Costa Rica and the Pura Vida

squarebird

According to the calendar, Spring is approaching!  Thank God!  This has been a tough winter to say the least.  In December, I headed down to Costa Rica to shoot this Meet Me There episode with my crew from Denver and Los Angeles.  It was fast and furious and we covered more ground and went on more eco-adventure excursions that I can really recommend in such a short amount of time!  You can catch the action in the episode below.  I’d love for you to like, share, and subscribe to the episodes on Exclusive Resorts You Tube page in this link.  Enjoy the show!

Sticky in Grand Cayman

fish-smallWhen I first visited Grand Cayman many years ago on a Thanksgiving break with Exclusive Resorts, I was looking forward to some downtime, warm weather, island cocktails and fresh fish. When my friend Sara recommended Calypso Grill out in West Bay, I knew I would have to secure a reservation and try it out. Sara told me the fish sourced from the dock next door was fresh, delicious and well prepared. But the highlight of the night out for dinner would be the sticky toffee pudding.

I LOVE dessert and often times feel like it should be served first and not last. However, sticky toffee pudding didn’t strike me as an island inspired dessert that I must consume in order to make my Grand Cayman trip complete. Boy, was I wrong.

Chef George Fowler has made this delectable concoction a mainstay on the island. The dining experience in his French inspired restaurant is relaxed, yet has a proper feeling to it at the same time. The open air restaurant spills out onto the deck which offers an amazing starlit setting at night. My family has spent at least one night during all of our trips to Cayman dining on that deck, gazing at the stars and enjoying the breeze off of the bay.

When the waiter arrived with my Sticky Toffee Pudding, I was surprised at what was placed in front of me. This delicious smelling dish did not look anything like toffee or pudding. It did, however, look sticky!

 

Sticky...but not looking like pudding.

Sticky…but not looking like pudding.

Regardless of my biased pre-dessert arrival ideas of this calorie heavy dessert, I dove in for my first taste. That was the point when I started making a lot of guttural sounds that you make when you are really digging the taste of something for the very first time!  This Sticky Toffee Pudding was incredible!

Sticky Toffee Pudding is basically a light piece of cake, with a rich sauce drizzled over it and served with a scoop of ice cream.

DJ Duckworth and Chef George

Chef George and me – pre-dessert induced coma

Chef has fans far and wide and was even summoned to personally deliver some to Steven Colbert, comedian and soon-to-be replacement for David Letterman on the Late Show, for his birthday! Talk about top shelf service!

I’ve never been to Calypso Grill and not enjoyed the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s just part of the experience. While I really love trying out new dishes and different foods, sometimes sticking with what I know I love is the best option – especially when serious calories are involved! When dessert is in question, I know exactly how long I’m going to have to work out in order to keep my backside from spilling out of my bikini! I’d hate to waste all of those calories and gym minutes on a lack luster dessert. Sticky Toffee Pudding is well worth the work out!

You can see more about Calypso Grill and watch me and Corbin swim with the stingrays in this episode of Meet Me There! If you are so inspired, here is a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding if you want try it out at home.

DJ Duckworth and Corbin at Calypso Grill

See y’all next time, Calypso Grill

Meet Me There – New York

Our first episode of Meet Me There – New York is live! You can see some of my favorite off the beaten path things to do in New York City.    Me and the crew at Exclusive Resorts are taking you to some of our favorite luxury destinations in this travel show.  Of course, New York City is one of my very favorite places on the planet and it is where we kick off the show.

A little note about this episode – If you find yourself on Crosby Street in SoHo, make sure you stop into Saturdays Surf.  They’ve got great coffee and some really cool things for the gents.  And if just you want to LOOK at some cool gents, stop in Saturdays Surf!  Just sayin’!

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog post, I’d love for you to do so!  The “subscribe” link is on the right hand side.  This will ensure you get a little joie de vivre in your inbox!

Hidden Gems on the Upper West Side

I love being able to share my favorite New York spots with you on “Meet Me There“.  Of course, showing you all of my favorites would have made the episode about two hours long! But here are some Upper West Side gems for your next visit:

  • As I said in the episode, Milo’s is my favorite restaurant in New York City. But my favorite neighborhood bistro is Cafe Luxembourg. It’s just around the corner from me, and it’s been a local favorite for more than three decades. The menu is wonderful and the bartender is top notch!

    Cafe Luxembourg New York City

    Cafe Luxembourg

  • I love the bright lights of Broadway, but I’ve discovered and even become a part of some amazing live entertainment at the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre. UCB was founded by some very funny folks—including Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live fame—and is the training ground for many of the cast members on that show, The Daily Show, and others. I started taking improv classes at UCB and fell in love with it. The shows are hilarious and, unlike some Broadway productions,don’t require you to take money out of your 401k to pay for tickets! If you like to laugh, you won’t be disappointed.

    UCB Theatre Chelsea

    UCB Theatre Chelsea

  • To my great relief, Corbin found a neighborhood toy store that has cut down on our trips to the Times Square Toys R Us! Now we hit Stationery and Toy on West 72nd Street. Despite the conspicuous lack of an indoor Ferris wheel, he is happy as can be, and so am I.

    Stationery and Toy David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

    Stationery and Toy
    David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

  • Some big name brand stores have moved onto my main drag, Columbus Avenue, but I still prefer to pop into A Tempo for a new dress or Cafe Margot in the historic Ansonia building for a hot cup of coffee after grocery shopping at my local Fairway grocery store.

    Cafe Margot

    Cafe Margot

  • I’m OVER the cupcake craze, aren’t you? When I’m hungry for a baked treat, I head over to Levain bakery on West 74th. The $4 cookies are as big as softballs. They’re meant to be shared – but don’t ask me to share with you. I won’t. They are that good! Get the chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie. You’re welcome!

    levain-bakery-cookies

    Cookies are THAT big!

Exclusive Resorts Meet Me There debuts!

Thrilled does not quite describe how I feel about the release of my new web series “Meet Me There”.  I have teamed up with Exclusive Resorts and together we are taking you to some of my favorite travel destinations and few new ones, too! Real del Mar, anyone?  We will show you the highlights in each location and trek off the beaten path to unearth the real travel treasures.

Check out the first video here.  Like it, share it and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel I Am DJ Duckworth to catch the upcoming episode of Meet Me There!