Endless Roadtrip USVI: Caribbean Comfort at Gladys Cafe
Last month Rob and I embarked on a big, amazing Caribbean vacation to USVI. We mainly stayed in St. Thomas but went to St. John for a few days, Water Island for one day, and also embarked on a boating excursion around the BVI: Virgin Gorda, The Baths, Cooper Island, Norman Island, and Jost Van Dyke. Do I recommend it? ABSOLUTELY. The Virgin Islands were a badass vacation: the perfect mix of relaxation and activity, plus home to the best white sand beaches I’ve ever experienced.
We stayed in Red Hook, on the east side of the island, but the main town (and cruise port) in St. Thomas is Charlotte Amalie. While it’s very pretty (see the photo above – a clear day with no ships in port!), it gets crowded with tourists and shoppers when the ships are in. Charlotte Amalie is home to tons of duty-free shops, jewelry stores, designer bag sellers, etc… not really my scene. But hey! If you love to shop you might dig it.
But you know what else Charlotte Amalie has? One of the most popular and beloved traditional Caribbean restaurants in St. Thomas: Glady’s Cafe.
I started with a mango daiquiri topped with rum (OBVIOUSLY we were drinking tons of rum on this trip. USVI is home to both Cruzan and Captain Morgan’s). Then we moved onto a double-conch appetizer course: conch fritters and conch chowder. Conch is pretty ubiquitous in the Caribbean. If you haven’t had it before, the taste and texture is pretty similar to clam. We loved it! You see various fritters down there as well. Think of a semi-hush puppy, but softer and puffier with a deep-fried crunch on the outside.
Although I gorged on conch, I still made room for the main course: chicken roti. A soft, thin piece of roti (unleavened flatbread) is stuffed with hot, fragrant yellow curry and savory chunks of chicken, potatoes, and carrots. Roti is a traditional dish of the Caribbean and I definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you like curry.
This is just the tip of the iceberg (maybe not the best saying given we were relaxing in a balmy island paradise, but whatevs). I have plenty more tropical treats to recap and recommend… more to come in the next couple weeks!