Endless Roadtrip USVI: BBQ Off the Grid

Off the Grid BBQ Truck USVI

As luck would have it, the BEST food truck in St. Thomas (or quite possibly, anywhere ever) just happened to be located in the entrance of Sapphire Village, right where we were staying on the East End. When we were in the Virgin Islands last month, we heard they were gearing up to open a second truck on nearby Coki Beach as well. Double your chances to get in on this mouth-watering meat wonderland!

Off the Grid is a BBQ truck with a vibrant Caribbean twist. Pay only $15 for all-you-can-eat meats of the day such as wings, pork belly, brisket, pulled pork (A++++!) ribs, and mussels. Yes friends, BBQ mussels, and they were amazing, basted in a sticky-spicy-sweet sauce. BBQ sides are Caribbean style as well: gooey baked sweet potatoes, spicy-creamy rainbow slaw, rice and peas, etc.

Fellow vacation lushes, don’t worry, because Off the Grid also offers a bevy of booze. I, of course, opted for the bottomless mimosas (mixed with a homemade tropical fruit blend instead of your average orange juice) but they had fresh margs, beer, sangria, the whole shebang. As you probably know, Austin is ridiculously rife with BBQ and food trucks, so you might think an Austinite wouldn’t be able to find the novelty in eating at a BBQ truck on vacation, but this was worlds away from Texas BBQ. Plus, no food truck in Texas has this view.

Off the Grid BBQ Truck USVI

Note: Off the Grid opens around 11am and closes when they run out of meat, often around 4-5pm. So plan on a big lunch/brunch here, not dinner. Bring your appetite and steel your liver.

More Endless Roadtrip USVI:
1. Caribbean Comfort at Gladys Cafe
2. Bones Rum Shop

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Endless Roadtrip USVI: Bones Rum Shop

Bones Rum Shop USVI

When in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, one of my personal highlights is Bones Rum Shop on the waterfront. Bones is super smooth, produced right on St. Thomas using their centuries-old recipe, small batch distilling, and oak barrel aging.

But like I mentioned in my last USVI post, the islands are full of rum. So what’s so special about Bones? It’s SERVE YOURSELF, YO. You pick out your flavor of virgin frozen daiquiri, then they HAND YOU A BOTTLE OF RUM and then you POUR YOUR OWN RUM INTO YOUR DRINK. When Bones made their business plan, they clearly never realized I was coming to town. You do NOT give me that kind of power if you know what’s good for you.

FYI, travelers – Bones is somewhat hard to find online and I don’t know their exact address, but if you’re on the main waterfront, just look for their pirate sign. You can’t miss it.

More Endless Roadtrip USVI:
1. Caribbean Comfort at Gladys Cafe

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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.

Charlotte Amalie St Thomas

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.

Gladys Cafe St Thomas

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Seared Tuna with Ginger-Wasabi Stirfry

Seared Tuna with Ginger Wasabi Vegetables

For some reason making seared tuna at home is impressive to people. I mean, I get it, seared tuna is a somewhat “fancy” thing you’d order at a restaurant, but here’s a secret: it’s SO simple (and usually more inexpensive) to prepare in your own kitchen. I promise. This recipe looks good and tastes even better, and if you have guests over they’ll be wowed. Only you have to know the truth: seared tuna takes about 6 minutes to make and is virtually fool-proof.

Tropical Seared Tuna with Ginger-Wasabi Stirfry

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Getting Tropical with Coconut Water Vodka

I”ve been a fan of coconut water for years. It”s basically nature”s Gatorade: super hydrating and full of electrolytes. So, what better way to improve upon it than by turning it into something hella dehydrating that saps you of your energy? That”s right, I”m talking about sweet, sweet alcohol. There have been some coconut water cocktail recipes popping up around the Internet, and now Three Olives has taken it one step further by introducing a Coconut Water flavored vodka. Three Olives clearly knows I am a connoisseur of both coconut water and booze, so they sent me this huge sample pack to review.

Coconut Water Vodka Elvis Edition

Yes, Three Olives Coconut Water vodka is Elvis-themed. Why? According to the press pack:

Three Olives Vodka honors Elvis Presley with this refreshing Coconut Water Flavored Vodka to celebrate his long standing love affair with Hawaii and his legendary style and groundbreaking performances that have transcended time.

Hm. Okay, I”ll take it.

They”re not kidding about the COCONUT smell and taste here. If you”re not a coconut lover, this might not be the vodka for you. But! If you love sweet, tropical drinks, this could be your new magic ingredient. To be 100% honest, I”m not sure what the difference between coconut vodka and coconut water vodka is, but oh well. I”m guessing casino online they”re just riding the wave of the trend, and that”s fine. Anyway, here”s a cocktail two ways: the Three Olives version and my personal version. This is very sweet and coconutty, so cut it with some unflavored vodka and/or more soda water if you want it milder.

Coconut Water Vodka Cocktail Pour

 The Elvis

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Cocktail O’ Clock: Tropical Vietnamese Cocktail

Tropical Vietnamese Cocktail

Summer! It’s time to bust out the festive tropical flavors. Austin Vietnamese restaurant PhoNatic is taking this idea to a whole new level with their Vietnamese tropical fruit cocktail, using unique ingredients like lychee, longan, and jackfruit. While these might sound exotic and hard to find at first, they’re really not – just check out your local Asian market.

While this isn’t our traditional cocktail – it’s a fruit cocktail, not a booze cocktail – you could easily spike it with a couple shots of light rum to get the party started. ES recommends this, of course.

Vietnamese Tropical Fruit Cocktail

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