My most recent trip back home... A lot of hard work and eating when into this, so please enjoy!
First stop Le Tub in Hollywood Beach, the servers were fast and pleasant and keep the iced tea coming because it was so darn hot out. The Mom and I stared with a dozen each steamed clams and we shared a burger, if you have ever had the burger at Le Tub you would know why we shared. The clams came out fast, they were nice and plump, however they could have had the sand rinsed off a bit better, just a tad gritty. Then the burger, what a monster, just liked I remembered, cooked to a perfect rare served with onion, tomato and lettuce, if I was standing I would have had been standing in the “hunch” because that burger was just that big and juicy. We were happy after that and pretty much needed a nap.
That evening we headed off to Tuna's in North Miami off of Dixie Highway to enjoy the live entainment, cold drinks and friendly staff. The bartender was on the ball never letting my drink sit empty, lots of ice, just the way I like my drinks and really can not say much more than the the evening was just really super fun!
On Friday night we had scrumptious dinner, cooked ourselves of course. We made our way to Whole Food and got some Sea Bass and Crab Cakes, yes, could have made the crab cakes, but it was all ready done for us, just sitting in the case and you could see the lump crab meat in the cake, so why not! We also bought this new dip they had, portabella and truffle tapenade, words cannot describe the greatness this dip was! The truffle was out of this world.
I marinated the sea bass in hoisin sauce and then off to Nick’s on the beach for cocktails. I did not eat at Nick’s but the drinks were cold and went down way too fast! (I was not driving) However, from the food that I seen (typical bar food) I will try it next time…wings looked good!
Once we returned home, I pan seared the sea bass and finished in the oven. Crab cakes got a light pan sear on each side and in the oven to warm through, we had those first with some mango chutney (I would normally not eat mango chutney with crab cake, but moms made the mango chutney, so it was a must to have with and it was sooooo good.) While waiting for the fish to finish, I quickly sautéed some fresh green beans and snow peas with garlic and a bit of spicy black bean sauce. What can I say it was a super meal!
Saturday night I found myself in Islamorada celebrating a friend’s birthday. After the drive down the first thing on the agenda was to hand out in the pool for a couple of hours! After it was Happy Hour, so we headed down the road to Dillon’s, a great little Irish place with football paying for our sport loving Birthday boy, but more importantly they had Bacardi Limon for our friend who has a hard time finding when going out! The barmaid was quick on her feet and very pleasant, which we liked. After devouring a plate of fish and chips, which was ok, once you took off the breading the fish had no flavor; we headed down to Wahoo’s Bar at Whaler Inn, overlooking the water and they have insane Happy Hour food.
Started with 2 orders of peel and eat shrimp, which was tasty and the shrimp were ample, the cold they served with cocktail sauce and the hot shrimp was served with drawn butter…They had me at butter! We went on to order cracked conch, the breading stayed on well and the conch was oh so tender and tasty, well seasoned! Not sure if anyone else got any, I think I took the bowl and sat in a corner and ate it all …just kidding. Then chicken wings came out, had one since I will always be on the quest for the BEST chicken wing, which I have found several times, they were juicy, not overcooked and simply a darn good wing. It makes my list! If you ever find your way to Holiday Isle/Islamorada you must stop in the just enjoy.
After filling up there we were on the hunt for some live music, we got as far as Islamorada Bar and Grill, apparently this place just opened about 6 to 8 weeks ago. Even though we were plenty full we wanted a pizza, so the owner said give him about an hour and he would make one for us even though it was NOT on the menu, which after tasting I told him he MUST place on the menu. Outside of NY, it was one of the best pizza’s I have ever tasted, maybe it was the freshness of the dough, or how thin the dough was or the combo of flavors (Chicken Alfredo Pizza) I don’t care what it was, it was incredible pizza. The evening ended on such a tasty note! On another note, I did check out the menu and it had a BIG Italian flare. So if you are looking for something other than seafood in the upper keys, check them out!
After finishing the pizza off for breakfast the next day, we headed to Mangroves Mike, a local breakfast and lunch joint that if Guy Fieri hasn’t featured it on DDD he must! This place is open from 6 AM to 2 PM, serves mongo big breakfasts’, sausage gravy that sticks to your ribs (yes that is what I had and was really darn good!) and Mike the owner walks around talking with everyone. Just a great homey place, If I lived there I would be there every day for breakfast!
That evening back in Hollywood and too tired to cook, we all ended up at Ale House, it’s a chain, it’s fun, it has lots of TV’s for our sport loving friend. Keeping it simple I had snow crab legs with butter, Crab legs came out hot, butter was hot…I was happy! The others were not…braised short ribs and wild rice came out cold, had to send it back to get warmed up then it came out too hot, asked 4 times for lettuce, tomato and mayo for the Rib Eye sandwich, sliders had no flavor what so ever. And from what I understand the New England Clam Bake was great too and no issues with it. Insane beer special $5 a pitcher and it was iced cold. It was a good day of eating!
Tuesday somehow Moms and I ended up back in Key Largo, a nice snorkel at Pennekamp, what a great day, the sun was out, the cool breeze off the ocean...the snorkeling was fantastic, can’t think of a better way to spend the day…Of course I can, we finished the day with a nice little dinner at the Fish House, which was recommended by the guys who ran the snorkel boat. Started with, you guessed it cracked conch, which was insanely good, conch fritters, which when tore into them you could see they big pieces of conch, very good, hush puppies, which I hadn’t had in years, which I now remember why, don’t get me wrong they were good, just no flavor, Moms had the asparagus and lump crab meat salad and I had buffalo shrimp creaser salad, both were HUGDE, fresh crisp romaine lettuce and very good, except the asparagus was blanched a tad too long.
My last night home we decided to keep simple and have Chinese take out from Helene Hunan’s Chinese on Hollywood Blvd. I love Chinese food and never get a chance to eat it becauce Bermuda has one place and it is ok...only ok not outstanding. We ordered the BBQ ribs and Honey Ribs along with Moo Shu Vegetables, which I have never seen Moo Shu served as vegetarian, I have only ever seen the Pork Moo Shu, it was so good. Both orders of ribs were brilliant, the honey ribs had just the right amount of sweetness and the regular BBQ ribs just fell right off the bone. I loved the MooShu Veggies, they had that nice char flavor and smell, I will order again and again and again...when back home!