This recipe came to life after our housewarming party (all the way back in March… that’s how far behind I am in posting recent recipes).
For as much as I love to be in the kitchen, I am a lazy host. I almost never throw an elaborate dinner party. I prefer to host brunches, BBQs, or get togethers with nothing but finger food.
Things that are on the simpler side are my jam; like toasting bagels and throwing some berries in a bowl for a simple brunch, or grilling chicken and zucchini pairing with a crusty baguette and a good olive oil for dinner.
For our housewarming party, we went the heavy appetizer route and Trader Joe’s was our third host. I bought salsa, guac, hummus, and veggies; we did a simple cheese and salami plate; some focaccia and balsamic + olive oil; baked some taquitos and called it a day. (Aside from the homemade meatballs and tortillas chips that my arguably better-at-hosting husband made.)
After everyone came and ate, drank, and toured the house, we had a few leftovers. Namely a jar of corn salsa that I had never bought before… what to do, what to do with you? I thought as I crammed it into the fridge with our other leftovers.
Later that week I was eyeing a bag of spinach we had and thought, maybe… maybe some leafy greens, corn salsa, and black bean pasta will go well together?
And oh how well they do go together! The combo was such a hit I’ve picked up a few jars of that TJs corn salsa since and have made many more dinners of Party Pasta. This recipe is gluten free and can be vegan if you omit the parmesan cheese. It is the real MVP in our house and so simple that is just might make it into the lazy-host rotation for our next shabang.
Cook black bean pasta according to the package and then drain cooking water
Add pasta back into the pot with spinach (the heat will wilt the spinach if fresh or defrost it if frozen) and corn salsa (we really like the flavor of the salsa so I am generous with the amount I use)
Dish and garnish with parm and freshly cracked black pepper
When we booked our honeymoon, St Barts was the destination in my mind. Disney World and Saint Martin were great, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t wait to get on the island that is littered with celebrities and take in all of the pure luxury it had to offer.
When we stepped off of the ferry we took between the two islands, the difference between Saint Martin and St. Barts was obvious. Instead of having to rent a car like we did in Saint Martin, our hotel had already arranged transport for us. A shiny white van was waiting to swoop us up when we got there. This wasn’t your standard carpool minivan either; it was all tan seats, A/C blasting, and a cooler of Evian water sitting there, perspiring, waiting for us to crack a bottle open. It was let us help you with your bags and is it too cool in here? Toohot?
Honestly it was so nice (and yes, I realize I am still talking about a minivan), looking back, I’m shocked they didn’t have something more outrageous for us; like flavored oxygen tanks to make breathing more pleasurable. (which… if they did, I would have opted for pineapple flavor, obviously).
We arrived at Hotel Christopher after a fairytale-esque drive across the island, with everything all bright and pristine and smaller than what we’re used to in the states. Naturally the staff greeted us with welcome cocktails and directed us towards a changing room, where we got in our bathing suits to enjoy the pool while we waited for our room to be ready.
We dipped in and out of the pool, alternating between reading, chatting, and huge iguana sightings. At some point we spilt a délicieuse lunch of freshly baked bread, creamy burrata, truffle ham, kalamata tapenade, and artichoke hearts. Drooooool worthy.
Eventually, we were “Sir’d” and “Madam’d” to our room, where we read some more and dozed off on our patio. When we woke up (slightly burnt from sleeping in the late afternoon sun) I was ready to explore the island!! We felt a tinge of cabin fever from being at the hotel for so long and wanted to go into town for dinner. Unfortunately, the location of our hotel didn’t allow for easy walking; something we didn’t even think to check when we booked. Our options were to take a €30 cab into town or to eat at the hotel restaurant, which admittedly looked really nice in it’s own right. We decided to stay and enjoyed burgers and peach cocktails by the sea. Not a bad plan B!
The next morning started with a hunt for chocolate croissants and coffee! Part of the reason we picked St. Barts for our honeymoon was to experience the laid back island vibe with a bit of European flare. In other words, I was really looking forward to the cafe scene!
Sadly the chocolate croissants were sold out by the time we picked a place… wah, wah, waah. 😦
Instead we ordered iced cappuccinos and grilled ham & cheeses (because why not?) and spent the afternoon exploring different beaches around the island. Highlights included: baby goats we spotted; our picnic lunch; and the incredible clear, blue, and warm ocean – which was perfect for hours of swimming and long walks on the beach. 🙂
It was a blissful day that we ended with a trip to a local store for breakfast the next morning (having learned not to rely on the cafes after all) and getting a pizza to go for dinner. It was so simple but sharing a bottle of wine and pizza back at the hotel was one of my favorite moments.
On our final full day there, Mike wanted to go surfing. We packed up the rental car with hotel-provided beach towels and an umbrella (luxury!) and set off to find a broad to rent. We ended up at St. Jeans for the entire day. Mike was able to surf while I lounged on the beach; reading, snacking, and WATCHING PLANES TAKE OFF AND LAND.
As the afternoon was winding down, we went for one last swim to a platform you could sit on in the middle of the deeper part of the sea. We ended up meeting another vacationing couple. After chatting for a while, we exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up for a drink later.
Delighted and drowsy from a day in the sun, we went back to the hotel to shower and change for our last dinner there.
Word to the wise, if you find yourself in St. Barts and you want to go out for dinner, MAKE RESERVATIONS! Many of the restaurants base their food ordering for the day based on the number of reservations they have that night. So despite a place not looking crowded, they might literally not have food for you to eat there. We experienced this at 2 restaurants we attempted to eat at, which was frustrating but we finally hit the jackpot with a canceled reso at Bonito.
Bonito is an open restaurant up on a hill that overlooked the harbor. The food was very French (read: very good, very small portions, and very expensive). It was a lovely last mea. The fancy atmosphere fitting the occasion.
After dinner we met our new friends for a beer and, of course, instagram handle exchanges to stay in touch (hiii, Jenna!;).
We had an early departure the next morning back to St. Martin for our last night before flying home. Overall St. Barts was as exquisite as you can imagine. I’m glad we went there for our honeymoon – a trip of a lifetime – and indulged in all the island has to offer.