Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hello, everyone!  This is to be the last blog post about the vacation to Key West with Lara from which we returned just yesterday.  Sorry I didn't post it yesterday; we got very little sleep during the four-hour drive from Key West to Miami, and though we slept on the plane, that kind of sleep doesn't really count.  But now the wait is over; without further ado, may I present the Key West (and, briefly, Miami) Food Blog!

 Our first stop was at the Sa´zon Cuban Cuisine restaurant in Miami Beach.  For an appetizer, I ordered the fried plaintains with Garlic Marinade and Black Bean Dip.  It was fantastic.  The garlic marinade had a strong lemon flavor that balanced perfectly with the garlic.  The Black Bean Dip could have easily doubled as Black Bean Soup.
 For our entrees, Lara got this Filet of Fish with Shrimp in a white wine sauce.  It was also very good.  The sauce was once again very garlicky, and the fish managed to be perfectly pan-fried to the point of light blackening without being at all dried out.

I got a Cubano sandwich here.  As mentioned much earlier, I ordered it in order to compare it to my mother's.  And the result: my mother's Cuban Sandwich won hands down!  My mother uses more mustard and pickles, which is really an important component in the flavor overload that results.  This Cubano, while tasty, just wasn't quite as good.
 I did get Guava cheesecake, however, which was delicious.
 And Lara got the Rice Pudding, which was also quite good.
 We ended the meal with two Cuban Con Leche coffees, which were delicious and which I will miss very much now that I am back home.
 Our first morning in Key West, we went to Croissants de France for Breakfast.  Lara and I loved this place, and we went here several times.  They had many kinds of Eggs Benedict; here, I got the Andouille Eggs Benedict with shrimp and sausage.  Very good; the Hollandaise sauce is easy to make bland and awful, and this place did a great job avoiding that pitfall.  
 Lara just got a classic Eggs Benedict and immediately fell in love.
 Later on that day, we went to the Cuban Coffee Queen for more Con Leches.  While good, they were not as good as the ones we had at Ca´zon.
 That night, we went to the Half Shell Raw Bar for the first of many times.  This place is fantastic.  These oysters were a little over six dollars for twelve of them (during happy hour)!
 I also got Peel and Eat shrimp and Conch Ceviche in lieu of an actual entree.  It was great; the shrimp were huge, and there was tons of the ceviche.  To be honest, I struggled to finish it due to how much food there was!
 Lara had the lobster tail.  I've never had lobster like it, and neither has she; even the best lobster I've had always has a somewhat-chewy consistency to it, but this was incredibly tender.  And lobster-y.
 The next day we went to Havana 1 for Cubanos and Con Leches.  the Con Leches were fantastic, and we had them basically every morning.  The Cubanos, however, were upsetting.  They were more Cubano-themed than anything else, and there was a distinct presence of tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise that has no place in my idea of a Cubano.  But whatever; the Con Leches were superb, and I wish we had gone here again for dinner.
 We went to another cuban restaurant, El Siboney, for dinner.  I got the Grilled Mahi-Mahi, which was simple and delicious, with wonderful fried plaintains.
 Lara got the garlic shrimp.  She didn't like it, but I tried one and thought it was splendid, so go figure.
 The next morning, more Croissants de France.  I got a seafood Benedict with asparagus, shrimp and scallops.  So good.
 Lara had more classic eggs benedict.
 We also split a crepe, with bananas, nutella and honey.  Good memories were made!
 That night, we went to  Lara had lobster.  While good, it paled in comparison to the lobster at Half Shell Raw Bar.
 I had fried grouper.  It was great;  that's a mustard sauce drizzled on top of it.

 This is a photo of a savory seafood crepe we both had at Croissants de France.  It was full of shrimp, lobster, and scallops in a buttery cheesy sauce.  It was so good, Lara and I kept making bug eyes at it as we ate it.
 Finally, we went to Hogfish Bar and Restaurant.  This place was also as good, rivaling the Half Shell.  Here I had fried lobster tacos.  Look at all that lobster with sauce and jalapenos.  My heart aches in its absence!
Lara had this giant Hogfish sandwich.  The hogfish actually tasted a bit like scallops, if you can believe that.  This sandwich was huge, and Lara made the whole thing disappear.
 Our last time at Half Shell, we bought the seafood combo for 2.  Fish, shrimp, lobster and scallops.  It was not long for this world.
 To end this last post about Key West, I thought I'd include a few photos of the sea taken from the beach as a storm rolled in.

 Thanks so much for reading, and get ready for my mother to be back tomorrow!

With love,
The Blog Tech