Archive for February, 2014

What’s new in the St. Barth restaurant scene?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Pipiri Palace and Océan

As you know part of my duties while I am living in St. Barth for the better part of the year, is to dine out all the time so that I can report back to you and keep you up to date on the latest. Of course you may just consider it to be one of the perks I enjoy but after all, someone has to do it, right?

Steve and I decided to dine at one of our favorite spots in Gustavia, the Pipiri Palace. Some of you remember that Pierrot the owner died unexpectedly a few years ago and his lovely wife Régine took the helm.

Pipiri Palace chefs are hard at work

Pipiri Palace chefs are hard at work

We had reserved our favorite table and ordered our apéritifs. The smiling bartender came over with the drinks and introduced himself as the new owner Rod Ravelson. It was a pleasure to meet him; he is very personable and told us that he has local ties as he is married to a woman from St. Barth who is a nurse at the hospital. We wished him good luck in his new venture. Never fear, the same talented chefs are still cooking; the wonderful menu is the same and there’s always a mouthwatering “special” on the blackboard. Steve loves the Ray that they prepare. He scrapes the fish right off of the wing – delicious. Pipiri is famous for its ribs as well as their langoustes. Choose yours from the tank that is next to the bar.

The new owner of Pipiri Palace Rod Ravelson

The new owner of Pipiri Palace Rod Ravelson

Océan: We had dinner again at this new restaurant, also located in Gustavia. Years ago it was called Le Sapotillier. Most recently it was B4. The setting is in an original St. Barth “case” with a lovely ambience. The restaurant is owned by Benoit, Florence and Cécile. Their theme is fresh local fish. They serve an 18 euro buffet lunch for people on the go and a leisurely gourmet dinner at night.

Océan Bartender and Sommelier Emmanuel with Chef Benoit

Océan Bartender and Sommelier Emmanuel with Chef Benoit

Vanessa prepares my Sole Meunière at Océan Restaurant

Vanessa prepares my Sole Meunière at Océan Restaurant

I can attest to the freshness because last week, Steve and I just happened to be spending a Sunday afternoon on Lorient Beach. At the end of the day, we saw a local fishing boat approach its mooring. We were fascinated to see how efficiently the two fishermen cleaned up their boat and went about the business at hand. First, they put away their lines and then unloaded their gear into a little dinghy and rowed to shore. When that chore was finished, they went back out to the boat to unload their catch. Fish after fish after fish were put into the dinghy. Again they rowed to shore and proceeded to take one fish at a time out of it, loaded each one into the cooler in their truck and began their delivery. First stop: Océan. I doubt you can get fresh fish like that at home. Another good excuse to come back to St. Barth. Bon Appétit.

The fishermen arrived on Lorient Beach with this Dorade, part of  today's catch which was that evening's Mahi Mahi special.

The fishermen arrived on Lorient Beach with this Dorade, part of today’s catch which was that evening’s Mahi Mahi special.

Perhaps you prefer Wahoo tonight - It can't get any fresher than that

Perhaps you prefer Wahoo tonight – It can’t get any fresher than that

Some Morsels of St. Barth news

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth!

The “Season” is in full swing and I wish you were here. As you may know we host a cocktail party for our guests each Wednesday evening at Tom Beach hotel’s La Plage restaurant on St Jean Beach. This past Wednesday, the place was packed with lots of happy clients who are enjoying their getaway and are extra grateful to be here and missing the horrible weather at home.

In fact, I met one couple who had just arrived a few hours earlier because they had been creative and proactive with their flights when their original flight was canceled due to the storm in the Northeast. The couple who is staying with them at Villa Manonjul was not as fortunate and arrived a day later. Fortunately they purchased the accommodation insurance that we offer, so they will be reimbursed for the missed nights. If you are delayed by weather check with us to see if your villa is available after your original scheduled departure date because we may be able to adjust your dates so that you do not miss any of your days in paradise.

Peg with Clients from Diaco and Rosebud - SBP Cocktail Party at La Plage - Steve is in the background (again) chatting it up with other happy clients

Peg with Clients from Diaco and Rosebud – SBP Cocktail Party at La Plage – Steve is in the background (again) chatting it up with other happy clients

What’s happening ?

For those of you who have never been here, we have a famous bar in the heart of Gustavia. Le Select was founded by Marius Stakelborough in 1949. This is THE place to go for drinks, meet friends, make new friends and have a Cheeseburger in Paradise while you are at it. I was fortunate to have been able to attend both Le Select’s 50th anniversary and 60th anniversary parties. Marius’ good friend Jimmy Buffett entertained us with a free concert on each occasion. Marius turned 90 last year. You would never know it. Most days he walks to Le Select to have a Ti Punch for which the bar is famous. It keeps him young, try it! One day in early December, I had been filming with a German TV crew and after we finished we met Marius there. He proceeded to jump behind the bar to concoct one of his Ti Punches for each of us. He has not lost his touch.

Shortly after that day Marius was missing from the scene. His brother Vianny cuts my husband Steve’s hair told him that Marius was in the hospital in Guadeloupe. He had problems with one of his eyes in the past. This time he had a detached retina in his good eye and spent the better part of 3 weeks recovering in Guadeloupe before being able to come back to St. Barth. To add insult to injury, he had fallen and hurt his back. He was confined to his house. He had plenty of visitors but it was very important that he get out of the house and keep his vitality. To me, the only way to do that would be to get him back to Le Select. So, that is what his friends and family decided to do. It was the best thing that could happen to him and to us. I stopped by to say Bonjour and he thanked me for putting his picture in the 25th Anniversary of St. Barth Properties edition of our Live Your Dream catalogue. (If you would like us to mail you one, please send a note with your mailing address to info@stbarth.com.) Welcome back, Marius!

Marius and Peg at Le Select while hubby Steve looks on February 5, 2014 (Photo by Ed Gudenas)

Marius and Peg at Le Select while hubby Steve looks on February 5, 2014 (Photo by Ed Gudenas)

What else?

You have witnessed it or are even guilty of doing it. What? Snapping pictures of the planes taking off and landing to and from our infamous little landing strip. I can’t tell you how many times I see people foolishly standing at the end of the runway with their cameras at-the ready to capture the scene. Many have to dive onto the sand to avoid being hit by a low flying plane.

Winair Jan 24, 2014

Winair Jan 24, 2014

Airport police often shoo people away.
Warning signs posted but they do not obey.
My photographer friend Ed shows all of you
Standing above the runway is hazardous too.

Ed was extremely lucky to survive with minor injuries. One more inch and no more pictures from the very talented Ed Gudenas. His coffee table book is full of gorgeous St. Barth photos so I am very happy to have him around to take more. Please be careful. I want all of you to be around for a long time too.

Peg with Ed at the Normandie hotel's cocktail party 6 days after the near fatal acciident - Lookin' good Ed!

Peg with Ed at the Normandie hotel’s cocktail party 6 days after the near fatal accident – Lookin’ good Ed!