Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lolos & Lounging!

The beach at Grand Case, looking north
One of the many lolos in Grand Case
After a few days of boat work, we took the weekend off! Saturday we spent in the dinghy, cruising up the northwest coast along the French side of Saint-Martin, snorkeling and beach-combing. I'd forgotten how close everything is, just a few minutes dinghy ride from one cove and bay to another. It was a glorious day for a cruise! We made a stop in Grand Case, where we sampled the fare of one of the many lolos, the casual beachfront barbeque places run by locals, for lunch on the waterfront. Lolos are a series of picnic tables -- dozens of them -- covered with a canopy or roof, adjacent to an open grill, wooden bar, and tables crammed with pots full of food. In Grand Case, the lolos are all literally cheek-by-jowl (haha), side by side; at first glance, it's easy to think it's all one big open-air seating area. Looking at the menu boards, though, you realize each grill is run by a different proprietor, and each has a mouth-watering display of food! There's Sky's the Limit, Talk of the Town, Germain's Place, plus many others.
Chicken, ribs, fish and lobster abound!
More ribs and chicken on another lolo grill
The many pots of food (grilled whole snapper, crab backs (crab-meat stuffed
crabshells), mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, pot fish, among other delights

Ron and I settled in at Germain's Place, where Ron had the ribs, salad and rice, while I had the chicken, salad and rice -- all heaping portions, and delicious. The food is well-made and plentiful, and the constant flow of town locals, island residents and visitors alike ensure it is all fresh and done to your liking. I have to admit, some menu items baffled me at first...but that happens to me everywhere here in the Caribbean! For instance, I have no idea how one makes "butter conch" like we saw on the menu listing in St. Croix, nor did I know what "gambas" were here at one of the lolos! (Silly me to think it was French, being on the French side of St. Martin -- but gamba is Spanish for prawns, er...shrimp!) One thing I do know, though:  having a meal at one of the many lolos in Grand Case is an experience not to be missed when in St. Martin!

The menu at Germain's Place
One of many menus, with variations on a theme

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