Dashi in Christiansted

Dashi is our one-and-only sushi restaurant on St. Croix. Market economics would dictate that, given no competition, they don’t have to excel. But owners/chefs Ashley and Mike McKinnon both share a serious perfectionist streak and passion for great food – as evidenced by their multiple wins over the years at the annual, highly competitive and internationally judged Taste of St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. The food at Dashi is absolutely on par with many big-city sushi joints we’ve tried from New York to Portland OR, with a few creative twists toward the tropical, Caribbean locale.

Dashi has an online menu where you can get a sense of the variety of sushi and non-sushi options available (yes, even non-sushi eaters can find delicious options). Dashi is open for lunch and dinner (take-out is an option too), with live music two nights per week – check their website for days and times. The staff is friendly and flexible, and they offer both indoor (air conditioned) and outdoor (garden patio) seating, and dress is casual or fancy, depending on how you feel! The outdoor seating is particularly kid-friendly. Located in the Caravelle Arcade about a block south of the boardwalk from RumRunners. A walk on the boardwalk after your meal is a must.

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Savant in Christiansted

Savant Restaurant on Hospital Street on the east side of Christiansted is one of our family’s favorites. Executive Chef Eric Nielsen clearly has a passion for creating new culinary experiences, and loves to source his ingredients locally from St. Croix fishermen and farmers, including ARTfarm. The menu is diverse and fusion, with everything from delicate Thai curries and spring rolls to Mexican fajitas to Caribbean fresh caught fish with tropical salsas to lamb shanks with garlic mashed potatoes and on and on… Owner Tom Miller’s theme is “We have what you want.” The specials are IN.CRED.IBLE, so be sure to study the chalkboards when you arrive!

Indoors, entering from the street side, the place has a gorgeous little wooden bar tucked into the corner and a bistro-like cozy feel with air-conditioned banquettes. There is also seating entering from the parking lot, in the romantic back garden, with a bar built into the ruins, candles and tiki torches, starlight overhead and an incredibly engineered sailcloth roof that is extended in the event of a tropical rainshower.

Parking is easy, they’ve got their own private lot behind the restaurant. You can tell the staff loves working there as they have all been there for years!

Check out their menu online and make reservations for a special night out during your stay at 340-713-8666. Dinner is served Monday – Saturday, 6-10pm. Dress is casual, but feel free to dress up if you feel like it! We love Savant and have had many memorable meals with their friendly, efficient staff. We recommend our Longford Hideaway guests don’t miss it!

ARTfarm Farmstand Summer Hours!

It is officially summer and ARTfarm is open on Wednesday afternoons 3-6pm and Saturday mornings, 10am – 12 noon. Check the ARTfarm website or Facebook page, to see what’s growing now! Summer is the season for mangoes, papayas, passionfruit and other tropical fruits, as well as sweet corn, kale and collards, cucumbers, fresh herbs and salad greens!20140623-112911-41351831.jpg

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Regarding the Chikungunya virus in the USVI…

We have had a few people contact us about their vacation reservations, in light of the mosquito-borne illness called chikungunya that has been making headlines. The way we all know the media can sensationalize things, you would think we had a major health crisis in the islands! While it is important to be cognizant of these advisories, here in the US Virgin Islands this virus is still generally a mild illness that is easily preventable, and here at Longford Hideaway and ARTfarm where we live and work we’ve had ZERO cases!

We’d like to share a summary of the information from the US Federal and Territorial Health Departments along with links to the health advisories, for anyone concerned about chikungunya while visiting St. Croix.

According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), chikungunya is a virus that, in otherwise healthy people, causes a mild-to-uncomfortable flu-like illness that starts 3-7 days after receiving a bite from an infected “indoor” type mosquito, and lasts about a week with symptoms such as fever and joint pain. It is NOT known to be fatal or permanently harmful, and usually confers future immunity on most people who contract it.

That said, the US Virgin Islands Department of Health has put out an advisory regarding cases of chikungunya virus reported in the US Virgin Islands. However, since this advisory was published, the VI Daily News has reported that up to three possible cases have been reported on St. Thomas.

Because chikungunya has been reported in the mainland U.S., we figure that we are no likelier than any other warm place in the world that is visited by tourists-who-fly-on-planes, to have an outbreak. It’s been nice and breezy at Longford, and that sends the little guys packing!

Our rentals at Longford are outfitted with screens on all windows and doors, and ceiling fans in all the rooms. If needed, we can supply our (adult) guests with a mosquito-killing battery-powered “Jolt” tennis racket. It is entertaining, satisfying and effective. Snap, crackle, POP!

After doing a little research, we don’t recommend the bug zapper UV type lights, as  studies at Iowa State University have shown they are ineffective at attracting mosquitoes and even harmful – they don’t attract many mosquitoes, but can spread bacteria and harm the ecosystem by splattering a great number of the bugs that prey on mosquitoes. The ARTfarm depends heavily on beneficial predatory insects to organically control crop-damaging pests, without the use of harmful chemicals! For mosquito control in the farm water reservoirs, we keep a population of mosquito larvae-eating “mosquito fish”.

Here is a link to some of our favorite anti-mosquito spray. We love this stuff because it is preventative, herbal, smells good, works well for us, and is soothing to put on if you forget to apply it and do get a bite. Another effective and less expensive bug repellant we’ve used is coconut oil mixed with vanilla extract.

If you are having any doubts about visiting the Caribbean due to these health advisories, we’d gently remind our guests of the health perils of not getting a relaxing vacation with some vitamin D! And suggest you plan your adventure, and trust that you will have a wonderful time. We live and work here year-round on the property, and we spend lots of time outdoors! Simply keeping your body healthy with fresh chemical-free fruits and vegetables, daily exercise, plenty of water and sufficient sleep will go a long way toward maximizing your immune system’s ability to minimize any pathogens it may encounter during travel. Take the usual precautions you would already take against mosquito bites, and you’ll be just fine!