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Thread: August 2019 Pre-Labor Day Trip (8/23-830) -Intro plus Day 1 & 2

  1. #1
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    August 2019 Pre-Labor Day Trip (8/23-830) -Intro plus Day 1 & 2

    Aruba Trip Report. August 23rd-August 30th, 2019

    This was our 6th or 7th trip to Aruba, and although we try to go every year, sometimes real life gets in the way. We typically travel with a group of friends, and the trips have been as few as 4 people, and as many as 10 people. We stay at the Aruba Marriott & Stellaris (regular hotel, not either of the timeshare resorts next door). This year my husband and I arrived Friday 8/23 and departed Friday 8/30. 4 more arrived Saturday 8/24 and departed Saturday 8/31. Out of those 4, 3 arrived on the early morning flight from Boston, and were at the Marriott by 1:00pm. The next group was 5 people, who landed in Aruba around 4pm on the 24th. 3 of them were staying at the Marriott, and 2 were staying at a time share resort further up the beach. (The two time share folks were the college aged daughter and her boyfriend of one of our group). It’s a large, complicated group with various arrivals and departure, and I’ll do my best to keep everyone straight.

    I was a little nervous about how the large group dynamic was going to play out, because it was a LOT of people, and I’m know as one of the ‘planners’ of the group……We had a couple of pre-trip dinners and laid down a few ground rules. If you don’t want to do something, fine, don’t do it. If you want to join the group, GREAT, join in. And most importantly, no judgement on recycled dinner outfits, since most of us traveled with carry-ons only! There was only one minor hiccup with the large group, and it all worked out fine, so my fears were unfounded. I think part of it was that we were a group of 10 for Saturday, Sunday & Monday. The college kids went home Tuesday. And then we were 8. One couple went home Wednesday, bringing our group down to 6, which is what we usually are and is a much more manageable number.

    This vacation is typically a “sit on the beach, do a whole lot of nothing, and relax” type of vacation. We don’t do much, with the exception of 1 snorkeling trip with the lovely folks at Blue Melody. This also goes to the group dynamic. If there were things people wanted to do, go for it. Most of us just camped out on the beach, went for walks, floated around in the ocean, and just decompressed.

    Friday 8/23/19
    Left home around 4am and drove to the Braintree Logan Express. Easy drive to Braintree, and we were driving under the sign at Logan 17 minutes after we left. This is the advantage to the super early morning flight. Security was a breeze, and I actually spent more time in the line at Dunkin’, than we did in security. Our flight was great. Quick, smooth, and no issues. I was seated in a row with a young couple and their lap baby. I’ll admit to some bad thoughts when I saw them, but when I say she was the BEST BABY EVER, I am not joking. She was happy, smiley, and willing to wave and try to say “HI” to everyone around her. She was a dream.

    We arrived on time to AUA, and since we do carry on only, had Even More Space seats at the front of the plane, and had used the online ED, we were in the line for a cab in about 20 minutes. Arrived at the Marriott around 1:30 or so, and the good news was our room was ready! The bad news was the machine that makes the key cards was down. They tried a couple of reboots, but still nothing. So, we left our bags with Bell Services, and walked down to Moomba Beach Bar for lunch. Delicious as always. My husband had the grouper sandwich, and I had their coconut shrimp appetizer, and we split an order of fries. The Moomba coconut shrimp are a little different, they pan fry the shrimp, and the coconut comes from a creamy sauce. The sauce is like candy, and I look forward to this dish every year. I did manage to get the recipe from the restaurant last year, and have made it at home, which was a challenge, as the original recipe came to me via email in Dutch, so I ran it through Google translate. Then I converted from metric to Imperial units of measure. THEN, I scaled it down from ‘serves 4-6’ to ‘serves 2’. But it is well worth it, and so easy to make once all the math was done. We’re having an “Aruba Reunion Dinner” in a couple of weeks, and I think I’ll be making the coconut shrimp (and chicken for the non seafood eaters, and I’m going to attempt to make pastechi.

    After lunch we had another drink, and just enjoyed sitting on the beach, enjoying each other’s company, and looking forward to the entire week ahead of us. We eventually made our way back to the Marriott, and the key card machine was fixed, so we were able to get into our room, unpack, and just unwind from the long travel day. There may or may not have been a nap taken on one of the chairs on the balcony.
    We had no concrete plans for dinner, and decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner before the rest of the horde arrived. Got a cab, and our driver chuckled at us when we asked about Oak without a reservation. With his help, we finally decided on El Faro Blanco, and had a lovely meal. We were a bit late for sunset, but it was still a nice drive up, and a very good meal. It was very good, not great, and although I do think we'll return, I don’t think it will be somewhere we need to go every year.

    I had a delicious mushroom risotto (on our waiter’s recommendation) and my husband had the gnocchi. No dessert, as we had thoughts of getting gelato back at the Marriott. Finished everything, got a cab back to the hotel, and decided we actually were still too full to partake in gelato tonight. Early to bed as the long travel day was catching up to us, and we wanted to be bright eyed when our friends arrived tomorrow.

    Saturday 8/24/19
    We had secured a palapa for today, and were up and moving around 7:30 or so. We quickly popped in to Starbucks for a light breakfast of iced coffee, juice, breakfast sandwich for my husband, and a pastechi for me. After breakfast, liberal application of sunscreen and packing up the beach bag, we were off to the beach!!!!! Pure bliss. I’m a very fairskinned girl of Irish and Scottish extraction, so I spend a LOT of time under the palapa, and reapplying sunscreen. I do enjoy being out in the sun/water earlier in the day, before the sun gets too high and too scorching. I find it amazing how quickly time goes, when we’re doing just about nothing but hanging on the beach, floating in the ocean.
    I started getting some Whatsapp messages from our friends around 11:40 letting us know that they had just landed, they were in a cab by noon, and checking in by 12:30. One room was ready, and one was not, so they hustled up to drop their stuff off, and change. Since we were still in happy hour, we got a round of drinks, which were delivered just after they came down! Perfect timing. We enjoyed our first round of drinks, secured our palapas for tomorrow, and decided we were ready for lunch.

    One of our traveling companions had already said that they also wanted to head down to Moomba Beach Bar for their 1st day lunch, so back we went. Again, everything was delicious. We’ve all been friends for decades, so there is a lot of food sharing, and sampling of each other’s plates. I think there were Grouper Sandwiches, Garlic Shrimp Sandwich, Calamari, Escargot and Fries ordered. Back up the beach to the Marriott, and spending the next several hours on the beach.

    Our next round of arrivals was due to arrive around 4-4:30. This was a group of 5, 3 of whom were at the Marriott with us, and 2 of whom were staying at La Cabana (this was the college students, daughter and boyfriend of one of the couples). One of our intrepid travelers arrived at the Marriott, and the other 4 went to La Cabana to get the kids settled in.

    We had dinner reservations for 10 people at 6:30 at Salt and Pepper. We like this for a first night dinner, as it’s nice and casual, very easy, and a good low key place after a travel day. We will typically order nearly 1 of each from the Hot Tapas menu. Once we work through that, we’ll re-order some favorites for Round 2. I LOVE meals like this, where you can graze, and sample lots of things. I think I prefer that sometimes to a large entrée because you can try everything!

    After dinner we strolled a bit, and wound up at the little crepe hut/kiosk on the corner. Had a few sweet crepes between us for dessert. It’s a nice, light, little bit of sweet after dinner. Had a nice leisurely stroll back to the Marriott, sat around the pool for a little while longer just chatting, then off to bed. This relaxation stuff is hard work!
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  2. #2
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    Fantastic trip report, EveryAugust!! Really looking forward to the next installment. Any chance you'd be willing to share that coconut cream recipe? My mouth is watering!


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    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Nice report! We use Braintree Logan Express as well but we like to go to the airport the day before and stay at the Hilton. That little bit of extra sleep goes a long way on a travel day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaGrn View Post
    Fantastic trip report, EveryAugust!! Really looking forward to the next installment. Any chance you'd be willing to share that coconut cream recipe? My mouth is watering!
    Happy to. Should I put it here, or in the Food/Dining section?
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    I'm sure it would be ok if you put it here. Andrea or Walt will move if they'd prefer it be in another category. Hope you don't mind my making that assumption, A &W!


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    you can put it here and I will copy it also to the culinary section!
    yum!!

    Quote Originally Posted by EveryAugust View Post
    Happy to. Should I put it here, or in the Food/Dining section?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    you can put it here and I will copy it also to the culinary section!
    yum!!
    As requested, here is my version of the MoomBa Beach Bar Coconut Rum Shrimp. My notes are in blue, as I had to translate the recipe, convert from Metric to Imperial, and then scale down the quantity. I've made this a few times, and it is equally good with shrimp or chicken. MoomBa serves it as an appetizer. If I make it, we'll usually serve over a jasmine rice.

    Coconut Rum Shrimp
    Serving 4 people
    Ingredients :
    20 shrimp 16/20 peeled

    Coconut sauce : ½ recipe
    7.5 ounces (215 g) coconut cream 3.75 ounces
    1 cup heavy cream (200 ml) 6.75 Tbls
    ½ cup whole milk (100ml) 3.4 Tbls
    ½ cup white rum (100ml) 3.4 Tbls

    Corn starch

    Instructions
    Gather all the ingredients. Combine the coconut sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat the sauce, when the sauce is hot, use the corn starch to make it creamy (think they mean thick. I used 1 TBLS of cornstarch in slurry. Put it back in the saucepan, let and let it come up to a boil.

    Put the shrimps in a frying pan cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink. I dredged in cornstarch, but you could skip if you wanted to and just pan sauté without.

    Take 4 small plates and place the 5 shrimp on each plate, make some drops of avocado on each plate, (I don’t like avocado, so I completely skipped this part)pour the sauce on the shrimp and finish it with the coco rasp and enjoy (I think coco rasp is shredded coconut, which is served in the restaurant)

    I also added a few grates of freshly ground nutmeg, because coconut cream and nutmeg just go hand in hand.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Nice report..... and good recipe too Thanks! I cannot imagine working with a group of 10 for anything vacation related..... I have enough trouble with just the two of us!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EveryAugust View Post
    As requested, here is my version of the MoomBa Beach Bar Coconut Rum Shrimp. My notes are in blue, as I had to translate the recipe, convert from Metric to Imperial, and then scale down the quantity. I've made this a few times, and it is equally good with shrimp or chicken. MoomBa serves it as an appetizer. If I make it, we'll usually serve over a jasmine rice.

    Coconut Rum Shrimp
    Serving 4 people
    Ingredients :
    20 shrimp 16/20 peeled

    Coconut sauce : ½ recipe
    7.5 ounces (215 g) coconut cream 3.75 ounces
    1 cup heavy cream (200 ml) 6.75 Tbls
    ½ cup whole milk (100ml) 3.4 Tbls
    ½ cup white rum (100ml) 3.4 Tbls

    Corn starch

    Instructions
    Gather all the ingredients. Combine the coconut sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat the sauce, when the sauce is hot, use the corn starch to make it creamy (think they mean thick. I used 1 TBLS of cornstarch in slurry. Put it back in the saucepan, let and let it come up to a boil.

    Put the shrimps in a frying pan cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink. I dredged in cornstarch, but you could skip if you wanted to and just pan sauté without.

    Take 4 small plates and place the 5 shrimp on each plate, make some drops of avocado on each plate, (I don’t like avocado, so I completely skipped this part)pour the sauce on the shrimp and finish it with the coco rasp and enjoy (I think coco rasp is shredded coconut, which is served in the restaurant)

    I also added a few grates of freshly ground nutmeg, because coconut cream and nutmeg just go hand in hand.
    Great report and thanks so much for the recipe! We like almost everything at Moomba. We've had seven on the island before and the logistics were challenging.


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  10. #10
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    Thanks so much for sharing. Hmm, think an early dinner is in order cuz this has made me really hungry!


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