All images by Pepper Key Stacie
Last week I had the invitation to have not one, but two lunches with girlfriends. One took place at my South African friend Caren's house, a big, cozy, and colorful casa she and her Panamanian husband built about the same time my husband and I were building Fleur de Lys Villa. I remember the first time I ever had a meal prepared by Caren, it was a Christmas dinner party in 2004 or 2005, one of my first Christmases on the island. A tropical Christmas is a difficulty to get used to when you come from the snowy west, but this festive night was one of the few over the years that I was able to forget about the temperature. Carens cooking skills had quite the reputation on the island, and from that first dinner party I learned why. Not only was she a phenomenal cook, she was an expert host. From the first step into her beautifully decorated home one is usually met with an amazing aroma at the door, her darling daughter Caylen, and typically fresh flowers and all kinds of lovely personal touches. This lunch was no exception, we four ladies were treated to the delicious, entirely homemade, spread you see above; tomato soup, brushetta sandwiches of tomato and mozzarella or prosciutto and melon, grilled Mediterranean vegetables, and a choice of raspberry and blueberry custard pastries or South African caramel cookies. I am not ashamed to admit I tried then both and then helped myself to seconds. Thank you, Caren, for every invitation you have ever extended to all of us. Every warm effort you put into your gatherings is greatly admired and appreciated!