Archive for January, 2016

The Latest Update on What’s New on the St. Barth Restaurant Scene

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Bonjour from sunny St. Barth! My husband Steve and I came back to St. Barth December 8th and are based here until mid-May 2016 (poor me). As part of my duties to you, loyal reader, I must try the new restaurants and report back my findings. Today’s blog is the first in the series.

The Hidden Gem: Carpe Diem, Gustavia

Carpe Diem restaurant on the La Pointe side of Gustavia harbor, St. Barth is getting rave reviews.

Carpe Diem restaurant on the La Pointe side of Gustavia harbor, St. Barth is getting rave reviews.

Tucked away on the other side of the harbor where Ti Zouk Café used to be, new owner Audrey Ferrari has transformed the place into a lovely open-air restaurant. I have known Audrey for several years. She is a sommelier and we took a wine tasting course that she was giving at Absolutely Wine. Her dream of opening her own restaurant has come true. We have dined there several times, including New Year’s Eve, and it has become one of my favorites.

Here I am with Carpe Diem's owner Audrey Ferrari

Here I am with Carpe Diem’s owner Audrey Ferrari.

The open kitchen and bar is shared space in the front of the restaurant. The aroma wafts out to the sidewalk. Passerbys stop to breathe it all in and make a mental note to dine there. Nicely set tables near tall trees adorn the rest of the space. In the corner, there is an elevated lounge area where you can enjoy an apéritif.

The ambience in the open-air dining room at Carpe Diem is delightful.

The ambience in the open-air dining room at Carpe Diem is delightful.

An elevated lounge area to enjoy cocktails is tucked away in the corner.

An elevated lounge area to enjoy cocktails is tucked away in the corner.

The menu is varied and each day it differs a bit. Always on the menu, (a black board) is its signature homemade pasta. It comes in 3 sizes (small – 9 euros, medium – 17 euros and large – 22 euros), 3 shapes (penne, tagliatelle and macaroni) with many sauces from which to choose (Bolognese, mushroom, pesto, basil, carbonara, tomato and goat cheese cream). Believe it or not, the small size in enough for me. Although delicious, I can’t even finish it.

Carpe Diem's Homemade Macaroni with Bolognese Sauce (small portion).

Carpe Diem’s Homemade Macaroni with Bolognese Sauce (small portion).

Goat cheese ravioli as well as beef ravioli are on the menu, too (also in small, medium and large portions – 12, 22, and 30 euros respectively) with a choice of the same sauces. Steve tried the beef ravioli with mushroom sauce and couldn’t stop raving about it. Chef Julien came over to our table later on and told us that he had just created the secret recipe for it. Don’t ask because, after all, it is a top-secret.

The New Creation of Chef Julien is Beef Ravioli with Mushroom Sauce.  The Recipe is Top Secret.

The New Creation of Chef Julien is Beef Ravioli with Mushroom Sauce. The Recipe is Top Secret.

The Grill: Choose from Mahi Mahi, Gambas, Scallops, Flank steak, quail Filets and French Sausage, “Alouette” (Described by wait person, Gary as meaning “strong”). Accompanying sides include Lentils ‘Du Puy”, Coco Beans, Celeriac Purée and Pan Fried Zucchini.

Julien Losada is the very talented chef at Carpe Diem

Julien Losada is the very talented chef at Carpe Diem

Starters: That particular evening the starters included Pan Fried Foie gras (22 €), Buratta, Cured Meat (14 €), Goat cheese Salad (14 €) and Beef Tataki (16 €).

Carpe Diem's yummy version of Goat Cheese Salad.

Carpe Diem’s yummy version of Goat Cheese Salad.

Carpe Diem has a daily lunch special. For example, Daurade (Sea Bream) Tatare with Green Salad @ 12 € as well as a Formule (prix fixe) @ 17 € which includes the special along with a drink of your choice and a cup of coffee.

Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Dinner from 7:00 pm – 10:30 pm and Sunday Brunch

Please give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Merci beaucoup!

We enjoyed spending New Year's Eve at Carpe Diem with some our of family -  Nate, Mark, Reegan and Cynthia Smyth.

We enjoyed spending New Year’s Eve at Carpe Diem with some our of family – Nate, Mark, Reegan and Cynthia Smyth.

A Beautiful Way to Burn Calories and Stay in Shape While on Vacation in St. Barth

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Bonjour and Bonne Année from beautiful St. Barth to all of my loyal readers! I hope that you enjoyed the holidays and I wish you a very healthy and happy 2016.

One of my sons, Mark Smyth (the dentist vs. son, Tom Smyth, V.P. at St. Barth Properties) along with his family were, once again, able to join us in St. Barth for the holidays.

He wrote this guest blog. I hope you enjoy it.

Peg

A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO BURN CALORIES AND STAY IN SHAPE WHILE ON VACATION IN St. BARTH

My name is Mark Smyth. My family and I have been fortunate enough to be at least annual visitors to this beautiful island of St Barth. Brother Tom Smyth and mother Peg Walsh as well as the entire St. Barth Properties team have made this possible. The magnificent landscapes, quaint villages, and friendly islanders are amazing allures to this little slice of paradise; the world class cuisine is one its finest pleasures, thus the point of my blog.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner at Le Repaire in Gustavia. (L to R) My daughter Reegan, my wife Cynthia, me, my mom Peg , daughter Lilia, my stepdad Doc and son Nate.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner at Le Repaire in Gustavia. (L to R) My daughter Reegan, my wife Cynthia, me, my mom Peg, daughter Lilia, my stepdad Doc and my son Nate.

After indulging in some French and Caribbean delicacies for a few days, I typically feel the need for some cardio exercise. Normally, I would find a less busy part of the island and partake in a 30-45 minute jog. Over the past few years, the wear and tear on my knees plus a few extra pains au chocolat have made running less practical. Walking has become my exercise of choice.

In the early morning, I embarked on a walk that took me from L’Oasis in Lorient down through St. Jean looping back along the stadium and recreational areas and returning to L’Oasis. It is exactly a 5 km course taking about an hour (depending on how many stops one makes to drink in the gorgeous scenery and snap a photo or two). Very importantly, it is 95% sidewalk accessible. It’s hilly too which gets the cardio going.

I began my early morning trek by starting out at the L'Oasis Center  in Lorient.

I began my early morning trek by starting out at the L’Oasis Center in Lorient.

The reason I am writing this blog is because during my walk at 7am, I rediscovered the absolute stunning beauty of this French piece of Eden. Over the years we’ve tended to get into our rented vehicles and drive to the beach, then back to the villa, or to Gustavia to shop and back, or out to dinner and back. Cruising the island at 30-40 km/hr., I’ve missed out on some of the subtle idyllic nuances of St Barth. Being the driver nearly all of the time, I have had to focus on keeping our car on the wonderful, narrow local roadways. While on my walk that day, I rounded a bend at the top of one of the hills high above St. Jean and, suddenly, I was looking across to the little airstrip which was illuminated by the rising sunshine.

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

The tiny airstrip is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

Further along, I could see all the way across the Baie de St. Jean and hear the surf lapping against the rocky shoreline below as well as some birds singing from nearby flowering trees. The occasional bleat from a goat and a call from a rooster all joined in to enhance the spectacular vistas I was taking in. I genuinely felt a calmness and reconnection with this lovely isle.

Stop for a moment.  The breathtaking view of the Baie de St. Jean is not to be missed.

Stop for a moment. The breathtaking view of the Baie de St. Jean is not to be missed.

A flat stretch brought me by St. Jean Beach and peek at Eden Rock. I kept going (Be aware that the sidewalk disappears for a bit and it’s not really pedestrian-friendly which is another reason to go early). I crossed the street and continued to the gas station, bought a bottle of water at the Superette de L’Aéroport and took that road to begin my loop back passing by the fire station, stadium, municipal tennis courts and pool and then along the Étang (salt pond) that is parallel to the main road, then took a left to end back at Eden Rock and reversed my direction.

Eden Rock divides the Baie de St. Jean into two parts.

Eden Rock divides the Baie de St. Jean into two parts.

And, of course, when I returned to my car at the L’Oasis parking lot, a visit to the new boulangerie Choisy for a pain au chocolat was well deserved.

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

The Choisy bakery in Lorient

The Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant) at the new boulangerie Choisy in Lorient is hard to resist.

The Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant) at the new boulangerie Choisy in Lorient is hard to resist.

I may try and scout out some other walkable courses around the island, but for this trip, I continued walking the loop that helped me rediscover the beauty that has drawn us all to St Barth.

p.s. I would recommend embarking on this 5K walk early in the morning (before 8am). I do so because there will be less traffic noise cruising by as you walk and the rising sun bathing St. Jean is inspirational!

Mark Smyth's Exercise Route Festive Season 2015

Mark Smyth’s Exercise Route Festive Season 2015