Goat soup: colorful and most important, tasty. It came with a lime wedge, a crusty piece of bagette and Caribbean hot sauce. I was happy it was not served in stryofoam, so common at most affordable ($4 Euros or $5 US, a slight discount as it’s $1.30 Euros to $1 USD) Caribbean eateries.
“We gotta stop there on the way back!” I insisted when Wayne pointed to the “Goat Soup” was the only item written on the chalkboard of a small, simple sidewalk café and Wayne knew I’d been Jonesin’ to try the legendary local Caribbean favorite, a stew called “goat water” and this was close enough.The café was a bit off the beaten track from the other beach eateries on the main drag, but then so were we, on our walk to “Happy Bay” beach, in between Grande Case and Friar’s Beach, St. Martin (the French side of the island).
I knew the café was a sure winner; not only was it a bit off the beaten track, there was no restaurant name posted anywhere. Even though we didn’t see anyone eating when we passed, it still screamed local, word-of-mouth favorite, been here long enough we don’t need a sign.
The eye-catching candy-apple red stools were more than cute, they were quite comfortable. While the road was dusty, the white kitchen tiles were spotlessly clean.
“You know it’s not going to be open when we come back,” Wayne said as we prepared to leave our lazing on Happy Bay beach. “Yup,” I agreed, “But we’ll check anyway, and if I come back here on my own, I’m gonna give it a try.” It was about 4 pm, oft the no man’s land between lunch and dinner when it comes to open eateries. Plus, I was hungry. Lunch was hours ago, well before a good walk and beach frolic (we didn’t totally laze).
Toney’s (named by its chef-owner and one-man-show, Toney) was open!
Toney, showing off the patty he uses for his burger. His hands are not small; he must make BIG burgers.
“I make the best burger ever, Toney claimed with a quiet pride. He told us “One guy liked my burgers so much, he gave me a $60 tip for them.”
We settled into our stools, perused the local paper (St. Martin YTD hit 1.7 million cruise ship passenger visits!) and watched Kathe interview 70-year-old Judge Judy on t.v.
Toney brought a grateful Wayne “The coldest beer I’ve had since I left the States. This is awesome!” and our bowl of goat soup. Chock full of veggies – onions, peppers, pigeon peas, carrots) it was a beautiful orange color from pumpkin squash. It had a light dusting of pasta noodle bits, several small chunks of goat meat (tastes like turkey), a nice bite and was hearty and bursting with flavor.
“The men, especially, like my soup” Toney told us. “As we get older, well, we need a little extra help. You know? Soup helps. I make a fresh soup every day. Tomorrow’s is bull heel,” he added with a sly smile. ”Have you ever had it?”
In fact, I had, though it was listed as cow heel soup, not bull heel, as it wasn’t positioned as an enhancement for male sexuality. “It was delicious,” I told him.
The town where Toney’s is, Grand Case, forms a picture-perfect shore alongside a lovely bay. Here’s we’re looking out from a beach bar at dusk.
We’re here on St. Martin for about a month while doing boat maintenance and reprovisioning before we head up to the more expensive Bahama islands. That gives me another chance to return to Grande Case and try Toney’s burger, but it means passing up his hearty local daily soup special. Life is short, and my stomach is only so big.
We’re back here in Grande Case, St. Martin again fr New Year’s eve. May yours be as picture perfect as this sunset in Grande Case!
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