One of the things we did was to visit Loterie Farm, located about half-way up Pic Paradis which is the highest point in St. Martin. Over the years we have been going, this property, which was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Luis, been developed as part nature preserve, part organic farm, part restaurant, part zip-line attraction... and it contains the only public pool on the island. We have been saying for a few years that we are going to do the zip line attraction, but once again, we didn't do that. We did, however, have a wonderful lunch here with one of our friends! It has a very unique environment - almost like a jungle. I wish I had taken more photos while we were up there but once again, I got caught up in the fun and didn't do a good job of that. However, if you click on that link up there, they have a photo gallery where you can see more.
Everything was delicious. Next time we go, we'd like to spend most of a day here as we discovered not only do they have the zip lines, they also have hiking trails. How fun to hike to earn lunch, then maybe spend the afternoon at the pool. This was definitely a fun new experience.
Our "old" food experience was had at Le Ti Coin Creole, our very favorite Creole restaurant in Grand Case. When we first started going there, the Chef, Carl Philips, was a single guy who had taken a house on family property and turned it into a restaurant. He has done lots of upgrades over the years, including real glass windows that shut when we got there this time. About 7-8 years ago he got married and has a son, who is his mini-me. Carl trained in some of the finest French restaurants and then took the local foods like you might find at the Lolos and turned them up a notch: Gourmet Creole! I'm not sure we can visit St. Martin without going to this restaurant. This is another place that feels like going home (as you'll see by the many following photos). Besides, he makes my favorite thing in the world - and still won't give me the receipe - Chocolate Chip Banana Cake. It's hit or miss as to whether he has it and this year, I was one lucky lady!
I know this seems like a lot of food but the pictures don't really show how the portions are. For example the rice was maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Honestly, even with dessert it's just the right amount of food - everything is delicious but you're not walking away stuffed and miserable. I want to learn to eat like this all the time.
When we had finished eating CJ came and sat with us. His parents are pretty strict about him sitting with the customers but we told Carl, we're not just customers, we're practically family. He's such an outgoing friendly guy. This little boy speaks 3 languages: French, English, and Filippino. And he said he's "working" on Dutch. His English was excellent and he had us in stitches, he was so funny. I asked him about school and he said, "Oh, madame, shhhhhhhh! I don't want my mama to hear and make me leave you to go to bed! Besides tomorrow is a holiday!" Before we left I asked him if I could take just one more photo and he said, "Oui. But only if I look cool!"
Up Next Week: The fancy French meals.