Weekend Warriors Episode 1. St. John.

Fuck sleep, fuck buying groceries, fuck “staycations”.  Adam and I are determined to not let our nocturnal schedule deter us from thoroughly exploring the goddamn Caribbean.  First up was St. John, and on 3 hours sleep we dragged our asses up and hit the road.  Just a 20 minute car barge away and we were tearing around, Isle of Man style, in the Szusuki on an 80% preserved jewel in the sea.  St. Thomas is nice (and has grown on me much after the last post), but St. John, especially by car feels almost untouched.  Granted, besides the few locals, the only other people I saw were yacht people, probably millionaires or royalty of some kind, but at least these rich motherfuckers know where to go to get away.

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After said circuit of the island (and a steady stream of Presidentes and rum for me, with the DD limiting himself of course), we grabbed a room at the St. John Inn in Cruz Bay and headed out.  Kelly, our local co-worker and chaperone for the night, took us to Uncle Joe’s BBQ for dinner.  I was already shit-canned, but the open air smokehouse was the perfect sustenance for a tipsy night after the beach.  I think I still have the delicious BBQ sauce in my beard and I’m not mad about that.  Next up Kelly took us to Mooies before taking the people ferry back to St. Thomas.  Things get hazy, as Theodora the owner informs me that she makes the best Rum Punch on earth (I think it was a Rum Punch…some kind of heavy handed fruity rum thing).  She was awesome and we sat talking with her until I had had far too many of her dangerous specialties.  I think I was sleeping like a rock by 9PM.

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The next day, we again rose early and hit the road.  We stopped in town for breakfast at Jake’s, and started beach hopping.  Around every corner, down every vista, everywhere you looked, sapphire ocean spread out around you.  The azul sea and lush, green jungle is only separated by a thin band of white sand.  I feel like we went to a dozen beaches and bays, each more spectacular than the last.

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Of course with all this beauty, the food of the island was my favorite part.  My first real taste of “west indie” food.  Next to Vie’s Beach we went to Vie’s Snack Shop.  The lady at the stand was equally as friendly as Theodora, and I feel like she was amused by our childish enthusiam as she showed us how she makes johnny cakes.  They are awesome.  Basically fried dough cakes (I think ground plantain or cassava flour, but she wouldn’t reveal the secret recipe).  Savory, not sweet, but coated with honey.  A delicious native staple.  Her conch fritters were by the far the best I’ve ever had (granted I’ve only had a handful), and she sat with us and chatted about island life as the sun started to dip.

For dinner we went to Miss Lucy’s, another open air, neon lit shack.  We sat at the bar and as the fans whirred and florescent lights hummed, I could’ve been in old Cuba.  We got two more unique dishes to the area, kallalou and fufu (plus more johnny cakes, all day erryday).  Kallalou was a fucking delicious combination of gumbo and cioppino.  Rich, deep, flavorful and full of local seafood.  Fufu was kind of like mofongo, mashed plantains (I think) and pidgeon peas.  When I described it to locals back on Thomrock, they didn’t know what I was talking about and might be referred to as fungi here.

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We spent the night at Concordia Eco-Resort near Coral Bay.  Little flat in a stilt house with views for days over Salt Pond Bay.  I wouldn’t mind spending a month there with nothing but the beaches below and stars above to entertain me.  The next morning we missed our intended ferry back to St. Thomas and had an hour and a half to kill so we walked around Cruz Bay.  We had a couple drinks in the Texas Coast Bar, and made one last stop.  We’ve been hearing about “paté” for the past couple weeks, but haven’t had a chance to search it out.  I’ve been told it’s like this area’s version of the empanada, fried dough around meat (usually seafood or conch).  We stumbled across Hercules, and tried our first paté.  I got the seafood version, and gawddamn that shit was good.  Inside was shredded fish of who-knows-what variety, but it was spiced and cooked in some kind of smoky way.  Kind of like bonito.  The shape and dough wasn’t anything like an empanada.  Pretty sure the dough was based on the same idea of the johnny cake (ground cassava or plantain, fried) and the shape was more like a chicken finger, but it was awesome.  Hard to explain, but like a savory funnel cake dough around peppery bonito.  Sounds delicious right?  Perfect antidote to a rum overdose, thats for sure.  The kicker was the house made scotch bonnet hot sauce, neon orange and sneakily painful.  Bellies more than full, and pink from too much sun we ferried back the Szusuki to St. Thomas, napped, and worked all night.  Tired as hell, and my schedule is all fucked up, but its days like this that make this life all the more than satisfying.

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