Confessions of a Picky Eater: Punta Cana Pescado

Bring on the shrimp but hold the local fish and flying trapeze, please

Does staying within the confines of your comfort zone remain with food and food alone?

What happens when you put a picky eater in front of a gigantic, delectable buffet in the tropics? She becomes — you guessed it — hungry!

Enter Samana restaurant at Club Med in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. After doing a lap before committing to food options, I scooped some risotto for a taste, then portioned out yummy grilled shrimp with rice, fresh vegetables, grilled chicken, and their signature dark chocolate bread (yes, it’s just as delicious as it looks).

Vicki Salemi

Among the items I passed over? Foie gras terrine, dorade royale, and grilled tilapia, to name a few. Despite the abundance of local delicacies, I was quite content with sticking to what I knew, tossed in with a small square of cheesecake for dessert.

Vicki Salemi

The correlation between comfort zones and being a selective food-lover resonated as I was ensconced by not only delicious buffets but activities as well.

While I relaxed among the sun quenched beach, strawberry daiquiri in one hand and Aziz Ansari’s new book, Modern Romance, in the other, I also checked out their new imaginative playground, CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil.

Between activities such as a trapeze, acrobatic bungee, trampoline, vertical wall to bounce off of, artistic hoops, along with percussions, miming, face painting and juggling, I wondered: Does staying within the confines of your comfort zone remain with food and food alone, or does it transcend to other areas of your life, ahem adventure?

For instance, I didn’t dare climb up to the tall trapeze and I had absolutely no inclination whatsoever to do the bungee, but felt energy pulsing from other travelers who reveled in accomplishing such exhilarating feats. The sparks of excitement in their eyes were priceless and enjoyable to watch. Even still, I was content being a spectator. I did, however, learn how to juggle (it’s much harder than it looks!).

In between refreshing daiquiris and juggling lessons, I sat down with Club Med North America’s vice president of marketing, Sabrina Cendral, to get the scoop. “I think they’re very different things but whatever your comfort zone is or is not, we try to take your hand and bring you that extra step further.”

Interestingly enough, the self-proclaimed picky eater Cendral is also “a complete fan” of the flying trapeze, having discovered it as a 10-year-old. “So, I’m very bold on that front but then on food, not at all.”

Having been a trapeze instructor, she says, “When you see the satisfaction people get after saying, ‘No no, I’m not going to do that,’ just giving it a swing and then dropping into the net, it’s an accomplishment.”

And when it comes to food, she’s fully on board with that extra push as well for a buffet mindset. “You can try small portions and you don’t even have to finish your plate. Try lots of things, especially from the country you’re in.”


Her parting words of wisdom? “It’s worth giving it a try.”