Saturday, March 26, 2005
A Heavenly Day Off in Saint Barts
We stopped the boat in Saint Barth's for a few days, anchoring Aisling with some difficulty in the bay, although we had a great view of all the uber-mega-super-yachts and sopme beautiful sailboats.
Shopping in the little town market was a dream. Such a world away from the other Caribbean markets. I picked up quail eggs, real baguettes, Camembert and aged goats cheeses, leeks, beets, pates and amazing olives, not to mention some very inexpensive good wines. On our day off, Captain Brett took us ashore on the tender and we did a little shopping and then tried to decide what to do for lunch. It's like a little French hippy paradise island, so deciding where to eat was difficult. There are tons of charming little cafes with the best looking croissants and baguette sandwiches in their windows.
After some agonizing, we decided we'd glam things up a bit (it was St. Barths after all!) so we took a taxi to the other side of the island (a 15 minute, winding and beautiful drive up one side of the central mountain and down the other) and went to the beautiful restaurant/lounge/club Nikki Beach. It's got sort of a sex, booze, music and beautiful people beach vibe to it, with plush white sofas, billowy curtains and a half naked wait staff. The view from our table was unbelievable, but we could over hear the next table bemoaning how awful their food was. We decided to play it safe with mojitos while we savored the view, and then we ambled up the road, still in search of our lunch.
We ended up at a charming Italian panini place that was perfect. The counter display of anchovies was the deal clencher for me. Caprese panino with extra anchovies for me; prosciutto, tomato and mozzarella for Mike, and a 7 dollar bottle of Santa Margharita to wash it down!
There was a French septuagenarian couple next to us, whom we overheard expressing their approval of my anchovy passion. We ended up having a very entertaining conversation with them. Some times it's so easy to forget we're working on a boat, instead of cruising the world at our leisure, getting brown and sun kissed, indulging every whim. We have REALLY learned how to enjoy the days off.
After lunch, and totally tipsy, we took a walk on the beach. With no particular destination in mind, somehow we found ourselves walking in to an exquisite Relais and Chateau hotel, Eden Rock. Of course, once we saw their restaurant on the beach, we had to have a seat to look at the view, and then we realized we had to celebrate the view with some oysters and more white wine (NOT priced along the lines of the panini place, but totally worth it.) Yes, it's easy to forget we're not cruising the seas in our own yacht.... Maybe it's all the drinking....
After walking around for ages to digest the food and beverages, we took a hair raising taxi ride from a French girl to a Portuguese tasca for dinner. There was a soccer game on the TV, and when "Mama" found out we had lived in Portugal, there was a lot of mile-a-minute Portuguese from the patrons. I tried my best, and managed to do a decent job communicating. I know we made out happiness with the meal clear, because we polished our plates! The menu was chicken or beef, so we went for one of each, and had some of our old favorite Portuguese wine and beer. The picture doesn't really do the place justice, but in a funny way, does so perfectly.
With my haul from the market I fashioned up a Tuna Steak Niçoise entre for dinner the next night. Back to work!