Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tiny gem of the Caribbean

I'm back, not overly excited about the real world, but there isn't much to do about that. At least there aren't ants in my cereal.

Where have I been? The highest point in the Netherlands which is a tiny place near St. Martin called Saba that no one has ever heard of except SCUBA divers. It is an old volcano that rises straight out of the sea. There are 1500 full time residents. Pretty cottages cling to the mountainside. It is quiet and outside of diving and hiking there isn't much to do, which is why I went. I logged 13 dives and wrote 10 chapters of a book. My cottage was adorable with views of the sea and the mountain.

For such a tiny place, Saba has very good food. There are no chain restaurants or stores, so everything is run by locals living there. I had excellent fish two adorable restaurants called My Kitchen and Brigadoon. Michael and Trish at Brigadoon do an excellent job. Trish makes great cocktails and is an excellent hostess.

At a place called Scout's I tried johnny cakes which are nothing like the New England version. Caribbean johnny cakes are made from white flour and are basically savory fried dough. Imagine an unsweetened beignet type of thing. They are really good w/ slices of melting gouda. Fried dough and cheese! What's not to love other than the cholesterol?

My favorite meal was at a place aptly named the Rainforest Restaurant. It is located at a sustainable, environmentally friendly hotel called the Eco-Lodge. Many of the ingredients are grown in the restaurant's own garden. Once a week the restaurant serves up an Indonesian rice table which includes a variety of wonderful dishes. I had various types of lamb, beef, and chicken curries, spicy shrimp, corn pancakes, vegetable side dishes of beans, cucumbers, and I cannot even remember what else. Spicy and flavorful. For dessert I had passion fruit ice cream. I like the tart/sweet combination.

My other favorite meal was a massive grilled steak at a little bar called Swinging Doors. The proprietor Eddie grills steaks every Sunday and chicken and ribs every Tuesday and Friday. Eddie cooked my steak to tender perfection.

The restaurant with the best view is the Tropics Café. I went for dinner and twice for breakfast. It overlooks the sea with views of the mountain. One morning I ate rum-soaked French toast served with a side of a spicy, locally made rum called Saba spice. It is rum spiced up with cinnamon, cloves and other things.

If you dive or hike, Saba is a must.


vanessa said...

Hey, what a crazy coincidence! I just moved to Durham, and I'm from Saba. (But I've lived in the U.S. since I was 17.) It's always so exciting to hear about people visiting Saba, since usually when I tell people where I'm from I just get blank stares. Also, check out my blog if you feel like it; I just started it so there's not much there yet.

K said...

Vanessa, Welcome to Durham! I hope people are friendly to you. As for the blank stares when you tell people you are from Saba, well, I hate to say it but I bet half the people in the US couldn't point to Puerto Rico on a map and it's one of ours!

Annearchy said...

I've been to Saba many times to dive and hike, and my husband and I were even married there in 2008! Did you get to eat at the Brig? They cooked for our wedding (and were also our witnesses, along with the dive shop crew). There is no other place like it on earth.

K said...

Yes, I ate at Brigadoon. It was delicious. Trish and Michael are terrific.

I loved Saba. It can't be beat for diving, do you think?