Greetings loved ones,
Welcome to another glorious Island Feature Friday! This one is a double-feature of two things fresh, one thing frozen, and one thing fish, and it includes my dear mother once again! Let’s begin-
Mom’s last Saturday on island, DJ was working and I had a morning shift, so we had a girl’s night! When I got off work at 3:30, the plan was for me to meet mom in downtown (DJ dropped her off there to shop) and we would get Pasta-Go-Go because I’ve so been wanting to try it!
Before I begin this tale, let me first explain what the downtown scene is like in St. Thomas. On a good day (no cruise ships), there is nowhere to park because there are slivers of parking lots throughout the downtown area which are already occupied by the 15 other people who decided to go that day. There are a few red lights, one of which I still have no idea what to do every time I approach it, and a myriad of one way streets or otherwise streets only wide enough for one car to pass. On a good day. However on a TYPICAL day in downtown, there are several cruise ships in, so naturally there are several THOUSAND more people on island, many of which are walking downtown. Add the safari buses, the taxis transporting them, and the additional open businesses for the tourism, and downtown is a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE downtown Charlotte Amalie. It’s beautiful. The shops are delightful. Some of my favorite restaurants are hidden in alleyways. But I am scared to death of driving/parking downtown. We have learned to park very far away and walk because it’s a much more enjoyable experience than even finding a parking spot. End rant.
So I’m driving to downtown on a Friday afternoon, and there is not a single cruise ship in (squee!). I naively thought this would be no problemo- FALSE! I pull into the parking lot (I shouldn’t call it a lot as it is 6 spaces- a bunch, a parking bunch) near Pasta-Go-Go and realize based on how the cars are parked that it is a one way parking bunch, so I proceed to pull back out onto the main road when a police officer pulls in front of me and blocks my vehicle in. She does not get out of her vehicle but points emphatically at what I assume she thought was a sign indicating a one way parking area but was in fact an advertisement. I roll down my window to try and understand what she is trying to tell me when a local guys comes to explain that she’s telling me it’s a one way and apparently she thinks there’s a sign. He kindly tells the officer that if she would pull forward, I could pull out, and everything would be fine. The office proceeds to yell, “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME!?” Naturally the kind stranger backs away and says, “you’re gonna have to turn around sweetie”. The officer watched as I had to back my SUV onto a raised sidewalk to go the proper direction in a 6 car parking bunch. As agitated as I may seem, I count my blessings that she didn’t give me a parking ticket, but that was the last straw for me and downtown. I sheepishly drove around trying to find another way to pick my mom up without going to that spot until I finally caved and returned to the scene of my “crime”. Mom then explained that Pasta-Go-Go was closed (not that it would have mattered at the point) but still, boo. So after vowing to only park and walk to downtown from now on, we went to Yacht Haven to perhaps try Fresh Bistro for an early dinner. They too were closed as it was the awkward pre-dinner time. So we settled for gelato!
Fresh Bistro is a relatively new restaurant in Yacht Haven Grande, and even more recently, they spawned an ice cream shop right outside their restaurant called Fresh Scoops. I had read about this new shop on Facebook, but this was the first time I had seen it/partaken of its frozen glory. From what I can tell, they offer a vanilla gelato, and all their glorious flavor combinations come from ingredients that they mix in with the vanilla. Mom had fresh mint chip which was immaculate, and I had peanut butter and jelly which O-M-G! O_O (that’s my eye balls). What I absolutely love the most about this stand is that their flavors are fresh and natural. I did not get a scoop of something shipped to St. Thomas. I got fresh ingredients mixed in frozen bliss! Can you tell I love this place? Would I say that this is the best gelato on St. Thomas? Actually no because there are a few deliciously different gelato spots on island, BUT I would say it is the most innovative and unique (and I am a sucker for crazy flavor combinations- ALWAYS). BadAss coffee was my #1 spot in Yacht Haven, but I now have to make a hard decision between coffee and gelato every time I take a stroll to see the yachts in town. De-lish!
As a result of our early evening gelato splurge, we decided to do a late dinner at perhaps my most recommended restaurant in St. Thomas. This was also by request of mom because once you’ve had it, it’s a St. Thomas visit staple. Decades from now, should I ever leave this paradise, when I return to the island, this will be where I want to dine.
Fish Tails has been a godsend as I searched for the place that reminded me of home (Louisiana) early into our move to the island. I have since formed a new definition of “home” as we’ve assimilated to island life and have found it in many a place, but my love for Fish Tails has remained unchanged. Two words: sweet. tea. Before Marta Lansdale (our preacher’s wife) became a regular part of my life, Fish Tails was the ONLY place in the Virgin Islands that I knew I could find sweet tea (no- I could not make it myself!). For my non-southern readers, feel free to Google the importance of sweet tea and try to understand the necessity for an ex-southerner in a new a foreign land! Can I get an amen southern people?! In addition, I found Po’boys (preach) AND FRIED BANANA CHEESECAKE (praise the Lord!) When folks ask me for good seafood, Fish Tails is always my recommendation. They do a fresh catch special daily and offer any ocean critter you can think of cooked up anyway you can imagine it. Including (in a later, glorious discovery) SUSHI! Add the fact that it’s tucked away in Red Hook harbor, and it’s the perfect casual dinner spot. In a way, this is more than an IFF on a great restaurant, it’s a love letter to a place that helped me bridge the gap between my comfort culture and a brand new one.
That’s all for now friends 🙂 Thanks for stopping in for IFF! As always, more to come!