Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vacation, St. Martin: Fancy French Food

We went out for two fancy dinner while we were on vacation as we celebrated both our anniversary and Mr. Helen's birthday during this trip.

For our anniversary we went to our favorite restaurant on the Boulevard, Le Cottage.  On our very first trip there we discovered this place by walking the boulevard and checking out their menu and specials board.  We have gone back every trip we've taken.  The first time we went we decided to try it out because their specialty was pairing wine with your meal.  The sommelier will either give you a wine per course or suggest a bottle of wine for table based on what you order.  That sommelier, Stephane, is now the restaurateur.  He and his wife took the restaurant over about 15 months ago so we were excited to go back.

On the porch, ready to go

Shopping! Then we had to wait it out on this porch because a rain shower came through.

Yes, it really does get dark that fast - sun set is around 6:30. 

Sexy Fruits, one of my favorite shops in Grand Case.

We had our traditional table on the porch of Le Cottage.

Started with a champagne cocktail, also one of their specialties.

The specials are brought on a chalk board and left on the table with the regular menu

Part of their extensive wine collection.

Chilled carrot soup.  This is very French - you always get a bit of chilled soup to start.

We ordered the lobster bisque to share.  It came with this wonderful puff pastry on top.  The little glass has a lobster cream that you poured in once you broke the pastry. Delicious! You can see we ordered wine by the glass paired to this.  Mr. Helen had Bordeaux and I had Viognier

My meal was pork tenderloin with a blue cheese sauce (I love that they put they put the sauce on the side.). The triangles on the left were crispy potato wedges and there was mixed vegetable. This was paired with Merlot.

 Mr. Helen had the duck plate.  It's duck made four different ways served with crispy potatoes.  He was given Cabernet as his wine.

Dessert was Banana Pie served with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate.  

My coffee served with a tiny chocolate wedge - what's not to love?!

The traditional rum digestive. This was banana rum. We're holding the glasses like that because Mr. Helen wanted a photo with our wedding rings.  Awwwww...

It was, as you can see, a FANTASTIC meal!  For Mr. Helen's birthday he decided he wanted to go back to a restaurant that we'd not been to since 2011.  I hadn't remembered it as a great restaurant (and these fancy meals are not inexpensive) and I tried to get him to pick another place but he insisted.  I was delighted to find they had improved considerably at La Villa.

 Pretty typical dress for men even at a fancy restaurant.  Collared shirt and shorts or khaki pants.

On the other hand, women tend to dress up a little bit, which I like to do!

I was fascinated with this heart that was on our table, it changed color. Yes, I'm easily amused.

This champagne cocktail was made with pineapple and orange juices.

 Chilled celery soup.  I need to try to make some of these chilled soups, they really are good.
 This restaurant has a fixed price menu where you can choose a starter, a main course and a dessert for $49 (they give one to one euro to dollar here if you pay in cash) and that's what I decided to do. Mr. Helen shared my starter and dessert.

We started with this salad that had a balsamic reduction and goat cheese croutons.  

I had Chicken roulade (stuffed with mushrooms) served with goat cheese ravioli, spinach, whipped sweet potato and broccoli.

Mr. Helen chose Crab Rissotto

For dessert, we had profiteroles, which are little balls of puff pastry filled with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate.  We ate the whole dessert and I said, "I forgot to take a photo!"  I did remember to take a photo of this box, which is what they bring the bill in.  On the left you can also see one of the two bottles of rum they brought.  Yes, at this restaurant, they bring bottles of rum and leave them on your table - you can have as much as you want.

We left there feeling that this restaurant may need to go on our must visit list.  It was really a lovely evening and Mr. Helen was happy, which is all I wanted for his birthday.


  1. Yumm. Nothing has beaten that banana cake that you showed last time! I love travelogues. Thanks for sharing your trip!

    1. Funny you say that Debby because when we had the Banana "Pie" I thought of you! It seemed fairly healthy for a dessert and I thought it was the exact sort of recipe you'd take and make your own. But yes, the Banana Cake is my very favorite dessert on the whole island!

  2. Shopping! What did you buy??? Also, the fancy food looks good - and how fun that they just leave a bottle of rum on the table!

    1. Believe it or not I only bought a small rope necklace for Mr. Helen (he likes to wear them in the summer for some reason). I think it's the very first trip where I haven't bought anything at Sexy Fruits. I did some other shopping too so you'll see some souvenir photos at some point.

  3. WONDERFUL!!!! Everything looks WONDERFUL!!! Including you and Mr. Helen!!!

    1. Thank you Roz! Everything was wonderful - and you know, I love that dress and I always think that whenever I feel pretty, I look better. Make sense?

  4. Oh my goodness - everything looks amazing Helen! You both look so happy - so I have to ask this question - would you ever retire to there or is it just too expensive to live there? I haven't a clue.

    I found this recipe - with the addition of grilled shrimp I think this would be the perfect summer dinner! Never even heard of chilled celery soup!


    1. It would be extremely hard to retire there - it's France after all. It is very expensive and the paperwork required takes a long time. Our best shot might be to find some sort of seasonal rental. We could stay on the island up to 60 days without any sort of visa. I think my ideal would be to retire to Florida for January -March then go to St. Martin for April and May. I can dream, right?

    2. Ah, I didn't realize that - geography was never my strong suit!

  5. You look so, so happy in these pictures. It just makes me smile to look at them.

    1. St. Martin really IS my happy place Lori!

  6. Oh my oh my: why did I read this before lunch time when I am a bit hungry? it all looks so delicious! I love it when you can have pairing wines with your meal. Although I love wine that doesn't mean I know much about it. If they pick the wine for you with your meal it is always a great combination.

    1. Everything was so good and you're right, the wines were perfect.

  7. I have so enjoyed all your St. Martin posts. I have to say, if I went out to dinner with you and Mr. Helen, I would pick what he is having every time! Your dishes are lovely, but his make me drool. LOL!