St Maarten/St Martin
19 February 2006 Newsletter

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Weather: Sunday did turn out to be lovely, warm, no rain, a bit of a breeze. Monday was great, clear skies with a full moon, and Tuesday, Valentine's Day, was the same. Wednesday turned rainy but the sunset ended with a green flash as we finished our Valentine's champagne on our balcony. We did notice the rollers approaching Cupecoy from the SW. they turned to the SE by Wednesday, which was a pretty good day. Thursday was beautiful, especially with the still rather full moon illuminating Grand Case Bay as we dined at L'Escapade Restaurant. Friday was pretty rainy, but Saturday had little wind and was clear, rather hot, and the day ended with the third green flash this week! The sunset is about quarter after six. The moon is in its last quarter.

15 Feb sunset/
16 Feb sunset
It takes two to three minutes for that disk on the left to sink into the sea. The clear sky on the horizon that allows you to see this, leads to a green flash. We got one on the 15th (left), 16th (center), and on the 18th.

Beaches: A Sunday (12 Feb) stroll revealed that Cupecoy is being hit with large waves from the SE, pushing the sand to the NW, ie filling in along the new seawall. The large waves are still washing the sand, but now there is about 30 feet of sand. The monolith is in the water as there is little sand at the dock. The little cove has almost no usable sand and Ocean Club and Sapphire have nothing. There is sand beneath Cliffhanger.

Driving: I took the Cakehouse shortcut over the hill from Pburg to Cole Bay and got a spectacular view of the lagoon on the very clear Monday morning. After that,these goats blocked my journey as I snapped them through windshield. Goats = tail up, sheep = tail down. Goats

Simpson Bay

Construction: There is a new photo of the seawall on Cupecoy with about 30 feet of sand in front of it. It's moist, but it is filling in given the SE swells. There is also a photo of the sales shack for Cupecoy Village on the construction feature.

For the Princess Casino pre-Valentines fashion show on Saturday February 11 plus a cash raffle of $1000, I neglected to mention that the fashions came from Nubian Fashion, René Derhy, and Les Petites Bombes. The photos from the fashion show are still on the web.

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 only four requests, so this offer is still out there.

Select Wine Cellar: The wine of the month is CHATEAU GRAND CORBIN DESPAGNE 2001 (St Emilion grand cru) a great wine in a good year for only $25. Use the coupon from Select Wine's website and get a 10% discount on everything else in their store. The Saturday tasting featured Chablis, Macon Pouilly Fuissé, (all whites) and St Joseph, Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau Grand Corbin Despagne, and Cotes de Provence St Pierre Domaine de Ste Croix (reds). For dessert we had a Maury Hors d'Age that tasted very much like a tawny port. The Tremblay Chablis came home with us. We've had it before and think it is a good wine at a price. We brought home some more Savigny les Beaune "Peuillets" 2003 from Girard as we liked it better than a more expensive Beaune. Note that this is an opinion. Jason thinks otherwise, and the beauty of the Saturday wine tastings is that you can decide for yourself.

Art at California Restaurant: Zouzou 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. Zouzou reminds us that she is still offering $1 for 1 euro for cash and traveler's checks.

Art at Delfina Hotel: Boris and Michael at Delfina are hosting an art showing of the works of two German sisters, Corinna and Norma Trimborn, who live on the island. The artists provide red and white wine, some cheeses, etc. Beer and other beverages are also available from Delfina at a small charge. This will be happening on Fridays during the high season from 5:00-7:00 pm. The paintings are eclectic and interesting, although not inexpensive. For a preview, check out at their website.

Groceries: - Great shiitakes and a tasty foie du canard from US Imports. They also have hand harvested sea salt from Camargue. Seems a bit much to have the canister signed by the saunier (salt harvester), but it's good. Whole chickens at Food World (Cole Bay) were only $2 on sale recently.

Photo feature: This newsletter with many photos is posted on SXM-Info.com.


Win $100 in the weekly Princess Casino and Baccara Restaurant contest. Get $50 in casino action and $50 off a dinner for two at Baccara Restaurant, just above the casino floor. Make it a spectacular evening as you will be picked up and returned home in a chauffeured Bentley.

Martin Conway, GM at the casino, says that they offer free pick up service by Rolls Royce or Bentley and can send a bus for larger groups. Distance is no problem. With this service, there are no worries about security or drinking and driving. Our motto is Good Gaming, Great Entertainment, and Fine Dining.

Last week's winner: D McCadney - SXMDee


Meli-Melo - 19 February to 12 March 2006
L'Esperance Car Rental - $100 off a week's rental
L'Esperance Hotel - $100 off a week's rental
SkipJacks' - $50 off a dinner for two
West of the Equator - An autographed copy of this new book

Let's go over the rules:
Rule #1 - Visit the websites and find the entry code.
Rule #2 - Send in ONE entry using the form with all the contest codes for the contests you wish to enter.
Rule #3 - If the prize-awarding entity goes out of business before you claim your prize, you are unlikely to get your prize.
Rule #4 - Prizes are valid for one year from the award date.
Rule #5 - There is no rule number five.

Yes, we added 3 and 4. Still, it's a lot easier than other contests and there is no timeshare presentation. We choose an email randomly from all those received. If that person has entered multiple times, we throw them all out. If not, that person will win all the prizes for which the correct contest code has been entered. If all the contests have not been won by this person, another email will be chosen, etc until all prizes have been won.

The winners of the Round the Lagoon Contest are:
La Vi Bô Kaye - Seafood buffet for two - Nancy Dallas
La Vi Bô Kaye - Barbecue buffet for two - Nancy Dallas
Select Wine Cellar - $100 off on a case of wine - Margaret Robinson
Ch Couloumey - Four bottles of wine - Kelly Burns
Our condo - Half price low season week - Margaret Robinson

Future Contests:

SXM Ultra Luxe - 12 March to 2 April
Dawn Beach Villas - $350 off a weeks rental
Dare to be Rare Steakhouse - $100 off a dinner for two
Temptation Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
La Samanna - $100 off a dinner for two
La Vie en Rose - $100 off a dinner for two
Antoine Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
L'Escargot Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two

Grand Case - 2 April to 14 May
L'Alabama Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two
Tastevin Restaurant - $100 off a dinner for two


Unless you count going for a dental scan at a radiologist in Marigot and a trip to Lal's Electronics in Philipsburg carrying a 27 inch TV/VCR/DVD (no mean feat) as activities, we did nothing but go to Marci's Mega Gym 2000. This may not seem like much, but you should know that dental work can get done at a very high level (and lower cost) here in the islands. While I don't wish this on anyone, it is good to know. The electronics is even more interesting, though less useful to the casual tourist. In the US my $550 TV would have been toast when the integral VCR and DVD player came up lame. For $100, it was made new on an island where old equipment piles up as parts cadavers at the local repair shop rather than in the landfill.

However, Saturday was such a lovely day that we zipped over to Grand Case and went snorkeling with Sebby at Snorkel Trips at Grand Case Beach Club. It was a beautiful day and we saw more fish than ever. That is essentially the beauty of the short trip that Sebby offers, reservations are not required in advance. If it is a beautiful day, call and go snorking.


On 12 Feb the euro was at 1.192 and today it is at 1.194. Big whoop. 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. We got it at Auberge Gourmande, Sunset Café, California Restaurant, Bistrot Caraïbes, and Restaurant du Soleil and noticed it at Rainbow Café, Santal, Chez Martine, Marlin's Cafe, and all the lolos in Grand Case. 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.

On Sunday night I ventured all the way to Blue Sapphire Cafe for dinner. I really am grateful that a restaurant as good as this is beneath my balcony. It was a simple dinner, no ap, no dessert, just the lamb chops (four) with a Provencal sauce ($26). It came with snow peas, broccoli, a roasted tomato, and a bit of potato. There was a nice sauce with herbs de Provence liberally applied. A bottle of Jaboulet's Cote de Rhone ($25) was quite nice with the lamb and quite nice again the next day for my Philly cheesesteak lunch.

On Monday night I went out to Rainbow Café to do some work on updating their site (and have a great dinner). They are one of the longest running restaurants on the island and one of my first website clients. They needed an update. Take a look and send me comments. My dinner started with a bottle of 2000 Chateau Chantegrive, a sturdy red from Graves, with a bit of age. I hadn't really thought about dinner, but saw a salmon tartare go by and ordered one for myself, producing a rather strange combination. However, the chef had added six grapefruit wedges and the tart citric acid cut the oiliness of the tasty salmon perfectly - no crisp white wine was needed. Dinner was a prime filet with a cheese sauce topped with crispy onion rings, garlic mashed potatoes, and veg. Perfectly done and tasting perfect also. The premises have been painted, the tables and chairs changed out, and a roof has been put over the upstairs deck. It has gone through quite a few changes since John Jackson (now at Saratoga) and Mario (of Mario's Bistro) were working here in the previous mellennium, but the view is the same, the place is even more beautiful, and the food is superb. If you are looking for romance, I suggest a deuce on the lower level along the water here and after dinner drinks upstairs on the deck.

Martha returned on Tuesday exclaiming about an absolutely spectacular view of the sun rising east of a snow-covered Manhattan. The sun turned the East River, the cross streets, and the Hudson to gold as she approached Newark from the north. We did stay home that evening, but dined on smoked salmon from Bistrot Caraïbes. I still say it is the best on the island. The main course was the prime Black Angus tenderloin from Merchant's Market (spectacular taste and texture), garlic mashed potatoes with truffle oil (from Hediard in the West Indies Mall), and shitake mushrooms (from US Imports). We also got a molten chocolate cake from Bistrot Caraïbes. I said last week that I would get one from Mario's Bistro, but one-stop shopping was so much easier!

On Wednesday we were guests at Betty Vaughan's birthday party. She's the owner of the Horny Toad Guesthouse and invited twenty of her closest friends to dinner at SkipJacks', best new restaurant on the island! I won't go into the entire meal other than to say that any place that can handle a party of 20 ordering off the menu on one table and make it look easy, is pretty impressive. We had the calamari salad and they were pretty tender and tasty. We both had the blackened grouper which was very fresh and not too spicy, but it did arrive with a bit of Creole sauce on the side, for more adventurous diners. Dessert, of course, was birthday cake.

We caught up with Jason from Lagoon Pub Crawl as they passed through SkipJacks'. He said that the Valentine's Day dinner at Halsey's Restaurant was a great success. Almost every diner had the paired wines offered by him and Sylvain from Select Wine Cellar.

Thursday night at L'Escapade Restaurant was wonderful in every way. Gerald has turned this into a beautiful restaurant, hired a talented chef, and filled the dining room with competent staff. It doesn't hurt that he has a beautiful view of Anguilla and the late full moon came up toward the end of the evening. We had three specials: lobster ravioli with coconut milk and cilantro, a Cajun/Creole shrimp on risotto, and a Black Angus filet Rossini with garlic mashed potatoes. The ap was quite interesting with tender raviolis containing a bit of crunchy lobster all wrapped up in a very flavorful broth. The shrimp dish was spicy, but as Gerald explained, not hot spicy. Rossini was a nineteenth century Italian composer with a great love of food. Apparently, he liked to put foie gras on things. It's a great idea and everything worked quite well with a 1999 Echezeaux. Gerald is doing 1 to 1 on the euro, so the damage to the wallet (neglecting my wine habit) was not too bad.

After dinner, we stopped for dessert at Blue Martini. Yes, it was the happy hour two for one Stella on draft. Works for me. The place was really jumping. We liked the music that was being played and apparently so did a lot of other people. Groovin

On Friday we strolled around Marigot in the morning. It really is lovely, reminding us of small towns in France where one can walk through shopping areas and markets interspersed with many, many restaurants. The small local places near the open-air market produce filling plates for about $10 and many French places come close to this. Durreche was selling Moules Frites for 12 euros, about $15. We wandered into Marina Royale and stopped at Mambo Sushi, which Nori Laidi from Rainbow Café and James Goldman from Bamboo Bernies have opened in the old Bacardi Snack Bar in Marina Royale in Marigot. It's quite a place after extensive renovation and as Bamboo Bernies got the best sushi award from the readers of The Daily Herald, you can bet the sushi is fresh and well made. We had a Japanese bridge loaded with sushi and sashimi - all good. I actually held up a cucumber slice that I could see through - good knife work.

After snorkeling on Saturday we stopped at Sunset Café for the usual mussels with a bottle of rose. Their deck hanging out over Grand Case Bay is a wonderful place on a beautiful day. A bucket of mussels done up in white wine, onion, garlic, pepper, shallots, parsley, and a bit of cream with a chilled rose makes it perfect.

Changes: As soon as I explained how I made a great Philly cheesesteak from the previous night's ribeye at SkipJacks', Philly Joe's Pizza in Simpson Bay closed its doors. It's being repainted and a container is sitting outside, presumably with the fixtures. On Wednesday, a sign saying Philly Joe's Ristorante appeared on the porch, but has not been put up. Stay tuned. It appears that Havana Too on the Marigot Waterfront is out of business. Breezin' along the airport, in the old Perroquet building hasn't opened in weeks, nor cut the grass.


Look on the SXM-Info website for a list of all restaurants that have coupons for some freebie or discount. There are several coupons there to make your vacation a bit cheaper. Here's a partial list of what you'll find:

Auberge Gourmande
Le Baccara Restaurant
Bikini Beach
Beau Beau's
Kakao Beach
Los Gauchos
The Greenhouse
Oizeau Rare
Pirate Beach Bar
Paradise View
Paris Bistro
Pedro's Beach Bar
Saint Germain
Sunset Café
The Wharf
Lots here
and here
Select Wine Cellar

Those who like Club Orient might be interested in Club Fantastico. Check it out.

L'Esperance Hotel has great rates and is conveniently located. It's quite handy if you just need a night or two at either end of your vacation because of the wretched flight schedules. They have a lovely pool and offer free wireless internet access.

Sandy Molloy at Molloy Travel says that she can generally beat any rates you can get from the hotels. Give her a shot.

Erich S. Kranz
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