Get a Taste of the Virgin Islands with Kitchen Creole

kitchen creole 2

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared a recipe from our friends over at Kitchen Creole. For those of you not familiar with Kitchen Creole, it’s a line of spices created here on island by Chef Jim McManus, who also happens to be the chef at Shipwreck Landing in Coral Bay. So chances are if you have eaten there, you’re definitely tried some of Kitchen Creole’s seven spices.

The most recent recipe we’ve tried is the chicken tikka with Trini curry. It’s pretty simple to make. Check it out…

tikka ingredients

2 tablespoons Trini Curry Spice divided
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
1 2½ inch piece ginger peeled
4 cloves garlic
½ medium yellow onion roughly chopped
1 carrot peeled and grated on a box grater
1 small fennel bulb, fonds reserved, stalk removed and bulb roughly chopped
¼ cup cilantro, stems chopped, leaves reserved
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
½ cup plain full-fat yogurt or low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Garnish: toasted slivered almonds

1. Place the chicken in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of Trini and hold to the side.
2. In a food processor, pulse ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, fennel, cilantro stems, 1 tablespoon Trini curry and tomato paste until finely chopped.
3. Heat oil over high in a large nonstick skillet
(12” is best).
4. Add the chicken and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned and almost cooked through, about 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the chicken, using a slotted spoon, to a bowl on the side.
6. In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the butter and Sofrito mixture and cook until browned and onions are caramelized, constantly stirring (15-20 minutes)
7. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then add the chicken.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, peas and cilantro.
9. Serve topped with toasted almonds over Jasmine (or your favorite) rice.

Voila! Simple and delicious!

tikka cookingtikka final

Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe.

Purchase your spices now, so you have enough for all your Kitchen Creole Recipes. Kitchen Creole spices are sold online at and on island at Shipwreck Landing, Keep Me Posted and Pickles in Paradise in Coral Bay and also at Pink Papaya and Sugarbirds in Cruz Bay.

Want to see more recipes? Visit for recipes and also information on where you can taste Kitchen Creole spices.


Villa Spotlight: The Penthouse at Sunset Serenade

entrance new suite

We know it’s starting to cool down up in the States, which means it’s definitely time to start looking for your next vacation rental here on St. John. Today we’re super excited to tell you about our friends Brittany and Robert’s newest rental that literally just hit the rental market yesterday – “The Penthouse” at Sunset Serenade.

Sunset Serenade is a 4-unit complex located in the hills above Cruz Bay. The newest unit is an expansive, one bedroom “penthouse” suite with amazing views of Cruz Bay, St. Thomas, the neighboring cays, Caribbean Sea and beyond. It’s well appointed with all new furnishings throughout and it also has an insane amount of outdoor space – both covered and outside in the glorious sunshine. The Penthouse has a full kitchen, washer and dryer, a small workout area, wifi throughout and air conditioning in the bedroom. Sunset Serenade is located about five minutes from Cruz Bay.

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large outdoor space

covered deck seating

living room view

eat in bar

kitchen view



exercise area

Rates for The Penthouse start at $190 per night in low season and increase to $300 per night in high season. But guess what?? You can rent this fantastic accommodation for even less. All you have to do is book your stay by October 31st, mention News of St. John when doing so, and you will receive 10 percent off of your entire rental. How great is that??!!

Click here to learn more and to book Sunset Serenade. 

The Penthouse is one of five rental units offered by Brittany and Robert, who operate Island Abodes here on island. We profiled their one bedroom apartment in Chocolate Hole earlier this year. Click here to read all about it.

Now go ahead and take advantage of that discount … we want to see you all here this winter!

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Just an Ordinary St. John Afternoon…

coconut broheem

You simply never know what you’re going to stumble across here on St. John. I decided to take a quick swim at Oppenheimer this afternoon, and I was treated to something very special.

Broheem, an extremely talented saxophonist here on island, happened to be enjoying his afternoon at Oppenheimer as well and he brought his saxophone along with him. So there I was sitting in my beach chair when all of a sudden, I heard the most beautiful music playing behind me. I immediately jumped out of my chair to get a better look and took this video for all of you. I promise you’re all going to love it.

Pretty amazing, right?

And to make my afternoon even better, my BFF handed me a freshly opened coconut to enjoy as I listened to Broheem. Life. Is. Good.

New Store Opens at Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay

lollie just beach

Lollie is the new owner of Just Beach.

A great new store opened at Mongoose Junction last week. It’s called Just Beach and it’s a pretty sweet little boutique.

So yes, Just Beach isn’t a new store. But in a way, it is. The old Just Beach closed last summer after it was purchased by Lollie Soloman Gillfillan. (If you think you recognize Lollie, it’s because she managed the St. John Brewer’s Brewtique store just around the corner for the last two years or so.) Lollie purchased Just Beach back in August, closed it and completely renovated it from top to bottom. She opened the new Just Beach last Saturday.

Just Beach carries all of your beach essentials like snorkel gear (both for purchase and for daily/weekly rentals), sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, etc. She carries a nice selection of casual women’s clothing like coverups, dresses, shorts, tanks and of course bikinis, and she also has a nice selection of “St. John” shirts, Havaianas flip flops and Under Arm shirts for both men and women.

And for those of you reading this who live on island, Just Beach offers a 10 percent discount to locals.

Check out a few pics we took yesterday:

just beach storefrontst john shirts just beach just beach clothing just beach bikinis just beach beach essentials

Just Beach is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Click here to follow Just Beach on Facebook.



Dinghy Poker Run Happening This Weekend

island dream dinghy

Now this is always a fun event…

The fourth annual dinghy poker run is happening this Saturday, October 10th at 10 a.m. and all proceeds will be donated to the St. John Cancer Fund.

Here’s how it works:

Registration signs ups begin at 9 a.m. at Noah’s Little Arks, which is located on the beach next to The Beach Bar. A donation of $35 or more is requested to enter, and one t-shirt will be handed out per entry. Charts that include the game rules, as well as the locations of the cards will be handed out at registration. Any type of boat may enter.

The run begins at 10 a.m. Using the chart, you will set out to pick up four cards from locations around St. John. Once you get your fourth card, you will head over to High Tide to retrieve your fifth and final card. All boats need to be at High Tide by 2 p.m. to pick up their final cards.

For the non-boaters, you too can join in on the fun. Just head on over to High Tide this Saturday and make a donation to play.

Prizes will be awarded, and there are great raffles too.

Everyone is encouraged to play – both visitors and locals. If you need a dinghy, contact Noah’s Little Arks. If you need a boat rental, there are a ton of charter boats available on island. Click here to see a few… 



HGTV Films Again On Island

filming rum shots

Yesterday was a pretty rainy day here on island, which pretty much meant that the beach and hiking were out of the question. So after hanging out at the house for a good portion of the day, my friend and I decided to wander over to Cruz Bay Landing for a drink or two …. and I’m happy we did.

As it turns out, a film crew from HGTV’s House Hunters International show was on island yesterday, and they arrived at Cruz Bay Landing just a short while after we did. Pretty good timing if you ask me.

So here’s the dirt we got from them…

As you may or may not know, House Hunters films only after the actual home has been purchased. So when you’re watching the show and the people are debating over the three options, it’s a total fabrication. The reality is that they already own one of the properties they’re looking at and probably have for at least six months prior to the filming.

So the couple yesterday said they were looking at three condos here on island: one in Pastory, one at Cruz Views and one at Battery Hill. For those of you who follow the MLS here on island, you already know which one they own. But for those of you who don’t, I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

So they said they filmed at the three condos yesterday, and when I bumped into them, they were filming a scene at Cruz Bay Landing. The scene called for them to sample a “flight of local rums.” Dave, the bartender extraordinaire, served up a few different flavors of Cruzan rum. The funny part is that they had to do several takes … and they were really drinking the rum, so you can imagine how that was going after take five and six. :)

I’d say they filmed for a good hour or so when all was said and done. I’m excited to see how the episode turns out, especially after watching them film it take after take after take. According to the producer, it will air in about four to six months. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, here are a few more pics:

Dave getting set up to film

Dave getting set up to film

preparing to film

The owner reviewing the scene