Booths at Carnival Village offer Crucian cuisine, cocktails
Published: December 27, 2013
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The Crucian Christmas Carnival Village booths this year offered their usual tempting variety of Crucian cuisine and local drinks.
Some of the booths are numbered; some aren't. Some of them are in sequential order. Some aren't. The following guide started with Booth No. 1 and proceeded around the village to Booth No. 24.
The name of Shermira Mercado's booth "Spicy Sugar" is a tribute to her parents, one of whom is from Puerto Rico - the spicy part of the equation - and the other from St. Kitts - the sugar part, she said. In its second year after a debuting last year, Spicy Sugar specializes in conch water and goat water, along with typical Carnival fare. "It went well, so I am back again," Mercado said. "I like interacting with people and I just love to cook." The booth, right next to the main stage, is yellow with blue trim and features flames and flourishes around the name "Spicy Sugar," as well as the Puerto Rico and St. Kitts flags.
No one was at Booth 2 when The Daily News was there.
Lilliana Belardo de O'Neal's booth, "El Coqui," is in its usual spot, in one of the corners near the stage. The hot pink booth features Christmas lights, a Santa pelican on the roof, flags, tinsel and ornaments. Her specialties this year include alcapurria, crab and rice, roast pork and coquito. Like most of the booths, there are a variety of other foods on offer as well. Belardo de O'Neal's family has had a booth at the event for more than 30 years, she said.
The "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" booth, sponsored by IHOP, is blue with a Carnival lady in feathers painted on it, and a few stray feathers splashed here and there. The lighted IHOP sign is on top. Specialties include churros and wings and fries. Owner Sana Joseph-Smith, who also owns the local IHOP, said this is the third year for the booth. "We wouldn't want to miss out on Carnival fun," she said.
Angel Rodriguez's booth, "Angel's Infinity Band," offers a variety of specialties, including "man soup," a soup made with sea food, and mamawannas, a mixed drink. Rodriguez, who runs two bars on the island, said she just enjoys the scene at the village and has had a booth there for five years. The booth is orange with the words "Angels Infinity Band" on the front and green lights inside.
The red and white booth in the No. 6 position has a number "25" painted on it and has multi-colored Christmas lights on it. The specialties at Elizabeth's Kitchen include alcapurria, conch water and various seafood dishes. It is the second year for the booth. "We do it because we get together as a family. We're trying to make this a tradition," said Domingo Erarte, booth owner. Erarte's sister is the Elizabeth for whom the booth is named.
Rachel Stanley, owner of Booth 7, said she just enjoys cooking for everyone. The purple booth is dubbed simply "No. 7." Stanley said her specialties include conch water, conch salad and all the fried goodies. It is her fifth year with a booth in the village, she said.
Booth 8 is yellow and features paintings of mocko jumbies and the words "Queen City" across the top. "I just love to serve the public. I love cooking," said owner Rita Chiverton, who's had a booth at village for about 17 years. Her specialties include conch water, goat water, pates and crab and lobster, she said.
This booth, painted light green with an island woman carrying a vegetable basket on the front, is called "Island Flavour." The owner, who would only identify himself as "Paris," said that soup is one of his specialties, including bullfoot soup, goat water and chicken soup. He is also planning to offer steak, he said. He likes having a booth at village, he said. "I enjoy doing it. It's part of my culture, too," he said.
Elsie's Super Best of the West is in the number 10 spot. The green and white booth is run by the three daughters of Elsie Blanc, who died in April 2010. Blanc had a booth at village for years and years - and the family is continuing the cooking traditions Blanc started. Specialties include conch in butter sauce with season rice or fungi; kallaloo; goat water; conch water; Johnny cakes and chicken legs; and local drinks. Blanc's three daughters running the booth are Brenda Lewis, Sharon Kherat and Dawn Rey. This is their third year running the booth, which has a lighted Santa perched on top. It is decorated with paintings of palm trees.
The hot pink and white booth at number 11 - which features a painting of the cartoon character Dora the Explorer - is owned by Dora Browne Wigley. Wigley has had a booth at village for approximately 16 years, and specialties include goat water, rice pudding and kallaloo. Because Wigley has had a booth so long, it draws regular customers every year, workers said.
"Lucian Paradise" is debuting at the No. 12 spot this year. It features multi-colored flashing Christmas lights and the St. Lucia flag. Specialties include kallaloo, goat water and roti, according to owner Monica Mitchell. "We're just trying something new," she said.
The "Caribbean City" booth features the black, gold, red and green of Rastafari, along with the Lion of Judah symbol painted on front. The specialty of "Caribbean City" is mixed drinks. Food will be available starting today, according to owner Leroy Sthill. He said he would not miss being in the village. "There's nothing else to do," he said. "Instead of taking a walk, I come to the village, make some money, and you still get to see everything that's going on."
The cream and red "Goodie" booth features paintings of a woman who has been on the Tourism Department's commemorative festival poster, along with the words "Music Mas and History" and "Live the dream." Specialties include Johnny cakes, chicken legs and wings, and banana fritters. Owner Daisy Francis-Byam loves to cook, according to her daughter Jeniqua Byam. "We enjoy the culture. We just want to give back to the people," said St. Clair Byam, Jeniqua's father, who is also working in the booth.
The Christopher family is running the unnumbered green booth that is next to the "Goodie" booth. They said their number is 15. Specialties include fry chicken and Johnny cakes, souse, hot dogs and local drinks. This is their first year at the village.
The next booth is numbered "15" and is named "Kalalloo Man," for owner Edwin Thomas' specialty. The blue booth features a map of St. Croix with a giant stew pot, steam rising, over the West End of the island. Thomas said his specialties include kallaloo, bullfoot soup, and conch and butter sauce with fungi. It is his third year with a booth in the village, he said. "It's a good place to meet people, cool out, listen to the entertainment," Thomas said. "It's a good spot to sit back and enjoy the ambience."
Jilly's Caribbean Foods is a white booth with yellow and green trim. Owner Lenore Safe said her specialties include Johnny cake, salt fish cake, conch water, and pot fry fish. It is her first year with a booth and Jilly is her daughter. "I retired and I wanted to get something to do," she said. "I figured it will keep me busy and I wanted to participate."
Diane Muhammad Noel, owner of "Diane's Roti Master," is running the booth with her daughters, Asmahan, Amatullah and Adilah. The green booth, with the words "Trini Flava" painted on and flying the flag of Trinidad, specializes in rotis, lasagna, chicken legs and Johnny cakes. The family has had a booth at the village for more than 15 years.
The specialty at Booth 16, "Pate Specialists," is self-explanatory, with pates that include salt fish, beef, chicken and conch. Owner Joycelyn Gore has had a booth at village for 15 years, she said. "It's fun," she said of having a booth at village. "It's fun to meet new people and the people love my pates." The blue and green booth has palm trees painted on.
Booth No. 19, "Richmond's Hidden Treasure," is pink, lilac and creamy yellow. The specialty of owners Tyrone and Yvette Robers is pate, including conch, saltfish and beef, according to their niece Niya Ward. They have had the booth for more than 10 years. "My auntie has a passion for cooking," she said.
The orange "Wes Side" booth, with blue trim, features a painting of clasped hands and the words "United We Stand." Specialties include salt fish, beef, conch and chicken pates. Booth owner Patricia Lynch-Irvin said she has had the booth for about seven years. "I love doing it," she said. "Everybody enjoy my food."
The "Triple S" booth at the No. 21 spot is lilac with a big hibiscus flower and musical notes painted on front. Specialties include rice pudding, Johnny cakes, and fry fish. Catherine Joseph, the owner, has had a booth for approximately 12 years, said her daughter Stephanie Williams. "It's fun, the enjoyment of serving food to people from all over," Williams said.
The blue, green and gold booth in the No. 22 spot is named "HOPE" and has that word painted on, as well as a map of St. Croix and angels. Melba Williams, the owner, has had the booth for more than 20 years and runs it with her three daughters. Specialties include Johnny cakes, fried chicken, souse and potato salad and kallaloo. "I love it. I love Festival. I love being here. I look forward to this every year," her daughter, Akitha Williams, said.
Kallaloo is the specialty at Booth number 23, which is owned by Corliss Nathaniel. Workers said it was "the best kallaloo on the island." Nathaniel has had a booth for more than 10 years. The green booth features a picture of a woman in Carnival wear on it.
"Alda and Evie," Booth 24, is cream and green, featuring Carnival masks painted on front. The booth - where business was hopping Thursday night - is owned by Alda Francis and Evie Bascombe and specialties inlcude souse and potato salad, Johnny cakes, conch and fungi, conch soup, and boiled fish. The owners hold a variety of blue ribbons from Ag Fair competitions, according to Rena Francis, Alda's daughter. "The food is good," she said.