Casa Picasso

This is Belize: Last sunrise of 2016, first sunset of 2017 and stuff in between — some fake, some real

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Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Last sunrise of 2016 on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The last sunrise on Ambergris Caye for 2016 was a real beauty. A diaphanous gold, like spun cotton candy, filled the air out to the reef as an early morning sun shower cleansed us, washed away this most unusual year.

Happy New Year to you all! May your every dream find its path to fulfillment in 2017.

Thanks to the recent addition of Moppit to the household, sunrises are becoming a daily thing. In pre-Moppit days, I would awaken at a civilized hour and think, “Wow. That must have been a nice sunrise. Maybe tomorrow.” Read the rest of this entry »

The first lobster dish of the season has been consumed; now, on to LobsterFest!

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I mean, seriously, what does this picture have to do with the Lobster Festival 2016? Nothing! And yet, this photo was taken today on Middle Street, barely three days after the opening of lobster season and the launch of Lobster Fest. Coincidence? You be the judge.
I mean, seriously, what does this picture have to do with Lobster Festival 2016? Nothing! And yet, this photo was taken today on Middle Street, barely three days after the opening of lobster season and the launch of Lobster Fest. Coincidence? You be the judge.

Lobster season. It’s on.

We had our first taste of the new season on Thursday at Estel’s Dine by the Sea, lobster omelettes all around. Man, they were good.

Next up has got to be the original island lobster sliders at Casa Picasso, my all-time island favorite lobster delivery system. Must have something to do with those little buns slathered in butter.

I’m surprised that lobsters have not evolved to include gobs of butter under the exoskeleton. You know, the way the Butterball turkey has evolved to naturally include lots of butter under the skin. Or the way watermelons can be grown to include vodka infused inside the “meat.” Read the rest of this entry »

I mean, who gets a whole private island for their birthday? (Hint: You’re looking at him)

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Walking around Blackadore Caye on my birthday, enjoying the splendor of a deserted island -- with 20 of my best friends!
Walking around Blackadore Caye on my birthday, enjoying the splendor of a deserted island — with 20 of my best friends!

Your first thought when you step off the boat and on to Blackadore Caye is “This can not be real.”

It is like a Hollywood movie set for a tropical island adventure film.

The coconut trees seem too perfectly spaced to be real. The ground beneath them too perfectly swept clean. The sand too white. The water on either side of this long, narrow caye shimmers in variants of teal, turquoise and aquamarine. The dry, cool wind sweeps so sweetly upon the skin, not a drop of perspiration survives. The cloud-dappled sky is a dreamy blue — azure color #007FFF, if you are into replicating sky colors from an RGB color wheel. Read the rest of this entry »

Don a gown, dance disco, devour BBQ — there’s a San Pedro fundraiser soon to suit you

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sagaThe fund raiser is a way of life when you live on a tropical island that is marked by severe poverty and great wealth, and a government that has limited ability to help its own people.

Here on Ambergris Caye it is a common sight to see locals in the street with money buckets, collecting coins and dollars for fire victims, cancer victims, accident victims. Last year a tour guide whose boat was torn up on the reef as he attempted to rescue some tourists was the beneficiary of a fund raiser to get him back on his feet. It is the island form of insurance, which otherwise does not exist or is out of the reach of ordinary residents.

There are monthly fund raisers for Saga, our version of the Humane Society, as well as fundraisers for the local food bank, athletic teams and individual competitors, AIDS groups, self-improvement groups, and, most certainly, our schools. It is at events like these where Belizeans and expats come together, mingle, share in the fun and camaraderie and make new friendships.  Read the rest of this entry »

Lights! Cameras! Eatery! The Truck Stop in San Pedro, Belize, is ready for its closeup

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My friend Dion from the San Pedro Sun models a Truckstop cap. In the background is the Rasa restaurant and the ice cream shop.
My friend Dion Vansen from the San Pedro Sun models a Truck Stop cap. In the background is the Rasa restaurant and the ice cream shop.In the background is Chef Jeff Spiegel, formerly of Rojo, and in the black T-shirt is Nicolai Hebert, manager of Rasa and Arepa.

Adam and Jackie Feldman were talking hopefully about a “soft opening” this Saturday for their two newest restaurants — the Malaysian/Southeast Asian bistro Rasa and the Latin American cuisine Arepa — in The Truck Stop, the new freight container dining complex north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge.

Soft opening. Good luck with that. Read the rest of this entry »

Tasting the good life at Mayan Islands Resort grand opening

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Mayan Islands Resort has several of these pods around its pool and lounging area. The perfect setting for a group of friends.
Mayan Islands Resort has several of these pods around its pool and lounging area. The perfect setting for a group of friends, including Hasni and Sue enjoying a relaxing moment.

Word spread quickly among our friends that the Mayan Islands Resort was holding its grand opening this past Sunday and an invite quickly became the hottest ticket on Ambergris Caye.

To say the opening has been highly anticipated is a bit of a reach — it has been years in the making, after all — but it has been the subject of a great deal of curiosity and speculation.

For example, every time we set off  by boat for the back side of the island and pass close by the resort on the tip of the island’s western prong, it is the subject of much resort envy.  Read the rest of this entry »

A beautiful Belize sunrise doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great day

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This morning's sunrise was a nice one, for sure. Is a nice sunrise a harbinger of good stuff to come? Not that I can tell.
This morning’s sunrise was a nice one, for sure. Is a nice sunrise a harbinger of good stuff to come? Not that I can tell.

Some days, nothing goes right but everything is OK.

Like today.

Let’s say that I no longer look at a gorgeous sunrise as a good omen. There are just too many of them and they seem to hold no sway whatsoever on the day’s events.

Like today. Read the rest of this entry »

In Low Season, some of our favorite bistros close down, but some surprise openings too

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Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.
Nikolai Hebert of Casa Picasso lights up the bar with his traditional end-of-the-season flaming aperitif.

 

(Editor’s note: You can find an updated version of this list here.)

Welcome to Low Season. Or Slow Season.

It is that time of the year when hurricanes are possible and tourists are harder to find.

If you are on Ambergris Caye for the first time, you would not be faulted for assuming that Low Seasons means the time of year when the weather is absolutely fabulous and the crowds have thinned out. 

It is true. We are having fabulous weather. (Trying very hard not to think about the tropical hurricane named Danny that is edging toward us right now.) Read the rest of this entry »

Of sand bars, secret beaches and soccer — life in Belize gets no better than this

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Have a seat: The Sanbar offers a variety of seating, from semi-dry sand to 5 inches of warm and soothing saltwater. Beverages are optional.
Have a seat: The Sandbar offers a variety of seating, from semi-dry sand to 5 inches of warm and soothing saltwater. Beverages are optional.

Sometimes all it takes is a boat full of friends, a spit of sand and a glorious day in Belize to make you feel all is right in the universe.

Adam and Jackie Feldman of Casa Picasso restaurant wanted to have a special welcome for their longtime friend and fellow restaurateur Hasni Ghazali. What better way to offer up a taste of the island than a daytrip with good friends to the backside and our favorite spot in all of Ambergris Caye — The Sandbar?

The Sandbar is just that: a spit of sand on the south side of a very small island just off the “back side” of Ambergris Caye. Read the rest of this entry »

Dude, where’s my cart? The answer will shock you

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I make fun, but at least they were acting ... and getting well paid to act stupid.
I make fun, but at least they were acting … and getting well-paid to act stupid.

Our golf cart, old Moncho’s 59, has been found.

Yes, the cart that went missing last Saturday night, during Lobsterfest, has reappeared.  A couple of blocks north of where it disappeared.

And, yes, it was locked.

With my lock. Read the rest of this entry »