Prologue: I’m especially well rested and at peace with the world this trip, which is another way of saying I’m super lazy and have a very short attention span If I try to get current on my activities of the past week (we’re here for 3 weeks), I’ll never get this thing written, and, as I have learned a lot for the trip reports of others, I want to return the favor. This report covers June7-10. I hope this effort kickstarts easier and more timely writing.

On June 7 our car service came to pick us up at 1:30 for our 5 PM flight SFO/PHX/CLT/SXM that arrived in SXM around 1 on Tuesday. Took the long route to snag a “more reasonable” front cabin fare. Flight, of course, was long but uneventful, and passing through the health checkpoint and C&I was a breeze. I think something went wrong back in baggage handling, as both our bags with priority tags came out first instead of one first and the other last. Picked up the car from ACE and arrived tired but happy that we were once again at Grand Case Beach Club right after stopping by the Chinese Market on the main road for beer, water, and cat food.

We found all four cats, offering up gifts of caloric loving, and they immediately learned our room number for the rest of the trip. They all seem in good health, even Lunes who has been having gum issues lately.

A few general observations. The road from town to GCBC is in real bad shape, but as one side of the road is paved, the other looks torn up because (I assume) of repairs and perhaps laying utility lines. We were shocked at the state of some of the buildings, but many are still awaiting building guidelines from the powers that be before they can hope to start. Damn, wasn’t Irma way back in 2017? Oh, and the water temp is a rather brisk 81. Mask usage is widespread among workers—ok, it’s the law—but, I swear, it must be illegal to cover one’s nose with the mask. And, then, there’s the contingent that even wears a mask on the street. Most restaurants don’t require masks away from the tables, but stores do. We always ask.
The curfew does change our trip a bit, most notably having to eat dinner early. We usually now eat around 5:45 or 6 to ensure we have time to finish by 8. Instead, our big meal is now lunch, and more planning goes into the noontime meal than the evening meal. But, being here more than offsets this inconvenience. Actually, my wife prefers earlier dinners, so I think she is happy with the new arrangement.

Two factors keep us coming back to St. Martin time-after-time: GCBC and the amazing offering of excellent foods, upscale and basic. So, the rest of this report will focus on food. N.B. drink is an integral part of food and dining.

Breakfasts consist of a croissant and baguette from the bakery near Bistrot Caraibes. Might also have a pastry, Best $3.75 meal for 2 I can think of. We stopped by Super U and picked up some cheeses, pates, and other food items to eat when we’re too full to go out, or just too lazy to move our butts.

Our 45th wedding anniversary was Tuesday, but as that was a travel day we scheduled that dinner for Wednesday at L’ Auberge Gourmand. Arrival day, we like something simple, local and tasty. That used to be the Lolos, but then we upgraded to Carl’s Le Ti Coin Creole, and when Villa Royale opened, that became part of the rotation as well. Since Carl’s looks to be history, we had reservations at Villa Royale, for an excellent meal. I really wanted tempura conch, but it was out of season (I guess they source locally, as we had some since), so had tempura shrimp instead, which was much tastier than expected (I call this the island effect). My main was Mahi Mahi Tartare. My wife, Shirley, had the curry goat. I consider those 2 dishes among my island favorites in their respective categories. Oh, and to end the dinner, 2 of the ladies there turned on the music, danced for us, then with us, and then exchanged partners so we could have an anniversary dance, followed up with a complimentary apple tart, with the thinnest of sliced apples layered on the shell. A wonderful way to finish off a great meal.

The following night’s dinner at L’ Auberge was my best yet there. Normally I have the steak with sauce, which Shirley had, but the special duet of fish, grouper and monkfish, sounded too good to pass up. I can’t say I’ve had any better grouper before, and so the very good monkfish paled in comparison. And, the usual smoked salmon was better than normal. I suspect it’s the same stuff as served at Bistrot Caraibes, which is my favorite by far. For us, wine’s taste is influenced factors other than taste and smell. The usual bottle of Chateau neuf du Pape was especially tasty that night.

As an aside, both L’ Auberge and Bistrot, usually have a better exchange rate for USD transactions, but now you can use a credit card and still get the better rate charged in USD. And, there is now a line to include a tip.

Thursday was an errand day. Shop at Ma Dou Dou, and pick up some supplies at Super U. The gate is now open during daylight hours, so no need for a code. Had lunch at Le Taitu, which was good as usual, although my wife had to order extra blue cheese sauce for the chicken in cheese sauce. And, as usual, we seemed to be the only Americans there. Dinner was at Sunset Café, with mussels and beef carpaccio. Food was good, not great. To get way ahead of this chronology, we’ve ordered bouchots for Friday, June 18, at Sylvain’s Champagne Bistro. I might have that write-up done by Halloween.

So, I’ll close here as my stomach is rumbling and the bakery is calling.