Posts Tagged 'St Martin'

SXM: The food

I’ll (try to) wind up my St Maarten/St Martin postings here with a post on the island’s food. Really, eight nights was not nearly enough time to explore all of the island’s culinary offerings. For example, it felt as though shawarma was advertised on every corner, but did we ever try any? In a word, no. In three words, no we didn’t. In five words, we ran out of time. The island seems to boast just about any type of food you could want — Chinese, Indian, Jamaican, German, Middle Eastern, Italian, French, American, Moroccan, etc. Again, there was just not enough time! Or enough room in our stomachs. But, we did what we could and here’s a few pics from the highlights of our epicurean adventures.

Aaron's lunch at Talk of the Town

This first pic is from Talk of the Town, which is a lolo in Grand Case, a town on the French side of the island. A lolo is a restaurant that is housed around a big grill on which tons and tons of barbecue is prepared. Here, Aaron had barbecue ribs with rice and beans, green salad and macaroni and cheese for $8.

Aaron's lunch at Yellow Beach

This pic is of Aaron’s lunch at Yellow Beach, which is one of three restaurants on Pinel Island. Pinel Island is a teeny tiny island, also on the French side, and a short ferry boat ride from Cul de Sac (around $7 round trip). This was our most expensive meal, but the trigger fish — shown here — was on special and was unbelievably tasty.

Shrimp pizza at Orange Fever

I love good Italian-style pizza and, while it is really hard to find in MSN, there is tons of it in SXM! This is a picture of the shrimp pizza we shared at Orange Fever, which is a little beach bar on Orient Bay Beach (one of maybe two dozen such bars — they all rent chairs and umbrellas for the day, serve drinks and food). I had never considered shrimp on pizza before, but we had had it the day before at Rancho del Sol. We had stopped at Rancho del Sol while we were out exploring and were desperate for food. Once we got there, though, we weren’t really feeling the menu, but we decided to split the shrimp and scallop pizza. Maybe it was just because we were ravenous, but holy cow was it super good. The pizza was divine and the shrimp were just perfectly grilled and scrumptious (the scallops were really not much to write about). Anyway, so we went for it again at Orange Fever and while it wasn’t as tasty, it was pretty yumsville.

Aaron's dinner at The Rib Shack

On Tuesday nights in Grand Case, the main street shuts down to car traffic (why it doesn’t prohibit car traffic every day on this incredibly narrow, one-way street with no sidewalks and a billion restaurants is a mystery) and has a sort of general party. There’s music and vendors in the street and people are everywhere. After returning from Anguilla, we stopped in the town and circled the one known parking lot for a spot to no avail. It was early yet, so we were able to find one just outside of town at not too great a distance (distances should be measured in whether you are wearing flip flops or not — had I been wearing tennis shoes, it would have been no distance at all). We walked into town and found a spot at another lolo (it seems there are at least four clustered together on the northeastern side of the main street), The Rib Shack. I ordered a $3 rum punch and Aaron ordered a $2 Carib and we watched the sunset. For dinner, Aaron tried to order the goat, which was a Tuesday night special. No goat. Instead, oxtail, which is what you see in the above picture. I had the curried chicken, another special, shown below. Yum.

Curried chicken

For our last St Martin meal (besides airport food), we ate at the esteemed Poulet d’Orleans. Apparently, Anthony Bourdain has declared a person who has the opportunity to eat at Poulet d’Orleans and passes on it, “too dumb to live.” I think this is a bit harsh, especially because the restaurant’s location is a bit enigmatic. We spent almost the first week of our vacation thinking the restaurant was an unrelated bar that sits next to the restaurant. And I don’t think we are the only ones who have made that mistake. When we dined at Poulet, we chatted with another American couple who didn’t actually admit that they had trouble figuring out what was where, but stated that the previous year they had had dinner at the bar (this also seemed weird as we had had drinks at the bar and there didn’t seem to be any food. Or a bathroom — we peed in the woods in the back of the bar). Anyway, we ordered the rib plate — beef, lamb and pork — and the signature poulet. I cannot describe how good this food was. The meat was amazing, of course, but I really noticed the unbelievable deliciousness when I bit into my small piece of corn-on-the-cob. The corn had soaked up all of the amazing juices and sauces that had been on the plate and the flavors exploded in my mouth. When I tasted that corn, I am pretty sure my eyes rolled to the back of my head. Heaven.

Poulet d'Orleans: ribs, far plate; chicken, near plate

It was a bit hard to get a good pic because I was using my not-as-good-camera-that-really-does-poorly-at-night. Sorry about that. Not that a picture could do it justice anyway.

Yum

As you can see, I really liked that corn. So, we had the two plates of food — plus, there was a trio of sides to share: potatoes, rice and beans — and a two-glass bottle of wine for $40. I won’t be as harsh as Anthony Bourdain in my review, but I do suggest a trip to this restaurant if you get the chance.

SXM 2011: Recap

Ok, super boring post take 25,019. Sorry.

AO and I were talking through how we have spent our St Maarten/ St Martin days and I felt compelled to write it down. So, here goes.

Wed. 3/2. Plane lands in St Maarten. We catch a minivan ride to our reserved rental car (Alamo) and jump in our tiny (super cute) Kia and head towards Oyster Pond where we have rented a cottage for our stay. Approximately thirty minutes later, we arrive at our place and quickly make ourselves at home. The property owners, who live in the house ‘next door’ are super nice and have provided us with beer and wine and soda. So nice. We take a short nap before venturing out for a drive on the French Side. Fun! We find a market, buy French groceries — cheese, bread, apples, gin, club soda, whisky, the basics — and drive back ‘home.’ We drink, we watch tv — Ugly Betty seems to be on all the time, but we still manage to avoid it — and we sleep.

Thurs. 3/3. Maho Beach. Drive around the Dutch Side of the island and park in Maho. Walk down Maho Beach and have a beer at the quieter of the two Maho Beach bars. We watch some flights come in and then walk up and down the main street in Maho. After exploring the Dutch market in Maho, we head back to the bigger of the two airport beach bars, Sunset Beach Bar, which has a surfboard planted in the sand on which declares the arrivals.  There can be no doubt that Sunsent Beach Bar has the better spot from which to view the arrivals and departures, but the bar on the opposite side of the beach is certainly more tranquil — though you probably don’t come to this stretch of beach for peace.

Fri. 3/4. Orient Beach. We head out from Oyster Pond in search of Orient Bay. We discover, mostly by accident, that if we head towards the Orient Bay Beach Club (or something like that), we can eventually find the public entrance to this huge beach. We park and venture into the beach area and find a million and one spots that sell beach chairs and umbrellas … Some for $5 a chair, some for $7, some for $10. We eventually settle upon Orange Fever, which rents us two chairs and an umbrella for $14 total. They throw in the use of their bathroom and two free rum punches to boot! Hooray! Shortly after noon, a large rainstorm set in, which left us running for Orange Fever’s shelter, which was kinda fun. The rain let up and we had another great day.

Sat. 3/5. Because AO was pretty red, and because I was really interested in doing this hike, we thought we’d take Saturday to take a break from the sun. We drove from home base to a spot between Grand Case and Marigot called Loterie Farms, which is inland. We paid $7 a piece to go on a self-guided hike that felt as though it were straight-up the mountains of St Martin. After about 30 minutes of crazy-hiking up the mountain, we reached the ‘Chewbacca’ vista and took some great pics of the view — we could see Marigot, Grand Case and Anguilla all from one point. Phew. Down the mountain. We drove away and had lunch at a lolo in Grand Case. We then walked around Grand Case and headed home. After changing into our swim wear, we went out to Dawn Beach, which is about a 5 minute drive from our home,  and rented some chairs ($5 each) to enjoy the end of the day’s sunshine.

Sun. 3/6. We drove off to Cul de Sac and caught the 10:30 ferry from there to Pinel Island. Landing on Pinel Island shortly before 11, we chose some chairs at Up on the Key and settled in for the day. We lunched, though, at Yellow Beach, which was next door (there are only three restaurants on Pinel). Super expensive, but pretty yumsville.

Mon. 3/7. We drove to Phillipsburg and walked around Front Street and the boardwalk for a couple of hours. We had a late breakfast/early lunch in the shadow of the cruiseships, but truly enjoyed our time. I’m not a shopper, really, but had fun strolling Front Street. We wandered into the old, and wholly operational, courthouse. We walked into two casinos and watched peeps playing roulette. We walked into jewelry stores and, well, pretty much did nothing. After driving around some more, we stopped for lunch in belle Marigot.

Tues. 3/8. Anguilla. See earlier post. On our way home, we stopped in Grand Case for the town’s festive Tuesday nights. We ate at another lolo and it was delicious. Driving home in the dark made me happy we had not done that often.

Wed. 3/9. Orient Beach. We decided to spend another day at the fun Orient Beach. We arrived around 11:20 or so, which I think was slightly later than the first time we went. Most beach-front chairs were taken, so we walked around a bit. Finally, we settled upon chairs at Sunset Beach Bar (or something like that). The chairs were brown and $8 a piece. The umbrella, two rum punches and toilet access came with the chairs, too. The catch? The drinks and food were about a million times more than at Orange Fever! And there were about a million more people on the beach! That, though, is probably more a product of a Wednesday. Anyway, after leaving the beach around 4, we drove to this bar-type spot to have a beer to wait for Poulet d’Orleans to open to have dinner. We had to wait two hours (which made the one beer turn into three beers, mostly because the bar did not have change for a $10 and the beers were only $1.50) and pretty much just chatted in French to a Spanish-speaking 5-year-old who took a million and one pictures with my camera while we waited But dinner? Divine.

[And the only other couple at Poulet d’Orleans were Donald and Nancy of NY who seemed very sympathetic to, and knowledgeable about, our current plight in Wisconsin. They also highly recommended Yvette’s Restaurant, which I hope we are fortunate enough to try some day.]

I just really heart St Maarten/St Martin.


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