Trip Advisor Review: Caoba Farms, The Best Shop!

Caoba Farms

No Need for a Grocery Store or the Market, You Only Need Caoba Farms!

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5 stars for us: Check out our Trip Advisor Review.


We have fallen in love with Caoba… and might never find another place quite like it! Kurt and I are food obsessed and our life has been surrounded by wonderful ingredients living in LA, London and NYC. Here in Guatemala we were literally starving for quality organic food living in Atitlan (although Shad’s Atitlan Organics is pretty special… they are just starting out and the variety isn’t there yet). Moving to Antigua and finding the farm was incredible.

At least 2 times a week we come to the farm to enjoy the atmosphere and relish in the expansiveness of the views. Iza loves seeing the animals and playing with the cracked shells which line all the walkways. And once a month is the most wonderful farmer’s market which allows for all of the suppliers in the tienda to showcase their wares. It is really a special experience with live music and delicious food.

This is the only place we grocery shop. Aside for the very rare occasion of Organica, we nearly buy everything from the shop at the main farm. They have wonderful artisanal products from local suppliers and abroad and all fresh produce grown on their farm. The coffee is exceptional as are their wine selections, honey and peanut butter.

This is literally the best place on earth.

Saturday mornings offer a great routine for Iza and Rache who head out to the farm right at open time at 8am. They walk the grounds, get a little fruit ice popsicle and then they do our weekend food shop. It is a great way to kick off the weekend.

Recently we decided to do our family photoshoot and we decided that the best place to do it was here. So, we put on our tie dye and headed to the farm. Luis Pedro Gramajo did the photography.

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Wyse Organics Delivery Meal System Review

RaCo Life Wyse Organics

Part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle is eating fresh from the farm, but people have busy lives and cooking farm fresh takes time. If you happen to live in the NYC or Long Island area, you have an option that we strongly recommend from people we know and respect: Wyse Organics. This is not just any meal delivery service; it is in essence a private chef service with an affordable price tag. You can trust you are getting good quality, exceptional flavor and fresh, local ingredients.

Delicious organic entrées.

Plans include entrées, sides and soups or kids meals. View Meal Plans.

RaCo Life Buy Product ButtonYou can view the listing in our shop
or go directly to Wyse Organics.


Chef Wyse has made it easier than ever to get delicious and healthful meals delivered right to your door. Annual subscription plans start at $149 per month. 

Using only local and organic ingredients, our menu changes with the seasons. This way the ingredients are at their freshest and provide the best flavor. From ripe tomatoes in the summer to pumpkins, squash and winter greens in the winter are all sourced from the best organic farms on Long Island and the surrounding region.

Wyse Organics Instruction Video from Wyse Organics on Vimeo.

Healthy eating shouldn’t be hard. Using modern sous vide and flash freezing techniques, we’ve made it easy for you to create a restaurant-quality culinary experience in 3 steps. If you have additional questions, please reference the Wyse Organics FAQs.


Wyse Farm Stories – Green Thumb from Wyse Organics on Vimeo.

Founded in 2014 by private Chef Allan Wyse and global organic food entrepreneur Erik Bruun Bindslev, Wyse Organics is a start-up with a mission to empower more people to savor the best organic, local and seasonal flavors from the comfort of home.

Wyse Mix & Match Video Series

Wyse Mashed Organic Zucchini with Spaghetti

This episode has Chef Allan Wyse using Wyse Organics frozen mashed zucchini from Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett in combination with spaghetti. Its an easy, organic and healthy 10 min. meal.

WYSE MIX & MATCH: Wyse Mashed Organic Zucchini with Spaghetti from Wyse Organics on Vimeo.


Wyse Braised Kale & Chard with Organic Lamb Chops

In this episode Chef Allan Wyse uses Wyse Organics Braised Kale & Chard as a perfect side for organic lamb chops. An easy 10 minute meal from Wyse Organics.

WYSE MIX & MATCH: Wyse Braised Kale & Chard with Organic Lamb Chops from Wyse Organics on Vimeo.



Chef Allan Wyse

Chef Wyse is a celebrated private chef amongst New York’s A-list. From Horizon Media to Cosmopolitan Magazine, Fran Drescher, Mario Cantone and Kim Cattrall both of Sex and the City fame and numerous Fortune 500 CEOs. Allan’s name is synonymous with fresh, delicious and organic first-rate cuisine. Raised with an organic garden in his backyard, Chef Wyse has always known the importance of using only the best ingredients in his kitchen. He crafted his trade working in some of the world’s finest restaurants, including Daniel’s and The Modern in New York City. Chef Wyse has cooked alongside the world’s most renowned chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Marc Aumont.

Allan has appeared on “Food Networksiron chef chairman’s challenge, promoted both the Vita Mix blender and Turbo Chef Ovens (with Charlie Trotter) and hosted his own cooking show Wysecooking. Allan is based in Southampton, New York.

Erik Brunn Bindslev

Erik’s career spans more than 2 decades in which he has built up a responsible and long-term approach to global business. He is truly at home as a strategic partner for his clients building and managing multi-stakeholder brand building models. Current and past clients include: Linda McCartney Foods (vegetarian food business – London), Lady Carole Bamford and Family (luxury food/lifestyle and fashion/spa – London and Tokyo), HRH Prince of Wales (luxury food and lifestyle – London), COJEAN (high-end foodservice concept – Paris), Hakkasan Group (fine dining restaurant and clubs – London and Las Vegas), BlowToGo (mobile hair services- London)

Erik has lived in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Paris, Copenhagen and London. He  shares his time between his base in London, Long Island’s East End and travelling around the world.

Trip Advisor Review: Blue Hill at Stone Barns; Change Your Experience

Fresh appetizer

“An Experience That Will Change your Entire Approach to Dining…. Forever.”

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Word of Caution: You will become a restaurant snob after attending Blue Hill at Stone Barns! Be prepared.

During our stay in the Hudson Valley from 2012-2013, we took full advantage of the incredible artisanal bounty produced in our backyard. Blue Hill at Stone Barns was a once in a lifetime experience which truly reshaped our entire vision for what food is or could possibly become to us.

Self-described foodies, we both came into the experience with deep knowledge of farming, growing and organic food, but what we didn’t know is how presentation and flavor could be released with the tiniest bit of added ingredients.

For our Baby Moon (last ditch effort before Baby comes) at 36 weeks we headed off to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We took the day at the farm to relax and enjoy each other in the sun. We walked the grounds, graced the chicken coop (which is actually like a huge circus tent) and had lunch at the Grain House. We even went for a hike at the state park down the road afterward to make space for dinner.

We had a pretty early seating at 5:30pm, and are so glad that we did. We got there at 5pm and had a cocktail at the bar… talking to the mixologist about the local bitters and other treats they had behind the counter. They have an entirely separate menu of non-alcoholic beverages and it was a perfect experience for me. I was able to get an equally delicious pairing menu with our meal too, that allowed me to not overdue it with alcohol.

When we were seated the waiter came to the table and asked our food preferences. They were very careful to mentally note and repeat all of my food allergies and assured me it was not a problem on any level. We wanted Kurt to still have a great experience, so we asked for them to keep his menu the same. Typically in these scenarios they aim to give both guests the same menu, so it was really special that they accommodated our request. Kurt received gluten, dairy, meat and shellfish and they focused on fish, eggs, vegetarian and gluten free for me. Their gluten free bread is truly exceptional… some of the best I have had.

Our only regret is that we didn’t go when I was less pregnant! Our 4-hour dinner was a robust and filling feat. 3 times in the middle of eating I had to get up and take a 30 minute walk to just be able to fit more food in there. But while we were walking around the terrace at night, the kitchen was lit and in full effect for us to watch on. There must have been 20+ chefs in there, each crafting a deliciously amazing dish and experience for the 100+ guests in the dining room. It was so tremendous to watch and see how they worked together.

Dan Barber’s episode trailer on Check out the write up on to get a better sense of just how revolutionary this chef is to our culture and our future food economy.

The creations, the presentation and the way the staff handled us as guests was what made this experience every bit worth the $500+ for the two of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it as if we had gone to a dinner and a show (which for the record would have been roughly the same cost). It is an experience that stuck with us and one that we intend to return to on our next extended stay to the Hudson Valley.

The mixed reviews we have heard and read are from people who are not interested in ingredients or knowledgeable about taste, presentation or quality. This is not a trendy, NYC experience and not one for someone who likes simplistic foods. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is for someone who wants to truly understand and embrace the preparation of their meal and interested in trying lots of new ways of pulling flavors and textures together. Imagine it like the best food art you have ever experienced and this is going to be the most sacred experience for you!


Lomas de Tzununa

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Truly the most spectacular views of the lake, Lomas de Tzununa will take your breathe away. It is not an easy feat to get to – it requires a boat and walking up 380 steps, or taking a treacherous tuk tuk ride from Tzununa’s public dock (a ride my step-father Drew will NEVER do again). But when you reach the top you know why it was so much work… beauty doesn’t come easy. Luckily from our house it is just a 15 minute walk and we are at the same altitude, so the effort is significantly less.

We have fallen in love with Maria and Terry’s vision and expert style in our short-time on the lake. They really know how to do something right. it is not only a 280º view of the lake, but it offers the best sunset and best sunrise viewing I have ever seen. Kurt enjoys sitting outside on the deck and playing one of Terry’s fabulous guitars he leaves for his guests. I love having a glass of wine and enjoying the view. Really I could sit up there all day and look out.

We have not stayed at the hotel yet, but we can imagine it is a lovely stay. There is a pool and plenty to do with a spa and lots of walking around the area. The hotel is set into a forest and the buildings are structured like some kind of beautiful Swiss Chalet in the Alps. It feels upscale and yet still comfortable. Kind of the perfect blend of experience.

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Salud Para Vida

The Salud Para Vida is the Health Store in San Pedro.  This is not a hidden gem and there are a ton of great write ups on Salud Para Vida staring with Trip Advisor, but we wanted to do our own. As promised in my post from our 1st journey to San Pedro, it deserved its own post, so here you go. Walking into the space is extremely unassuming. As mentioned in my previous post we had gotten there with little time to spare and is a super small space – nearly 10’ x 8’ wide. There is one metro rack through the center and a rack on the left and a wooden spice rack on the right. There are a few tables and a pastry case out front. Iza was headed towards a meltdown, but there were two “Arf, afs” out front (dogs) so she was occupied for a moment.

The owners name is Kurt (fancy that) and he is from the States. He imports his products through Miami and only can get them important on an irregular basis, so what the store has it has until they get another miraculous shipment. The store attendant Michael was very helpful. But it feels very community / from the neighborhood.

It was as if Kurt (the store owner) knew us better than we knew ourselves. Take every product we buy at Whole Foods each week and even things that we don’t buy there we have to buy at that other specialty shop on 14th and 6th and it was here. Kurt (the store owner) hit the mark with us. BIG TIME.

We got hair products, Seventh Generation baby wipes, sea salt, chia seeds, rice noodles, gluten free quinoa granola, Bob’s Red Mill amaranth flour, almond butter, etc. It was unbelievable the personality packed into this tiny tienda and with a supplement section for the stars to boot.

As I occupied Iza on the front steps while waiting for Kurt to finish up, I whipped out the Xylophone we had bought earlier. Along came a nice family from Israel who had just arrived the night before from Mexico. They had left their life behind in Israel 10-months ago. They both had remote jobs and they were seemingly doing what we were doing. Their beautiful boys came and played with Iza and we made new friends. We shared some of the other places on the lake with them and invited them over for dinner. We see that many people our age are taking the plunge away from normalcy in their countries and seeking a more adventurous life. We were really hoping to make like-minded friends and it appears that here we have. I look at this little Salud Para Vida has brought us luck already.

What made us so emotional about this store was that it represented the possibility to live here and still have a piece of home. We could maintain our typical food base (and then expand with local specialties) and still be able to have some of the amenities we are used to like non-metal deodorant, alcohol-free baby wipes, and gluten free flours. Basically this store represents the solidification of our possibility to remain abroad here (Mom, don’t cry – we will come and visit). The world has gotten small and the opportunities greater for living outside of America and still maintaining some of the silly amenities we are not interested in giving up. It is pretty awesome.

Thank you Kurt (the store owner). Your little mini Whole Foods placed perfectly in paradise is spectacular. We hope to meet you some day. My Kurt, daughter and I are very grateful.

The Incredible Grocery Experiences

RA’CO on the road is always looking for great markets and grocery shopping experiences. Rache and Kurt usually find that when they are visiting family they either have to pack their own food or shop when they get to where they are going because of our families have more traditional diets than we do. We have a lot of special needs like gluten free flours and snacks, organic produce, raw organic seeds and nuts and various raw foods and snacks so we usually look for local health food stores or a local Whole Foods Market. And we love specialty shops like gourmet olive oil and vinegar shops or tea houses that have really good Japanese green teas.

On this trip to Cincinnati we have had two really great shopping experiences. The first was a Whole Foods in Chagrin Falls in Cleveland that really took it to the next level with their design and the products they featured. We loved the fact that they put a lot of effort into the presentation with custom finishes and build outs and that they featured lots of cutting edge products like specialty infused olive oils and vinegars. Great job Whole Foods!

In Cincinnati we just experienced one of the most amazing markets we have seen yet called Jungle Jim’s. This place is legendary in the Midwest. If you’re ever in Cincinnati and you’re a hardcore foodie like us then you have to go! The owner is super interesting and quirky guy who has turned his massive food store in a shopping paradise fitted out with a jungle theme, massive wine cellar, live fish tanks, outdoor ponds, candy shop, kitchen equipment shop and one of the best healthy food sections we have ever seen. Rache was like, “Man, if we ever do get married, we should do it here and have a registry here!”

We went to Jungle Jim’s to get ingredients for our healthy gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan and raw dishes that we will be adding to Kurt’s family’s usual Thanksgiving menu. (Please visit the menu page for all of our recipes for these dishes.) There was nothing that they didn’t have, and Kurt’s Mom (Sue) picked up all of her special international products that she likes to buy for her Swiss husband Paul.

Thanks Jungle Jim’s for all of your offerings and helping us to make this Thanksgiving a super special and healthy event!

Restaurant De Kas in Amsterdam

I am fortunate to have clients all around the world and to be able to travel to experience the best and most unique food opportunities that exist on the planet. After being introduced to the Dutch consulting practice of KPMG in May 2011, I have been staying connected and hoping that we could find a way to partner up on a few projects. Our new client and friend, selected a wonderful location for the discussion – De Kas Restaurant.

This space is out of this world or rather ‘on the farm’. With a beautiful and picturesque stage, set in the in middle of Frankendael Park in East Amsterdam, this used to be a working production facility for growing food for blue collar workers in the late 1920s through the Great Depression. When scheduled to be demolished in the early 2000’s Gert Jan Hageman took it upon himself to develop a spectacular restaurant concept.

The dining area is situated in and around a variety of different food production areas. Mostly for show, but nonetheless useful, there are two major growing areas at the front of the building at the entrance which leave little to the imagination about where the food will be eaten. It is great from an education standpoint to recognize what it takes to provide you with the food that you are eating.

Walking into the room at night must have a very different appreciation than what one would have during the day, but regardless you are overwhelmed with sense of space. Vaulted ceilings surround and are even higher than you can  imagine. The lighting is minimal and simplistic, making the glassware and people’s eyes twinkle. My client mentioned that there were several very well known faces in the audience that he recognized from the Amsterdam elite community. While I didn’t pick up on that component, I did feel like we all looked like stars under the endless ceiling.

A preplanned menu is always my preference – way less decisions to be made and we were fortunate to have a conscious and thoughtful chef who took my allergies into consideration (some of which didn’t translate perfectly, but the gist of it was clear and I was able to eat almost everything on my plate). The taste profile was a mix between what I would know of traditional Danish food blended with Norwegian and French cuisine. The scallops (which are shown below) were my particular favorite. The presentation was embedded into some sort of fairytale, with the shell acting as the stage and the radish and spinach leaf looking the part of the props. Fabulous.

The kitchen was open plan and glass so you could enjoy watching your meal prepared. The entire restaurant design met the integrity of the original greenhouse and it flowed beautifully. The simplicity of the choices and the thoughtfulness of the execution made this space unique.

Sustainable? This is such a tough question. I would say that they have done a lot of things right and considered the environment all along the way, but with the massive ceiling, facility and quantity of plates served at dinner might have bumped it out of that category.

An experience, absolutely. Enjoy!