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Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. #258257
06/15/2021 06:32 AM
06/15/2021 06:32 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 523
Central Coast, CA
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cruzer Offline OP
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cruzer  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 523
Central Coast, CA
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.

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Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: cruzer] #258268
06/15/2021 07:31 AM
06/15/2021 07:31 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,157
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Posts: 4,157
Portland, OR
Thanks for the foodie information! I'm heading your way this afternoon for an early dinner at Barranco. I don't like eating that early either.


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Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: cruzer] #258269
06/15/2021 07:34 AM
06/15/2021 07:34 AM
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 32
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erb923 Offline
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erb923  Offline
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If you want a nice French lunch, Bacchus in Hope Estate is very nice. Plus the store has all sorts of wines and charcuterie stuffs to purchase.

Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: erb923] #258272
06/15/2021 07:40 AM
06/15/2021 07:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,157
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Posts: 4,157
Portland, OR
For the life of me, I can't figure out where Bacchus is. Can you name some places that are close by? I drove all around the area the other day and couldn't find it.


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Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: jazzgal] #258274
06/15/2021 07:49 AM
06/15/2021 07:49 AM
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 32
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erb923 Offline
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erb923  Offline
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Its behind the hope estate Super U, just go down the road before turning into the Super U shopping center.
https://g.page/bacchus-saintmartin?share
Not sure this google map link works, its surrounded by more industrial buildings.
I think they might have little signs with arrows showing which way it is.
Bacchus Hope Estate
18/19 Anegada road,
97150 St. Martin

Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: cruzer] #258277
06/15/2021 08:07 AM
06/15/2021 08:07 AM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 933
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SammyM Offline
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Impressed with your travels from SFO all the way to St. Maarten! Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't Bora Bora be closer for you? Just joking! And, to do it with pets is very thoughtful. Cats can handle themselves quite well on their own for short periods, but not for three weeks. And, the cost of pet boarding seems to go up with every vacation we take. Sounds like the dining options in and around Grand Case remain strong. Let us know if you get to Anse Marcel on your visit and how things are going there. Definitely a hidden gem on French St. Martin that many people never get to experience.

Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: jazzgal] #258280
06/15/2021 08:08 AM
06/15/2021 08:08 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,762
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Linda--Our meal at Ocean 82 was very good the other night, but eating on the French side for dinner with the curfew is just a PITA.


Carol Hill
Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: cruzer] #258304
06/15/2021 10:59 AM
06/15/2021 10:59 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,965
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Nice report, cruzer, thanks. Hopefully, no curfew when we arrive next month, but if there still is we'll make the best of it.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: SammyM] #258317
06/15/2021 01:53 PM
06/15/2021 01:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,157
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Portland, OR
Sammy - see my trip report from last week for a report on Anse Marcel. Ask away if you have questions.

Trip Report / Anse Marcel


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Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: cruzer] #258356
06/15/2021 05:50 PM
06/15/2021 05:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,098
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jomarc Offline
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Very nice trip report!
We enjoyed a very nice lunch at GBBC last month. The food, service, and location were exceptional. Marc ordered a club sandwich and I had the crab cake salad.

So happy to read that Le Taitu is still open. We tried to have lunch there twice last month, but it wasn't open, much to our chagrin! It's one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. The location isn't great, but the FOOD!!!!

Attached Files Chicken Club Sandwich - Grand Case Beach Club.JPGCrab Cake Salad.JPG

Jo-

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
Re: Delayed, partial, interim Trip Report 6/7-6/10. [Re: jazzgal] #258374
06/15/2021 09:47 PM
06/15/2021 09:47 PM
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Posts: 933
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SammyM Offline
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SammyM  Offline
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Thanks, Jazzgal. Missed that the first time around. Sounds like it was just 'so-so', but I've always loved the scenery around there. And, yes it definitely helps knowing a little french there, as well as in Grand Case from past experiences. Even if you butcher it (like I sometimes do) they often appreciate the attempt ... and then speak to you in English anyway. If you ever happen to visit Martinique (on a day trip or a cruise stop) it's highly recommended to speak some french there.


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