Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finishing St. Martin On Air and On the Beach

My last day in St. Martin was filled to the brim, with beach time, great food, and a chance to go on the air.

Fellow American  Jeffrey “Soc” Sochrin heard I was in town and asked if I would come down to his radio station and talk a bit about my trip.  I’ve done a little radio and always enjoyed it so I agreed to do it the morning on the day before I was to leave St. Martin. I also decided that as long as I was heading down to Simpson Bay I would check out some other spots in that area on the Dutch side of the island.

Jeffrey, who has lived in St. Martin for four years, welcomed me to Island 92. We had such a good time talking about my travels and my days covering music that I ended up on the air for nearly an hour. His shows are always entertaining and you can listen (and watch the webcam) on his site even if you aren’t in the Caribbean.  

Before I left we sampled a little Patron XO Café and he told me about his project, Team Golden Dog, which supports animal welfare. It’s a worthy cause worth checking out.

I walked down the block from the radio station to Zee Best, the closest thing you will find to a French café on this side of Paris. Dominic owns three of these bakeries, one of which includes a production plant that makes luscious pastries fresh all day.  The almond cheese croissant was heavenly  and the Montreal native insisted that I take the La Vegetarienne Crepe (spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese) to go.

From Zee Best, I walked to Toppers Restaurant to meet with the owner himself, Topper Dabeul. Topper had come to St. Martin from Massachusetts, where he had already been in the restaurant business. I needed a bit of time to digest my croissant, so I started off tasting some of his rum.

The Toppers Rhum is flavorful without being overly sweet and comes in some interesting flavors – Banana, Mocha Mamma, Julio Mojito, Apple Pie, Coconut and my favorite, White Chocolate Raspberry. Before I could finish sipping, there was an assortment of good old fashioned comfort food in front of me from the restaurant menu. I hadn’t quite been ready to eat a lot, but I tasted the macaroni & cheese, beef brisket (with homemade mashed potatoes) and Italian meatballs as good as my Aunt Mary used to make.

I took a bus back to the Sonesta and figured I would take advantage of a few free hours on this beautiful island. I walked along the beach for a while, dipping my feet (the water was a bit too rough for swimming) in the clear aqua sea.  As I got closer to the Sunset Grill, the crowd got bigger. It was quite interesting watching people from all over the world speaking different languages, but all waiting for the planes to fly over them.

I headed back to the hotel and spent a bit of time at the swim-up bar where I had a delicious drink that I have to pass along. It’s called a “BBC” and it’s made from Bailey’s Irish Cream, banana liqueur, pina colada mix and amaretto. It’s then blended and poured into a cup laced with chocolate syrup and topped with cinnamon.

Can you think of a better way to top off a week on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Martin? 

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