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Thread: What a difference a few hours makes...

  1. #1
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    What a difference a few hours makes...

    Woke up at 3:30am to a soaking nor’easter in NY and just under 12 hours later we were sitting by the beach in paradise with sunny skis on a beautiful day and with our only concern being “I wonder if Les Bananiers receive our reservation request for tonight”. Spoiler alert - I still don’t know.

    Other than the white knuckle ride to the airport with a driver that may or may not have had a license and whose jersey plates show he likely didn’t know that in New York you avoid all parkways named after water ways during a storm like this it was a pretty easy travel day.

    one interesting thing I’ll point out and assume it was somehow an oversight by someone: with all the talk of which test to take, NO ONE asked for our COVID test results. I’m sure this isn’t the norm and at least in part to a test not being required to fly from the US to PR. At SBH we were, however, asked for our vaccination cards. I guess if we didn’t have them we might have been asked for our “compelling reason” or maybe notified that self isolation would be required?

  2. #2
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    not knowing whether or not we had reservations for dinner and being in between lunch and dinner I headed to the supermarche for our normal first day items. Is it just me or have the wine and champagne prices skyrocketed there??? Wow. Any suggestions on where prices might be a little better?

    then we headed to Pearl Beach for a pre-dinner drink. At 5:30 I called Les Bananiers and it still wasn’t clear if I had a reservation but luckily they had room for us, so we just made one then. We weren’t incredibly hungry so we split the raviolis de foie gras with truffles, a Pizza Tartufata (I literally get this every time) and a vanilla creme brûlée. It’s usually our first night stop and while we were very tired it was great as usual. I guess too tired to remember to take pictures before we started eating


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  3. #3
    Dennis is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Apr 2004 Austin, TX Posts: 10,001

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Excellent start!

  4. #4
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,678

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Sure looks like you are off and running again! Have a ball.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  5. #5
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,184

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Good recovery. I always call for reservations. I don’t trust emails, text messages, alacarte, et al.


    Andy

  6. #6
    FamilyTraveler is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2017 Westchester, NY Posts: 140

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Have a fabulous trip Jim! Can’t wait to read all about it.

  7. #7
    Jim Kelly-Evans is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2010 Philadelphia and Fire Island, NY Posts: 1,138

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Enjoy your time in paradise!
    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." - Dorothy Parker

  8. #8
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,622

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Wow, those ravioli look amazing! Looking forward to more updates as we dream about our next trip....

  9. #9
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Walked to our favorite burger place yesterday, JoJo Burger. Just love their burgers and the vibe. Flies can unfortunately be a little bit of an issue but it’s more than worth it to sit there and enjoy those wonderful burgers. Usually have lunch there a couple of times per trip.

    dinner was the tasting menu at Zion “the Chefs table” with the wine pairing. The food, the presentation, the wines, the pre-dinner cocktails and the service were all incredible. This was our first time eating there and we totally get why the reviews are all so fantastic. I’m not sure the turnover of service staff at restos on St Barth will allow for a Michelin Star but our dinner last night was certainly deserving of one. Jean-Baptiste (I hope I have his name correct) was not just a great chef but most welcoming from the time I walked in earlier in the day to ask about a reservation and throughout our sitting. His explanation of the dishes was fantastic and watching him and his team work from our stools at the edge of the kitchen was very interesting for someone who has never worked in a restaurant. The team work was as efficient as a well oiled machine. Side note that GM and the other ladies in the restaurant seemed to take a particular interest in watching his every move while working in the kitchen .

    I have to say one of our favorite dinner experiences on St Barth to date and we definitely will be back. The dishes were so flavorful. Each ingredient worked together perfectly and both stood out and blended in (if that’s possible). Our tasting menu for the night below. It changes nightly and he logs your info into a program they have so if you come back the following year, or week, you won’t get the same dishes. Food pics to follow

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  10. #10
    Patrick is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Oct 2002 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Posts: 202

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    We loved Zion the few times we went - the service and food were excellent each time.

    "Side note that GM and the other ladies in the restaurant seemed to take a particular interest in watching his every move while working in the kitchen ." Too funny - one time my wife told me she was taking a picture of me in the restaurant but given the angle of her camera she obviously was taking a picture of the chef!!

    Thank you for your updates - very much appreciated during these dark days

    Cheers

  11. #11
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,207

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A View Post
    Walked to our favorite burger place yesterday, JoJo Burger. Just love their burgers and the vibe. Flies can unfortunately be a little bit of an issue but it’s more than worth it to sit there and enjoy those wonderful burgers. Usually have lunch there a couple of times per trip.

    dinner was the tasting menu at Zion “the Chefs table” with the wine pairing. The food, the presentation, the wines, the pre-dinner cocktails and the service were all incredible. This was our first time eating there and we totally get why the reviews are all so fantastic. I’m not sure the turnover of service staff at restos on St Barth will allow for a Michelin Star but our dinner last night was certainly deserving of one. Jean-Baptiste (I hope I have his name correct) was not just a great chef but most welcoming from the time I walked in earlier in the day to ask about a reservation and throughout our sitting. His explanation of the dishes was fantastic and watching him and his team work from our stools at the edge of the kitchen was very interesting for someone who has never worked in a restaurant. The team work was as efficient as a well oiled machine. Side note that GM and the other ladies in the restaurant seemed to take a particular interest in watching his every move while working in the kitchen .

    I have to say one of our favorite dinner experiences on St Barth to date and we definitely will be back. The dishes were so flavorful. Each ingredient worked together perfectly and both stood out and blended in (if that’s possible). Our tasting menu for the night below. It changes nightly and he logs your info into a program they have so if you come back the following year, or week, you won’t get the same dishes. Food pics to follow

    7FFDC00F-B785-46D2-9D2B-DDECA8E6D186.jpg
    So glad, Jim, that you enjoyed your Zion experience. As you probably have seen, I’ve been a stalwart fan since its opening . . . and as a new restaurant to the island, in an out-of-the-way venue, followed by the pandemic, Jean-Baptiste has not had an easy time in survival. He’s, however, not only an excellent, creative chef . . . but also an astute businessperson — a combination that isn’t often found in restaurant owners. In any event, I’m totally with you in appreciation of the “Chef’s Table” & what it means, as you described. (Jean-Baptiste & team, BTW, are very accommodating to dining limitations of guests.)

  12. #12
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Dennis, your posts about it were definitely one of the reasons we knew about and tried the Chefs Table at Zion. So glad we did. Here are the rest of the pics. The pics do not do the items justice. I’m better at eating than taking pictures



    We both started with a fantastic pre-dinner cocktail

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    The amuse bouche was arancini on a bed of carmelized onions covered with smoked potato purée and topped with a pepper au jus. Of course there were many other ingredients but that is what I remembered.


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    everything else is listed on the menu above


    The veal tartare was incredible

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    foie gras 3 ways. GM not a foie gras fan at all but even she thought this was great

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    The prawns with a great cauliflower purée and caviar

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    “Zion hole” a palate cleanser of a sorbet in rhum

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    Veal sweetbreads also were incredible

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    the first dessert was believe a chocolate filled with a caramel in a cream sauce with pears. Incredible

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    dessert #2
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    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    So far I would say about half of the restos have asked for our “green pass”

    There are still signs on a lot of the doors but the mask mandate on the island seems to have been lifted for restaurants. Not sure exactly when but not one sign of a mask in a resto that I recall. A few of the stores still had employees wearing masks.

  14. #14
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,207

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Zion food presentation is pure artistry! Great food, as well! So glad that you enjoyed & appreciated both, Jim.

  15. #15
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Thursday we ate at the rooftop at L’Atelier. Seems like lunch a better deal as the sign out front for lunch stated $60euros per person and dinner was double that (amuse bouche, entree, main and dessert). We enjoyed it. Great setting, great views, great service and the food was good as well. A lot of upcharges on the menu and we were initially charged for 3 glasses of wine that we didn’t have (they stated that the bartender said we had them before dinner at the bar...we didn’t sit at the bar before dinner). We would go back for sure.

    Friday we rented chairs at Pearl Beach, ate lunch at Lil’Rock and dinner at Black Ginger. Always love Black Ginger and think it is a little underrated but I guess you have to like Thai food. Very reasonably priced as well. Just remembered we went to 25 Quarter before for a fantastic cocktail. It’s like watching an artist watching them make your drinks.

  16. #16
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,678

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Jim, agree. Black Ginger is a gem. And they will adjust the spiciness if you request them to..a plus in my book.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  17. #17
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Weather beautiful at Flamands today. But the sea is angry, “like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli”


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    Not sure this pic does it justice. Kids on the beach having a ball.

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  18. #18
    shihadehs is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2012 Posts: 1,058

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Love that Seinfeld episode...
    Have fun!!!!
    Steve and Aimee

  19. #19
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Saturday was a beach day at Gouverneur and an always incredible lunch at Santa Fe. I won’t go on more about my favorite lunch spot in the world because I think I posted some pics and a gushing review in another thread. Saturday night was take out from Les Bananiers. The pizza takeout in the back was crazy crowded so even though I ordered and came back in I had to wait a while. Nothing that a glass of Chablis while I waited couldn’t cure. Timed perfectly around the short downpour and I was warm and dry inside. We always get takeout from Les Bananiers at least once per trip.

    Sunday was a beach day at Flamand as mentioned above. The plan was a casual lunch at the villa after but I walked down the Chevalier Blanc and decided to make a reservation there. Absolutely incredible. We had a table right on the water (toes in sand of course). Water actually almost came to our table at one point. Food was great. The champagne they recommended was even better. We sat and relaxed and I don’t even remember how long we were there. The service was probably the best I’ve ever had on the island topped off with 2 free desserts (in addition to the one we ordered) and the waiter enjoying a little caramel vanilla rhum with us.



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  20. #20
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Sunday night was takeout from L’Isoletta. Lasagne and pizza and salad and then settled in to watch the Cowboys win.

    today GM had to work in the morning so I wandered aimlessly for a while, walked on a couple of beaches and floated in the pool. Then It was back to Santa Fe for lunch. Why mess with what works

  21. #21
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,622

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Just loving your report and pics! Definitely getting us tingling for our upcoming trip.

  22. #22
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 7,207

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    You're in your groove, Jim! Loving the reports . . . keep 'em coming! And, enjoy!

  23. #23
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,678

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Jim, Back from Santa are. Your post reminded me that I had not yet had the foie gras raviolis. So tonight I did. Excellent. Thank you for the reminder. Keep having fun and keep,dining well.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  24. #24
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    So far everything has been awesome. I think only fair to point out the one bad experience we had. We tried to make reservations a few days in advance of their opening at L’Isola. We emailed thru their website, I emailed on the email I used in July and I tried through Access all a few days before they opened without hearing back. Knowing they weren’t open yet this didn’t bother me at all and wasn’t really even unexpected. I also called Wednesday and Thursday with no answer - again not a big deal. Then I called Friday afternoon and got the asst manager who was fantastic but mentioned he didn’t have the information because it was on the managers phone so he took my info and said they’d call me back shortly.

    After our day out and before getting ready for dinner we still hadn’t heard back. So we drove into Gustavia around 5:30 looking for a place to make a reservation for later that night. We went into L’Isola first to make sure we didn’t double book if they indeed had a spot for us. Still no manager (on opening night) but the asst manager remembered and told us the name/time requested/etc before we even told him as he had it all written down and said we’d get a call as soon as the manager gets in, so again an A plus for him. We did make it clear we hoped for a reservation that night but knew they likely were busy so we gladly would take anything over the next 6 nights and just to please let us know so we could plan was all we asked even if it was a No. Never a call after all of that and left us scrambling each night because we weren’t sure and didn’t want to double up. By Sunday though we decided we weren’t going even if they did call back. Spoiler alert, they never did. Kind of a shame for a place that seems to pride themselves on service. Will we go back? Definitely not this trip but probably at some point in the future but we will be in no hurry.

  25. #25
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Monday night was our first time at Papillon Ivre’. It was fantastic. Great wines, incredible service and very good food. Definitely will be in our rotation. It was just a great experience. When you get there they take you inside to go over the tons of wines that they have and find your likes and dislikes and allow you to taste as many wines as you like. I tasted 3 Bordeaux’s and picked one. It’s small plates so we started with a cheese board that was really tasty and then split 3 plates before having our favorite creme brûlée of the trip. It was hazelnut and just fantastic.

    I usually don’t drink red wine in St Barth but the opportunity to taste some of the Bordeaux’s was something I couldn’t pass up. I have to say it paired incredibly with a couple of our dinner options. They also gave us a complimentary glass of wine and for both of us it was a much more expensive glass than we were drinking that they picked for us. For GM the owner opened up a bottle that they normally just sell by the bottle that she said was her personal favorite and it was fantastic. The owner also came around and spent a good 5 to 10 minutes at each table. Just a great gem IMO.


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  26. #26
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Our return to the US COVID tests.

    Last time we went to the Red Cross and thought that was fine. It was efficient and we were probably only there around 30 minutes. But it was very hot while waiting and We did notice the pharmacy in St Jean in the Zion parking lot (as well as others) also gave the test and didn’t really see anyone waiting there. So this time we asked and sure enough you just stop by and tell them you need a COVID test and they meet you at the side door. It was $40euros per person and there was no one there but us to take the test so you only had to wait for the pharmacy employee to come and open the door. We received the emailed results almost immediately and she also printed our results for us (for some reason I feel better having a printed copy) and we went back and picked them up. Very, very easy and not even an inconvenience since we were stopping in to get something anyway. I believe they only offer the rapid antigen test and not the PCR test if that is an issue for anyone. Also, it was the second deepest test I have had. It may not have technically been a nasopharyngeal test, but she was definitely at the nasopharyngeal depth. I would definitely recommend it even though some eye watering was shed...

  27. #27
    NancySC is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Sep 2017 Posts: 1,348

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Cheval Blanc had me at the desserts pictured ! Jim A can you describe them please !?
    Shame on L'Isola, I wouldn't rush there either ! Enjoying your posts ! thanks from SC.

  28. #28
    Jim A is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2017 NY Posts: 932

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Quote Originally Posted by NancySC View Post
    Cheval Blanc had me at the desserts pictured ! Jim A can you describe them please !?
    Shame on L'Isola, I wouldn't rush there either ! Enjoying your posts ! thanks from SC.
    let me ask GM as she remembers them better. My recollection the first was a pineapple dessert. A hard pineapple shell on the outside with pieces of fresh pineapple in a pineapple cream sauce on the inside. Refreshing and incredible. The one we ordered was on the separate plate. It was chocolate with chocolate and chocolate and more chocolate!!! Incredible. The 3rd one was also pretty good but not to the level of the other two. I think it was a hazelnut.

    Note we went to Sin Garden (name and spelling help please) in Gustavia and saw the same pineapple dessert and asked them and they do supply to Chevalier Blanc (assuming we understood correctly). Here is the lineup from Sin Garden to compare.



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  29. #29
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Posts: 21,684

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    My recollection from a post by either Ellen or Diana is that the proprietor at Sin Garden was formerly the Pastry Chef at Cheval Blanc.

  30. #30
    Reed is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Nantucket - St. Barth's Posts: 1,209

    Re: What a difference a few hours makes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim A View Post
    Our return to the US COVID tests.

    Last time we went to the Red Cross and thought that was fine. It was efficient and we were probably only there around 30 minutes. But it was very hot while waiting and We did notice the pharmacy in Lorient (as well as others) also gave the test and didn’t really see anyone waiting there. So this time we asked and sure enough you just stop by and tell them you need a COVID test and they meet you at the side door. It was $40euros per person and there was no one there but us to take the test so you only had to wait for the pharmacy employee to come and open the door. We received the emailed results almost immediately and she also printed our results for us (for some reason I feel better having a printed copy) and we went back and picked them up. Very, very easy and not even an inconvenience since we were stopping in to get something anyway. I believe they only offer the rapid antigen test and not the PCR test if that is an issue for anyone. Also, it was the second deepest test I have had. It may not have technically been a nasopharyngeal test, but she was definitely at the nasopharyngeal depth. I would definitely recommend it even though some eye watering was shed...
    Curious what pharmacy in Lorient are you speaking about? I was not aware there was a pharmacy in Lorient. Are you referring to the one in St. Jean by the old Hideaway or the airport pharmacy?
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