My last wings of 2017
Since a family tragedy struck a few years ago during the holiday season, my wife, her father and myself have left the Christmas and New Years celebrations here at home and gone away to Cuba. We went to a resort in Caya Coco Cuba last year, and this year we went to Iberostar Bella Vista in Varadaro.
Cuba is beautiful in many different ways. Our tourist resort obviously is designed for tourists and creates a vacation atmosphere to the max. Beautiful vistas, soft sandy beaches and such nice weather away from the snow and cold in Canada. The resort is very comfortable and you feel like you are in paradise.
But Cuba is not like Canada. Resort life in general is not real life, but things are just not the same. Things look the same, but are not. This is most obvious in the food.
Due to the US Embargo, Communist planning and a lack of free enterprise, food in Cuba, and I'm talking mainly about the resort food, is not right. Last year the resort we went to was ok, but even as a 5 star resort, the food was barely edible. This year, it was even worse.
There are several 'restaurants' at the resort at night you can book reservations, but most of your meals are in the main buffet area. Sit where you want, and tour through the buffet. Some staff were friendly, others not at all. There was no consistency.
Our meals in general were terrible and by the end of the first day we were having a hard time. We knew this going in, so its our fault. Things just don't taste like they should. Some things are just misunderstandings, like when I saw this beautifully purple juice that looked like grape or punch and turned out to be beet juice and I nearly vomited. Chocolate cake is actually bean flavoured. Food is cooked in a lot of oil, beef is tough as hell. I am not a picky eater, but daily I just found myself wandering around trying to find something that I could eat.
As I mentioned, things are never what you expect. For example, the salt and pepper shakers. Everywhere else, the single hole shaker is for salt, so as to limit the amount of the potent spice; pepper is the larger, 5 point hole shaker so that you can get more. Here, it was the reverse. Not that either would come out of either shaker.
Side note, I took a picture of the resort fire extinguishers because they reminded me of sriracha bottle. Right? The red, green and white. Right?
Speaking of hot sauce, I brought my own. When we were in Cuba last year, the resort had hot sauce some days and not others. I didn't want to be without, and this became my crutch for getting through meals. I wasn't the only one who brought their own stuff from home. We saw people who brought their own bread, peanut butter, jam etc.
Then one day it happened. My said she saw chicken wings in one of the buffet trays. I balked "no" because nothing is what it seems, and I thought she was trying to trick me. "No really, there are chicken wings!" she said. And she was right! I couldn't believe it. They were whole wings and they seemed to be covered in sauteed peppers and onions. I was excited, but skeptical.
I was right to be skeptical, because again, nothing is as it seems. The wings that had been fried were mushy. That's ok, I can deal with that. But there was an odor that I picked up on that made me hesitant. Something was fishy here. No literally, fishy. The wings smelled like fish. Why? I don't know. I still took a bite - oh my gawd - all I tasted was fish. Chicken wings should not taste like fish. Its like some sort of fish oil was used in the cooking.
I tried to take advantage of my hot sauce. I doused my sauce on the wings to cover up the fishy taste. Fail. It did not work. I actually had to pass on these wings. Can you believe that? It was heartbreaking. Tricked and tricked and tricked.
Chicken wings never appeared again during out time in Cuba. There was one lunch where fried chicken bites showed up, but it was so popular I only got a few before they ran out. I guess that was for the best.
We did have some good meals, don't get me wrong, but nothing that was outstanding. By the end, I had used up almost all of my hot sauce, but not all. I didn't want to take it home (more space in the luggage). I didn't want to leave it on the table in case it was thrown out, so I snuck it in with the other condiments. I hope another Canadian came by and wondered how a Canadian hot sauce showed up.
So, chicken wings and Cuba are two things that don't mix. Sad way to end my wing eating for 2017. That sucks, and so did a lot of the food, but the great weather, the welcoming people, and the beautiful countryside made up for it.
If you want to see some more photos of some of the better meals, go to the WING BUCKET right now.