Throwback Thursday: St. CoconutDrinks

I don’t often participate in Throwback Thursday; but as Cincinnati is a gloomy and rainy Halloween today; I think we need one.

Last YEAR (sheesh), my best pal Beany and I packed up our swimmysuits and headed to the island of St. Croix for a few days of sun, swim and of course, coconut drinks.

Over the course of this trip we would rename the island “St. Carambola”, “St.CruzanRum” and “St. CoconutDrinks” because we’re fun like that. And um, we like coconut drinks.

Moving on! IMG_2841Upon arriving at the wee little St. Croix airport, we were greeted with Cruzan rum tastings. Hello, vacation. Cruzan rum is made on the island, but more on that later. IMG_2847After a hilly cab ride up and across the island, we arrived at our destination: The Marriott Renaissance Carambola. The hotel was nestled atop a craggy dune with a gorgeous beach overlook. We were happy to settle in the lobby to check in. Miss Jackie, our Reservation Specialist, immediately set us right with rum punch while we waited (and waited some more for some missing luggage….). IMG_2849Finally agreeing to check in on the missing luggage later, we hopped into one of the waiting golf carts, driven by the darling guys on the staff,  and zipped off to our room.

IMG_2855This is the back view of the main pavilion and center of the resort. Most of the resort and rooms are modeled after the style of a sugar plantation (the roots of the island were in sugar production). That ends my knowledge of the sugar plantation history. I’m sorry.

photo-1View from a golf cart.

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Slightly dark view from our room’s private porch. I loved having my coffee out here everyday.
IMG_2869Our first night at the resort; we enjoyed a show that included “Moka Jumbies” – the legend is that the brightly dressed “spirits” keep away the bad spirits. The men performing had incredible balance and flexibility especially once they got dancing. Oh yes, they danced, twirled and took tips from the audience, without ever losing a step. Impressive. I wasn’t sure I could carry my coconut drink and walk in my flip-flops at the same time, so I give these guys alot of credit. photoMy sun-hat is off to you, Moka Jumbie dancers.

After that excitement most of our days looked like this….IMG_2887
Lazy beach days IMG_2894Lots of Pina Coladas and Lime in the Coconut, which is essentially a Pina Colada with fresh lime zest. HEAVEN. I want one NOW.

IMG_2939My favorite pool-side lunch: Grilled shrimp over a greek salad with crispy onion rings. So darn good. IMG_2943 Are you sensing a theme? Lots of beach time, blender drinks, salads and walks around the property.

Speaking of property, St. Croix is covered in MONGOOSE.

IMG_2948See that little guy beneath the drain pipe and next to the concrete brick? Yes, he was one of about 1000 we saw. The story is that the mongoose was brought from Jamaica to control the rat population. Well, as rodents are want to do, they multiplied, rapidly. There isn’t a rat to be found in St. Croix, but the island is covered in mongoose. Fun!

One night, we left the bar beach and had a great dinner at Rowdy Joe’s. Joe’s is well-known as a place for excellent, well-executed fare in a casual atmosphere. Sold. The darling folks at the resort were kind enough to run us the 5 minutes down the road since we didn’t have a car. Thanks boys!

IMG_2900Joe’s menu boasted fresh, unique options, it was hard to choose.

IMG_2903I started with an incredible drink that was a grapefruit & jalapeño margarita. Tart, spicy and completely refreshing.  And it looks like its frowning, which is hilarious; but boy did it make me smile. IMG_2906Beany and I shared the daily soup; I believe it was a tomato type bisque (again, this was last year so forgive my inaccuracies. My memory is good but it ain’t that good). IMG_2922We also enjoyed some blackened fish tacos, which were excellent. I’m a fool for fish tacos. Dear land-locked Ohio – I wish your fish tacos were excellent.

IMG_2924To finish our meal, we had some AMAZING homemade ice creams; a salted caramel pretzel and a banana chocolate something.  IMG_2928This was by far my favorite part of the meal. Ice-cream forever. 

Another day, we ventured to the other side of the island (about a 30 minute cab ride) to Christiansted for snorkeling and town shopping.

That’s Beany in the snorkel mask, she looks great! Thanks to a scarring trip to Antigua where I was thrown into choppy water with water going in my snorkel, and a warning about “barracuda”, this little vacationer stayed on the boat and took pictures #wimpIMG_2990Back on dry land, we wandered the town of Christiansted. We loved the beautiful architecture and cityscapes. IMG_3010 IMG_3015 IMG_3017

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We stopped for lunch at the Twin City Coffeehouse. IMG_3018I had a delicious mahi sandwich with a lentil salad. I love fish sandwiches on island vacations, they are so fresh and easy. Who are we kidding, I also love a Friendly’s Fishamajig (that reference was for all you New Englanders reading, and please note this sandwich is only listed on the SENIORS menu. Senior AWESOME menu, maybe…).

Ahem.

My Fishamajig fish sandwich and lentil salad were light and filling and enjoyed with an unsweet iced tea.

IMG_3021Beany had a lovely little curried chicken salad in a pita with pasta salad.

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And yes, in the midst of snorkeling, blender drinks and mongoose sightings,  the missing luggage was found; but not before some creative “outfits” had to be made from what was around. Noone wore pants made out of sugarcane…but close.

Moving on…for our last breakfast we opted to dine in at the hotel.
I had a gorgeous fruit plate with yogurt and granola, while Beany had some scrambled eggs. IMG_3054We shared this big ole plate of Banana Rum pancakes. I mean we had to. WE HAD TO.
Caramelized banana and rum goodness. Luscious.
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Our last stop before the airport was the Cruzan Rum Distillery. Of course. IMG_3067 IMG_3068 IMG_3078

After meeting the owner’s granddaughter; she led us and a few other rummies on a tour of the facilities. The sugar starting the process of distillation. It does not smell delicious. IMG_3080Another step in the distilling process is creation of this thick-syrupy goo. The words “yeast” and “boiling point” and “sugar extraction” were thrown about. That’s all I got. This is not the “Your Kind of Rum Distillery” blog. Amen for that. IMG_3083

Anyway, after the goo…..you have RUM! IMG_3085

IMG_3091 Fun fact: Cruzan Rum is distilled in old Bourbon barrels from Bourbon county, Kentucky. So the barrels from about 70 miles away from my house are sent to St. Croix to distill rum once they’re done distilling bourbon. Cincinnati, it follows me.

After loading up on rum drinks, we teetered headed to the airport to catch our flights. IMG_3101Our final airport snacks included Carib beer, plantain chips and a little fried bread.

Oh St. CaribBeer, we loved you.

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