Nina Compton is winning raves for Compère Lapin, the New Orleans restaurant where she explores the flavors of her native St. Lucia. T+L gets her take on the island's best hotels, restaurants, and activities.
The Perfect Day Trip
"Charter a boat in Rodney Bay and cruise down past Soufrière along the southwestern coast, stopping to explore the undiscovered coves. Along the way you'll pass Anse Cochon, one of the top beaches for scuba diving. A bit inland is Sulphur Springs, where pools of molten mud bubble beside the rain forest. People call them the fountains of youth."
The Best Eats
"The Pink Plantation House (Chef Harry Dr.; 758-452-5422; entrées $7–$17) is in a former home on top of the mountain in Castries. It's known for its "hot bakes"—fried dough filled with cheese or garlicky butter. At the Hardest Hard (La Toc Rd.; 758-452-4047; entrées $6–$20), also in Castries, you can eat braised conch or stewed beans with pig's tails beneath an almond tree. Farther south in Soufrière, I enjoy Martha's Tables (entrées $13–$37) for roasted fish and vegetables fresh from the garden."
"Local farmers come in to the market in Castries to sell things they've grown in their backyards, like mangosteens and cinnamon. At the Friday-night party in Gros Islet, everyone dances in the streets to the sounds of zouk and calypso."
Places to Stay
"Fond Doux (doubles from $275) is a 250-year-old plantation with accommodations in Creole cottages. Some have gardens, while others have plunge pools. At Boucan (doubles from $630), you can enjoy a cacao tasting and go into the forest to learn about the chocolate-making process."