But that's another story. This vacation was filled with beautiful restaurants and Gasparito was no slouch. The restaurant's interior housed paintings, etchings, jewelry, and sculpture by local artists. A door led to a large courtyard with lantern-lit tables, white Christmas lights, brick and stucco, a neighboring blue building that created an exterior wall. An Aruban band played the traditional New Year's song, Dande, offering wishes of health and happiness to the entire courtyard.
Gasparito's menu truly did feel authentic and had I felt a little less anemic I would have gotten, as my entree, the Keshi Yena, a Dutch/Aruban dish in which gouda is melted and filled with seafood and chicken. Or I would have gotten what I inevitably convinced my brother to try, the Stoba di Bestia Chiquito, or goat stew. As it happened, I needed the iron and opted for a T-bone steak. And in case you were wondering, it was very delicious.
My appetizer was a house made cheese ravioli served in a creole sauce (seen everywhere on the island: stewed tomatoes, green peppers, onions) and served with a side of spiced Kerry Kerry, which is the native word for Wahoo. Desserts and wine were less inventive; we stayed in the middle of the road with a 2000 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja (two bottles at $47 a pop, not at all pricey) and enjoyed two passable sweets of banana al forno and a pineapple/pear strudel.
Fireworks, both professional and otherwise, cracked overhead. We had plenty of time to retreat to the hotel and change before the clocks ticked twelve and 2008 sank to the bottom of the blue, blue ocean. Perhaps tomorrow I'll wax poetic about the year that was, but for now I embrace the clean slate of 2009.
Happy New Year.
Gasparito Restaurant & Art Gallery