St. Martin

Michael and I decided to go on a post-Thanksgiving beach vacation this year. The Caribbean has many islands to choose from, but we decided on St. Martin because of its French influence, secluded hotels and availability of nonstop flights from New York. Although the Dutch side of the island caters more towards tourists (i.e. number of casinos, clubs, shops), we stayed on the French side because it’s much more secluded and the restaurants and shops seem to be a touch more upscale. In other words, the Dutch side simply reminded me too much of college students on spring break. Get my drift?!

The resort we stayed at was perfect. We had our own private beach and a beautiful infinity pool. Because we traveled during the low season, we practically had the entire resort to ourselves! Their beachfront restaurant, C Le Restaurant, couldn’t be more romantic. Imagine yourself sipping a glass of crisp white wine while taking in the beautiful sunset. Ahhhh, I wish I were there again :).

L1050425The Japanese inspired octopus and squid salad at C Le Restaurant was so good! They cooked the octopus and squid perfectly. The seaweed salad was such a nice complement because it added a crunchy texture to the dish. Most importantly, the dressings were the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and tart flavors. Everything you would typically find in an Asian dish ;).

A trip to St. Martin wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Grand Case, the Gourmet Capital of the Caribbean. We dined in Grand Case a few nights, but our ultimate favorite restaurant was Il Nettuno. OMG, hands down, they have the best pasta in town. I just might go there and say they are better than any Italian restaurant I’ve eaten at in New York. One thing is for sure, their view of the ocean and sunset is better than any restaurant in New York! All of their pasta is homemade, and their sauces L1050441are simply amazing. Even their basic marinara sauce was full of robust flavors – you could really taste the fresh tomatoes, herbs and spices. I had their Tagliatelle “Al Dente” fresca ai frutti di mare. They loaded the dish with fresh scallops, mussels, shrimp and squid. The sauce tasted like it had been simmering for hours, with just the right amount of spiciness. Continue reading

Fresh Seafood in Barcelona

It’s been six years since I last visited Barcelona with my friend, Ken. To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect given Spain’s recession. Has the city’s vibrant mood changed since then? Are the restaurants and shops I once visited still there? These questions ran through my mind as Michael and I sat on a red-eye flight to Barcelona.

We were extremely excited about our trip. Although we have both been to Barcelona, we have never gone together. Michael is very familiar with the city as he lived there for a period of time during his college years (we know that was back in 1965, just kidding lol). Since we’ve both visited all the “must-see”  historical sites, we were looking forward to just exploring the city with no itinerary. Michael was especially excited to visit his old neighborhood and favorite spots.

All of my concerns were put to rest as we strolled along the beach. Michael was in shock. The once known “city-beach” of Barcelona was now a major attraction. This beach was hardly visited by locals or tourists 20 years ago because it was somewhat dodgy and unattractive (similar to Coney Island). But there was literally no space left on the sand now to spread out your beach towel. It was clearly one of the main attractions of the city. The water was such a pretty clear blue and the waves were so calm. Waiters walked along the beach selling ice-cold mojitos and sangria. A new boardwalk was built and so many restaurants and shops were now open.  Continue reading