I have always lived by the notion that it is better to have more friends than money, because all the money in the world cannot buy you the love, lifetime experiences and happiness that comes with having amazing friends. Every day I become richer and richer by sharing with my friends. Money cannot buy the happiness that true friendship brings me.
A thoughtful gift here and there just shows me how much my friends appreciate me and care for me deeply. And it’s not the gifts that make me happy -- it’s my friends’ support, love and caring actions that bring this happiness, which makes me rich in life. I have so much more in keeping so many friends around me rather than anything money can buy me.
As lobster season opened in Belize this past Sunday, I wondered when I would get my hands on a delicious lobster dish. I have never been one to dine out a lot, and eating at restaurants only came when I had to do a review for Ambergris Today or iTravel Belize (believe it or not). Many of my friends can attest at how I am not a big “foodie” and most of the time call it “just food” while others are drooling over gourmet dinners, sweet desserts and pricy meals. To add to that, I was never a lobster lover until recently when I’ve had the privilege of being a judge at past Lobster Festivals.
Coming to my rescue on the second day of lobster season were my friends Bruce and Jane West who invited me to my first lobster dish of the season. Being long time visitors to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, I only met them last year just before they made the bold move to leave their home in the US and come live and share in the good life that we have in Belize. Leaving corporate life behind, the Wests are loving the laidback island life and adjusting perfectly.
To my heart’s content, Bruce is an amazing chef with mad skills in the kitchen. He is truly one of the best I have had the pleasure to befriend, along the lines of amazing and talented Belizean chefs like Jennie Staines and Sean Kuylen, both of whom I have come to know well.
Bruce prepared what he called a ‘Naked Lobster’. He wanted to make a lobster dish that was not overpowered with spices and lots of ingredients so that we enjoyed the true flavor of the sweet and succulent spiny lobster meat. Using ingredients entirely found in Belize, he created a simple, yet flavor-infused meal that included lightly pan-fried lobster medallions in a butter/lime sauce, homemade fettuccini pasta and a fresh salad bursting with a sweet vinaigrette flavor that included corn, onions, tomato, peppers and, YES, mango!!!
We even got dessert in the form of coffee ice cream made from locally produced Caye Coffee Roasting Co. Ltd. that was accompanied by Jane’s delicious chocolate chip biscotti.
Are you hungry yet? Jealous?
Coffee Ice Cream made from locally produced Caye Coffee Roasting Co. Ltd. and chocolate chip biscotti
Needless to say, everything was amazing, even though Bruce insisted that his lobster was over-cooked by about a minute. WHAT!? NO! It was perfect. It only shows how critical Bruce is of his cooking and how passionate he is about it. Just talking to him about the spices, produce found in Belize and how excited he gets in trying new stuff, shows me what an amazing chef he is. Who knows, maybe everyone will get to try his cooking one day!
He pointed out his dish was not the most gorgeous as it was a simple presentation, but it was not about that. It was about friendship. Bruce and Jane found themselves with a handful of lobster that they decided to share with their FRIENDS and called them up without any notice. They wanted to share what they know how to do best. Knowing how amazing Bruce cooks, I for one, was not about to decline the invitation and cleared my schedule for the evening -- even my crossfit workout! How about that?
This is what San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is all about – living a beautiful life surrounded by amazing people who will enrich each other’s lives, sharing experiences, helping one another, more than money will ever do. Adding a delicious lobster dish to the mix just makes it a whole lot better. What a great way to kick off the lobster season in Belize! Thank you Bruce and Jane West! I am happy to call you my friends.