“I’d like a bottle of your Argentine Chardonnay”
“Yes, sir. I’ll be right back.” In 5 minutes, my waiter returns with a Sauvignon Blanc.
“Senor, that is not what I ordered.”
“It is the same thing. They are both white.”
Well, water and wine are both wet, but they’re not good substitutes. That sums up the level of sophistication you’re dealing with at one of the Blue Bay Resort’s a la carte restaurants. The one I’m at now is the Oriental Garden. Wine is free with dinner, of course, but if you want something better than grape juice cut with rubbing alcohol, you’re better to order a bottle of your own.
“Please return this. Are you sure there are no Chardonnays at all?” I am looking at a list with at least a half dozen on it.
Ten minutes later, my server is back with the only bottle they have, a $35 Chilean Reserva of unknown quality. Uh, no thanks. Let me try a Cabernet after all.
Appetizers are pasty egg rolls, decent broiled shrimp, and something I still can’t identify. I have a good twenty minutes to ponder my entrée’ while the waiters excitedly chatter with everyone except the customers.
My salmon is recommended by the server, but then, he recommended literally every item I pointed to, and I’m not sure he understood a word of what I said. The plate is smothered in a thick sauce that renders the flavor of the fish undetectable, but at least the potatoes are done right.
The atmosphere is casual elegant. Men are required to wear long pants, which is a nice nod to decorum that fits the mood of the place, but women can wear whatever they want, apparently, which means, for some at least, a kind of Gentleman’s Club attire complete with bare-to-the-navel necklines and 10 cm stilettos.
There are 4 items listed on the menu for dessert. The waiter says they have only one available, proving that the wine list fiasco wasn’t a fluke. Bonus points for consistency.
My dinner takes almost 2 hours, which isn’t a huge deal, since I am in effect stranded here, but I finally have to get up and threaten to leave before my waiter swings into action and decides that now is the perfect time to write up the wine order he filled back before sunset.
I said earlier I didn’t like the food at this resort, but I did mention it was close to par with an average cruise ship. I would like to change my mind. Cruise ship service is far superior and the food is actually better than this place.
I’m not going to bore you or me by spelling out the same kind of experiences at Pescadora or El Dorado, although the Chateaubriand served at the latter was nicely turned out. The amazing thing is, you’d expect great seafood so close to the ocean, but actually it’s the meat that impresses here. If you go, stick with steak.
One tip to note is that you are supposed to have a reservation when you arrive, but if you slip the waiter a little something he’ll seat you whenever you want. Also, you do not have to eat at all 3 restaurants. You can choose to eat at the same place 3 times. El Dorado’s meat dishes are good, and there, you are sitting directly on the Caribbean. It’s a nice romantic setting if you’re so inclined. I’d do all 3 sittings there.
In spite of all I’ve written, I would return to the Blue Bay Resort. If you’ve been reading my posts you’re probably sitting there, slack-jawed, wandering if I am a glutton for punishment or just plain stupid. Okay, maybe both. But here’s the deal: IF I had a woman along, this would have been a lot more fun, but even going solo, I really enjoyed the other guests I met for the most part. I mean, really, have you ever met a Canadian you didn’t like? Just keep them off the topics of gun control and medical care and they’re pretty reasonable folk. These aren’t pretentious boors like me, au contraire! These are people who want to have a good time on a tight budget, solid middle class types that you’d like as much as I do, I’d wager.
Like I said before, the rooms are huge and clean, and if you stick only to the entertainment focusing on guest participation you’ll really enjoy the shows and games, too. So by all means go. It won’t break the bank, and you’ll come back with a nice tan and a grin as wide as the broad end of a local native. Just don’t stay 3 weeks. Too much of a good thing may be just right, but your liver can only take so much of this.