Belize Sunset

Packed House, Sunset Smiles and Tasty Enchiladas

It has been a busy food week so far. First off was the 5th annual re-opening of Casa Picasso; one of the most anticipated food events of the year.  I got there a bit later than I wanted to and it was slam packed. Thankfully Lori and Leisa had secured a good spot outside.

It felt like there were easily a couple hundred people there and according to their Facebook page, Chef Jeff and his crew sent out over 1200 appetizers throughout the night. It’s no surprise that not a morsel of food was left. The bar was extremely busy all night long serving up their specialty cocktails.

Funny moment of the night – Leisa decided to text Cowboy Doug to go get us a round of drinks. She could hear him and thought he was inside, closer to the bar. Not long after the crowd cleared a bit, she realized he was sitting outside at a table less than a stone’s throw behind us – it was that packed.

Lori and I made an executive decision to brave the inside crowd and swim upstream for drinks 😀 She got served first as she and Leisa had regular cocktails. Since I was getting a special order, I had to line up for Jason so he could make me a virgin cucumber cocktail – it was very yummy.

Unfortunately, I did not get any pics of the event – it was just too busy. I will have to take a do-over and snap some Picasso food pics for you soon.

Sunset Party

Next night was Stella’s Smile sunset wine bar for a private hospitality party. We got there right on time because we had to leave on the early side for a pick up at Tropic Air. I enjoyed having the place to ourselves a few minutes before it started filling up.

Although I have driven past and had also seen pictures from the mock wedding, I had never actually been. It was nice to see the place first hand and catch a decent sunset.

This is their 9th week open and they have already had 2 weddings, a ring ceremony, and a vow renewal as well as gaining a good following amongst the wine crowd. People are also appreciating that instead of a set menu, they have a guest chef every night. John and his wife who used to run Robin’s Kitchen always pack the house Thursday nights for their jerk chicken BBQ and fish. Read what other people have to say about Stella’s Smile.

I asked Pamela Preston a few questions to give you a better idea about her, and Jay (the owners) and their new place.

What made you both choose Belize?

Jay had been to Belize and to the Island a few times and loved it so he brought me here to visit. When I visited I loved it, and we bought the property on that visit. I’d say the main reason we chose Belize is the people. We have found Belizeans so accepting and accommodating, we feel right at home. It helps of course, that it is an English-speaking Island.

How did you choose the name?

Stella was Jay’s mom; she died about 7 years ago, and we wanted to honor her memory by naming the cafe after her.

What do you want people to know most about Stella’s Smile?

We laughingly call ourselves the “anti-panty-ripper bar”. We want people to gather here; to bring their friends and family, and to see it as a place to relax and feel at home. We won’t ever have a TV or a blender, or a full liquor license (we have just beer and wine) because we want to offer people an alternative to the ocean beach bar.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to move here and start a business?

Someone asked us once if this was a labor of love or if it was a business and, while it is both, it is a business primarily. I was in corporate financial services marketing for most of my career in the States, and Jay has always owned his own business – so we are business people – and manage Stella’s very tightly. We live on the property, and we actively work here in the cafe and intend to keep it that way. We are also nondrinkers. We saw a need for a wine cafe on the north side of the Island, hence Stella’s Smile.

Wine Bar With a View

Below are 2 comparison sunsets taken from Robert’s iPhone versus Nexus 5. Ordinarily, I would often say that iPhones win for pics especially when Karen Brodie Photography is taking them but this time around I think my Nexus 5 held it’s own 🙂

Sunset in Belize
Lagoon side sunset Courtesy of Robert Hawkins and his iPhone

To see more of Robert check out his blog and his latest writing on The expat life.

Sunset in Belize
Lagoon sunset was taken on my Nexus 5 phone – great option for here takes a chip and comes unlocked for $399 on Google play store

After airport pick-up and dropping bags off, food was in order. It was a very easy choice the new Mexican place, Mavericks in Boca Del Rio followed by Froyo at Yo Mama. I’m definitely going back for more Enchiladas and will try their hard-shelled tacos too. Froyo was good as always, this time I got chocolate, pineapple, and strawberry with a good mix of candy and chocolate on top 🙂

Ambergris Caye Restaurants
Awesome Enchiladas
Cowboy Doug Ambergris Caye
Cowboy spotted us while driving by and decided to drive on into the restaurant and say hi

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