Bear with me, I’ll get to the scallops in a minute…
So…I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus. Oh the things I have seen and eaten…well, actually seen plenty, but eaten, nothing really eventful. I just wanted to be dramatic. I did manage to squeeze in a really nice vacation. Nothing too fancy, like actually buying an island and building his and her bungalows. No, I grabbed the wife by the hair and drug her to the Domincan; Punta Cana.
The flight from Atlanta was smooth, but the landing in Punta Cana was extremely choppy. I was ready to grab a sack, hook a line, stand in the door, and leap to the island. That would have been a smoother landing.
The airport was cool though. It is a series of open-air terminals with palm frond covered roofs. I remember thinking, wow, the airport is a bunch of big huts! There there giant ceiling fans twirling above us providing much needed cool air. At first I thought there was a natural breeze, then I looked up and saw these big ass fans. In the center of each fan was a manufacturer label which read, “Big Ass Fan Company”. I am serious!
The above picture is after we deplaned and went through their particular flavor of customs and admittance. They walked us, first grade fire-drill style, to these stations where local agents ask questions and tourists stand perplexed because they either don’t speak Spanish or cannot understand due to the pace at which the agent speaks. One bizarre station was the $10 ticket for nothing station. They walk us to this station where a dude is holding a wad of US currency in his hand. He asks me, “one or two?”, “dos”, I reply, “twenty US please.” Okay. So I peel off a twenty for the guy. He hands me two tickets. He then gestures for us to move to the next station. We start toward another windowed booth…”NOT THAT WAY, ALLI!” Okay, so me move to the next station whereby that agent takes the tickets we just bought! Now, why couldn’t I have just paid her?
The resort was gorgeous. We stayed at the Majestic Elegance Club. It’s an all-inclusive with a great, friendly staff. I recommend it. I will post a link to my picture gallery in my next post as well as a link to my review of the hotel at TravelAdvisor.com. The service was excellent, the food uneventful.
The highlight of the trip was our Jeep excursion. On other island trips, I have seen these Jeep Safari excursions where they pack everybody into a vehicle and drive you around. Not this one. We got into a truck that drove us to a place where they gave us keys to a Jeep Wrangler; four to a vehicle. We were fortunate to be paired with a couple from New York City and not the loud Italians nor the introverted Belgians. Driving in Bavaro is…well…every man for himself! There are no traffic signals, no stop signs, no road markings, just lots of people on small motorcycles, cars, taxis, and tourist buses speeding about in such organized chaos that it reminded me of the Jetsons.
So we take these Jeeps and we convoy to a sugar cane plantation, through some seriously rough terrain, then through a small village to a cigar plantation where we got to watch a cock fight. Then it was on to lunch at a farm complete with alligators, and giant, I mean giant iguanas. We didn’t eat them. Though, grilling up one of the iguanas would probably have been better than what we were served. Did I mention that the food was pretty uneventful? We finished up the excursion at a Bavaro beach.
Here is Beck chillaxin’ at the farm before lunch. This epitomized the trip; maxin’ and relaxin’.
On to the scallops…
I have grilled scallops a time or two in the past and usually I use one of those largely perforated grill pans in order to keep the scallops from falling in to the fire. Those pans also allow for better stick control because you have better control over the amount of oil as opposed to the grill grates. This time I wanted grill marks. I know it’s aesthetics, but, I wanted them just the same. So I grilled the scallops directly on the grates and with success. I was so proud of myself I poured myself an adult beverage. I would have done that even if they stuck. They keys were to have to grill extremely hot, the scallops substantially sized and brushed liberally with canola oil. Before grilling, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper, then grilled for 2-3 minutes per side.
The corn is white sweet corn that was brushed with canola oil and grilled until tender with a nice char. Then the kernels were cut from the cob. I grill a red bell pepper along side the corn until the skin was totally charred, peeled it, then finely diced it. These guys were combined with ancho chili powder spiked mayonnaise, some diced red onion, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a small bit of red wine vinegar, and left to chill.
The result, despite the fact that I was in my backyard, was eventful.