Our friend David had a golf cart for the week so suggested he drive the three of us down to a restaurant south of town for dinner.  Normally we go to eat out right in town since we (and David) live north of the bridge and have no vehicles other than bikes, so getting to restaurants south of town is not impossible but inconvenient.  David picked us up at Grand Caribe last night, and away we embarked on our adventure to Casa Picasso -- and with the roads in the shape they were in, it really was an adventure!

The road north of town had already been riddled with potholes, but thanks to 2.5 inches of rain on Tuesday, these potholes were now filled with water.  And in some cases (cough...Reef Village...cough), deep water.  We plowed through the "great lakes" as we headed southward, and as we approached the incline of the Sir Barry Bowen bridge, the golf cart stalled out. Oops!  It really wasn't surprising considering that the water in a couple of the "lakes" reached almost to the floorboard.

A couple of locals in a cart behind us stopped to survey the situation (yes, the cart had plenty of gas), and Barry got out and pushed the cart back off the bridge and out of the way.  I jumped out of the cart to snap a couple of photos, and before long, David got the cart going again.  I even jogged over the bridge to keep the weight in the cart down as he drove it over the only real "hill" in town!
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Cart going nowhere
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Barry pushing cart away from the bridge so others can pass by
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Mud on cart -- and my foot -- from splashing through deep puddles on road
Even after we crossed the bridge into town and onto the paved road, the fun wasn't over as we had to negotiate the muddy, unpaved detour in town while Middle Street is under repair near Castillo's Hardware.  And after getting through town, the road in front of the Belikin distributor and around in front of Casa Picasso is unpaved and puddly as well.  We were very happy to see this sign!
We had never been to Casa Picasso before but had heard great things.  And it didn't disappoint.  The decor was bright and attractive, with lots of local artwork on the walls.
Service was polite, professional, and attentive.  Since this is low season, we had the place to ourselves for much of our meal, though more diners arrived near the end of our meal. 
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Barry and David
The food was deliciously prepared and lovely to look at as well!  The three of us shared two Tapas (which we forgot to photograph), but here are the descriptions -- I took a photo of the menu since we gobbled up the food so quickly! 
And we each tried a different entree, all of which were wonderful.  

David's entree: Malaysian Style Rendang Pork Ribs -- Tender pork ribs, braised in lemongrass, ginger, garlic chili sauce, fresh coconut, turmeric & coconut milk, served with coconut turmeric rice and acar (Malaysian style pickled vegetables)
Barry's entree: Vegetable Lasagna -- Homemade rolled pasta layered with fresh vegetables, tomato sauce and cheeses, served with an organic salad & garlic bread 
My entree: Curry Rice Noodles with Sautéed Vegetables (v) -- Asian inspired curried, sautéed rice noodles with fresh seasonal vegetables & local chaya
Portion sizes were generous, and I even had enough to take home half of my entree for lunch the next day.  We skipped dessert, but I have a feeling those would have been lovely as well.  Maybe next time!  Our waiter served us complimentary shots of Limoncello after our meal, a perfect way to end the meal. 
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Barry and I
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Leaving Casa Picasso
Here's a big pond on the road right outside the restaurant:
On the drive home, we remembered to take photos of some of the worst road moguls and ponds up around Reef Village.  Wish we'd gotten these shots earlier while it was still light, but I think you will get the idea.  Fortunately the golf cart held up just fine this time with no more stalling out.  It is worrisome to realize that this is just the beginning of rainy season here, and the the window on grading the road has probably come and gone, as it may not dry out for many months now.  The road just doesn't drain properly and is badly compacted from all the vehicles driving on it when it is in this condition.
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"Moguls" now filled with water
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Approaching a large pond, but not the worst one
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Large, deep pond, followed immediately by another one
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Another cart plowing through the worst of the ponds -- this sucker is deep in the middle!
Despite the challenges in getting there and back, we had a lovely evening and can recommend Casa Picasso to anyone who enjoys upscale, eclectic dining. This is really a gem of a restaurant that reminded us of nicer places "back home" in the US. The owners, Adam and Jackie, couldn't be any friendlier, and they've created an attractive and unique spot with an obviously talented kitchen staff and excellent service as well.  Check it out!
6/14/2012 02:51:30 am

Wow, the roads look like you're on the moon! Sounds like a fun time though. The ability to travel around on a golf cart ... priceless!

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BeBelize Emily
6/14/2012 03:40:34 am

We actually much prefer our bikes, Cheryl! We are able to ride most of the way to town on the beach and only have to deal with puddles for a short stretch, and we can go around most of them more easily than in a cart. Golf carts don't have shocks for the road conditions here and require a ton of maintenance in these conditions, so I have no desire to own one -- but we weren't going to turn down a free ride!

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Carbunkle Trumpet
6/14/2012 08:55:59 am

Ah the mud puddles, how I miss those suckers! Good to hear that Casa Picasso is back up to standards, it fell off our radar a couple of years back. How is the condition of the bridge, have they made repairs to it yet? I swear I was laying odds that it would collapse in March.

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BeBelize Emily
6/14/2012 09:12:16 am

No, the bridge is worse than ever. The eastern side pedestrian crossing is completely closed off since the floor part has rotted away, and there are a few plywood patches even on the driving part. No signs that anything is going to be done anytime soon. Seems to me they were going to start repairs "very soon" a few months ago. Sigh...

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Paula Segrest
6/14/2012 11:23:18 am

YAH! Loved the blog and even with the mud your blue toenails are beauuuuuutiful dahlin! Sounds like y'all had a great nite despite the roads.

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6/17/2012 04:33:01 am

Greta post, crazy puddles. I can just imagine how they are now after the past 2 days of rain. Too bad for the 2 couples who planned their weddings at GC today.

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BeBelize Emily
6/17/2012 04:53:33 am

Actually, they just finished grading and filling the road at Reef Village yesterday! But after this rain, who knows how it looks now after 3.5" of rain!? It was really nice when we rode our bikes to town Fri. but have not been down that way since.

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