St. Martin: Part Un, Grand Case

Yes, these croissants WERE heaven-sent!

butter makes them better!

Last week The Hubs and I returned to beautiful St. Martin for a much needed vacation of decompression.  St. Martin is a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean ocean, 35 square miles small.  Divided into two parts, the Dutch side and the French side, St. Martin is known for being the culinary capitol of the Caribbean.  The Dutch side of the island is definitely for the college crowd – as it is geared more towards partying.  The French side is all about food and amazing beaches.  Grand Case boasts an impressive restaurant row for fancy French fare.  Holy smokes did we ever blow some money eating in Grand Case.  On our first night we ate at La Villa, a restaurant we chose by chance, to escape an unexpected downpour.  La Villa doesn’t have an ocean view, but the superb garlicky-herbed butter escargot we inhaled made us forget all about it.  We had eaten super gross airplane cheese and crackers with a side of Pringles for lunch and were ravenous.  I think we dipped two servings of French bread into the beautiful leftover buttery mess after we ate all the snails.  On our 3rd night, Ocean 82 greeted us with spiny Caribbean lobsters, grilled and served with garlic butter or creole sauce for dipping.  Heaven.

did you know the spiny lobsters found in the Caribbean waters do not have claws?

did you know the spiny lobsters found in the Caribbean waters do not have claws?

On our final night, we had our best experience of all at Le Tastevin.  The outside façade doesn’t look like much, but venture inside and the restaurant is open, airy, and appears to be floating over the ocean.  We were seated at a quiet corner table directly closest to the sea.  The Hubs ordered appetizers, foie gras , which we split, and the highlight of the meal; soup de concombre et mousse de féta with kalamata olives.  Cucumber soup with tomato foam, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with kalamata olives and chives.  The foie gras was amazing, seared and served in a rich syrah sauce over tiny sticks of toasted french bread with apples on the side.  The soup was the most crisp and clean palate cleanser, so refreshing, so artfully plated.  The French tend to go heavy on the butter, but this soup was unexpected and light.

i love cucumbers!

i love cucumbers!

Speaking of butter, I am sure I ate my month’s fill of it last week.  I love a light and flakey croissant, something I’m not sure exists here in Nashville.  Just around the corner of Grand Case lies the sweet little patisserie store, Le Moulin.  I just know your croissant is going to be good if the bag looks like this by the time you get home 5 minutes later:

that's butter, y'all!

that’s butter, y’all!

We found the French didn’t really emphasize breakfast, which was the worst meal experience we repeatedly had.  After day 3 we realized; just order coffee and a croissant!  DONE.  We visited Le Moulin several times and were so happy with every pastry we ate.  For breakfast, The Hubs opted for a chocolate croissant while I enjoyed mine plain and warmed.

possibly the best croissant I've ever had!

possibly the best croissant I’ve ever had!

The insides were perfect; airy with many flaky layers.  I prefer mine with café au lait, while The Hubs prefers his with a side of astrophysics.

mmmmm, miss them already!

mmmmm, miss them already!

Next post, the lolos, Carib beers and navigation!

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