SO French is SO Good!
~ Classic French Cuisine with Caribbean Charm ~
So we went out on Monday, February 13, looking for an early Valentine’s dinner and hoping for something very special! And we found it – SO French!
SO French is the kind of place you might drive right past, as you scoot up the hill to Pelican Key in Simpson Bay. That could be a big mistake, because you aren’t likely to find a better French restaurant on the island – and that includes the French side!
We arrived about 7:30pm without reservations, which could have turned out badly as the people arriving after us were turned away with the words, “I’m sorry we’re full.” We were given a small table by the window overlooking Simpson Bay’s lovely waters, lapping gently against the crescent shaped beach. The manager, Tony, told us we weren’t his customers but his guests. He said he doesn’t think of this as work, but like welcoming friends into his home. Well, this charming fellow was authentically joyful, and spread that attitude to every table in the place.
We began the dining experience with wine, as is our want. Soon we received an unexpected amuse-bouche of delectable flavours, a melange of veggies and spices, just enough to prime the taste buds. Then came our shared appetizer, which was very plentiful indeed – a green salad with frog legs adorning the top and a carved lemon as a crown. These frog legs were well seasoned and crispy, exquisite in flavour and texture, a cross between whitefish and chicken. The salad below was fresh and light. We gobbled it all up!
The main courses arrived with rich sauces and wonderful side orders of provincial vegetables that included asparagus, ratatouille and sweet potato. The plates presented lamb shank for my companion and a roasted Angus beef filet mignon with foie gras sauce for yours truly. We were in nirvana at the first bite.
The enjoyment of these meals was not rushed in the least, as great dining should be savoured and prolonged into the night. In time, we had cleaned our plates and felt like indulgence ruled the world, so we decided to split a dessert, asking our waiter what he’d recommend. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “This one,” as he pointed to something that translated to “a melting chocolate cake, crispy and warm in its custard sauce.” This was nirvana’s flip side – a dark descent into decadence that you simply have to try.
A double espresso ended the night. We exited with a hug from Tony, feeling nothing but happiness as we floated down the stairs to our car.
If you want to go upscale, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s – any night can be special! Book your table at SO French and make some memories.
Just off Billy Folly Road
Simpson Bay, Pelican Key area
Open 5:30 to 11:30pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Phone: 1 (721) 544-1143
Staff friendliness: *****
Service speed: ***
Restaurant cleanliness: *****
Food quality: *****
Value for money: ***
Returns to St. Maarten stage
Eight years and some 52 countries later, one of the original Jukebox Heroes of St. Maarten, Maestro Les DeShane, is back on the local live music entertainment scene!
DeShane has his own unique style and twist on reggae and is happy to be back on St. Maarten and its irie warm island vibes. He is basking in the sun after recently spending a month at Hard Rock Café in blistering chills of Helsinki, Finland. He also played at a special event for the American Ambassador and the embassy staff in Finland.
He can be found belting out tunes on Tuesdays at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort from 7:00 to 10:00pm. Skip over to IGY Yacht Club at Isle de Sol’s Fat Turtle Bar on Thursdays to catch more of what he describes as “classic white boy reggae” from 8:00 to 11:00pm.
Jukebox Heroes, which included Chris the Deviant, had created quite a wave on St. Maarten. They are even on the main stage of St. Maarten Heineken Regatta back in the day. The duo was also famous for the “Dutch side Song” – a tune that was and still is an instant crowd favourite.
DeShane invites all music loves to join him for a journey of original music and popular covers of all styles. He is not only an outstanding vocalist; he is also a talented guitarist and skilled pianist.
Poi performer and fire dancer George Woodley was one of the big arts and entertainment winners at the recently held Topian Awards ceremony, in which persons in the industry were recognised for their work. Woodley won Best Mail Poi performer and Best Spotter. A Spotter is someone who assists stilt walkers during their performances while Poi is a form of dance, where weights on the ends of tethers are swung through rhythmical patterns. It is rooted in the culture of the Maori people of New Zealand (Aotearoa), who dance with poi poi in traditional ceremonies. Woodley tells us more about himself and his life as a performer in this week’s Hot Seat.
Who is George Woodley?
I am a selfless person, who is very passionate about what I believe in and I work very hard to achieve my goals.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a very nice and helpful guy. I always look out for other people, sometimes before I even look out for myself. I am also a man of my word and I do not like to let people down. I am also a very dependable person.
I attended Oranje primary school in Philipsburg. I then attended Sundial for the first two years of my secondary education and was then transferred to Milton Peters College (MPC) where I studied electrical engineering. I completed two years in the PBL stream and received my first diploma, then completed an extra year in the PKL stream and got my second diploma. I studied Electrical Engineering because I love physics. The minute I began the classes, I knew this was for me.
How did you end up being a Poi performer and fire dancer?
Almost a year ago, Funtopia introduced fire dancing to the list of entertainment it offers and I signed up for it. Before you start with the fire, you must practice Poi dancing. I rapidly advanced in it and eventually began to use the fire and became the first fire dancer in Funtopia and I really liked it very much. I eventually learned how to blow fire because it was needed in this field and I became very good at it. I am currently the only fire dancer at Funtopia. Poi dancing is a type of art called flow arts, which is basically spinning two items at the end of each string and you make circular motions. It can be done in different ways, such as with LED lights and with fire.
What inspired you and what is it that you like about this field?
My instructor inspired me because she would encourage me to learn as much as I can. Just by watching her spin and blow fire, it was really amusing so I also wanted to express such talent and amaze people with my skills. I also like the fact that there is always something new to learn and there is always room for improvement. I just enjoy everything there is about it.
What kind of poi performer are you?
I am a very amusing Poi performer to watch because I always make sure I mesmerize my crowd during my performances.
What differentiates you from other poi performers and artistes?
I always focus on making myself better as I execute my performance and I can adapt to any environment that I have to perform in.
How and where did you develop your skills?
I developed my skills in Funtopia constantly practicing with my Poi instructor and even practicing on my own at home and watching videos online.
Where have you performed in the past?
I have performed many times all over the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, also in Dominica, St. Eustatius, Saba and Anguilla.
How does it feel to win the Topian Award?
It’s an amazing feeling inside when your name gets called and you go up for that award and you are recognised for your hard work and dedication.
What do you think gave you the edge over other nominees?
My self-confidence during my performances; I always give 110% when I am performing.
Have you ever received any other awards in this field?
I won the TelCell Breakthrough competition in October last year.
Aside from performing, what is your career ambition?
I would like to obtain my Master’s Degree in electrical engineering.
What is your advice to other youths who also want to learn about poi performance?
My advice to them is that they should not be scared to learn and they should always do their best. Be patient and you will learn everything you need to learn in order to master this skill.
What are your future goals?
To go and study abroad so that in the future I may come back to St. Maarten and help make a positive change.
My only hobby besides my performances is sports.
What is your favourite type of music?
I listen to all types of music once I like the song. I have no favourite artistes.
If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would invite Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking and Nikola Tesla and I would probably cook them some Spanish food.
Radio personality and managing director of Caribe Broadcasting Network/Island92 Jeffrey “Dr. Soc” Sochrin (49) has embarked on a new venture in radio. He tells us more about it in this week’s Hot Seat.
Who is Jeffrey ‘Dr. Soc’ Sochrin?
Driven, hardworking, focused, fun and a beach bum at heart – I find it very hard to say no to anyone.
How did you end up in beautiful St. Maarten?
I grew up in Seymour and Milford, Connecticut, USA, and came to St. Maarten with my parents in 1982. My parents had fallen in love with St. Maarten in the mid-1970s and decided they wanted to retire here. So they eventually purchased a vacation home here, and St. Maarten became our regular home away from home.
How did you discover your love for radio?
I remember as a child being fascinated with radio. Back in the 1970s in Connecticut, everyone listened to the radio to find out what was happening – not so different than here on St. Maarten. My morning radio guy was Big Al Warren on WICC, based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Big Al was always there to tell me if school was cancelled due a blizzard or if something else was going on in the local community. I remember as a child, calling in to the radio station to make a request one evening, on a program called Instant Request. I never realised the radio bug bit me at such a young age, but I now know, after almost a decade on the air at Island 92, it was my calling in life to talk.
How did you hone that love?
I guess I have always been a natural speaker. I love to talk in front of a group. I often find myself thinking about our listeners, especially early in the morning when it’s only me, my coffee and the microphone in the studio. The real key is to be yourself, and talk to your audience. If you find it interesting, chances are your audience will feel the same way.
What differentiates you from other radio personalities?
Island 92 and soon-to-be Z105.1 are a family. Everyone who listens, all of our clients and all team members – both on and off the air – are part of the family. It has to be that way in our small town surrounded by water. We have extended family members around the globe that listen to us online from wherever they may be in the world, because they long to be on St. Maarten. This means more to me than I can ever express in words. This passion, the love for our island and my extended radio family are what make ol’ Dr. Soc different from all the rest. The character I play on the radio is very much me, although I must admit some of the far out perspectives or opinions are exaggerated to get a reaction – but at the end of the day, it’s just me talking to my extended family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you like about your job?
I love the fact that I can say something on the air and by the time I sneak out to lunch in the middle of the day, people are repeating what they heard on the radio. I try very hard to make sure our listeners around the globe understand what a special place St. Maarten is to me. It’s my adopted home and I don’t think I could ever leave.
What do you set out to achieve when you go on air each day?
I hope I can bring a smile to the face of as many listeners as possible every day. I hope I can influence members of our community, in spite of all the silliness, to adhere to the golden rule and the Rotary four-way test. If we can all treat each other the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and at the end of the day always remember to ask, “Is it the truth?” “Is it fair to all concerned?” “Will it build good will and better friendships?” “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”, there is nothing that we can’t achieve here on St Maarten.
And where can people tune in to listen to Soc?
Fresh Air in the Morning with Dr. Soc airs weekdays from 7:00 to11:00 on Island 92 (91.9) FM and on Z105.1 FM (starting February 1) locally; or online at www.island92.com and www.z1051.com, or any streaming services like tunein.com.
Tell us about the new radio station?
About six months ago, an opportunity presented itself to acquire ZRON 105.1 FM, based on Anguilla. With that opportunity came the next question: “What are we going to play on Z105.1?” We are rockers to our core, but we needed to come up with something that fits our audience without straying too far from our roots. Eric Boyer, my good friend and associate at Island 92 (ERB to our listeners), suggested we explore a Classic Hits format, the more popular stuff from the mid-1970s through mid-1990s. Simply stated, Z105.1 was born on January 1, with its new Classic Hits format. Beginning February 1, Fresh Air in the Morning with Dr. Soc will air simultaneously on both stations, giving our programming the biggest reach in the Northeast Caribbean.
How did the alias Dr. Soc come about?
Let’s be honest, “Fresh Air in the Morning with Jeffrey” sounds horrible. I had to come up with a good radio name. My last name “Sochrin” kind of naturally brings about the nickname Soc. As a matter of fact, it was and still is my father’s nickname. So, I guess I stole Dad’s name. In 2012, a group from AUC came to the studio with a white doctor-coat, a stethoscope and an honorary “Doctor of Radio-ology” degree and proclaimed, “You are now Dr. Soc.” I now affectionately refer to Dad as “Pop Soc.”
What are you involved in outside of radio?
I’m a member of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, serving as the president from 2015 to 2016; I’m treasurer of St. Maarten Yacht Club for almost five years, and treasurer of St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Recently, I became an adjunct member of the faculty at University of St. Martin, teaching in the business programme. I’m also chairman/founder of Team Goldendog Foundation, which strives to help homeless animals find their forever homes.
What’s your favourite type of music?
I love rock, new and old. I also like all the popular music of the 1980s. I love all the music of the rock era, along with many of the standards of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack. My favourite rock band is Led Zeppelin; favourite Led Zeppelin song is Fool in the Rain; favourite song of all time is Don McClean’s American Pie.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be?
Ronald Reagan – he was president when I was in high school; Farrah Fawcett and Frank Sinatra, whose music I love, and if I could add a fourth, it would be Johnny Carson from The Tonight Show. He made me laugh and feel good.
Free exercise with positive results
You don’t need to pay a monthly gym subscription to take a walk; all you need are some good walking shoes and a safe path for you to use. Remember the old adage about the apple? Well, walking may also keep the doctor away.
By Claudienne Peterson
Rolando Brison is a name you see quite often in the news and in social media as he’s held quite a few important positions on the island, some of which have not been received well. He seems to be the man everyone loves to hate. But why? I decided to sit with Rolando and pick apart this mystery. With his new position as Director of Tourism before him, he shares how he’s been preparing himself for the new task ahead.
Make your own lava lamp
A lava lamp (or astro lamp) is a decorative and unique item which was invented in 1963 by a British accountant named Edward Craven Walker. This lamp is designed in a variety of colours and shapes, and now you get to make your own.
- Cooking oil
- Food colouring
- An empty water bottle
- Alka-Seltzer antacid tablets
The first thing you need to do is to fill your bottle two-thirds with oil, fill in the other third with water, leaving about an inch free at the top. Looking at the water layer sink to the bottom can be fun, but you have to wait awhile for the bubbles to disappear before you continue with the following step.
The next step is for you to add several drops of food colouring. Since you put the oil in before the water, it will take some time for the drops of food colouring to “go through the process” and tint the water.
Now it’s time for you to break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into three or four pieces, drop one of the pieces in and watch what happens! When the tablet touches the layer of water, it will start to fizz and you’ll see the coloured water will erupt!
Once the tablet dissolves, you won’t see any more bubbles, but they will start up again as soon as you add another piece of tablet. In case the oil layer starts to look cloudy with tiny bubbles, you can just let it settle for a while, add some more if needed.
Final step: Enjoy your cool, creative lamp!
Egyptian Flat Bread
Flat breads have been baked in Egypt since ancient times. One of the paintings on the wall of a tomb in the Valley of the Kings shows bakers busy making bread. This recipe is very simple and uses ingredients you probably have at home already. Working with yeast is fun, especially as there is plenty of hands-on kneading to do! Serve the flat breads with slices of cheese or various dips. Have an adult help you in the kitchen.
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar (or runny honey)
1 cup warm water
1 egg, beaten
Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl.
In a separate smaller bowl, stir yeast and sugar (or honey) into the warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes and watch as the mixture froths up and doubles in size.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with the heel of your hands until smooth.
Leave dough to rise (covered with a clean damp tea towel) in an oiled bowl for 1-2 hours; it should double in size.
Punch dough down with your fist.
Divide into 16 balls and roll them out very thin.
Place on well oiled baking trays.
Using a pastry brush, paint each loaf of bread with beaten egg.
Let bread rest for 15 mins and preheat oven to 350° F.
Bake for 15-20 mins until golden.
Allow to cool before serving.
Sun rises at 6:37am
Sun sets at 6:14pm
Moon phase: last quarter, waning crescent
Moon rises at 1:07am
The evening sky is currently blessed with a smattering of planets. Jupiter rises around 11:30pm snuggling close to the slightly less bright star, Spica. Saturn rises about 2:30am. Between these two planets is the moon, a waning crescent in the last quarter of its cycle. In fact, the moon Saturn and the bright star Antares make a nice little triangle that graces the sky in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Don’t want to stay up so late? Seek out other planets.
Venus is at her brightest these nights and Mars is nearby, both hanging in the western edge of the sky. Almost impossible to spot is Uranus, just above Mars; use good binoculars or a telescope. The three planets seem to form an almost vertical, almost straight line, with Venus at the bottom. These celestial bodies sink below the horizon early, around 9:00pm.
About that time is prime Winter Circle viewing time! Directly overhead at 9:00pm, the Winter Circle is a group of well-known constellations’ brightest stars which roughly form a circle that dominates the sky in the winter months. Prominent among these constellations is Orion. Known as a hunter, Orion’s three stars in a row mark his belt which is why he is easy to spot and why then the Winter Circle is easy to find.
Once you see the three stars in a row, look to the northeast to Orion’s “shoulder,” for a reddish or ruddy-hued star. This is Betelgeuse and it sits at the middle of the circle. By the way, kids especially like the star Betelgeuse, because its name sounds so much like beetle juice, but astronomers pronounce it slightly differently: BET-el-zhews. People have described this star as sombre or sometimes even grandfatherly. Betelgeuse is old for a star, as a matter of fact, well into the autumn of its lifespan. Betelgeuse is no ordinary red star. It’s a magnificently rare red supergiant. Another is Antares in the constellation Scorpius, but I digress…
Back to the Winter Circle: At Orion’s foot is the bluish-white star Rigel; from there you can see a circle of bright stars around Betelgeuse. Looking clockwise, there is Rigel, then the “Dog Star” Sirius (the earth’s brightest star), Procyon (the Little Dog Star), then the Twin Stars of Castor and Pollux which mark the heads of the constellation Gemini. The Winter Circle finishes off with Capella (in Auriga) and Aldebaron (in Taurus).
Thank you for keeping up with the Night Sky articles. If you are out later on in the week, each star rises about four minutes earlier each day than written here, and the moon rises 50 minutes later. Night Sky is researched and compiled by Lisa Davis-Burnett. Earthsky.org is a key resource for information and images. Questions or comments? Email email@example.com
Just Be More Natural Or how I learned to not trust silky-haired friends to give hair advice!
“Can you be more natural?”
“What do you mean?” I asked my boyfriend of fewer than six months. I tried to conceal my thoughts with a Stepford Wives meets Serial Mom smile.
Here’s the thing: I was already the most natural I’d ever been in my entire life. Yes, my hair was straight, but it was only a temporary effect created with my flat iron and blow dryer. I didn’t wear hair extensions, fake nails, or makeup. I’d never had plastic surgery!
From my crazy eyes, he could tell that my inner monolog had switched from “quirky brown girl” to “angry black woman.” Cue: hand clapping, finger pointing, and neck rolls. See, interracial dating was new for me. I anxiously searched for signs of being tokenized. I was secure in my blackness and was not here for men looking to cure their Jungle Fever or feed their low key melanin fetish.
“Can you be more natural?” His words rang in my mind as I soaked in the tub. Should I? I removed my shower cap. Reaching for the nearest towel, I dried my hands and then touched my roots and the tightly coiled top bun. Sigh. Without thinking, I released my hair. I lowered my torso and head allowing the water to penetrate my follicles. I can't lie; yuh gyal was feeling like Janet Jackson in her Everytime music video.
Hopping out of the tub to check my hair out; I was all “praise hands emoji” because my curls were popping. Team No Heat Damage! Next was the moment of truth: Would I use products or give this “be more natural” thing a chance. Insert the longest sigh of your life. I skipped the products, wrapped my head in a scarf, and went to bed.
Yo! The next day, my hair was stuck in a Sideshow Bob confection! It was up, hard, and looking like Don King. I was late for church so I had to walk the street with this hard ashy afro.
Later that night, my face is all pushed up ready to rip him a new one for convincing me to turn my hair into stone. Boo, I am not mixed. I know exactly what’s growing out of my head.
“You’re beautiful. What's wrong?”
That’s how I learned to not trust silky-haired friends to give hair advice. That night, I spent six hours detangling and “un-crisping” my hair. Never again. Meh say, never again!
Created on St. Maarten; based in Chicago, Onicia Muller (@OniciaMuller) writes, says funny things, and enjoys hanging with creative minds. ‘Just Be Funny’ is a weekly reflection where Onicia laughs at life. Learn how to be more natural at www.OniciaMuller.com/JBF