Tag Archives: El Gauchos

Birthday in Aruba

Damsel fishWell, today I turned 55, so I guess I’m officially old. But on the bright side, I do get some discounts now! We swam at Baby Beach, and it was awesome. The water was super clear, and the wave action was minimal, and we really got to see a lot. It was a great swim. We spent a great deal of time on the north end of the cove, where most people do NOT go… It’s got amazing coral formations, and just tons of fish. It’s really a different take on Baby Beach. Most times we have been there, we’ve focused on the channel, and it’s huge current and large coral formations. But this other end of the bay, is really cool.

Snook We got back to the time share about three, had a quick bite to eat, then Mike and I headed over to Malmok for a quick look-see. The visibility was just awesome here too. Saw a couple of new fish, and a couple of old favorites – including a rather large green moray eel.

Yellowtail snapperWe had dinner at El Gaucho’s, an Argentine steak place. We come here most times we are in Aruba. They really know how to cook a steak! Pam had made reservations, and told them that it was my birthday. When they took us to our table, there were a couple of balloons floating on the table!

Baby beach El Gaucho’s is how a steak joint should be! I started with an appetizer of Argentine soup, a beefy vegetable soup in a spicy broth, and it was really delicious. I had the 12 oz tenderloin (you can order a 16 oz, or a 22 oz if you like…) and while I like my steak medium-well done, this steak was done to perfection, juicy and amazing. They serve it with your choice of three side dishes. The have a roving guitar duo, and they stopped at our table, played Happy Birthday, then asked us if we wanted something sung for us – so Mike got them to do Guantanamera.

Grey grouperWhen desert came, a white and dark chocolate mousse cake, they had put a candle in it, and the duo came back for one more chorus of Happy Birthday! Pretty swell day, all in all!

 

Arriving in Curacao

The planeIt’s been a busy couple of days here in Curacao. We arrived late on Saturday – we were supposed to be here at 1:20 pm, but the flight was delayed and didn’t take off til nearly 3:30. Ah well – stuff happens. It was a fun flight, quite short, about 25 minutes. It was funny to see the reaction of a couple of Dutch women to the size of the plane! Seafeather and damsel Since we’d flown this route last year, we knew what to expect. But they were getting restless in the terminal, and when I saw the plane land, I pointed it out to them and said “Shouldn’t be long now, they’ll refuel and we’ll be off.” She looked at the plane, her fave visibly paled and she said, “You’re kidding?? That’s soooo small!” She turned to her friends and they gave me this sick little look… Priceless!

We didn’t get in the ocean, but we took a nice swim in the pool and spent some time in the hot tub. We had dinner at Augusto’s, even though we had not particularly enjoyed eating there last year. But this year was very good. I had the chicken parmigiana and Pam had the seafood pasta, and both were very good. Service was excellent, and it was a nice ending to the day.

DamselfishSaturday we snorkeled out front of the Sea Aquarium but it was a little cloudy. There has been a lot of rain here this year, more than Aruba. There were a lot of fish, of course, but we didn’t get many good photos. We did see a spotted drum, and some interesting fish, including a couple of barracuda. Iguana on the beach The shoreline opposite us, which is a five minute swim across the water, had some of the largest surgeonfish and tangs I have ever seen, anywhere. HUGE! Shockingly big…

In the afternoon we toured the Sea Aquarium. They have added some new attractions, and some new fish tanks. Pam got to feed some sharks, and actually petted a few nurse sharks. There were some lobsters that we soooo big, they must have been seventy years old or more. Just humongous.

Nurse sharkWe had a nice relaxing dinner at El Gauchos, and Argentine steak house. We’d had dinner there last year, and they had the same impeccable food. Really glorious. They are in a lovely elevated location, so we had a nice view of some of the island. Sunset The service was not as good as we remembered, but it didn’t detract from the quality of the food. A recommended place to eat, for sure.

Tomorrow we have scheduled a cruise up the coast to the main town of Willemsted, which is a World Heritage sight. Curacao is not as dependent on tourism as Aruba is… they say 90% of the economy of Aruba is dependent on tourism, but Curacao has only a 25% reliance. They are big in communications, housing a lot of the sports betting websites on the internet. They are also a world leader in supplying paint! When you see how boldly the homes are painted, it’s not much of stretch to believe it!

Here is a small movie Pam took in the Sea Aquarium of a Cubera snapper.

The Last Day Blues

Max at Surrey LakeFriday was our last full day here in Aruba. We fly out on Saturday at 4 pm local time. It’s always bittersweet, that last day. You try to pack in as much as you can, but you realize that it won’t make the vacation last longer! But it’s also nice to be thinking of being home, in your own bed, with Max eagerly waiting for us.

School of fish We decided to return to the Malmok area of Aruba, where the luxury homes are… we jumped in at Boca Catalina again, a place where we’ve had a couple of great dives. We were rewarded almost immediately with a big school of Caribbean Reef Squid. These ones were HUGE. Much bigger than any we’d seen before. It’s fun to watch them shift colors through the school as the communicate with each other. We even got to see a squid ink another fish!
Very small guy - 3 inchesWe saw a fish that looks like a stone, called a toadfish, we think. I’ve got a video of it, that you’ll need to watch really closely to see him. But that was cool too. There were tons of the usual suspects, with lots of French Angels. And Mike will be happy to know, we’ve discovered where all the Seargant Majors are! They’ve all moved to this part of Boca Catalina! AND we saw the biggest barracuda ever! WHOA! He was a monster.

After a couple of hours in ocean we’d had our fill. We did a little shopping, picked up a couple souvenirs, a few postcards, kept asking each other did we forget anything? We decided to make our last dinner here a memorable one, by going to an Argentine steak house called El Gauchos.
El Gauchos wall artIt is a great looking restaurant, with barreled roofed ceilings made of wood, with art over the walls made of inlaid leathers and cowhides. You sit at big sturdy wooden plank trestle tables, with huge comfy seats made of leather and cowhide. There are big wooden chargers at each place setting. The service is attentive, efficient, and professional.

The food was magnificent. If you’ve never had Argentine beef, you owe it to yourself to try it. One of my uncles was a cattle rancher, and I’m sorry to say, Alberta beef just doesn’t compare well to Argentine beef! We each had a big steak – I like it well done, and I apologize to the chef each time I ask for it, but these guys cooked it perfectly. There were no burnt sections, just perfectly grilled. They’ve added some new items to the menu since we were here in December, and we sampled a few of them! All good…

If you come to Aruba, do go to El Gauchos. Their deserts alone make the trip worthwhile! And try the margaritas! Best I have ever had!

The rental carHere is a picture of the rental car we had this week on Aruba. On Curacao, we were supposed to have a Toyota Yaris,  but it wouldn’t start, so they replaced it with a Suzuki Liana. It’s a nice car, actually. We had fun running around in it. Then when we got to Aruba, we were supposed to have a Suzuki Liana, and I was looking forward to that… But again, it was a non-starter! So they replaced it with this American car. It was ok, but it’s no Suzuki Liana!

It’s truly been a wonderful, memorable 2 weeks, but with all the talk of Air France 447, going home has suddenly become a slightly different event than in the past. I remember flying shortly after 9/11 and it didn’t bother me in the least. This does – terrorism is one thing. That’s part of life. But was this flight downed due to the failure of the plane? That’s worrisome. Even more worrisome is the news today that perhaps pilot error is now part of the problem. Either way, it just seems incredible to me that one of the “logical” responses of a flight computer is to crash the plane!

Dining in Curacao

Sunday night we had dinner at the Sea Side Terrace. It came highly recommended by the Royal Aquarium staff, and we’d read nice reviews on line. Well, last night must have been an exception, because I’m not sure I’ve had worse service, worse food or a worse meal.

The owner raved about his rice and beans, that his fish was wonderful and fresh, his fish soup was home made and delicious. So I ordered the fish soup, fresh fish and rice and beans. Not sure how the soup was, since we never got it… The rice and beans had zero moisture in them, were cold, and were crispy – I’m not positive, but I don’t think that’s how it should be. The “fish” was three thin strips of something, coated in rubber, then deep fried til it was so overcooked that I couldn’t cut it with a knife and fork.

And the kicker – it only took 2 hours to get it! TERRIBLE!! DO NOT GO!

View from El GauchosOn a brighter note – Monday we ate at El Gauchos Steak house. When we were in Aruba last December, we ate the best meal we’ve ever had at El Gauchos. This restaurant has a complimentary shuttle, that picked us up at the hotel, drove us to the restaurant, then returned us to the hotel after dinner. Now that’s service!

The restaurant is situated on a hill, so you have an amazing view of parts of the city, and the island. The soccer stadium was lit up, with a game just finishing up as we sat down. It’s owned by a pair of Dutch brothers, but is not associated with the El Gauchos in Aruba.

The service was impeccable. Attentive, informative, friendly. The meal was delicious, starting with home made chicken soup. Now I thought I knew what chicken soup tasted like, but this was a unique creation with wonderful flavor and aroma. A nice all you can eat salad bar was also there. It was nice, but would have just preferred they bring a salad lol.

The steaks were served on large wooden chargers, and were quite simply, amazing. Easily as good as the El Gauchos in Aruba. I had mine with the roasted vegetables. They were very tasty!

For desert I had tiramisu, and Pam had some wonderful concotion called “Pyramides” — order it – you won’t be disappointed. Not that I was in anyway disappointed with the tiramisu. All in all – WONDERFUL. The view, the service, the food, and best of all the company!

Dining in Curacao

Sunday night we had dinner at the Sea Side Terrace. It came highly recommended by the Royal Aquarium staff, and we’d read nice reviews on line. Well, last night must have been an exception, because I’m not sure I’ve had worse service, worse food or a worse meal.

The owner raved about his rice and beans, that his fish was wonderful and fresh, his fish soup was home made and delicious. So I ordered the fish soup, fresh fish and rice and beans. Not sure how the soup was, since we never got it… The rice and beans had zero moisture in them, were cold, and were crispy – I’m not positive, but I don’t think that’s how it should be. The “fish” was three thin strips of something, coated in rubber, then deep fried til it was so overcooked that I couldn’t cut it with a knife and fork.

And the kicker – it only took 2 hours to get it! TERRIBLE!! DO NOT GO!

View from El GauchosOn a brighter note – Monday we ate at El Gauchos Steak house. When we were in Aruba last December, we ate the best meal we’ve ever had at El Gauchos. This restaurant has a complimentary shuttle, that picked us up at the hotel, drove us to the restaurant, then returned us to the hotel after dinner. Now that’s service!

The restaurant is situated on a hill, so you have an amazing view of parts of the city, and the island. The soccer stadium was lit up, with a game just finishing up as we sat down. It’s owned by a pair of Dutch brothers, but is not associated with the El Gauchos in Aruba.

The service was impeccable. Attentive, informative, friendly. The meal was delicious, starting with home made chicken soup. Now I thought I knew what chicken soup tasted like, but this was a unique creation with wonderful flavor and aroma. A nice all you can eat salad bar was also there. It was nice, but would have just preferred they bring a salad lol.

The steaks were served on large wooden chargers, and were quite simply, amazing. Easily as good as the El Gauchos in Aruba. I had mine with the roasted vegetables. They were very tasty!

For desert I had tiramisu, and Pam had some wonderful concotion called “Pyramides” — order it – you won’t be disappointed. Not that I was in anyway disappointed with the tiramisu. All in all – WONDERFUL. The view, the service, the food, and best of all the company!

Dining in Curacao

Sunday night we had dinner at the Sea Side Terrace. It came highly recommended by the Royal Aquarium staff, and we’d read nice reviews on line. Well, last night must have been an exception, because I’m not sure I’ve had worse service, worse food or a worse meal.

The owner raved about his rice and beans, that his fish was wonderful and fresh, his fish soup was home made and delicious. So I ordered the fish soup, fresh fish and rice and beans. Not sure how the soup was, since we never got it… The rice and beans had zero moisture in them, were cold, and were crispy – I’m not positive, but I don’t think that’s how it should be. The “fish” was three thin strips of something, coated in rubber, then deep fried til it was so overcooked that I couldn’t cut it with a knife and fork.

And the kicker – it only took 2 hours to get it! TERRIBLE!! DO NOT GO!

View from El GauchosOn a brighter note – Monday we ate at El Gauchos Steak house. When we were in Aruba last December, we ate the best meal we’ve ever had at El Gauchos. This restaurant has a complimentary shuttle, that picked us up at the hotel, drove us to the restaurant, then returned us to the hotel after dinner. Now that’s service!

The restaurant is situated on a hill, so you have an amazing view of parts of the city, and the island. The soccer stadium was lit up, with a game just finishing up as we sat down. It’s owned by a pair of Dutch brothers, but is not associated with the El Gauchos in Aruba.

The service was impeccable. Attentive, informative, friendly. The meal was delicious, starting with home made chicken soup. Now I thought I knew what chicken soup tasted like, but this was a unique creation with wonderful flavor and aroma. A nice all you can eat salad bar was also there. It was nice, but would have just preferred they bring a salad lol.

The steaks were served on large wooden chargers, and were quite simply, amazing. Easily as good as the El Gauchos in Aruba. I had mine with the roasted vegetables. They were very tasty!

For desert I had tiramisu, and Pam had some wonderful concotion called “Pyramides” — order it – you won’t be disappointed. Not that I was in anyway disappointed with the tiramisu. All in all – WONDERFUL. The view, the service, the food, and best of all the company!

Dining in Curacao

Sunday night we had dinner at the Sea Side Terrace. It came highly recommended by the Royal Aquarium staff, and we’d read nice reviews on line. Well, last night must have been an exception, because I’m not sure I’ve had worse service, worse food or a worse meal.

The owner raved about his rice and beans, that his fish was wonderful and fresh, his fish soup was home made and delicious. So I ordered the fish soup, fresh fish and rice and beans. Not sure how the soup was, since we never got it… The rice and beans had zero moisture in them, were cold, and were crispy – I’m not positive, but I don’t think that’s how it should be. The “fish” was three thin strips of something, coated in rubber, then deep fried til it was so overcooked that I couldn’t cut it with a knife and fork.

And the kicker – it only took 2 hours to get it! TERRIBLE!! DO NOT GO!

View from El GauchosOn a brighter note – Monday we ate at El Gauchos Steak house. When we were in Aruba last December, we ate the best meal we’ve ever had at El Gauchos. This restaurant has a complimentary shuttle, that picked us up at the hotel, drove us to the restaurant, then returned us to the hotel after dinner. Now that’s service!

The restaurant is situated on a hill, so you have an amazing view of parts of the city, and the island. The soccer stadium was lit up, with a game just finishing up as we sat down. It’s owned by a pair of Dutch brothers, but is not associated with the El Gauchos in Aruba.

The service was impeccable. Attentive, informative, friendly. The meal was delicious, starting with home made chicken soup. Now I thought I knew what chicken soup tasted like, but this was a unique creation with wonderful flavor and aroma. A nice all you can eat salad bar was also there. It was nice, but would have just preferred they bring a salad lol.

The steaks were served on large wooden chargers, and were quite simply, amazing. Easily as good as the El Gauchos in Aruba. I had mine with the roasted vegetables. They were very tasty!

For desert I had tiramisu, and Pam had some wonderful concotion called “Pyramides” — order it – you won’t be disappointed. Not that I was in anyway disappointed with the tiramisu. All in all – WONDERFUL. The view, the service, the food, and best of all the company!