Category Archives: The Key West Chronicles

Silly Sunday: Key West

A random selection of vaguely amusing things I spotted during my stay in Key West.

Bottom Cleaning

I wonder whether their services include a ‘sack back & crack’…?

As opposed to dead ones...?

As opposed to dead ones…?

What?! You pressed the buttons in the wrong order??? Now it's time to PAY!!!

There are grave consequences to pressing the parking meter buttons in the wrong order…

These signs are all over the island... but, what else would you be doing at the launderette but loiter until your load is done?

These signs are all over the island… I can’t help wondering, though, what else would you be doing at the launderette but loiter until your load is done?

This strikes me as a far more creative, and, I dare say, effective strategy for keeping people off your turf…

I thought that people going to the shops like this was a thing of 50 years ago... clearly not ;-)

I was under the (clearly erroneous) impression that¬† going to the shops like this was a thing of 50 years ago…

Is he taking them to visit their relos...? (See blue sign top left)

Is he taking them to visit their relos…? (See blue sign top left)

21?! Sorry, I left my ID at home in my pants...

21?! Sorry, I left my ID at home in my pants…

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The Key Lime Pie Reviews: Better Than Sex!

Now there’s an offer one can’t possibly refuse…! But did this Key West restaurant live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Better Than Sex

As evident from above pic, Better Than Sex is strictly an evening affair, rather than a place where you might meet with a pal for an afternoon cuppa with a side of cakey indulgence.

The interior of the place does come up to scratch. It’s all dark and sensual inside; think velvet tones, glinting chandeliers and candles whose lazy flicker barely penetrates the obscurity. (The wait staff must have been selected for their superior night vision.) In short, the whole ambiance puts you in the mood for… dessert.

For any restaurant situated in Key West, a Key lime pie inspired dessert is a mandatory part of the repertoire. Here it is on the menu:

The place is too dark to read a normal menu card, so the menu is provided on a tablet

The place is too dingy for customers to read a standard menu card, so the menu is provided on a tablet

...and here's the description

…and here’s the description

Key Lime Pie

This is how it looked on my plate

The verdict?

Well… believe it or not, this was one of the scarce occasions when I didn’t manage to finish off a dessert! I mean, this sexed-up incarnation of a Key lime pie was pure fluffed-up cream. In fact, the texture was quite similar to clotted cream – a reference, I realise, that will probably only mean something to UK readers.

Flavour and level of tartness hit the spot, but after four mouthfuls I. Could. Not. Go. On.

As for the crust, I’m afraid to say, it was like cardboard – a total let down ūüė¶

My score: 2.5 out of 5. (That half point there is for originality.)

Here are a few more pics of our Better Than Sex evening:

Drinks are served with sugar or caramel sliding down the rim of the glass

Chocolate lava cake. It was the eve of Vicky's birthday, if you're wondering about the tag.

Chocolate lava cake, ready to erupt… (It was the eve of Vicky’s birthday, if you’re wondering about the tag.)

What you see there in the centre is the cheesecake dip meant for dipping those delectable chocolate balls. They were slighly too sweet, but I totally fell for the almond-cinnamon flavour.

What you see there in the centre is the cheesecake dip for those delectable chocolate balls. Though they were slightly too sweet, I totally fell for the almond-cinnamon flavour combo and airy-but-firm texture.

There’s one more post coming up in this series, in which I shall reveal the *perfect 5* Key lime pie ūüôā

Missed the other reviews? Here they are:

And if you want to know how my cake obsession started, click here. [Warning – contains hideous photographs of 70’s and 80’s fashion].

Key West – A Seafood Paradise

The US is not exactly known for being home to a nation of fish lovers. However, in some coastal regions and on its islands, such as the Florida Keys, fish and seafood dishes are as wildly popular as they are delicious. I took these pictures of some of what I gobbled up in various restaurants:

Salute

Blackened black grouper with mashed potatoes, black bean sauce and spinach

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper salad with mango salsa

Rooftop cafe

Scallops on sesame rice with edamame beans

Shrimp Green Curry

Shrimp green curry

Ceviche

Ceviche (a marinated fish dish popular across virtually all of Latin America)

Horseradish-encrusted hog fish

Horseradish-encrusted hogfish on a mountain of salad

A crab cake starter

A crab cake starter

Fancy any of these…? ūüôā

Weighty Matters

All good things come to an end. After nearly a month in glorious Key West being pampered by my friends, I’ve crashed back down onto the cold hard Earth that is wintry central Spain. The 20 degrees temperature difference sure feels a tad harsh to my overtired, travel weary body right now ūüė¶

As much as the return journey sucked by virtue of being, well, a return journey, approaching London, we were greeted by this stunning sunrise, served on a bed of whipped cream clouds:

London Sunrise c;

It’s always a huge relief when, after two plane changes, your bleary eyes catch sight of your luggage jittering towards you on the conveyor belt. Mine had an interesting tag on it:

I'm wasn't the only one who'd gained weight on this trip, evidently!

My long-suffering suitcase has officially been declared a health hazard. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who’d been piling on the pounds on this sojourn!

When I arrived in Key West on January 8th, my bag was about two thirds full, weighing 36lbs. This included a contraband 4-pound Manchego cheese, which my friends managed to gobble up with gusto in two weeks flat.

I was sooo determined not to overdo it with the shopping this time. All I actually needed was some sensible underwear (very cheap in the US!), which weighs just about as much as a bag of cotton balls, right?! It dawned on me that I’d failed in my mission when I was trying to cram all the accumulated junk into my straining suitcase an hour before my departure.

When I plonked the lumpy bloater down at the check-in counter,¬† the scales groaned under a succulent 53lbs. How did this happen?!? Luckily, Key West is one of the most laid-back places on Earth, and the nice man didn’t charge me for the excess. Phew!

I’ve a feeling that unpacking this monster – an onerous task that I’m saving for tomorrow – will be much less toil than shifting the excess blubber on my midriff…

In fact, I feel like this right now:

No, it's not a giant floating haggis, but a 9ft manatee feeding by my friends' houseboat a couple of days ago.

No, it’s not a giant floating haggis, but a 9ft manatee feeding by my friends’ neighbours’ houseboat a couple of days ago.

I really need to go to bed…

 

 

 

 

The Key Lime Pie Reviews: Key Lime Pie Factory

The Key Lime Pie Factory is the very place, according to the plaque next to the entrance, where the iconic dessert was first conceived in 1856. By American standards, this is positively prehistoric. If questioned, the proprietors would probably insist that it had been made with dinosaur milk by pilgrims donning starched aprons and white bonnets, outcast from the Olde Worlde for their…erm… pieous beliefs.

Birth Place

Shop insidePie pipingThe Pie

The verdict?

As you can see, this is one fine-looking Key lime pie. Akin to a catwalk model of the 90’s everything’s in perfect proportion – crust, filling, cream topping. Consistency and texture are just how they ought to be. Couldn’t fault it, try as I might. Hmmm…. if pushed at gun point, I’d whisper through clenched teeth that, perhaps, it was a teensy weensy itsy bitsy too tart for me…

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Key Lime Pie Factory

Missed the other reviews? Here they are:

And if you want to know how my cake obsession started, click here. [Warning – contains hideous photographs of 70’s and 80’s fashion].

Butterfly Bounty

Vicky’s lovely friends Frankie and David wrangled us freebie tickets to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. We showed up there on Wednesday, bright and early, before the arrival of the wild tourist hordes.

Although fidgety by nature, when you’re surrounded by 1,500 of those dazzling beauties, some of them will actually hold still for long enough to get a good shot. As you can imagine, I went into a clicking frenzy until the red light on my camera alerted me to the battery’s defeat.

A total stunner!

The same kind as above, from the side

The same kind as above, from the side

And from the front :) These blue ones are very friendly, they seem to love sitting on people

And from the front ūüôā These blue ones are very friendly, they seem to love sitting on people

On pink flower

Black

OrangeOrchid

Brown

All that posing and fluttering about gives them a mighty appetite:

Butterflies on sponge feeder

Congregating on a (sangria-soaked?) sponge feeder

Banana

…and on a saucy banana

Fruit

Butterflies aren’t the only inhabitants of the conservatory; there’s a whole flock of brightly-coloured birds keeping them company.

There are also Rhett and Scarlett

Including Rhett and Scarlett, who bicker loudly, and then make up, even more vociferously. When they don’t have their heads under water, that is.

...and this tiny, newly-hatched baby quail

A tiny, newly-hatched baby quail…aaaawwwwww!

The Key Lime Pie Reviews: Key West Cakes

This charming little cake shop on White Street is all about cupcakes and shabby chic.

DecorKey West Cakes SignBlack boardRainbow cup cakeOrange cup cakes

And of course they do Key lime pie:

KLP

The verdict: A perfectly respectable specimen. Crumb thin and without a trace of sogginess, the filling was light with a satisfying mouth feel, albeit just a tad too tart for me to reach cakegasm. Loved the fluorescent faux lime slice perched on top, gobbled that up with gusto ūüôā

My rating: 4 out of 5.

Vicky had this little guava cream tart. Very pretty, but waaaaay to sickly sweet.

Vicky had this little guava cream tart. Very pretty, but waaaaay to sickly sweet.

Missed the other reviews? Here they are:

And if you want to know how my cake obsession started, click here. [Warning – contains hideous photographs of 70’s and 80’s fashion].