Friday, October 3, 2014
Eating Vegan in St. Thomas
While enjoying the beautiful downtown Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, we ate in two beautiful restaurants. We set off on a water taxi to walk around and have lunch at Gladys', a restaurant renowned on the island for having good food. I wasn't sure exactly what I'd be finding to eat at these restaurants, but I was ready to give it a try. On the way over, our taxi captain informed us that the best place to eat upon stepping off the boat was Jen's Island Cafe & Deli. The guy really looked like he knew where to get a cocktail and some grub, so as soon as we stepped into downtown, we set off for Jen's.
We walked into Jen's and bellied up to the bar, as all the tables were taken in the tiny cafe. It was beautiful and laid back, though, and we all enjoyed sipping beer (brewed in Portland, Maine, ha!) and looking over the menu. The veggie burger looked promising, but as soon as I saw the description for roti, "Trinidadian dish of curried potato, carrot and chickpeas," I was in! My sister ordered the veggie burger, so she cut me off a piece.
The roti was everything I could have wanted in delicious island cuisine. I was only sad that I found it the second to last day of the trip. This curry was full of veggies, chickpeas and deep spicy flavors, all wrapped up in a big flour tortilla. It came with an amazing sweet and spicy sauce. I could have eaten 10 of those little containers full. This burrito of sorts was massive, so I ended up tearing it open and digging into the veggies. You could definitely split this with someone.
The veggie burger was tasty, but a little dense and lacking flavor. We slathered it with mustard and ketchup, but it was incredibly filling and not all that wonderful. I would definitely go with the roti. The fries were pretty good, though.
This was my favorite meal by far. We left the restaurant to walk around and do a little shopping, and we met some awesome people that ran a vegan cafe and smoothie shop called Natural Livity just down the street. I was sad that I was so full of roti, because their menu looked great, too. Next time, I'm going there!
We did eventually make it to the famed Gladys' Cafe as well. We had to leave for the airport fairly early, and there were not many places opened for breakfast. So, we ventured over to the Danish Mall for brunch.
The most renowned thing about Gladys' is their hot sauce. When you walk in the door, there are bottles upon bottles lines up of all different shapes and sizes. I really wish we'd taken some home, but we didn't want to check glass. As I looked over the very small breakfast menu, I got a little worried that I wasn't going to be able to find much to eat. It's a very simple egg and bacon style breakfast menu, but I bucked up and ordered a bloody mary, the fruit plate and some home fries. Josh got some plain toast with his breakfast and gave it to me.
I made a separate plate for hot sauce tasting, which was the best part of the entire meal. I was blown away by how delicious the fruit was. The mangoes were incredibly rich and perfectly ripe. I was full and satisfied by the end of the meal.
I would definitely like to go back and try their lunch menu. They have some promising items like chilled gazpacho and fresh veggie stir-fry on a bed of rice. The interior of the restaurant is spacious and elegant, which makes it a very nice place to get out of the Caribbean sun and have a long lunch.
I really loved St. Thomas, and I hope I will get to go back one day. Have you traveled and found good vegan food in the Caribbean?