Welcome to my backyard--the Florida Keys! I'm a travel writer, blogger and photographer with a passion for all things Florida, especially the Florida Keys. These islands are so much more than Duval Street and Jimmy Buffet. They are rich in history, culture, cuisine, nature and events--all surrounded by pristine waters teeming with wildlife. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the Conch Republic has many surprises in store. Let me be your guide.
Foodies will start descending on Key West Thursday, January 24, for the four-day Key West Food & Wine Festival. One of my favorite events each year is the "Wine Around" Neighborhood Strolls, where restaurants present their most creative tidbits paired with wine. I’m looking forward to exploring the new neighborhood added this year — Quieter Side of Duval — along the upper end of Duval Street. I got a sneak peek at the menu, and my mouth is watering already! We’ll start our tour at the French bistro, Croissants de France, for lemongrass beef skewers, paired with Lichine Le Coq Rouge, a cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend from France. Then we’ll move on to Le Petit Paris, the new organic café I’ve been dying to try, for black pepper-and-lavender-dusted sea scallops, which should be perfectly accentuated by Caymus Conundrum, a white wine blend from California.
At one of my go-to tapas restaurants, Nine One Five, we’ll be treated to fresh Dungeness crab with lemon miso dressing, wrapped in ahi tuna sashimi. The citrus, straw and mineral flavors of Justin sauvignon blanc from Paso Robles will be a refreshing companion. Not to be outdone, Blackfin Bistro will serve up conch cakes with a Dijon remoulade, paired with 900 Grapes, a sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. We’ll end the evening at the new and expanded location of Better Than Sex, a restaurant notorious for its suggestively-named over the top desserts. I'm sure they won't disappoint with their sinful Popcorn Pimp — rich cheesecake on a sugar cookie dough crust, topped with melted caramel and a white chocolate and salted popcorn bark. A final toast with MezzaCorona's dry-yet-fruity moscato from Italy will be a sweet way to finish off the night!