Island Food: Beef Pate Recipe


One of my favorite things to be found in the Caribbean is pate (pah-tay – not to be confused with French pâté).  Known all over the Caribbean by many different names: patties, empanadas, pastelitos – they are known as pates in the Virgin Islands and Haiti.  Basically a Caribbean Hot Pocket, the pate can be stuffed with a variety of fillings such as chicken, conch, saltfish, goat or cheese – but my favorite is the beef pate.

The best place is St. John to get pates is Hurcules Pate Delight, located in a small white shack across from the Lumberyard in Cruz Bay.  The proprietors aren’t always the nicest, but it’s worth putting up with a little attitude to get your hands on one of their delights.  Also, the Mojo Cafe has started selling pates, although I haven’t had one from there yet, so I can’t comment on how good it is.  But, hell – it’s deep fried meat – how can it be bad?

West Indian Beef Pates 


  • 5 cups flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup water

Pate filling:

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 small stick celery, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped
  • Dash oregano
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • Dash parsley flakes
  • Dash garlic powder
  • ¼ small hot pepper, chopped (or to taste)



To make dough:

Place flour, shortening, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add enough water to make dough. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes. Let dough sit for 20 minutes.

To make ground meat filling:

Cook beef in a large frying pan with onion, celery, bell pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, parsley flakes, salt, tomato paste, Kitchen Bouquet and hot pepper. Continue cooking until ground beef is well cooked and vegetables are tender. Stir often while cooking to blend ingredients well. Use a large strainer to remove excess fat from the meat mixture. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll flat and place 1-1/2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture into center of flattened dough. Fold dough over filling using a fork to seal ends so that the filling is completely sealed inside like a turnover. Use dough cutter to cut excess dough around the pate to give an even shape. Deep fry in vegetable oil or shortening at 360 degrees until golden brown.

St. John Dining Update


I just returned from two weeks on St. John and realized I hadn’t updated any St. John dining posts in awhile, so here is the latest:


Chateau Bordeaux Closed.
One of my favorite restaurants has closed, Chateau Bordeaux on Bordeaux Mountain.  This location is my absolute favorite view on the island and I am sad that the restaurant (and adjoining cheeseburger shack) is gone.  According to the Coconut Telegraph, the owners (who also own Asolare, Paradiso and Chloe & Bernards) had recently revamped the menu to reflect the “new” economy (read: cheaper prices) but still weren’t getting enough customers to make it work.  Hopefully they will sell or reopen soon, as this location is a true gem. 


La Plancha del Mar
In better news, a few new places have opened – most notably the new La Plancha del Mar in the Marketplace, which has been getting stellar reviews from all over the place.  La Plancha is in the old China Shack location, and is smaller than I remember.  It has about 8 tables and a nice bar surrounding the “plancha” – or the plank they use for cooking.  The food was good – especially the grilled items such as the prawns and steaks – but frankly, I really don’t see what all the fuss is about.  Yes, the gentlemen that run the place are very, very nice, but the prices are astronomical for what you get – even for St. John.  I had a cheese plate appetizer that had three cube-size portions of cheese with some commercial trail mix and an interesting strawberry/mustard sauce and it was like $12!  The dinners were pretty small portion sizes as well and more expensive.   We shared a dessert that everyone talks about, a chocolate waffle with ice cream.  It was good, but not the chocolate orgasm I was expecting from the conversation with the drunken table next to us.  (They need to lose the novelty long-plate-presentation as well as it doesn’t add anything to the experience  – except maybe making you realize that you’re not getting much.)  Overall, a good place – but really nothing spectacular to justify the high prices.  There are better places to go if you want to spend a bundle on dinner.

The Surly Cantina 
A new and already-popular spot is The Surly Cantina, located across from Slimman Parking in the Wharfside where the old Paradise Cafe used to be.  I had heard that not only were they great, but cheap – something increasingly rare on STJ.  Well, the rumors were half right – the food was fantastic, but hardly cheap.  We weren’t that hungry, so we decided to share 3 fish tacos and two margaritas.  Total bill?  $47!  Okay, it was kind of our fault for not paying too much attention to what we were ordering.  It turns out tacos are $2/ea + extra for meat or fish.  We got the fish which was an extra $5 PER TACO.  So, that’s $21 for three tacos.  Ouch!  (Oh, and the remainder was the margaritas – we ordered top shelf which I should have noticed was listed on the menu, but had no price next to it.  You do the math on that one.)  The tacos were fantastic.  Probably some of the best fish tacos I have ever had.  Oh, and that margarita – it may have been worth the price as I could hardly function for the rest of the day and I only had one!

Jake’s is the new spot in the Lumberyard that is in the old Chilly Billy’s location.  It is run by the same people who used to run the Front Yard, and kind of keeps the same hours as they advertise they are open until 4am.  I can’t imagine who is in there at 4am as most stuff shuts down pretty early in Cruz Bay, and even the bars close at 2am.  Anyway, we stopped in for a quick lunch as we had to pick something up at the Lumberyard.  I had a BLT and the man had a cheeseburger and it wasn’t bad at all.  No frozen hamburger bun, which is the bane of my existence in the Caribbean – and my bacon was cooked crispy as I asked, so extra points for someone finally cooking my bacon correctly.  They were out of potatoes, which was funny because the sides are all potato-related except for pasta salad, so this is what we had.  Totally Kraft Italian Dressing on my pasta salad, so points off for Kraft crap.  Other than that, it was good food and probably great to scarf stuff down at 3:45 am for sure.

Wharfside Pizza
When the old Senorita Pizza closed at Wharfside a few months ago, I wasn’t too sad as another pizza place opened in it’s place: Wharfside Pizza.  And, this place had the added bonus of installing an actual pizza oven in order to cook the pizzas.  How hard can it be to make a good pizza?  Hard, I guess.  We picked up a couple of pies on our Day Zero in to town as we’d gotten in late and I had some drunken ladies on my hands.  Even in my inebriated state, I knew deep down that the pizza sucked.  Tiny toppings (many obviously canned), doughy crust, tasteless sauce and a really long wait all added up to a disappointing experience – especially from the same owners of Mojo Cafe and Waterfront Bistro, which always get good reviews.


I saw a few signs that a new Chinese restaurant called Lucky Pagoda will be opening “soon” (that could mean next week or next year using the Caribbean timetable) in the Lumberyard where the old Polly’s used to be.  Not sure STJ was really missing Chinese food since the awful China Shack closed last year, but it sure can’t be any worse.  I guess sometimes you need a good eggroll, but I’d rather have a fish pate from Hercules.  (Update: I read today that the Lucky Pagoda is set to open tomorrow, March 11.  Saw a copy of the menu and it looked pretty basic.  The real trick is getting an ample supply of asian ingredients like water chestnuts, bamboo, bok choy, etc.  Good luck to the Lucky Pagoda!)

Island Food: Conch Fritters Recipe


I love island food.  Mahi Sandwiches, Funghi, Pates, Johnny Cakes and of course, conch fritters.  If you ever have some extra conch lying around, well – now you know what to do with it.  These go particularly well with Painkillers.

Best place on St. John for Conch Fritters: Shipwreck Landing, Coral Bay


1 lb conch meat (You might get away with this recipe by using minced clams – but it won’t be the same)
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
1/2  tsp. red pepper
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
Salt to taste
1 egg
1/3 cup self rising cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)

Put conch through food grinder or food processor.  Process with onion, celery, red and green pepper and mix with conch, adding salt and egg.  Mix well.  Mix together cornmeal, flour and baking powder.  Add conch mixture.  Mixture should be thick.  Add buttermilk and hot sauce.  Drop by heaping tablespoon into deep oil until light brown. Drain.  Serve with dipping sauce of mayonnaise, hot sauce and fresh lime juice.

Take Away the Pain – The Famous Painkiller Recipe


I’m on vacation down on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.  So, don’t be expecting too much activity this week.  But, I thought I’d share a little something from the islands to you.  This is the recipe for the world famous Painkiller.  If you haven’t been lucky enough to enjoy one of these golden elixirs, then by all means make some at your next party.  I guarantee it will be the best party you’ve ever had!


1 oz. Pussers Rum (or any dark rum – not spiced)
1 oz. 151 Rum
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
2 0z. Orange Juice
1/2 oz. Coco Lopez
Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Mix all except nutmeg in a large rocks glass filled with ice.  Sprinkle nutmeg on top.  Enjoy!

Mmmmmmmm…. sounds good – think I’ll go have one now – suckers!