A devoted day for Mothers was celebrated this year and its host was the beautiful Botanical Gardens of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A staple of exotic flowers, historical trees, and aesthetic cactuses, the St. George Village Botanical Gardens of St. Croix is certainly a sight to see. And this year they hosted their very first Mothers Day event, catered by one of the most talented local chefs of the island Ralph Motta, and his catering company “MottaCuisine”.

So what does Botanical Gardens invite Mothers to enjoy, and what does a chef catered garden event on the Islands offer?

The answer is:                 “Everything and A cup of Tea”

1st:  The event Venue is a milieu covered in sunlight, shade, and green foliage as far as the eye can see:

2nd: Once you enter your standing in “history”. The historical and high vaulted arches of the Botanical Garden building is a remnant and remainder of the 18th and 19th century sugar cane plantation. While the Botanical Garden grounds are even older,  traced back to an Amerindian settlement this area was found to date back to 100 A.D. See the history of the Botanical Gardens. 

3rd: After entering you will note that the tables are set, with elegant place settings of crimson and gold, accented by center pieces of garden picked flowers.

4th: Once you take your seat, from your round table you can view the vibrant and artistically decorated chef tables.

5th: The Chef and his Table of Hors d’oeuvres and Tea, set apart this particular event with class, flavor, and style by featuring innovative local island ingredient rich foods and beverages:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6th: Last but not least, the mind was relaxed as the Botanical Gardens Mothers Day Tea event featured soothing sounds from a talented local guitarist.

Therefore, this is a 5 Star event and certainly a tradition that you should treat your Mother to every year.

Check out future upcoming Botanical Garden local Island events. Up next MANGO MELE

And find out more about upcoming MottaCuisine events by checking out the chef himself here: MOTTACUISINE

Take Away

“Sip the tea”

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So it should come as no surprise, that this essential meal becomes a big investment when you travel.

However, seeing as United Airlines has so kindly demonstrated how low customer service can really go. Today’s preferred topic of accommodation concerns BOAT TRAVEL and NOT AIR TRAVEL.

Best Locations For A Quick Bite Before Boarding A Morning USVI Boat Adventure:

Waterfront St. Thomas’s – Bumpas

A rooftop sandwich, coffee, and all day breakfast shop, Bumpas has an exciting menu with new daily specials. 

What’s good on the go:

  • Smoothies
  • Coffee/ Latte
  • Bagels
  • Breakfast Sandwiches

Specials I love:

  • Breakfast Reuben Sandwich
  • Brie Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Christiansted Town         St. Croix’s – Baked Cafe

BakedCafeLogoLocated in the heart of Christiansted town, a two minute walk from the dock waterfront, Baked Cafe serves up specialty coffee, vegan breakfast options, and healthy eats.

What’s good on the go:

  • In house made Sambouka
  • Chai and Oats, Fresh Fruit Parfaits
  • Muffins
  • Bagels
  • Breakfast Sandwiches

Specials I love:

  • Egg White & Spinach Sandwich

So what’s the final verdict on breakfast and traveling I would say it’s that boats not planes do it best!

Take Away

Don’t waste your time being assaulted by airlines when your hungry, when there is plenty of food to be had when you take non-aggressive routs by boat and sea. 

The Ferry Is Back ! And it’s Called “QE IV”

It’s new, it’s improved, and it’s not that huge. In fact, it looks a little bizzare and from appearances alone may leave your nerves to initially scream-questionable?

You may have asked (because so did I): Why does it look like that ? Why is it so small? Will that thing topple over?

All fair questions! But if Grandma can do it (featured here smiling and exiting the not-so-scary-in-real-life-boat) then frankly so can you…


Now here is the personal inside scoop into the experience, of a sleek cozy interior and smooth sailing. 

Top 5 Reasons Why The New QE4 Ferry = Awesome

  1. It’s bright yellow and comfortable seating does not leave you wet, or strike a cause for any concern.
  2. Beverages and snacks are provided for low $1 prices.
  3. The sailing (as this is what it feels like) and scenery are beautiful as well as smoothe, relaxing, and calming.
  4. Your mobile device (with AT&T) works all the way through, so you don’t have to really pay attention to anything else (however here is what you are missing).
  5. You can pre-book online or at the boat for the same price of $50 one-way, which beats the prices of all other transportion choices between St. Thomas and St.Croix! 

So what’s my overall rating ? I give it 5 stars as I was a concerned citizen prior to embarking, and now I am disembarking: A True Fan!In fact, I further rate this form of transportation a “blast“, and will coin it the “New Caribbean Water Train”

It’s the subway, metro, and greyhound of the U.S. Virgin Islands and it gets no better than that!

Start booking now…http://www.qe4ferry.com/

Take Away

“Throw away your buddy pass, because boats are the new trains, and the only way to truly live is by Island hop” 

Are you familiar with the Caribbean carbonated soda pop that has been a staple to the lives of kids and kid-adults for years?

The green Jamaican grapefruit flavored “Ting” is the name, and bringing happiness to the lives of fellow wo/man is its game.

And now….to my surprise! There is more than one flavor!


Pink “Ting” means now you can have more than one “Ting” at a time. If your into grapefruit as a flavor then A Ting & Ting is just what you need:


Now here is where to find it …

The Keys – Dueling Pianos St. Thomas 

Not only a home to “Ting” but to everything, and features the following: 

  • Wine and cocktail bar
  • Casino
  • Lounge
  • Dancing
  • Live music

But what is more important about the Piano Bar is its talented musicians who, in addition to playing your favorite Disney Songs, also Beep Box while playing the Piano! 

But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself…

 

Take Away 

“If a Ting selling establishment beep boxes Prince then plays Little Mermaid songs on a Friday night, and grown people sing along to it, what you have found is -AWESOMENESS.” 

Sitting in your chair at work (hopefully twirling around) and wondering why doesn’t anyone pack lunches anymore ?

Lunchboxes were a staple of all of our lives once, but what did they really symbolize?

img_4862

It’s simple “The Lunchbox” means that, someone else made and packed that food FOR YOU. The Lunchbox eliminates all other steps, and leaves just the part where you simply eat…

So basically getting a lunchbox is the ultimate way to keep your self –

1) stress free, 2) full, and 3) lazy !

Now ask yourself…where do I get the present day Lunchbox today, as a grown adult ?  I’ll tell you where…

Ms. Julius $5 Dollar, Homemade and

Hand Delivered, img_4855Friday Lunchboxes

Quick How-To-Guide to bring The Lunchbox back into your life:

  1. Look at the menu choices which will be sent, via text message
  2. Pick your favorite food item from the list
  3. Text Ms. Julius the item, and the number of Lunchboxes you desire
  4. Text Ms. Julius where you are located
  5. And PRESTO! Like magic the food will show up at the door, in a box, which you will open with joy !

Here is a preview of past Friday Lunchbox Menus…


Here is what $5 dollar can get you…

Sign up by texting Ms. Julius at the number provided below and UPGRADE your life RIGHT NOW – +1 (340) 244-1637

Take Away

“If mommy doesn’t pack your lunch then, as an adult, you should pay someone who will.”

Have you been to your local bar, restaurant, lounge, and or house party sporting your green?

Have you looked for a shamrock and found your Jameson shots together with some glow sticks and hats, so you believe that you have fully celebrated St. Patrick’s day? 

Do you think you went hard? Well…

I am here to tell you that you haven’t gone hard enough, drank enough, danced enough, IMG_4579or worn enough assortments of glowing and blaring greens….until you’ve attended St. Paddy’s day on St. Croix!

What does the Virgin Islands offer for the Irish and everyone else on St. Paddy’s day?

Let’s show you how to get over the rainbow and find a pot of gold…”Island Style”

5 Reasons to Attend St. Patrick’s Day on St. Croix, U.S.V.I. 

  1. All Day Parade With Live Music & Dancing…
  2. Boat and land parties for over 24hr periods…
  3. Unlimited food and drink…

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  4. Crowds of people to celebrate with from all around the world…IMG_4537
  5. And beaches to wash it all down when your done….because this is…#islandlife

 

Take Away

“That’s how you get to the end of the Rainbow 🌈 “

As I head back to the birth place, of St. Croix where the hills are a little smaller and the farms are just larger, I’m happily nostalgic about a French restaurant I use to know.

Housed in the alley of Frederiksted town on King Street, across from the convenience store and to the left of Pier 69 was….Le St. Tropéz 

IMG_4560

What was one of the top fine dinning restaurants in the West End, Le St. Tropéz boasted some of the best French bread, was the first place I tasted escargot, and created homemade salad dressings on top of the best blue cheese salad that I have ever had to this day. I pay homage to this gem of a restaurant that brought color and excellence in French dinning to the West End Streets of St. Croix U.S.V.I.

But now the millennials are in town…and they have created their own spin, jazzing up what was once a French eatery, with local cooking styles, and fresh ingredients that come straight out of the sea, farms and earth of West End St. Croix.

The new name is- Ciboné

IMG_4558

And here is a new list of what they have brought to the table

  • Craft cocktails  – infused with fresh local juices and made from fruits found on the Virgin Islands.
  • New menu options everyday – menu is never the same and changes based on what is fresh that day, and what is caught that day.
  • Seafood – straight from the Fisherman’s net to your plate is your only option, but trust me they make it look fantastic.
  • Ambiance – live band, lounge chairs, quaint, cute, laid back, it’s every bit a place to relax while you eat, and after you eat.

But now back to the food, because what does it look like ? Here is a sneak peek:

Take Away 

“You don’t have to forget the past, but there is beauty in new things that can and should be done in the future…”

Travel with me to happy hour on the East side of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and what will you find?img_4206

Towards the end of Red Hook, abutted by a sea of ships and sails, will be…..

 

Fish Tails Bar & Grille 

Sporting a spectacular range of seafood dishes, this restaurant packs several sturdy punches of delicious bites as soon as you hit the door. Although their dinner menu is full of many edible sea creatures that I personally take a delight in eating, my tale is about this restaurant’s phenomenal Happy Hour. 

Note: If you’re like me and order every single item on the Happy Hour menu, because it is not only economical it is delicious, then this place and this blog is just for you

My tale begins with LIBATIONS….(as all adult tales naturally do)

  • Fish Tails packs a punch in the liquid diet, because their bartenders and waitresses encourage and support all your drinking habits. My tastes from the Happy Hour Menu featured:
    • Strong Stoli Moscow Mules
    • Stronger Oyster Shooters
  • Fun Fact- In this tale where the main character was still thirsty and exercised her option to add in the, “Classy White Wine Approach” Fish Tails  delivered a fortified promise, that her glass and your glass would always be full. 

Then all the princesses and princes had to EAT….(because it’s only Happy Hour until 6pm unless you order enough food to last you until 9pm)

  • Fish Tails Happy Hour food menu packs even more punches than their drinks, by combining: everything you want with everything you need. My table full of their entire Happy Hour Menu featured:
    • A dozen fresh Oysters 
    • More than a dozen fresh Muscles 
    • Bacon wrapped Chicken Jalapeno bites
    • Bacon stuffed Tatter Tots 
    • Fish Tacos 
  • Fun Fact- All these dishes will take up your entire table, and all these dishes are delicious.

And in the end no one had time for dessert because they were all FULL AND LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER….(the end? well at least until I stop by again for actual dinner)

Take Away 

Don’t just be happy to eat, eat happy, in an hour, and order everything to get the job done.

The final, and last lap of the Agricultural Fair on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, requires that you come prepared.

This means that you are willing, able, and ready to arrive at the fair before 12pm, with a “tote bag” in hand. In your tote bag, that you will fill to the brim, there should be one of each essential Cruzan (native of St. Croix) food dish. That means that, if you have done the job right, you will have a special and delicious treat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, to you I introduce the contents of my tote bag:

Breakfast  – Crab Stuffed Pate: known in many Spanish regions as the empanada, Cruzan Pate is fried dough filled with various stuffings, but in Agricultural Fair you will find rare stuffings such as crab. 

Lunch Sprout and Conch Salad: Sprout fishes are even smaller than Jaxs (see Agricultural Fair Day Two for more details) they can fit in the palm of your hand and, like Jaxs, you can eat them whole except it only takes one gulp…Conch, found within the conch shell you see beneath the sea, is a snail larger than escargot, and is far more tasty. Conch is also one of the Virgin Island’s best dishes and can be found and cooked in a variety of different forms. 


Dinner Stew Goat, Season Rice, Macaroni, Stuffing, Potato Salad, and Coleslaw: obviously one side dish is not enough, when shopping at Agricultural Fair. The truth is you really do get a little bit of everything. However what is important to note, is that each ingredient, meat, side and seasoning is freshly made, grown, and produced on the lovely island of St. Croix. 

Take Away 

What’s good at Agricultural Fair on St. Croix U.S.V.I. ? EVERYTHING 

Packed with individuals from all over the Caribbean, on day two of Agricultural Fair I explored….”food behind the counter”.

These counter shots were all I could ascertain, because the vast containers maintaining even more delicious eats were closed or hidden behind the lines of eaters waiting to devour the contents.


Nonetheless, the featured counter shots are, some of the staples of our most common Virgin Island food finds.

Starting with….

  • Johnny Cake – dough, love in a frying pan, and laughter 


  • Fried Chicken-everyone does it, and everyone loves it 


  • Pot Fish – the freshest catch of the day fried to your stomach’s delight of perfection 

Notwithstanding being limited to the  outside glass in viewing all the above scrumptious morsels, I found my own gem. Featured in the plastic container and looking straight at you is the fish they call – Jax’s

  • Jax’s – are the tiniest little locally caught fish that you could use as bait, but instead we eat them whole, chewing and swallowing even the bones

Take Away 

Why not eat it all, because not even bones need to be your boundary 

St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands biggest food, produce, and cultural festival, is the Agricultural Fair.

There is no other event that showcases the whole island, it’s art, crafts, and every natural resource it has to offer, more than this three day event in February during Presidents Day weekend.

If you have never been, your life is incomplete, because at the Fair you will find all of the following

  • Best food

  • Best desserts

  • Best Caribbean Chefs (every island is represented)

  • Best plants and all farm products (food you have never seen before)

  • Best fruits and vegetables

  • Best local fresh made drinks

  • Best local talent and businesses

  • Best Quelbe music

 

 

County fair meet the Virgin Islands, which has made it a tradition to re-discover its own island every year.

Take Away 

This is just day one…

Now here is “the” heated discussion. Outside the realm of the Rum World, which we all as Virgin Islanders subscribe to, there is battle going on between what liquor hits the glass harder. Let discuss:

Whisky-and-or-Bourbon

On side Dark, I personally put up Knob Creek as a solid defender. I choose dark for delivery because it is

Smooth

Oak flavored 

Mixes well with others 

Full bodied

Strong, but not harsh 

 

Shown above as 100 proof, I believe it gets the job done, and does so nicely. It also most importantly, allows you to wake up in the morning. It may, or may not, depending on the amount of your intake, allow you to function properly as a human being.

Tequila-Oh-Here-Comes-A-Missile

Side light, and as its name entails packs a mean punch that personally for me, sails me out the room. Here are its advantages, which can also be read as disadvantages, depending on the time of day chosen for consumption:

Morning – (first of all what were you thinking ) Can easily be confused for water 

Afternoon – (second of all what were you thinking, this may kill you if you proceed)  Hides well when mixed with any beverage, is hard to detect, and also appears to be absent as you drink something delicious 

Night-(third of all what were you thinking, this will kill you) Increases your social skills and anger skills, but may also make you think your a superhero, even if you are not 


Shown above as only one shot because as explained above, this stuff can and will kill you ! So it packs maybe too many punches, but is passed around to all friends and family frequently anyway. Can you work the next day on it? It’s Debatable.

 

Take Away

It may be a tie but tequila more than whisky makes you fly

 

Although I may be out of the Virgin Islands it doesn’t mean I am not thinking of it!

So before I write my opening statements let me “Stuff” your food palate up.

One of my favorite classic Virgin Island dishes is “Cruzan (or Crucian) Stuffing” or in St. Thomas and St. John just “Stuffing”. Our three islands may differ on flavors of this dish in terms of sweetness, colors, and amounts of raisins added, BUT the outcome is still the same…it’s DELICIOUS.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the dish and it’s use, here is the breakdown:

It’s a carb

It’s most often eaten with rice

It can be spicy and sweet

It is made with potato

It is nothing like turkey stuffing

It is similar in taste to sweet potato mash

You can find it in any VI local food shop

These are the highlights, but if your mouth is still watering, take a look at some recipes and demos:

Cruzan Potato Stuffing 

Crucian Potato Stuffing

Caribbean Potato Stuffing

Potato Stuffing The Video

Take Away
“Stuffing yourself will make you happy “

 

 

The thing about prepping for Super Bowl Sunday is….you can’t have enough chicken!

However, for Virgin Islanders the little bitty chicken wing, is frankly, just not enough.

So let’s talk about grilling the BIG STUFF

Introducing: The Chicken Leg, The Chicken Thigh, The Chicken Breast, and a Whole Bunch of Chicken 

Breakdown: All the above are good to grille, better to eat, but here are my highlights of them all-

  • Chicken Leg: the easiest to pick up and hold in your hand, boasts the most dark juicy meat with a moderate amount of calories
  • Chicken Thigh: the LARGEST sporting skin and dark meat, often maligned as being unhealthy, but actually has the same nutritional content as other cuts
  • Chicken Breast: the most healthy, often referred to as the most versatile, consists of white meat with very little fat 
  • Whole Bunch of Chicken: although each of the above have their own calorie breakdown the point is even if you were eating let’s say…..

chicken feet 

 You are still coming out the game feeling good and full.

Adding In the Grille: You get a charcoal, smokey and woody tender taste added to your chicken, that you can top off with any sauce or marinade depending on your occasion.

Take Away: Kick off with a drumstick!

Learning from the Spanish, St. Thomas Virgin Islanders have also perfected this favorite seasoned seafood rice dish.

The only differences, between ours and theirs is, probably where we eat it. This platter was eaten and packaged for a beach party, because where else would VI people eat Paella

Note the Location :

Note the Shade:

img_3719

Now back to the ingredients:

Lobster 

Shrimp

Scallops

Fish

Mussels 

Lechón

Huge Grandma Pot 

Rice (obviously) and lots of Sazon ! 

Add all these things together for the perfect Paella dish !

Take Away

Its simply delicious, but it’s even better when enjoyed on a beach in the Virgin Islands

One of my many responsibilities as a foodie is to ensure that the food others eat is succulent, and done right. Therefore one of my favorite activities is converting the medium-well steak eaters into medium or under cooked juicy beef meats.

The question, am I successful?

Answer, ALWAYS.

The challenge  in the Virgin Islands is that culturally people view meat that isn’t cooked all the way through as an abomination. However, nutritionally speaking steak in temperatures under medium well retain the essential nutrients of the protein you consume. Whereas as the well done steak cooks out the nutrients in the meat leaving you with nothingness.

Don’t believe check out facts –>

Summation:

Try your steak medium, you will enjoy it better because …

  1. It will be juicier
  2. It will digest better
  3. And the seasoning\nutrients will enthrall and complete you

Lesson = don’t do this


Is eating a hot dog out of Hamburger Bun a thing ?

It is for Tap and Still Havensight St. Thomas!

Game changing hot dog moment is when:

  • You think your going to get a regular hot dog in a hot dog bun
  • Your waitress brings you a circular brown paper bag
  • You open the bag and the foil reveals hot dog cut into squares then placed in a burger bun
  • You double check that you ordered a hot dog and not a burger and waitress confirms you order is hot dog
  • You bite into your “Hot Bun” burger/dog and it is DELICIOUS

Thanks Tap and Still for surprising me

Because your to the end of your work day…..

But actually only really thinking of your dinner

So what you should do, is not order this dish.

The Breakdown 

-The play of a tropical fruit sauce infused risotto really just sounds good

  • In real life the risotto was too sweet for the entre and not the dessert portion of this meal
  • The risotto itself was dry and missed the mark, of a moist and… melt-in-your-mouth risotto dish.

-Well there is always veggies! Nutritious and delicious?

  • WRONG, The asparagus in terms of aesthetics looked like it was dying across a carbed full plate of rice.
  • Plus side it still tasted like asparagus, downside, charred to a certain point really signifies “burnt”

-Now onto the fish 🐟, Grouper, that could work and stuffed with crab, should = yum?

  • WRONG AGAIN, if stuffing your grouper means you will serve this fish dry to me for the sake of the crab you baked inside, then leave out the crab
  • if your crab really tastes like flour and added thanksgiving stuffing in January, but not actually crab, then also leave the crab out

Take Away

  1. Fresh Caribbean Fish should never be dry
  2. Risotto by definition is not dry, don’t confuse it for rice
  3. asparagus takes 2 mins to grill without burning, so just watch it in the pot
  4. Go back to work

These dinner time horror stories brought to you in part by

Caribbean Fusion Restaurant and Bar, St. Thomas VI

img_3538

Which I recommend for alternative eats:

Emerald Beach Resort -Sunday Fun/Day

The Staple of Virgin Islands Breakfast

Titi Bread– named such because each end of the bread protrudes out like breast

Tastes- better than French bread and is essentially a buttered bread

Like Heaven– with added cheddar cheese usually melts in your mouth

*if your feeling fancy (like I was) add BACON and you will not only spice up your day, but also have a hearty breakfast (note I didn’t necessarily say “healthy”)

So if your “carbing” up your morning, and want to feel full throughout the day…

Locate yourself at: Diamond Barrel St. Thomas

 

 

This post is more about presentation less about the crab-cake, but let’s start with the crab-cake:

A fluffy and full crab packed cake is more robust than the kinds which are mainly dough and anti crustacean.

Emerald Beach’s “Night time dinning” (not to be confused with the beach bar) did a wonderful job of stuffing this patty full of the “crabby”. (Emphasis added)

img_3523

I did however, forget how much crab I was receiving, because I was completely distracted by the plating.

So let’s talk about appearances :

Aside from the mayonnaise based aioli, and smack dab in the middle of the plate separating the round but robust crab-cakes, was iceberg lettuce.

What kind ? Below are all the versions that exemplify this awkward choice of garnish :

Why is this important? Because the moral of the story is….it shouldn’t be there!

Leave the unwanted portions of iceberg off your plate and on the ground for the turtles, please. That is all.

img_3528

Because going to the beach on a Sunday is a must, but more importantly, while working my abs, legs, and arms with breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle aquatic exercises, I came to Emerald Beach Resort St. Thomas to quench my thirst, and palette while relaxing, exercising, and taking a swim.

And….Here are my thoughts:

1-2pm Lunch/Drinks at the bar: MY FAVORITE = Rum Punch 

  • Why? Because not only was it strong and engagingly delicious, but it was STRONG and engagingly delicious!

Food Choices (also during the same time period) ****(thats 4 stars) – I give to the Scallop Po-Boy Sandwich

  • Why? Because…
    1. 1st-of all, this is not New Orleans it is the Virign Islands and the fact that I could even find a Po-Boy is frankly facinating
    2. 2nd-of all, having been to New Orleans this particular Po-Boy was made with the right bread and right consistency of creole sauce, to land an A+ for the seasoned and lightly fried scallop ratio.
    3. 3rd-of all, the scallops were large and fresh allowing a complete cover and acute circumferance around the sandwich, that allowed me as the eater to eat the actual scallop and not just the bread
    4. 4th-of all, it was accompanied with fries that were pepperred and perfectly crispy to give you the entire-i-am-eating-a-good-sandwich-experience

Conclusion: Enjoyed it and recommend it before and after a nice swim 

EsqEats

If dinner is not accompanied by good views, than I think there is no point in eating. Here are the sites I recommend seeing before you eat dinner on the Virgin Islands:

Sun

Beach

Sunset

MANGO DAIQUIRI !