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St. Maarten Is Hot In Many Ways But My Espresso Flan Was Disgraced! Cooking W/Emeril Is Tonight!


Oh my goodness people. I can’t even wait to get the food part of this post. I have to tell you right now. I had the worse flan ever on my last night in St. Maarten! I hate to even put this out there, but I was in such shock. When I saw espresso flan on the dessert menu, I got excited: someone thought my idea was good enough to make and I could boast to the other writers how good it was!


It was unattractive, had whip cream on top, was very porous and super bland. Flan is an art form. Timing is of the essence and flavor the custard mixture is important. I won’t say the restaurant’s name but I was most displeased. I was almost insulted!

At least the oven-roasted cognac pear was divine.



Rewind & let’s try again.

I just got back from a FANTASTIC trip to St. Maarten. It was the best island trip I’ve taken this year so far, barring the personality issues we experienced the first day. 6 writers representing LA, Manhattan and Atlanta bumped heads from day one. A flaMboyant actor, a stupidly rich OC blonde, a spiritualist, a recent grad that doesn’t care and a 63-yr. old childless feminist. And then me. Can you imagine? 6 complete strangers, all guests of the Tourism Authority, making outrageous requests?

It was like all the fish in the sea fighting for the hook to be caught. Really, that ridiculous on all our parts. But we managed to get some great excursions in, like visiting Orient beach, a nude one, on the French side (see pic below), a snippet stop at the Marigot market (also on the French side), awesome scuba diving ( a first for me), and other heart thrilling activities I’ll save for a 2nd post.

At the Marigot market, I saw and soaked in the aroma of all these great spices and herbs; Unfortunately, I didn’t have 5 minutes to even pull out some cash to buy things I’ve never even heard of. That irritated the crap out of me. Especially when I’m now looking at pictures. A mortar & pestle did make it to my bag.



I was able to buy some fresh nutmeg, but I’ve misplaced it. When I find it, I’ll gift one of you with a handful of it. I also had a quick moment to gaze at the most beautiful calabaza (pumpkin) I’ve ever seen. My God! I’m imagining roasting the seeds and making something smokey out of it. Or pumpkin soup. And mango. Damn it, my favorite fruit and I was unable to bite into the samples the seller had. They were gorgeous.

As if seeing a French man’s bare ass at Orient beach had not been enough for my eyes, we end up at a butterfly farm where the first in flight I land my eyes on, are a mating pair…whimsically floating in tandem around their green confines, they are stuck to each other.


Our first day entailed lunch at a breathtaking beach and dinner at the Holland House. I’m not a drinker, but I will admit that I had 3 cocktails of a certain concoction by the exec chef. I was promised a copy of the recipe and the superb tarragon foam soup we cleaned our palettes with. You’ll have to read later this week for pictures and recipes of what I found to be the best food I had in 5 days. I promise you’ll love it as much as we all did. Probably the only one thing we all agreed on.

And that was on the Dutch side.

Being a freelance writer covering destinations, food and music isn’t so bad. I’m not complaining and even embrace selfish moments from spoiled writers. We all love what we do. It was great. Food (good and mediocre), sunbathing, cocktailing, scuba-diving, and a damn good massage by a fine ass Dominican on Friday morning. I’m really not complaining.


A press trip to the islands is only topped by a phone call from my publicist letting me know The Washington Post wants to interview me re: the Emeril show. Shoot yeah! Kim O’Donnel, from “A Mighty Appetite” calls my cell as I’m sipping on a mojito after completing a 32 challenge zip line course. We chat for a bit (costing me $2/min) but I tell her I have to call her back that evening from a FREE PAYPHONE for calls to the US I found across the street from the resort. We finish talking about my pork eating and cooking challenges and how my experience cooking with E was. Thanks to that, you can read a write up on yours truly here! TWP is my home-town paper and I swear by it, so it was a bit special to be recognized by them. Thanks, Kim!

And so with that I remind you my friends that I will be on Planet Green TONIGHT cooking with Emeril on his new show “Emeril Green”! East coasters, tune in at 9 pm! I was up til 3:30 cooking what he and I prepared since I’ll be offering it as samples at my viewing party. And why I decided to also make flan for 100 ppl is beyond me. I still need to pick out the cutest outfit ever to be worn to a TV debut viewing! But I’ll manage. I’m thinking my favorite pink strappy Gucci shoes with a white linen dress. What say ye?

Oh, a huge shout out and thanks to Whole Foods at Ponce de Leon for donating all the food I needed to prepare for the party! It saved me a few hundred bucks and I even got make an all organic flan! Love Whole Foods-thanks Lesley!

As the pork chop skewers marinade, I’m off to make media party favors!

Please share your thoughts on the show with me. I’d really love to hear your feedback! Enjoy and tune in to part two of the St. Maarten trip later this week.

Sorry no recipe today. Will on Wednesday. But in the meantime, please visit my friend Cynthia over at Tastes Like Home. I’ll tell you ALL about her and why on Wednesday. In a nutshell she rocks and is just so smart! You wait and see.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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52 thoughts on “St. Maarten Is Hot In Many Ways But My Espresso Flan Was Disgraced! Cooking W/Emeril Is Tonight!

  1. Wow, I’m very jealous–it sounds like an awesome trip and I’m glad to keep hearing good news regarding the press and the Emeril gig. Major congrats in all regards!

  2. The pics are so beautiful! And too bad about the flan…what’s wrong with them…will try to watch you tonight…hopefully on the West Coast.

  3. I’m so envious… I’d love to go to St. Maarten – it was my favorite island when I was young. I hope I have Planet Green – that’s so exciting!

  4. So I saw it! I was surprised I had the channel. Great job. Who knew you had such a fear of pork. That dish looked incredible. Congrats girl.

  5. Yeah, that flan looks awful. We flan artist all over the world should be insulted with it. HEHE And that trip looks amazing. I wish I could do that for a living :-p

  6. Bren, Congratulations on your debut with Emeril, I saw it last night, you did a great job! How exciting for you!!
    Nice “Limbo” too!!

  7. YEAH BREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You looked awesome on TV last night. How cool that you were cooking with Emeril! Great job and congratulations! Not many people can say they’ve cooked with Emeril and you certainly did.. and with such style!!

  8. I am *SO* jazzed for you chica! I watched that episode and a friend of mine who didn’t catch it asked me to please keep the TIVO’d copy so they could see it when they come over – so cool.

    I’m tellin’ ya… all in due time. And because I have to ask – which shoes did you wear for the Emeril taping?

  9. Bren, you cook the best flan I’ve ever had and that is no lie. I’m happy when the flan even holds together, but yours is so delicious. It’s definitely my standard for flan now!

    Digging the new blog.

  10. Thanks to all of you that commented… I had a fab time in St. Maarten and I look forward to going back in the near future. If you can go, do it. You’ll lOve IT! And thanks on the well wishes for the Emeril show.

    Noble Pig: I was so disturbed by the flan, I swear… what a disgrace! 🙂 Is that mean of me!?

  11. Beautiful pictures Bren (except the flan)… I love St Maarten, used to be there every second week on the cruise ship, miss the food and drinks… I’m sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience there.

    I will try to watch your shows if I will figure out how… 😉

    Hugsss, Margot

  12. Hi Bren, greetings from St. Maarten!

    You should really let us know who made that ugly pile of dung. I hope it was not any of the St. Maarten / St. Martin restaurants on DineSXM

    By the way, did you notice that all of the Flamboyant trees are currently in bloom? I hope you took pics.

    Get in touch next time you’re on the island…


  13. Margot: the trip was actually great. it was so full of drama that it made it fun…let’s not talk about the flan! 🙂

    NYC/Caribbean Ragazza: how fun! i love your island. Very very lovely. Can’t wait to go back!

    DineSXM: thanks for finding me. “ugly pile of dung” indeed, but u said it, not me! I didn’t see any trees tho I would have loved to. Will you shoot me a pic?

  14. Sounds like you had a good time. The best food I had there was at Grand Case @ a LoLo called Sky’s the Limit. $8 for a heaping plate of garlic shrmip and several sides!

  15. Sounds like a great trip!  Your photos are beautiful!  And I’m with you on the flan.  Looks terrible.  Hard to believe a restaurant could even serve that!

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