Camana Bay in Grand Cayman: Miami Connections, Local Flavors

Categories: Travel Hog

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All photos by Laine Doss
Cayman Islands: Closer to Miami than it is to Canada.
Just about an hour's flight from Miami lies Grand Cayman, the largest of three islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman is best known for two things -- beautiful beaches and international banking. The island, filled with pristine hotels and condos lining the sugar sands of Seven Mile Beach, is filled with wealthy Americans and Brits, who come for a bit of refined island time.

What's most intriguing about Grand Cayman is its commitment to serving fresh, local foods -- and the strong Miami connection that helps sustain that commitment.

On a recent weekend jaunt, I realized how close Miami is to Cayman on a first-hand basis... down to where to purchase a beach read (Books & Books).

See also: Slow Food Miami Snail of Approval Tasting Party: Clean Bites on the Beach

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Laine Doss
Tip jar at Jessie's
A stop into Jessie's, a small juice bar specializing in local fruits and vegetables gave me a frisson of deja vu.There, among the house made beet chips and salad-in-a-jar was a sign proclaiming that they proudly serve Panther coffee. Lachie Hewitt, who co-owns the little shop that serves as a hub for Caymanians stopping by for a latte on the way to work or a post-yoga juice, with his wife Jessie, explains that the coffee, shipped in from Miami, is still fresher than anything else available on the island. He explains that it's a favorite with chef Michael Schwartz, who stops in for a caffeine fix or a juice when he's on the island. Of course, Panther Coffee is served at the chef's Grand Cayman restaurant, as well.

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Breadfruit salad at Michael's Genuine in Grand Cayman.
Schwartz, who opened an outpost of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Camana Bay, the island's multi-use living/shopping/dining/work space, in June 2010, is one of the strongest Miami food connections on the island, and a boon to local farmers who saw an increasing need for their fresh produce when several restaurants, MGFD included, demanded the best local fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

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