Florence Update and We Celebrate Quince’ Anos!

‘Tis the Season! Tropical Storm Florence is passing several hundred miles to the north of the D.R. and if it weren’t for Lucky Peek pointing a different direction on her anchor than is typical, we wouldn’t even think anything was different.

This morning the trade winds were unusually absent. The slight breeze that has now picked up is coming from the North, not from the East. Even though Florence is well to the North, she is strong enough to knock back our dependable trade winds. Other than having a slightly different view from our cockpit today, everything else is the same. The sun is shining, it’s 88 degrees in the boat cabin, we have all six fans on, and I can hear bouncy Dominican tunes coming from the Puerta Blanca Marina.

Our most recent excursion off Lucky Peek was a trip to Santo Domingo to celebrate our anniversary on August 31. Quince’ anos! (15 years). We spent three nights in a beautiful old hotel, The Palacio, in the heart of the Zona Colonial. We had a marvelous anniversary dinner at La Briciola (a fancy Italian place in the Z.C.) and we spent our days meandering the old city and shamelessly enjoying the cable TV in our suite. Did you know that Katie Couric is no longer on The Today Show!

Aside from La Briciola, another memorable dinner in S.D. was at Castelao, overlooking the popular Plaza del Hispanidad. The restaurant was nicely appointed, modern, and had a very attentive staff. We enjoyed a complimentary glass of vino tinto (red wine) thanks to the recommendation card the hotel provided. Our Spanish-speaking waiter explained to us, in slow simple words, that we could order a sampling of items and they would keep bringing us these items until we turned over a little coaster that said “Si, Por Favor!” on one side to “No mas, Gracias” on the other. That sounded like a splendid idea to two hungry touristicos.

Castelao is a Rodizio Grille type of place. Having never been to a Rodizio Grille, that meant nothing to me. I now understand. Based on our experience, this restaurant, and it’s Rodizio Grille cousin, most definitely was dreamed up by men. Big, hungry, meat-eating men. Not metro-sexual vegans. No, I’m talking pure, unadulterated carnivores. I’m sure the original concept didn’t even include the delicious salads that were provided with our meal. Those had to have been an afterthought based on female or metro-sexual customer input. We were off to a great start with the initial variety plate of different tasty salads – potato, cabbage, squash, etc., which was followed by perfect caprese and ceasar salads. Then the meat started arriving.

A different server, “Meat Boy” (our endearment for him. I don’t think that was his actual title.), delivered our first sampling. From long skewers, he slid pieces of grilled chicken, grilled pork, and fried fish onto our plates. Then came roast beef, chicken wings, and Mystery Meat. Rod determined the M.M. to be chicken hearts. I gave him mine. Another round of fish, chicken, pork, fish, beef, in a variety of shapes and seasonings. Meat Boy kept delivering. I didn’t think I could keep up much longer without serious injury to my stomach and arteries and then I remembered — the coaster! I need to turn the coaster over to “No mas, Gracias!”.

We were full to our gullets, and we had possibly even eaten a gullet in the course of our meal. Regret started setting in. Mopping our sweaty foreheads with our napkins we commiserated in our gluttony. Rod’s discomfort was exacerbated by his dire need for a toothpick. Without our Spanish dictionary neither of us could remember the word for toothpick (palillo). The best we could come up with was needing an “arbollita por la vaca in mi boca”. Literal translation: I need a small tree for the cow in my mouth.

Our adventures continue to provide us with hearty laughs and fun memories. Our stomachs have thankfully returned to their normal sizes and we plan to practice restraint in future all-you-can-eat dining establishments. We will also carry our own supply of small trees.