Thursday, October 9, 2008

Don’t forget about "island time"

A few more bits about St. Thomas and I then I swear, I’m done talking about my awesome month-long vacation…promise.

So on our last day on the island we thought it would be a good idea to go out for brunch on Sunday morning before our flight home. We were planning to go to Barefoot Buddha for a quick and tasty bagel sandwich, but arrived to find them very much closed, despite the fact that their website says (and still does say) “open seven days a week.” That was fine, just a little disappointment, so we got some coffee down the road while waiting for Hook, Line, and Sinker to open up for their much raved about brunch. We walked over to the suspiciously quiet front door to find out that it was just us and a very aggressive iguana who bothered to show up. Yes, they were also closed, and now I was getting irritable. I should warn you, this is what’s called “island time,” or in this case “island hours of operation.” You would think that after a few weeks we would have gotten used to this, but apparently the mainlander in me still believes you should stick to your posted business hours.

We ran into a couple who were also having similar brunch difficulties, and they started calling around, 'cause there are only so many places on an island you can go. We all agreed that W!kked would have made a nice back-up option had they not been closed for three weeks. Strike three. They finally found a place in Red Hook that was actually open, called the East End Café, so after stopping at Gladys’s for one last attempt at someplace convenient, we headed over that way. (Three hours of driving around on an empty stomach made sour by coffee makes Alpha Cook grumpy.) All I have to say is, it was worth the wait and inconvenience. The East End Café is an Italian restaurant on the upscale side that looks a little like the mafia might hang out in the back in cushy leather chairs eating cannoli. The décor is over-the-top kitschy Italian, with fake plastic vines “growing” on the lattice above your head, and being one of the first people in the door for brunch, it smelled a little like “last night’s bar.” In short, it was perfect. Of course the best part was the food, but the atmosphere didn’t hurt.

Beta Wife and I split the country fried chicken and eggs, and the eggs Benedict. That was maybe some of the most perfectly fried chicken I’ve ever had, and I’m saying this as a Southerner who is pretty serious about country fried anything. The ham on the eggs Benedict was salty and chewy, country ham style. The Hollandaise sauce had a nice flavor and body, not just some creamy mess dumped over my eggs. And it was a good thing we had such a big breakfast to raise our blood sugar and put us in good spirits, because an hour later we found ourselves standing on the side of the road next to our suitcases, staring at a flat, shredded tire (btw, ain’t no AAA in St. Thomas.) With just two hours before our flight was supposed to leave, I’d like to think it was the island’s way of telling us we were supposed to stay.

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