Off the Grid BBQ Truck USVI

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

Bones Rum Shop USVI

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

Charlotte Amalie St Thomas

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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Endless Road Trip Seattle: Porky Passion at Paseo

The best sandwich in Seattle is not exactly the most photogenic one, but trust me, with flavors and textures his heavenly, it doesn’t matter one bit. Welcome to one of my most favorite things I’ve ever put into my mouth: the Caribbean Roast sandwich at Paseo, a little cash-only sandwich shack on the beach.

Originally located on the side of a busy road in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, Paseo has been such a longstanding favorite with locals that they were able to open a second location outside Golden Gardens, a beautiful seaside park in Ballard. You walk up to a window in the little building, place your sandwich order (feel free to add on rice and beans or their amazing corn on the cob), pay with about $8 cash, then chill on a wooden bench enjoying the lovely sea air while waiting for your paper-wrapped, sloppy, meaty masterpiece to arrive.

The star of the Caribbean Roast is its pork shoulder, which is soaked in Paseo’s special tangy marinade and slow-roasted until it is melt-in-your mouth tender. Huge hunks of said pork are nestled in freshly-baked local Macrina Bakery bread slathered with garlicky aioli, alongside crisp lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and – my personal favorite – thick rings of sweet, roasted onions.

Seattle is passionate about Paseo—so passionate that the shop often runs out of bread halfway through the day! I told my Texan boyfriend, who was visiting with me, that any time you mention to a Seattleite that you had Paseo for lunch, they jealously exclaim “Aannuuugghhh! Paseo!”.He laughed, thinking I was joking. By the end of that night, everyone we mentioned our Paseo trip to indeed muttered envious, guttural noises. I guess people just can’t help their reaction once they’ve experienced the Caribbean Roast, the true coup de grâce of the sandwich world.

Paseo Ballard / 6226 Seaview Ave. NW / 11am-9pm Tues-Sat
Paseo Fremont / 4225 Fremont Ave. N / 11am-9pm Tues-Fri / 11am-8pm Sat 

Also on The Endless Road Trip: Seattle
1. The Most Powerful, Brouwerful Hour
2. Clucking Great Fried Chicken

Burns My Bacon: Bones

I think we can all agree: meat on the bone tastes better. Or it’s more fun to eat, anyway. I know a lot of people who won’t eat meat off the bone because it reminds them it’s an animal (…what?) but I’m not one of them.

I was in Jamaica earlier this month and I noticed something. Every time I ordered meat (jerk chicken, curried goat, or chicken in brown sauce for breakfast — pictured above), I spent most of my meal picking small bones from it. I mean, bones in whole fish are sometimes inevitable (they’re just so small and hard to see), but I really don’t want to be eating bone fragments, especially when they can be sharp.

In Jamaica, it seems that to make the meat a more manageable size…they don’t take it off the bone, or even cut the bone at a place where it’d make sense (like the joint). The meat, bone and all, is just chopped up into bite size pieces. But who the hell cares if it’s bite-size if there are bone shards and shit in my food? Instead of eating meat off one, large, smooth and normally shaped bone, I’m sitting there with these little bite-size pieces of meat, and even smaller bones everywhere in them. And since there’s no rhyme or reason to the cutting, it’s impossible to predict where the bone/fat/ligament will be on each piece.

It was a scavenger hunt I never signed up to play, and after I got halfway through each bone hunt, I just gave up and ate what else was on my plate. I wasted so much food. And even if I DID spend the time picking through the bones, I just couldn’t get all the meat off that I would normally, given the sharp bone edges and fragments that were present.

Am I missing something? Is there a method to this madness? Is this a way to get people to eat less meat?

The Endless Road Trip: Philadelphia’s Top 10 Eats 7. Love on the Run


As a life-long Philly guy, I think I speak from experience when I say that this city isn’t usually on the cutting edge of the latest trends and fashions.  For all of its charms, this place can be bit more traditional…parochial, even, when it comes to new ways of doing things.  So it’s no surprise that the food truck phenomenon arrived a little bit later in Philly than other cities like New York.  That said, Philadelphia has been working hard to narrow the gap a bit with some inspired new mobile options, a few of which go beyond the everyday taco truck.

Oh, sure, we have those, too.  And not just any taco truck.  An Iron Chef taco truck:  Guapos Tacos is run by Jose Garces’ local restaurant empire and serves some tasty fish tacos.  But what if I told you that there is also a Mexican-Thai fusion truck that makes creative use of a favorite kids’ breakfast cereal?  How about a truck dedicated to Trinidadian food?  That’s not something you see every day.

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