Hidden in a quiet neighborhood in the Cul de Sac area on French St. Martin, is a treasure buried in an otherwise mundane side street. Sol E Luna has long been a name whispered amongst those who have previously visited this little gem. It’s usually spoken about in a slight whisper, as if it’s a secret and speaking the name out loud would forever damage its sacred quiet atmosphere, sending hordes of people running for a chance to sample it for themselves.
I say Carnival and you think feathers and bikinis, right? WRONG! Welcome to St. Maarten’s carnival, where the feathers and bikinis take backstage to the music, parties and the food. Oh. My. Goodness. The food!
I love food and there is nothing anyone can do about it. So, imagine my delight when I received an email from Flavors of St. Maarten Food Tours inviting me to join them on their next trip. As you can imagine it took me exactly 3 seconds to decide and reply with a “Hell Yeah”.
The day of the food tour could not come fast enough. I was so looking forward to this and was sure I was going to have a blast. The day of the tour however, I started feeling a bit apprehensive. I was going on a bus with a bunch of strangers for half a day touring an island I know like the back of my hand. Would I be able to get along with everyone? Would there be vegetarian options for me? Would I be able to enjoy it seeing that I call this island home and know most of the restaurants on the list? Would I look stupid with my selfie stick? I pushed those insecurities aside and decided to just go with the flow. I made sure my camera and GoPro were charged and ready for action.
A few weeks ago, after a particularly epic weekend with lots of booze and everything that’s bad for you, I realized I no longer recover like when I was in my twenties. Staying up way passed bed time on a school night, drinking and eating crap, no longer agree with me.
As I watched myself in the mirror with horror the next morning it dawned on me that it is time to do what I’ve been dreading the most: to start living a healthier lifestyle. So I called up my friend Omarie at the Health Factory and scheduled a two week detox meal plan to be delivered at my house every morning. I then made the dreaded phone call to my fellow barflies and told them I would not be showing up for a while, in case they thought I had died. I locked myself up in my house and refused to even go to work at my own bar in case the temptation proved too strong.
After two weeks of intense detoxing with salads, smoothies and lots of water and a couple of pounds lighter it was time to start my new healthier lifestyle. I started yoga, drank a lot of water, avoided alcohol whenever possible and after viewing male baby chicks being thrown into a grinder alive! (Thank you Facebook) I decided that I could no longer proclaim to be an animal lover and still partake in the cruel massacre of millions of animals every week. So, much to my husband’s annoyance I started a vegetarian diet.
Who would have thought that having your own bar would be this much fun. Besides meeting new people everyday, and chatting all day long I also get to indulge in my other favorite pastime: drinking. Now, before you look up the closest AA meeting place let me tell you that drinking so happens to be a favorite pastime for most islanders and we look for any excuse to fête. Hurricane coming? Let’s have a pre- and post-hurricane party. Divorced? Divorce party. Your dog died? Happy rainbow bridge crossing party. You get the picture.
When my husband and I started our little bar 4 months ago to go with our guest house we had no clue what all it would entail but so far it has been a fun ride and coming up with interesting cocktails has fast become a hobby of ours. So without too much ado here are 5 of our favorite island cocktails:
An island shared by two nations and inhabited by hundreds of different nationalities, is bound to produce an explosion of cultures and not to mention flavors. Aside from being known as the Vegas of the Caribbean for its late night partying, cheap happy hours and amazing night life, tiny St. Maarten has also managed to get another title under its belt: that of Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean. Seems like I might have picked the perfect place to call home after all.