Ruth Ernst; St. John’s Spice Girl

Hot sauces, coffees and teas, spices, and of course Cruz Bay Grill Rub fill the shelves at St. John Spice. (And so do T-shirts, hats, coasters, CDs, cookbooks, pirate flags and even lip balm.) But part of the draw to this Cruz Bay institution is also the proprietors. In On-StJohn’s first video interview, we talk with Ruth Ernst about the business, where those spices come from, why she likes being an ambassador to St. John’s constant flow of dedicated visitors, and who the heck Blind Betty is. But no, she didn’t tell us what’s in that grill rub. (I still think it’s weed.) Watch the interview here!

But but…Cafe Roma is Italian

Cafe Roma is good food. The restaurant is tiny, it can get noisy, there’s no outside seating and if you order pizza you have to eat at the bar or get it to go. But it is good food. They put so much food on a plate that I challenge anyone to belong to the Clean Plate Club at Cafe Roma, and I personally think they make some of the best pizza I’ve had anywhere (it’s the sauce I think.)

Granted, the closest I’ve been to Italy is Dean and Deluca, but last I checked, pizza and pasta was Italian.

So a recent Tradewinds article puzzled me. It is about a new restaurant opening above the new Infusions martini lounge in Cruz Bay and the article says it will fill a void because the island is lacking when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine.

A regular turnpike pit stop

The old Domino station is a total gut job. It shut down about a month ago for an overhaul and it looks like a major renovation. They’re adding at least one more pumping station, giving the attendants enclosed booths and erecting huge overhead canopies. No idea when it will re-open. (The service garage is still open, so getting that flat on the Wrangler fixed for a couple of bucks is still possible.)

That leaves the Texaco station as the only place to buy gas on the Cruz Bay side, along with the other gas station in Coral Bay. The Texaco station can get a bit crazy, but it’s not like there are Carter-era gas lines. A little patience, and you get your turn. Regular unleaded is about $3.60 per gallon right now. Always amazing how fast you can burn through a tank or two of gas on a 20 square mile island.

VIDEO ALERT! On-StJohn’s first video feature airs this weekend! Our first guest: The almost overexposed Ruth Ernst from St. John Spice. (And the elusive Ron.)

UnReal Estate! Locals squeezed out

With a For Sale sign already up in front of their home, one local family resorted to putting their children on the street to sell fruit from their trees. Another act of desperation as taxes, utilities and spiraling real estate costs continue to force long-time locals out.

This is actually a couple of kids at the end of their driveway on Rock Ridge Road selling lemons. Six lemons for 2 bucks. Clever kids. They truncated Lemonade Stand into Lemon Stand, eliminating the huge overhead costs of labor and paper cups.

(Okay, okay. Cute picture and a funny headline. But check out this story that was in Sunday’s New York Times.

Now THAT was a show!

Okay, get on the phone and book your villa for next New Year’s Eve. (Not mine. We’ll be there for sure.) The New Year’s Eve fireworks show was spectacular. The show was staged at the Westin, started promptly at midnight, and lasted 15 minutes. Another, equally good show in Red Hook lasted about five minutes longer. Seriously, put it on your list of something you’d like to do. Fireworks over water on a nearly full moon night is something pretty cool. Look for a place to see next year’s show somewhere from the Estate Lindholm area to, oh, say, Hart Bay or so.

Welcome to On-StJohn.com!

Welcome to 2007, and welcome to On-StJohn.com! Our new site will be all about St. John, and we hope it will be unlike anything else out there. Like the site says “Muse, News and Reviews. ” Our goal is to load lots of video

Ocean Runner gets you off the island (and to another)

Say hello to our newest advertiser. Ocean Runner rents power boats out of Cruz Bay. They’re just down the beach from the Beach Bar, and if you’re willing to spend a little money, this is a great way to spend a day. Particularly if you’re looking for a way to get to places like Jost van Dyke or one of the other British Virgin Islands, or if you’re a diver. This isn’t a cheap day. By the time you tip the Captain (if you hire one, and you don’t have to if you have power boating skills) and pay for the fuel, you could spend $600. That said, go with a group, and share the expense. Watch Ocean Runner’s new On St. John ad!