St Maarten/St Martin
30 September 2005 Newsletter

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Beaches and weather: Betty Vaughan of The Horny Toad Guesthouse says that it has been hot and humid but as the wind shifted away from the south, things got a bit better. Doesn't matter the beach is right there! Carter at Turquoise Shell Inn says the weather is good and we are still getting almost daily tropical showers, sudden downpours and sunshine, blue skies 15 minutes later. It does seem to be turning fall, if that is really possible this far south.

Construction: Carter at Turquoise Shell Inn says that the seawall for Shore Pointe, the luxury villas at Cupecoy Beach, has been stopped. It appears that the government listened to somebody's complaints. You can register your disgust with the Lt Governor on his website or via email, send an email to St. Maarten tourism director Regina Labega, sign a petition at TTOL, or send a letter to the editor of the Daily Herald. The construction feature has maps and more info on a lot of the construction on the island.

Sapphire Beach Club: For those of you who wish to sell or rent their week or unit, we have opened up the Sapphire Beach Club website for that purpose. The first ten weekly listings are free. After that, we will charge $25 per year and have only received two requests. So this offer is still out there.

Art at California Restaurant: Zouzou says that for the summer, and possibly longer, she has a seashell art exhibition in the restaurant containing mirrors, mobiles, jewelry boxes, seashell boards, cards, and more. There are a couple examples on the boutique page of the California website.
Photo features: This week's photo feature displays Orient in all its glory with an accent on the five sponsors of the current contest. The secret photos also have some shots of Marigot.


The winners of the Marigot contest were:

L'Esperance Car Rental - $100 off a one week car rental - Bruce Robinson
La Vie en Rose - $100 gift certificate for two - Rosemary Stathis
Thai Garden - $100 gift certificate for two - Karen Roberts
Saint Germain - $50 gift certificate for two - Karen Roberts
Le Marrakech - $50 gift certificate for two - Karen Roberts

Several businesses in the Orient Beach area are sponsoring the contest that runs from 1 October until 15 November offering prizes totaling $350. Just click their name to go to their website, find the contest code(s) and the link to our new signup form, fill it out, click send, and you are entered. Put all the contest codes for the contests you want to enter on ONE entry. Do not send multiple entries.

Obviously everybody that is getting this email is already signed up for the newsletter, but you are not automatically signed up for the contest. You really do have to go to their website and click the email link to show you visited their site. Just tell me you are already on our mailing list, and I'll leave you signed up for the newsletter and just add your name to the contest list. We have so many prizes that we will be doubling and tripling up for several contests and producing feature photo spreads in conjunction with the contests. Here is the list of future contests and feature photo spreads:

Orient Beach Feature - 1 October to 15 November 2005:
Chez Pat - $100 toward a day on Galion Beach
Kakao Beach Bar - $100 toward a day on Orient Beach
Sol e Luna Apartments - $100 off on a one week stay
Nono Car Rental - $50 off on a one week rental

Philipsburg Feature - 16 November to 15 December:
Vacation Suites - a free low season week!
Lucky/Hibiscus Cars - $100 off a one week car rental
Antoine Restaurant - $100 off a meal for two
DK Gems - $100 gift certificate

Karen and Pascal's Restaurants - 16 December 2005 to 6 January 2006
Auberge Gourmande - $100 off a meal for two
Montmartre Restaurant - $100 off a meal for two
Sunset Café - $100 off a meal for two
Panoramic Car Rental - $100 off a week's car rental


On 24 August the euro was at 1.231 and today it is at 1.207. That's fairly steady and fairly good, about what the euro was when it all started about five years ago.. French side restaurants with many costs in dollars and many American (or Canadian) clients have been offering more favorable exchange rates. Some restaurants offer a 1 to 1 exchange. Note that some only offer this rate for cash. As always, know what the euro is worth, what the restaurateur is offering for an exchange, and what the costs are on the menu. Finally, you are here to have fun and fine food, not to do complex financial calculations, so don't worry about it too much.
Christian at Sol é Luna Restaurant has told me that they will be opening on 7 October with a new menu and they will be doing 1 for 1 on the euro.
Maryline at Le Mambo Restaurant has just opened and sent me a new menu. It will be up on the website soon.
Dare to be Rare: Dino says they have finally opened and he believes that it is the only steakhouse in the world with an Indian Tandoor oven. We hear the food is over the top tasty.

Paris Bistro and The Wharf Restaurant: New for the slow season: Buy one main course at the regular price and get the second one of equal or lesser value at 50% off. Go to the websites and print out the coupon.

Hot Tomatoes: We are waiting for more Hot Tomatoes comments. It's on the website and before we return in December, somebody will win a pair of pizzas and a bottle of red. Just send us some comments and we'll pick a winner.

Slow food: The 24 August 2005 newsletter started the discussion on slow food. Mediterranean Cooking by Paula Wolfert is a great guide to preparing healthy and tasty food. We recently prepared a moussaka based on the recipe on page 238. We used our own eggplant and new potatoes and yogurt and ground lamb from 3-Corner Field Farm here in Salem, NY. The photo isn't beautiful but the tastes are fantastic, especially when accompanied by a sturdy Rhone wine (Cote du Rhone or a Gigondas). Moussaka is Greek and I don't know of a Greek restaurant on the island, but lamb is often found Moroccan restaurants and one of the finest on St Martin is Marrakech Restaurant in Marigot. A totally different approach, using the finest cuts of lamb (ie, the chops) rather than the ground up trimmings can be found in many restaurants. I have always liked the lamb chops at Bistrot Caraïbes, La Vie en Rose, and Spiga Restaurant, but even more casual places like Hot Tomatoes Restaurant, and Pineapple Pete's frequently have very tasty lamb chops.

Books: I just read Garlic and Sapphires : The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl ($16.47, $9 used) - As someone who comments on three to four restaurants per week in high season, I obviously was quite interested in this book, but it's not just me as Amazon.com writes: Reichl is an absolute marvel when it comes to writing about food--she can describe a dish in such satisfying detail that it becomes unnecessary for readers to eat. In her third memoir, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Reichl focuses on her life as a food critic, dishing up a feast of fabulous meals enjoyed during her tenure at The New York Times. As a critic, Reichl was determined to review the "true" nature of each restaurant she visited, so she often dined incognito--each chapter of her book highlights a new disguise, a different restaurant (including the original reviews from the Times), and a fresh culinary adventure. Garlic and Sapphires is another delicious and delightful book, sure to satisfy Reichl's foodie fans and leave admirers looking forward to her next book, hopefully about her life with Gourmet.


Restaurant Dates
Antoine no closing in 2005
Baccara no closing in 2005
Bamboo Bernies bar open all season,
but closed on Tuesdays
kitchen closes for September 2005
Bistrot Caraïbes 28 May - 4 June 2005
Sep 2005
Chez Pat no vacation, but
closed on Monday 2005
Le Cottage Restaurant mid August - 6 October 2005
Escapade no vacation closing
Le Mambo 8 August to 5 September 2005
La Marine 24 April - 1 November 2005
Oizeau Rare early May until mid-June 2005
Rainbow Café 20 August to 20 October 2005
Sol é Luna 20 June to July 11 2005
Temptation no closing in 2005


Endless Summer Swimwear Aug 29 - Sep 11