Salt & Pepper Aruba
After a long day of travel, waiting, more travel and eating very little food, and what little was bad on the airline, nothing could satisfy like a good solid hamburger. And no, fast food chains can not handle this task. It has to be a big, thick, meaty, juicy burger. So when you ask the local taxi driver and he says “Salt & Pepper” you give it some thought. On a different occasion another taxi driver also says he likes Salt & Pepper. There were at least 3 taxi drivers that like Salt & Pepper. Having eaten there, this leads me to believe the food is fast, inexpensive, but not necessarily good. Either that, or they all know the owner who gives them free food.
Now one term that has been abused due to trendy marketing is “Tapas”. What originated in Spain as free bite-sized food which come after you order every drink, has now become abused as a small bite for the full price of an appetizer. What you are looking at above is the equivalent of 8 thin slices and/or half a sausage for $6 in onions and tomato sauce. If Tapas cannot be free of charge, they certainly should not be full price. Perhaps $3 to make it half price for something that costs them pennies?
The “happy hour” mojitos were nothing special, and they were 75% ice, which translates to lime juice, sugar, water and a very small amount of rum, less than an ounce or jigger for sure. How do I know? The glasses were half the size and I needed 3 of them to kill the tension on my body from a day of air travel, taxi rides and 30 minute wait to check in and unpack. Take a look at the photo to the left. I admit a lot of it is my fault. I should not be going to places taxi drivers eat for a discount, nor should I be expecting quality drinks from someone that offers happy hour prices all night long. The reality is, It cost me $15 for 3 drinks whereas the $7 I could have paid for a quality cocktail with proper measurements down the street.
While I hate to be critical of any establishment, there are some places that just don’t deserve to be there. The hamburger is not a difficult concept. Its a ground meat patty, it can be square, it can be round, it should be fairly even in thickness, but it should never be oval and twice the thickness in the center than it is on the edges. These are simple concepts that do not effect their price point or bottom line. Its just preparing the food correctly, unless you cannot afford a competent kitchen staff.
I cannot complain about the service, it was very good, and the waiters were very friendly and fast when I needed something extra like an iced-tea or mustard (not for me, but for my girlfriend). When the receipt was printed, it read what I thought was $50, but on my way to wash my hands at the restroom the waiter looked puzzled. I asked if everything was ok, and he said the bill was $58 (I left $60). I could not see such fine faded print in such a dark place (again look at the mojito photo above, and keep in mind I lightened it in Photoshop), but, I apologized and gave him another $10 bill. It was an innocent mistake on my part, and I am glad I caught it, but don’t you think the management would put fresh ink cartridges in so the staff (or them) get short-changed when it comes to payment? Part of me has to remember that there are tourists, college student and young adults who are here on vacation and for them this is perfectly fine. However, it should then be priced accordingly. I don’t think $70 for 2 burgers, 2 drinks and a micro-appetizer is a fair price, even for a tourist trap. Sorry for a bad review, but its honest and I hope it serves as a word of caution. To be fair, even the reviews are “average” and “so-so” – do a search online yourself. Perhaps their breakfast and lunch are better, but they won’t get a second chance from me.
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