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Curious about the cassava cake. Did they crisp it up or was it more soft potato like, Have not cooked with it in years but I like it. Of course the other dishes are enviable as always.

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7 hours ago, heidih said:

Curious about the cassava cake. Did they crisp it up or was it more soft potato like, Have not cooked with it in years but I like it. Of course the other dishes are enviable as always.

 

It was crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. 
 

Not all beer is as expensive as that six pack was. It is definitely more money than at home overall though. I am going grocery shopping later and will try and get some pictures of other prices. Wine is also more expensive than home. Spirits, especially rum, are cheaper than home. Of course nobody in my group drinks rum haha. There is a brewery on island and they have crowlers on tap to go, plus food, so I am sure we will be stopping in soon. 

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Good morning.  We are waiting out some passing heavy showers so I thought I would update this post.  First:

 

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Internet is restored.  The poor owner had to bring in a tech and update the entire system with new equipment while we were at the beach yesterday.  I will try and get a picture with the tail later.  They were out in force this morning but I did not have my camera with me because of the rain.  

 

I went grocery shopping yesterday and snapped a couple of pictures of stuff with price tags on it to show the difference between here and at home.  If we wanted almonds for this visit, we are not getting them now!  

 

You can only use certain kinds of sunscreen here to protect the coral reefs (what is left of them after the hurricanes in 2019). And that sunscreen comes with a price.  Since there are six of us and we are here for two weeks, I brought a lot with us in our checked bags (carry on only does NOT happen with this group--specifically with my husband.).  We will probably run out of what I brought and have to buy some eventually. 

 

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In the mood for some nuts?  

 

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How about some turkey jerky?  That is a very small bag by the way.

 

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A lot of tourists bring all their snacks with them to save money.  We bring a cooler with stuff in it that we cannot get here, like grass fed beef for the guys, organic chicken, certain cheeses, and premium bacon.  We pay island prices for the the snacks or go without.  

 

Here is a better use of your money.  My niece and I stopped at a fruit stand in town this morning and spent $15 to get this local fruit:

 

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The green things are genips.  You pop them in your mouth and roll them around, sucking out the juices.  Most of the inside is a pit.  They are one of my favorites.  

 

Here is the beach we went to yesterday

 

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I lost the dinner battle last night to the guys who wanted to go to the Beach Bar.  I win most battles in general so did not complain too much.  It was fried food galore.  Tuna wrapped in nori and fried

 

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Fried mahi mahi with bagged fries

 

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My niece was not impressed and settled for chicken fingers.  

 

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Mahi tacos (the fish is under all the slaw, I swear)

 

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The main reason to go to the Beach Bar, in my opinion, is for the sunset view.  It was kind of obscured last night, but still pretty.  

 

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This morning my niece and I got up early and went to town for breakfast (and to get that fruit).  She had pancakes that she pronounced "OK."

 

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I ordered an egg sandwich with turkey, spinach, avocado and tomato on an asiago bagel.  It was huge and I brought half back for my husband.  

 

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Here is the road back to our rental house for the week.  Very steep!  It was also slippery from the rain.  I had to take my shoes off and walk down barefoot because I was sliding down the hill in my Tevas.   You can see we got rained on 🙂

 

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Posted (edited)

Good morning.  We spent yesterday at one of my favorite beaches, Francis.  The island is a lot more crowded than I am used to, mostly because it is one of the few places that is accepting tourists right now.  Most of the other islands are closed.  We were able to find a quiet spot on Francis though.

 

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We had a visitor on the front steps when we got back from the beach

 

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Last night was our "fancy" dinner out.  Morgan's Mango.  The restaurant has a roof, but is otherwise open air.

 

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Cocktails.  My brother and husband both ordered a margarita.  That's the one in the big goblet.  It's not on their online menu so I am not sure exactly what they used in it.  The next drink was my sister's.  It is an aperol spritzer.  And the last is my brother in law's.  He got a Phoenix.  The description is "Bulleit bourbon, lemon, ginger syrup and peat mist."  That would have sounded unappealing to me even when I was drinking, but he really liked it.  

 

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I got a cajun shrimp appetizer.  I gave one to my husband and to my brother in law because I am a nice person 😉

 

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My niece got the tostones ramos with blackened tuna and sesame orange vinaigrette.  She shared this with my sister

 

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My husband ordered the tuna tartare with yucca chips

 

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And an order of the calamari for the table

 

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We all got seafood for entrees except for my niece.  She went with ginger and sugarcane rubbed pork tenderloin with coconut curry sauce and mashed yucca

 

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I had mahi mahi with mango rum sauce.  Most of the fish dishes come with rice, beans, and corn.

 

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My brother in law got the coconut crusted grouper.  Not the greatest presentation.

 

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Tuesdays are grilled Caribbean lobster night at Morgan's Mango so my husband got that.

 

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My sister had a blackened corvina with mango salsa

 

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My brother also had corvina, but with a chimichurri sauce.

 

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Everyone was too full for dessert, but we did bring  piece of their famous key lime pie back to the villa to share a couple of hours later.  It was very creamy but not limey enough for me.  

 

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Today is supposed to be our "sleeping in and relaxing with books at the villa day."  As you can see by the time stamp, I already failed at the sleeping in part.  🤣  I am cooking at the house tonight to give our stomachs a break from restaurant food.  

Edited by liamsaunt (log)
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This morning my niece and I continued the breakfast tour of Cruz Bay.  We only have the roti truck left to sample.  Our final stop was Sun Dog Cafe.  It's in the open courtyard of the town's "mall," a collection of shops that sell art, jewelry, and beach gear, plus a couple of restaurants.

 

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Here's the menu for breakfast

 

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I had planned to order the guacamole flatbread, but the oven was broken.  Oh well, plan B!  I got the huevos rancheros.  They were really good.  I brought half home for my brother in law.

 

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My niece got an order of the stuffed french toast.  I got an order of this to go for my husband too. My brother ate all of the potatoes from both orders for his breakfast.  He lives on potatoes, meat, and bread.  

 

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Here is the beach we ended up at yesterday.  Trunk Bay.  Not too shabby.  It gets very crowded during the day, but if you go early in the morning or later in the afternoon (once happy hour starts in town, haha), you get it mostly to yourself.

 

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Yesterday the US Virgin Islands moved on to the CDC's level four rating: highest concern for Covid transmission potential.  There was a vaccine clinic down the street from our rental house yesterday, and the line was quite long. I am glad people are finally getting vaccinated (there is a LOT of vaccine hesitancy in the West Indian population here), but of course people getting vaccinated now are not going to be protected for a while.  We are just altering our patterns of movement to not be around when most others are about.  As you can see from yesterday's beach photo, that is still possible to do.  It sounds like the island might be shutting back down to tourism starting next month.  That's the height of hurricane season and my friends who live here are telling me everyone really needs a break, so that might not be a bad thing.  We will see.

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I did a little digging and it would seem that like most places prices in the tourist area are considerably higher than elsewhere. Looking at the average yearly income it’s a darn good job. 🤣

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Posted (edited)
On 8/5/2021 at 7:08 PM, Anna N said:

I did a little digging and it would seem that like most places prices in the tourist area are considerably higher than elsewhere. Looking at the average yearly income it’s a darn good job. 🤣

 

The cost of living is really high here for pretty much everything.  I have been told that the cost of power is one of the highest in the world (I have not researched if that is true).  I do know that there is no health insurance available, unless you are lucky enough to work for one of the very few employers who offer it.  And health care options are very limited.  Most ailments require flying back stateside to be treated.  There are other costs to living here too.  As is probably the case in most every other tourist-driven venue with lots of restaurants and bars, alcoholism is a big problem. I know people who have had to move off island permanently to get a handle on their drinking.  People have moved here with their kids and ended up losing custody to their parents back stateside because of partying.  It's not the place to live if you have a drinking or drug problem.  

 

Wednesday night we had no reservations, but nobody felt like cooking, so we went in to town right when the restaurants opened and went to a small no-reservations place in town, Cafe Roma.  It is in an alley at the top of a flight of stairs, so people sometimes miss it.  

 

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My husband ordered a dirty martini, and the bartender made him "two for the price of one."  (See what I mean about the booze?  Good thing we were walking back home!)

 

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My brother and brother in law got something called an Electric Umbrella, and my sister stuck to wine.

 

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My niece is not a huge fan of pasta, so just got spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.  My brother got the same. My sister and I got penne with broccoli and I added blackened shrimp to mine.  This was huge.  I ate less than half.  My brother in law ate some more of it for breakfast yesterday (he is weird) and there is still some left.

 

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My husband and brother in law split a white pizza with shrimp buried under all that cheese.

 

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After dinner we went in search of something sweet and found Irie Pops.  

 

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They make everything with coconut milk.  I had a dark chocolate sea salt pop, and my husband and niece went for their soft serve ice cream.  Everything was good.  We are going back to get a bunch of the pops to put in the freezer of the next house.

 

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Yesterday we spent the day at Cinnamon Beach.  The local teens and young adults play volleyball on Fridays and Saturdays.  Anyone can join in.  I am TERRIBLE at volleyball, but we set up nearby so we could watch the game.

 

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We had dinner at High Tide

 

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Niece wanted chicken wings

 

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First conch fritters of the trip!  They were spicy

 

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Three of us wanted the tuna and three wanted the mahi.  

 

Blackened mahi mahi with mango salsa and coconut rice.  I wanted triple the salsa and half of the fish haha

 

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Seared tuna with soba noodles and wasabi cream sauce

 

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We are changing houses today, so will be saying goodbye to this view in a few hours.  On to the next place.

 

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Edited by liamsaunt (log)
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On 8/7/2021 at 8:51 AM, rotuts said:

@liamsaunt 

 

'  stuffed french toast ''

 

one pic up fro the empty beach pic

 

what did they pour over the FT ?

 

 

That is a mango butter.  I just asked my niece what was in it for flavorings and she says she has no idea haha.  

 

Yesterday we changed houses, which is always a bit of a pain to do, but once we are settled in it is always nice to enjoy a new location.  We spent the day at Cinnamon again (getting to be creatures of habit I guess) and then went for a late lunch at Rum Hut before heading to the new house.

 

View from the restaurant

 

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 Drinks.  My brother in law got a mojito and my brother had a dark and stormy.  My husband cannot drink rum, so he and my sister stuck to rose

 

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Blackened mahi mahi bites with remoulade

 

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Peel and eat shrimp

 

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My sister and I got mahi mahi sliders with pickled watermelon radish.  They were tasty.  My husband filched one, the little bugger 🙂

 

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My niece chose pulled pork sliders, which she enjoyed

 

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All of the guys went for blackened mahi mahi tacos with a candied jalapeño salsa.  

 

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The weather deteriorated overnight, so we are just spending the day at the villa reading books and playing games.  We were already planning to cook at the house tonight anyway.  I just hope that the weather clears enough eventually that I can get to the market for some vegetables (and that they actually have some vegetables when I get there haha).  Here is the grill area and the outdoor dining room.  As you can see the oven is outside too.  That's a great idea for keeping the inside of the house cool, though I am wondering if anything is living in there.  

 

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Here is part of the swimming pool and the ocean view.  The house is really large and set up for entertaining.  I'll take more pictures once the sun comes back.  

 

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I like the idea of the blackened mahi mahi bites. Any idea what the candied jalapeno salsa was like, or maybe how made?  Is the palm tree looking thing dead center last photo a sculpture? Intriguing.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/8/2021 at 10:43 AM, heidih said:

I like the idea of the blackened mahi mahi bites. Any idea what the candied jalapeno salsa was like, or maybe how made?  Is the palm tree looking thing dead center last photo a sculpture? Intriguing.

 

I did not taste the jalapeño salsa, but my brother said it tasted very similar to a candied jalapeño that was in the most recent issue of Cook's Country magazine, if that helps.  I get that magazine, but have not read that recipe yet so cannot say exactly what is in it.  They keep their recipes behind a paywall and I refuse to pay for both online and print access.  It's one or the other!

 

Yes, the metal thing is a palm sculpture.  The people that own this house are from South Carolina so we are assuming it is the palmetto that is their state's symbol, though maybe it is supposed to be a local palm.  Not sure.  Here is a better picture of the house and pool.  

 

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This photo shows half of the house.  The other half is a similar size.  The pod closest to the pool has a covered lounging patio and TV area that we have not used, plus laundry, a closet of pool toys and a half bath.  The upstairs is an owner's suite that is locked off to us.  The far pod contains four en suite bedrooms.  The other half of the house is the covered kitchen and dining area I already showed, the great room, another bath, some balconies, and two more en suite bedrooms.  The owner REALLY likes color.  Everything is so bright.  The kitchen has purple granite!  I have never seen that before, and in fact did not even know it existed!  I had to google it.  

 

Yesterday we got a late start thanks to the bachelor brothers, who seem to be shaping this trip to their style (stay up late, sleep late), which is not my style (get up early and go to bed early).  I was mad for a while but have just let it go and am now going with the flow.  They are not invited on our next four planned vacations, so I will get to do what I want then.  We went back to Francis because all of the other beaches had no parking (the island is crazy crowded).  We found an isolated spot but had to set up in a rocky area.  I went looking for sea glass with some success.

 

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We met some island donkeys on the way back to the Jeeps.

 

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See those lumpy deposits on the donkey's neck and back?  That's fat from tourists feeding them junk food.  This donkey is not too bad but some of them are really misshapen.  There are notices everywhere not to feed them, but people do it anyway to get good photos for instagram.  Grumble.

 

After the beach we went to a late lunch at High Tide. A lot of places are closed on Mondays so we had to repeat.  We got more conch fritters, and my niece had a sandwich with brie and mango chutney.  No pictures of those.  My sister and brother both chose the fish and chips made with mahi mahi

 

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I had the shrimp tacos

 

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My husband got the mahi mahi tacos and then we swapped out with each other so we each had one of each. 

 

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My brother in law chose the blackened mahi mahi sandwich.  It was a huge portion.

 

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Today we were supposed to head over to the far side of the island to have lunch at my favorite island restaurant, Miss ouch's.  They have the best conch fritters and grouper reubens.  However, weather is interfering with our plans.  It is actually really nice outside right now, albeit a bit cloudy, but a tropical depression is supposed to hit here in a couple of hours.  There are torrential rains, potential mudslides and rockslides predicted, so we are staying put, unless by some miracle the forecast changes.  My husband and I have been on island for tropical depressions before, and it is usually not pretty.  We will see.

 

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Edited by liamsaunt
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4 minutes ago, MetsFan5 said:

That’s so sad about the donkeys! ☹️
 

The food looks amazing, as usual. I hope the weather doesn’t get too bad! 

 

Yeah it is really sad.  People do stupid stuff to get good pictures.  The donkeys are cute but they can be aggressive too.  I saw one kick somebody once.  I keep my distance. A funny story about an island donkey: we were staying at an island resort (destroyed in the 2017 hurricanes and not yet rebuilt).  While there we saw an obnoxious kid harassing a donkey on the beach, much to the amusement of his parents.  The donkey waited until the family went in to the water and then went over to their stuff and peed all over it!  Don't mess with the donkeys 🤣

 

We are under a tropical storm warning now.  I'm cooking here tonight: local greens, tomatoes and peppers that I picked up yesterday in a big salad topped with grilled chicken and steak that I brought from home (if it is not too windy to grill).  The house is concrete and has a generator so we should be OK unless the forecast changes dramatically.  The wind and thunder started a few minutes ago.

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We ended up getting some wind and rain but nothing too bad.  The bands are still moving through bringing some pretty hefty thunder and lightning, but I have seen worse.  We never lost power (the other side of the island did, but I actually do not think it was storm related).  Here is last night's home cooking.  The local greens are so good--snappy and peppery.  Steak for the red meat eaters

 

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Chicken for the non-red meat eaters

 

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Now we are waiting out the rain.  The cloud that is in this photo keeps moving closer and closer.  It's at the very edge of the bay now.  We will see if it dumps more rain on us.  We're going out to a new to us sushi place for a late lunch around 2.  Hopefully the weather will be past us by then.  I hope Fred does not cause much damage to places further north.

 

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Posted (edited)

Yesterday we checked out a new to us restaurant, 18°64° (those are the coordinates for St. John).  Their lunch menu is sushi, and dinner is standard seafood stuff.  We went to lunch.  

 

Cocktails.  Left to right, a passionfruit margarita, a regular margarita, and my sister's drink, which I forget the name of.  It was something with aperol.  My husband just got sake.

 

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My niece requested two of the three appetizers that we shared.  A vegetable tempura plate

 

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And (fake) crab rangoons

 

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We also got a plate of firecrackers (spicy tuna w/siriracha aioli)

 

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For mains my niece wanted a teriyaki bowl with hangar steak

 

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My brother was not hungry and just got some tuna nigiri (no picture).  The other four of us shared five of the 12 available speciality rolls.  This plate has the Island Dragon (tempura shrimp+ cucumber with tobiko and avocado with citrus mango aioli) and the Negihama Mama (hamachi, scallion, cucumber, avocado, tempura fried with spicy mayo)

 

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And this plate has a teriyaki salmon roll, the Dynamite (lump crab, spicy tuna, yellowtail, tobiko, avocado w/spicy mayo and citrus mango aioli) and the North Shore (tempura lobster, avocado, citrus mango aioli topped with salmon poke and ginger teriyaki) 

 

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The rolls were all fine, but I thought the sauces and toppings were a bit heavy handed and repetitive.  Everyone else liked the food better than I did.  I am still missing the sushi restaurant that was at Caneel Bay before the hurricanes, I think.  

 

After lunch we headed to the beach until sunset

 

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We are headed to the furthest side of the island for snorkeling today.  I'm not sure what (if anything) is over there for food at lunchtime these days, so dining plans are up in the air for today.  We have reservations tomorrow night for the top rated restaurant on the island, and then we head home on Saturday.

 

Edited by liamsaunt (log)
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Plans yesterday got derailed when we heard that one of our favorite restaurants, Miss Lucy's, was going to be open for lunch.  They have the best conch fritters on island.  We drove over to the far side of the island (opposite from where we were planning to go snorkeling).  It turned out that it was their last service before closing for hurricane season, so they were out of a lot of stuff, including the conch fritters.  We stayed anyway.  Their bay was filled with sargassum from the recent storm

 

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The restaurant is just tables set on the rocky beach next to the water, and there are always animals roaming around.  We saw the usual goats, cats, and ducks wandering about.  These guys, however, were a new addition to the scene.

 

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With no conch fritters, and the fact that the place was filled to capacity with only two servers, we skipped appetizers.  Half of us got the grouper reuben

 

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The best dish yesterday was the West Indian fish fry, which came with plantains, rice and beans, and vegetables

 

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I stopped for the obligatory scenic overlook photos yesterday.  I've been kind of remiss about taking pictures this trip, probably because we have been here so many times (I am not sure exactly how many, but more than 30 and less than 50).  Maho (closest) and Francis (furthest) Bays.  Maho used to be our favorite snorkeling beach but we do not go there anymore, ever since a roadside beach bar opened up and basically ruined it.  Francis is still terrific.

 

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Trunk Bay, with all of the tourists enjoying the soft sand.  This is the most popular beach on island by far.  If you wait until 3 or so, it is not crowded.   I took this picture around noon.

 

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The sad remains of what was Caneel Bay Resort and their seven beaches.  The National Park finally gave up on the current leaseholders, who are refusing to fix anything unless they are given a no bid 70 year lease, and are putting the rebuild out to public bid.  Construction is not estimated to start until 2024.  Most locals are hoping that the beaches will be opened to the public under new ownership.  You had to be staying there to access them in the past when the report was operating.  Right now land access is closed off, though you can still swim in from a boat.  

 

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Bonus snorkeling picture, a queen triggerfish.

 

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And dessert picture, toasted coconut and chai latte ice cream cones from St. John Scoops in town.

 

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Final update. Our fancy dinner last night ended up being cancelled. The restaurant’s hood vent broke and they could not get it fixed in time to open. We ended up just grilling burgers and veggie burgers that I brought from home at the house.
 

We are at the airport now. The entire island lost power right after we left (I guess the power is out here on St. Thomas too but the airport has generators). There is a tropical storm coming tomorrow also, so we timed leaving well. My farm box is waiting for me at home filled with tomatoes and salad greens. I’m looking forward to it. 
 

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1 minute ago, liamsaunt said:

Final update. Our fancy dinner last night ended up being cancelled. The restaurant’s hood vent broke and they could not get it fixed in time to open. We ended up just grilling burgers and veggie burgers that I brought from home at the house.
 

We are at the airport now. The entire island lost power right after we left (I guess the power is out here on St. Thomas too but the airport has generators). There is a tropical storm coming tomorrow also, so we timed leaving well. My farm box is waiting for me at home filled with tomatoes and salad greens. I’m looking forward to it. 
 

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Thanks for taking us along!!!

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