Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taste of Key West

The 19th Annual Taste of Key West will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday, April 14, 2014 on the Truman Waterfront Pier at the end of Southard Street as a benefit for AIDS Help. Every year the event has grown by leaps and bounds and this year promises to be another block buster!

More than 50 local restaurants and 100 wineries and vineyards, provided by Republic National Distributing Company will be on hand to provide culinary delights and fine wine tastes. Admission is free…food and wine tickets cost $1 each with “tastes” ranging from $3 to $8. The 2014 Commemorative Wine Glasses sell for $6 each. Participants can begin arriving at 5:00 p.m. to purchase their glasses and tickets prior to the gates opening promptly at 6:00 p.m. Get advance tickets here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Peppers of Key West

Looking for something hot and spicy? Well the next time you visit Key West, be sure to stop by Peppers of Key West! It’s a small, fun shop that’s set up as a "bar," but you won’t find any beer or liquor here... just plenty of hot sauce and tortilla chips. At Peppers of Key West they carry some of the world’s best hot sauces, and as I came to find out, some of world’s hottest hot sauces. If you’re looking for a personal favorite, a hard-to-find hot sauce, or simply want to try something new, you are definitely at the right spot. In addition to hot sauces, Peppers of Key West also has a large selection of pepper related food items. Everything from exotic fruit sauces to snack dips.

My favorite place at Peppers is the tasting bar. Here, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will allow you to taste endless samples. You simply sit at the "bar," and they immediately provide you with tortilla chips and begin inquiring about what you're looking for or what you want to try. I tried various samples with very distinct and unexpected flavors: mango, coconut, pineapple, banana, jalapeƱos, habaneros, etc. Aside from allowing me to try all these incredible varieties of hot sauce, the "bartender" gave me suggestions for what I could pair each particular sauce with. 

The sauces available range in price, intensity, and heat. The unit of measurement for hot sauce is the Scoville. This scale was developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. In the interest of not boring you to tears with the logistics of the test, it is easier to say it measures the amount of capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot, found within a particular pepper or sauce. As an example, bell peppers, because they are not spicy at all, have a Scoville rating of 0. Pure capsaicin has measurement of 15,000,000 Scoville units. Ouch!!! Average (not extremely spicy) hot sauces do not indicate their particular measurement, but the hotter ones surely advertise it and brag about the Scoville units found within. If you would like to find out more information or details about this scale, you can always visit the Peppers website at Pepper Central I am also providing a table where all of you can compare different common spices by their Scoville measurement.

So do you think you can take the heat? Take some time on your next visit to Key West and go sample all the hot sauces. The staff makes it fun and you will be amazed how hot sauces can be so different and flavorful!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meat Eatery And Tap Room

Last week, my bud, Marvin aka "Mr. Miami" and I, took a small road trip to my second home down south in the Florida Keys. We made our way past Key Largo and Tavernier until we reached this small gem located in a small strip mall in Islamorada called MEAT Eatery & Tap Room. Ever heard the term, “good things come in small packages?” Well that’s exactly what you’ll find here. The decor, a laid back atmosphere, and especially the food and staff are fantastic. 

After receiving a warm welcome, we sat at the bar and quickly started going over the menu. I took us a while to figure out what we wanted, everything sounded amazing. They offer a dozen draft beers, organic wines, micro brewed sodas,"milkshakes" (for adults only) and the bacon takes two weeks to make and it’s also made in house. Not to mention, they make their own homemade sauces.

We started our meal with the housemade pork rinds, served with chimichurri aioli. Mind you, these aren't the ones you buy in a plastic bag in Sedano's. These puppies came to the table fresh from the fryer still crackling! They are a bit spicy but nothing too serious. When it was time for the main course we were in burger heaven. I went with the "Inside Out, Juicy-Lucy" burger. It comes stuffed with bacon and pimento cheese, topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and I added their housemade bacon, and house pickled jalapenos. I decided to get a little fancy and upgrade to the duck fat truffled bistro fries on the side. On the other hand, Marvin went with the American Wagyu burger with cheese, bacon, and beer braised onions. Both burgers were truly gourmet, unlike anything I've ate before in the Keys.

With little to no room for dessert, I was compelled to try the bread pudding. Boy was I happy I did. Amazing and delicious! Covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, it didn't disappoint.

Are you tired of fish sandwiches or so called “world famous” tuna nachos? In the mood for a cold beer and the best burger in the Keys? Well get yourself on to the overseas HWY and head to MM 88. There, you’ll find MEAT! Sure, it's not upscale, doesn't have a view of the water, or a traditional gastropub, but it’s a great addition to the Keys dinning scene. Do yourself a favor, stop on by… trust me.