Thursday, February 28, 2013

Travel Bites - Key West

After the chaos of the wedding week last year, Jared and I planned a road trip honeymoon through the Florida Keys. We flew to Miami, rented a car, and made our way down to the zero mile marker on Highway 1. This year, we returned to Key West for a long, tranquil weekend. It was warm, sunny, and weird. Just like we remembered.
For our first night back in town, we strolled around Old Town people watching and enjoying the weather. We stopped in at Santiago's Bodega for delicious tapas and sangria. It was a feast of cherry-hoisin glazed beef short ribs with orange-miso slaw; shrimp and chorizo skewered and pan-grilled with minced garlic; and cayenne-spiced potato croquettas with house ground prosciutto and provolone cheese served with scallion cream.
Sadly, they were out of the saganaki (haloumi cheese sprinkled with oregano and flambéed with brandy, served with pita bread), but it was probably for the best. Too many other tasty bits to try.
The next morning, we did the tourist thing and checked out the Hemingway House. Our feisty guide told us tales of the writer's stormy past - from loves and divorces to inspirations for novels and wild gaming. 
We traipsed around the beautiful estate for a while after our tour, and one of the six-toed cats befriended Jared (much to his dismay). The little beast made himself comfortable, even as my charming husband cursed and tried to push him away. A cat after my own heart, being perfectly sweet and infuriating all at once. Maybe we should have taken him home.
That evening, we walked down to Camille's for dinner. The wait staff there is eclectic and quirky. The decor is hippie-island chic with a nod to female power. The menu changes daily with food that is local and fresh. It's an odd little joint in the best way possible. We happened upon it during our trip last year and returned this year to find it just as strange as usual.
And, thankfully, just as tasty as we remembered. I ordered the Ahi tuna ceviche and seared swordfish, enjoying every mercury-laced bite. Jared went for the spaghetti with clams and white wine butter sauce. Lovely.
We spent the rest of our trip biking around the island, discovering new beautiful neighborhoods, touring the old fort, and relaxing in general. But we had one last culinary venture on our list for the weekend . . . and it was Better Than Sex. No really, that's the name of the restaurant.
This saucy little late night spot does nothing but desserts. And my sweet tooth finally met its match. The vibe is a little sultry and a little seedy. Rich textures and dark corners where some patrons were getting a little too handsy. Voyeuristic entertainment aside, this place is decadent and amazing. Our desserts of choice? The Chocolate Grilled Cheese: Danish brie cheese and dark Belgian chocolate grilled on home-style buttered bread kissed with cinnamon and sugar and served "snuggled up" against a shot of strawberry champagne soup. And the "Between My Red Velvet Sheets" Cheesecake: touted as velvet creamy love fluffed up to perfection. "You'll be floating on Cloud 69 from your first nibble." Get some.

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