‘Mystery bus tour invite’ popped up in my inbox one sleepy Monday morning peaking my interest and distracting me from my video editing timeline. Full of intrigue, I clicked to find details of a Taste of Cayman media bus tour to sample some of the culinary offerings we’ll see at this year’s festival. Free food & drink and an afternoon out of the office - why not?
The first stop on the tour, Bandidos at Seven Mile Shops Plaza, one of my favourites. We were greeted with salt-rimmed margaritas, nachos & guacamole and on the table in front of us, ( cue angel choir ) the famed Mexican street corn on a stick. Owner, Jason Moir, mid cocktail-shaking, told us he can’t wait for this year’s event & will be serving up the heavenly corn stick and a ‘secret dessert’. He said a few other things that I can’t recall because I was way too distracted hammering countless guac-covered nachos. Thanks Jason.
I reluctantly dragged myself away from the nachos, took a few along for the ride and got back on the bus. Three minutes later we were off again at one of my absolute favourite restaurants on island, Agua in Camana Bay. I’d been there the day before too, ‘working’ aka filming, munching on ceviche and downing superb pasta dishes, but you can never get enough of Agua, right? Co-owner, Cristiano Vincentini came to have a chat with us and explain the food we were about to be served. Again, I wasn’t listening, (sorry Cristano )because the divine spicy, pepper conch pasta was so good my mind was blown. I was also busy downing the intricate cocktail, that was supposed to be sipped not slammed. The mixologists make such smooth, inventive cocktails with fresh ingredients, it’s hard not to down in one. Known for high-quality fresh ingredients and fresh, organic food, this isn’t a booth you want to miss at this year’s event. I can’t tell you what will be there, so you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Stop three, I’m pretty full at this point, and relieved as we pull up to 1981 Brewing Company in industrial park to sample some of the craft beers & ales instead of more food. Brushing a nacho crumb off the corner of my mouth that’s probably been there for an hour by now, I sip on the delight that is the Cayman Blonde, and also wonder why no one told me about the crumb. Oh well. Anyway, Wow - this beer is so smooth, refreshing and with a hint of honey. I was surprised & delighted, especially as I’m more of a wine fan than anything. Master brewer Jordan MacNevin said he had a ‘seasonal ale’ in mind to release for the festival, alongside the Island Session- a smooth kolsch style ale, the honey flavoured Cayman Blonde and the Tropical IPA. He also explained how the brewing process worked and gave us an in-depth tour of the tap room, which was great - but I snuck back out to the bar to try the others, which were of course, fantastic. Thanks for the good times.
Last stop, I’m feeling a little tired from all the hard work that is being driven around indulging in great food and drink, poor me. As we arrive at the Brasserie, I’m excited - this is a great spot & always offers amazing dishes at Taste of Cayman. Manager Corey Blohm didn’t reveal too much about this year, again maybe I wasn’t listening because the conch hors d'oeuvres were making the rounds and I needed to get the server’s attention. So good. Like, seriously good. He said something about ’topping last year’, I didn’t hear the rest because then the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches came out. I know you want to know, yes, they tasted as good as they sound. Just what I needed, grilled brie cheese inbetween focaccia bread, mmmm.
I pretended I didn’t get one and demanded another. I was pretty happy with myself, pretty full, and excited for Taste of Cayman, but realised I didn’t really get the information I was supposed to to tell you about. Sorry… the food and drink was too good and I can’t multi-task, what can you do? Now I’m ready to pass out in a food & drink induced coma and try and write about this experience as best I can…I failed. You can go to Taste of Cayman website to find out more though. Thanks to Tower Marketing, CITA & the Taste of Cayman committee for the invite, promise I won’t be distracted next year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monica Walton is a journalist & filmmaker & producer of the This is Cayman on Logic TV channel 36.