped salad of frisee with one or two bits each of radish and olives, the acid was perfect, really complementing the fish while still allowing it to sing. And using just a couple of each of the vegetables gave each bite a different flavor so the tastebuds never got bored. From there I went to the catch of the day--again, dorade, again with lovely turned vegetables, this time with pepper cream sauce and a side of gratin potatoes. The fish was cooked a bit better at It Rains Fishes, but the sauce here won, with a gorgeous tinge of cognac, and the potatoes were divine. I am still dreaming about that wahoo though. Open for dinner only, Monday-Friday.

Beer notes: it all--ALL--comes in itty bitty 8 oz. bottles, unless it's coming in a 6 oz. can. If you want to support local industry, drink Balashi, which is a respectable yellow beer brewed in Aruba. But I enjoyed the Amstel Bright better. Apparently only distributed to the islands, it's a 5% yellow beer that is amazingly clean tasting and perfect for the hot beach weather.

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