As I've been trying to demonstrate, goodbyes are an art form in Grand Cayman. It's not an exaggeration that many of us expats feel about our Cayman friends nearly the same as we feel about cherished family members. We were thrown into a new experience together, sharing memories of exploring the island and learning new jobs, feeling awkward and yet giddy about our new lives all at the same time, all of which creates a unique bonding experience. So when it's time to say goodbye to those whose contracts have ended, a simple handshake or slap on the back or even tearful hug is not enough. It's become commonplace to see multiple invitations for goodbye parties and goodbye brunches and goodbye boat days - all for the same person. We just want as many island memories as possible with those who are leaving.
Our church small group did a brunch in early June at Tukka - partly because none of us had dined at Tukka, partly because B&A had a gift certificate, and partly because J&S were about to leave the island for the summer. However, even after J&S flew off, most of our group was still on island for a few weeks before everyone else's summer vacations started, so K&B suggested another brunch at their favorite spot: Blue Cilantro.
Blue Cilantro is a fairly new restaurant on the island, located next to the "tiny roundabout" on Seven Mile Beach (also near the "blue and white plaza". This is how we describe geographic locations. It's a method that rarely fails. Street names? Unnecessary.) I've not been to Blue Cilantro for dinner yet, so I can't comment on that menu, but we had all heard very good things about the brunch experience, so it took little to convince about a dozen of us to make a Sunday afternoon reservation.
Unlike other other brunches on the island which are generally served buffet-style (with custom items such as cooked-how-you-like-it eggs available for order), Blue Cilantro is served with an actual menu and table service. But the quantities are unlimited, so it's not as if you really have to make a lot of choices if you're interested in, say, the entire menu.
Also, Blue Cilantro is one of the few brunches that allows you to choose "bottomless bubbles" or "no bubbles", so everyone's covered.
Our resident Blue Cilantro expert, KK, helped us narrow down the options and decipher the menu. (Actually, that is the opposite of what she did. She encouraged everyone to order everything. No decision anxiety there!)
The order of operations seems to be: Order breakfast (as many plates as you wish), and while you wait, the staff will serve a number of the appetizers-du-jour.
Appetizers can include things like Caesar salad with freshly grated parmesan or a yogurt parfait or sushi rolls or shrimp cocktail. Something for everyone.
Somewhere in there, someone talked SM into sampling her first oyster. The experience was enteratining for all:
Good thing she wears a perma-smile, or I think you would have seen a grimace in there!
The fun continued when NS dared KK to sample the octopus ceviche:
I'll let her face tell you how she handled that situation:
Well, good thing it was "free".
(For the sake of you ceviche lovers: It was delicious. Don't be too put off by the first-time experiences above!)
Like at any other brunch, we took our time through several small-portioned courses, enjoying the laughter in between bites.
As we prepared for dessert, the Blue Cilantro staff served up a pretty little triple-layer chocolate cake to SM, who was celebrating the day of her birth.
Blue Cilantro's standard dessert sampler was served family style and was a great way to test out several of their sweet offerings.
And like with all other courses, we had the freedom to order seconds and thirds of anything. And everything.
Brunch is about more than just the food. It's also about the people you're with. And since it's a slow-paced meal, it really does give ample time for goodbyes.
My friend CN above has relocated to Memphis, TN. You never know when we might get a chance to take another pic like this, either in Cayman or Stateside!
And our friends B&K have now relocated to their hometown of Cincinnati, OH. I have one more upcoming "goodbye" post left in this series to commemorate their 2-year adventure in Grand Cayman.
Liking where you live has a lot to do with the friends with which you share it. Every person pictured in this post has helped to make the island a wonderful place to call home. For those who have left, we miss you and hope to see you again in our travels or in yours!