An evening of wine, music, and food on the beach

FlavAd1 The island's food and wine event of the year is set for Saturday night at the Westin Resort.

As many as 325 people are expected at the event, Flavors, to taste, munch, sip, and savor the best the island's many chefs and restaurants have to offer. 

"This is high scale dining not a free food buffet frenzy or cocktail party," said Kati Steinborn, owner of Katilady Events and chairman of the Rotary Club-sponsored event.

The caterers and restaurants will be competing to make the Best Overall Presentation, and serve the best Appetizer, Entree and Dessert.  Judges include the Virgin Islands Chef of the Year as well as two winners from the Taste of St. Croix. Party goers will also have a voice in the selections through a silent ballot. 

Steinborn had a caution for the food vendors. "While the crowd gets a little nuts when word gets around that someone is serving filet mignon, if that filet is not delicious the crowd knows it," she said. "Do something that sounds intriguing and is absolutely delicious and you will win the crowd."

Proceeds from Flavors go to St. John Rotary's scholarships and community activities.  The goal is $35,000. Flavors begins at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $100 at the door.  Music for the dining and dancing will be provided by Inner Visions.

If you're visiting the island and want to have a great evening, taste the best there is and meet some real St. Johnians, go to Flavors.  You'll get a real taste of the island.

Guy Benjamin in Cruz Bay

Guy_Benjamin_Book The island's grand old man, Guy Benjamin, is doing a book signing.

The 96-year-old author has overseen a reprinting of Me and My Beloved Virgin.

The St. John Source's Lynda Lohr says Benjamin will be at the Friends of the Park store at Mongoose Junction Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Photo Safari with Steve Simonsen

Island photographer Steve Simonsen is planning a photowalk this winter.  E-mail Janet Simonsen for details on the Dec. 12th event. 

PS, look for Steve in a New York Times feature about island camping next month, too.

Starfish 7% more expensive in food price survey

The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs said its October sampling of food prices at island stores showed Dolphin Market as the low price leader.  Pine Peace came in second, with the market basket 1% less expensive. Starfish Market was the most expensive, with prices 7% higher than Dolphin.

The Virgin Islands Daily News has more on the report here.

Virgin Islands are for Hooters and Housewives

Hooters There may be some hot times on St. Thomas and St. John in the next few days, and not just because the temperatures are in the mid-80's.

The Hooters restaurant chain is bringing "16 of the most gorgeous Hooters girls from around the world" to compete in a TV taping to find the Hooters Dream Girl

They'll be doing some modeling assignments, "as well as participating in various competitive events around the islands," according to a news release.

It could mean they'll visit St. John.  (Wouldn't be the first time.  See our story from 2007 at http://barnako.typepad.com/news_of_st_john_usvi/2007/03/hooters_does_st.html.

Meanwhile, a rumor that another reality TV show will use the island as a backdrop has ginned up reaction at the Virgin-Islands-On-Line forum

"Lock the doors! The tacky invasion is about to start," said one correspondent on hearing that this weekend the Real Housewives of New York show may be arriving.  While there's no official confirmation from the producers, that hasn't stopped people from commenting.

Iowaguy said, "I'm trying to envision the Real Housewives at Larry's Landing or the Beach Bar–would love to be there." St. John Ruth pointed out that the weather can be a factor, saying "If they were here today it will be pretty interesting. I think we had a monsoon this morning and then a pretty dreary day. Not exactly bikini weather."

Meat at Maho

Pavilion Maho Bay Campground has a great reputation as being earth-friendly and environmentally responsible. 

So, the Inquiring Iguana is only mildly amused to hear that the eco-resort's restaurant has resumed its Friday night specials featuring beef(!) and prime rib.  Dinner is served at the Pavilion restaurant from 5:30 p.m. (Early Birds?) to 7:30 p.m.

The end-of-the-week hunk of beef comes with veggies and a salad.  There are at least three other entrees also on the menu, priced from $17 to $23.  Here's a link to the nightly specials: http://www.maho.org/MealsMenu.cfm

For dessert, you might like to browse the Maho Bay Art Center.  It features works in glass, clay, and textiles, with an emphasis on recycled materials.  It seems there's always a sale going on, too. The Art Center's Web site is http://www.maho.org/TTAC.cfm

Read a review of the Pavilion at IgoUgo. "We arrived just in time for dinner and a sunset that set the magical ambiance for the remaining of our stay," wrote the post by Jose Kevo.

See the view from St. John 24/7

From high above Mongoose Junction, looking off to St. Thomas across Pillsbury Sound, the boys at St. John Brewers have added more flavor to their offerings.  The latest spice comes online, via a new island Webcam. This was the picture Wednesday morning.


But wait, there's more.  

Visit the site and click on the words "Open Player in Popup," above the photo, and you'll be logged into Reggae141, a streaming music station owned by a fellow in New York but the site says is "broadcasting from the sunny shores of the Caribbean." (http://www.stjohnbrewers.com/radio.html)

Meanwhile while the Brewers rock on, they've whipped up a new seasonal selection: The Island Hoppin’ IPA (India Pale Ale). A fall/winter seasonal brew, it is already available in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a limited pre-release. (Think of it as a 'beta beer.'  beta release, test … get it?) Bottles will follow in the VI sometime in December, and a full scale release in the Brewers' distribution states (RI, NJ, MA, FL, NE, CA) is expected in mid-winter.

St. John ferries to start issuing receipts

After decades of lax money handling procedures, ticket sellers for St. John's two ferry companies will begin giving receipts to passengers. 

The giant step to accountability comes along with the installation last week of computerized ticketing by Varlack Ventures and Transportation services.  The system was paid for by the companies at a cost of $100,000, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News report of the ticketing system. (Full story here.)

Sellers will use computer terminals to issue tickets and luggage tags while crew members use a hand-held scanner to check in passengers and track the bags.

S believes the ferry companies' bought the ticketing system as a way of preparing the VI government to be more open to allowing for fare increases and operating subsidies.  For years, the Public Service Commission has complained that the financial records of the ferry operators are confused and unreliable.

The Iguana is amused that computers will be used for ticketing.  Frankly, he doesn't believe the equipment will be operable for very long.  He is reminded of a change of airplanes in San Juan once, on his way to St. Thomas.  "I have a ticket," he showed an agent behind a counter at the terminal.  "It was issued by the computer."  The agent said, "We don't have computers."

Anyone want to bet how long those ticket/luggage tag scanners function?

Sleepy St. John

Sleep If it seems like you sleep better when you're on island, you're not imagining it. 

The Centers for Disease Control reports the best rested Americans live on island territories and the state of Hawaii.

A nationwide survey of 403,981 people asked, "During the last 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?"

Folks from West Virginia said they were sleep-deprived 19 days, the highest number in the survey. Virgin Islanders were well down the list at 9.6 days.  In fact, the Virgin Islands was fourth-best for slumber, while Utah and Kentucky were at the bottom of the list (worst).

Honk if you see this car

LovecitysuzukiGenBug, an island visitor, spotted this little beauty parked in that oh-do-dear spot next to Connections.

GenBug's got a lot of St. John photos.  See 'em at http://www.flickr.com/photos/genbug/sets/72157622553719613/. (I love Island Dog.