Category Archives: The Key West Chronicles

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].

Gosh, It’s True…Cats Are Evil!

Everybody knows that my love of cakes is only rivalled by my love of kitties. But these two I spotted a couple of days ago in Key West outside an abandoned house gave me the heebie jeebies… they certainly did not like having their picture taken!

Evil Cats

WTF are you looking at, Lady?!

The Key Lime Pie Reviews: Key West Key Lime Shoppe

We weren’t at all hopeful, my pal Vicky and I. Lots of hype, piles of merchandise, and, most likely, an underwhelming Key lime pie experience, that’s what we expected. But I couldn’t very well not review the ostentatiously named Key West Key Lime Shoppe, could I?

Key Lime dog treats? Not even Her Supreme Greediness,  Princess Pugsy, seems convinced

Key lime dog treats? Not even Her Supreme Greediness, Princess Pugsy, seems convinced

All a bit sterile and generic looking...

These look all a bit sterile and generic…

People were eating them, so we ordered ours.

People seemed to be enjoying them, so we ordered ours.

KLP and a steaming mug of coffee

The verdict?

Much to our astonishment, this run-of-the-mill-looking slice turned out to be a winner. The thin crust delivered on crunchy crumbliness. The filling was light, almost like a mousse, but, at the same time, it had that substantial mouth feel you’d expect from a pie. Flavour and the level of tanginess were just right. The only possible improvement one might suggest (and this is a personal preference) would be a meringue topping instead of the cream.

My rating: 4.9 out of 5.

Shop front

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].

The Key Lime Pie Reviews: Southernmost Beach Caf√©

The Southernmost Beach Caf√© is what it says on the tin: The southernmost eatery in the US. I’d been there once before and was served a delectable lunch. So, I thought, they must concoct their own special breed of Key lime pie, right?

Southernmost Caf

And yes, indeed they do!

Looks stunningly delicious, doesn't it?

Looks stunningly delicious, doesn’t it?

The verdict?

Well, let me hand it to you straight: It was all wrong. All of it. An Oreo cookie crust?! Nice with a plain cheese cake, I’m sure, but positively offensive with a zesty Key lime filling. The cream topping – sickly sweet. The strawberry goop on top? It completes the flavour amalgamation from hell.

My rating: This unholy melange wasn’t the absolute worst dessert I’ve ever had in my life, so I will give it 0.5 out of 5. I’m being gracious here out of appreciation of¬† the fabulously friendly wait staff and all the other glorious food they serve up.

If you have the chance, do go there, the setting is beautiful. Just don’t order their flippin’ aberration of a Key lime pie!

Cafe viewCafe sign

Southernmost beach, Key West

Artist weaving palm fronds on Southernmost Beach, Key West

Missed the other reviews? Here they are:

And if you’re curious about the early days of my cake obsession, click here [Warning: contains hideous pictures of 70’s/80’s hairdos and fashion].

Lunch Outing To Geiger Key

On Tuesday, Vicky and I went to have lunch at The Fish Camp, Geiger Key on Stock island.

Geiger Key

Our main reason for going there was to enjoy the magnificent view while munching on our food.

There was a storm brewing...

There was a storm brewing…

The portions are humongous

The portions are humongous

Aaaah, glorious sweet potato fries... they deserve a post of their own, really...

Aaaah, glorious sweet potato fries… they deserve a post of their own, really…

Mid-way through our lunch, an almighty downpour commenced

Mid-way through our lunch, an almighty downpour commenced. We were safely under cover, though, and it was quite warm.

Just as well Geiger Key offers water sports!

Just as well Geiger Key offers water sports!

Has everybody had enough of the food posts yet??