Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe

Chocolate covered key lime pie = heavenly!

We strolled into Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe place several times, taking advantage of the dozen or so free samples offered daily including key lime taffy, key lime cookies, key lime fudge, key lime wine (not sure about that one!) and all kinds of salsas and sauces. The chocolate covered frozen key lime pie is one of the best things I've ever eaten. Enough said!

Key lime pie slice.

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Alonzo's Oyster Bar - Key West's Famous Happy Hour

Fried calamari and mussels diablo. In the back - REAL fish sticks!

After hearing about it from the staff at our B&B, we had to try the famous happy hour at Alonzo's Oyster Bar. Great drink specials and all appetizers are 50% off. The conch chowder and mussels were definitely highlights. The fried food - not so much. I should have ordered the peel'n'eat shrimp, which I later heard is really their specialty and of course, it's hard to mess up steamed shrimp if they are really fresh. We got there just as the deal started and by the time we left there was a wait. This place is in the marina and huge fish (not sure what kind - anyone know the ones that hang out in the harbor?) prowl around right by the dock!

Conch Ceviche.

Outside Alonzo's. We saw some giant fish hanging out in the harbor.

Conch Chowder.

Alonzo's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Cafe - Key West

Cold Peanut Noodles and Falafel Pita special with Sweet Potato Fries.

It rained quite a bit during our stay and one rainy evening we made our way to The Cafe, a quaint vegetarian/pescatarian restaurant on Southard St. I enjoyed the cold peanut noodles - one of my favorite things to make (and eat) while Calvin opted for the falafel sandwich, a special for the evening. Both dishes were excellent and the creative menu made me sorry we didn't have time to return. In addition to a wide array of traditional and ethnic vegetarian dishes, this place has an extensive seafood menu including clams and mussels. Definitely a good place for a little something different when you're in Key West.

Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Flamingo Crossing Ice Cream and Butterflys

Look at this huge cone!

During our Key West travels we stopped for a rest at Flamingo Crossing Ice Cream parlor, where we enjoyed rare flavors such as guanabana and papaya as well as the always adored key lime. The ice cream really hit the spot and I was forced to eat an entire waffle cone!

One of the neat butterflys we saw at The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

Flamingo Crossing on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

B.O.'s Fish Wagon

Fried Shrimp and Fried Fish Sandwich.

Earlier this year we took a much needed R&R break in Key West, Florida. In addition to balmy temperatures we enjoyed some great food. We stayed at Key West Bed & Breakfast: The Popular House and enjoyed it very much. It was off the beaten track enough to be cozy and quiet but not too far to walk to everything. Upon arrival we took the local bus to near our B&B - we're not ones to pay $20 for a 3 mile taxi ride! First question: where to eat lunch? Luckily the desk manager at the B&B pointed us in the right direction - to B.O.'s Fish Wagon, which was right down the street. This place is authentic Key West and the food sure was great. I love the character of this place, with the vintage car out front and all of the old maritime paraphernalia. The fish = awesome and they have homemade limeade. This place is cash only so be sure you have some!

This old car is part of the charm!

Our table - love the decor!

Delicious Conch Fritters - our appetizer.

B.O.'s Fish Wagon on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 22, 2011

OK - Finally into 2011

New Year's Day feast: black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread. See the giant smoked chicken wing in the corner?

Although it's pathetically late, I am excited to report that the blog has officially made it to 2011 material, starting with the New Year's day traditional meal I cooked up for the family. Everything was pretty good considering it was my first time cooking greens and black eyed peas. I made some honey butter to go with the cornbread and it was delicious! I plan on catching up fast so get ready for many more posts ahead.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Big Ketch a Big Disappointment

Blackened Dry-Pack Sea Scallops with Georgia Peach Dipping Sauce

I was provided with a $25 gift certificate to try out The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill, which opened in late 2010 in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood. Thinking this would be a fun place to take the family for some good seafood, we tried it out on a cool, rainy evening. We were seated on the enclosed patio, which has bar-stool height tables. Although there were heaters it was still quite chilly. The indoor portion of the restaurant looked neat and rather upscale. Maybe I would have felt better about the prices if I'd been sitting inside.

In addition to the scallop appetizer pictured above, which was tasty but small for the $10 price tag, we tried the salmon with chili sauce entree and the lobster roll. The hush puppies and cole slaw that we chose to accompany the salmon were not memorable and the salmon itself was boring and plain as well. The mango-sweet chili sauce tasted like the chili sauce you buy for $1.39 at any area Asian market. The lobster roll was delicious but provided only about 4 bites that included any lobster meat. Overall the portions seemed really small to me for the price. Our bill ended up being around $50 before the gift certificate and we left hungry. That was for 1 appetizer, a sandwich and an entree. For that price, I expect more. While our whole family loves seafood, this place didn't stand out enough for me to want to go back.

The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pizza and Gingerbread - what could be better?

Ready to go into the oven!
One of our favorite family traditions is pizza making. We've gotten better at it over the past couple of years and the toppings only get more creative each time! One day we decorated a gingerbread house and made pizza - quite a fun day! The pizza was extremely tasty also and it made it from board to stone without getting too messy. The trick is LOTS of cornmeal - both in the dough and on the board. Having two people move the pizza from the board to the hot stone helps a great deal as well. Practice makes perfect I suppose! The dough from Your DeKalb Farmer's Market is our favorite - they have lots of tasty topping options too - check out the cheese section!

Gingerbread house decorating - what fun!

After cooking on the hot pizza stone - so delicious!
Your Dekalb Farmers Market Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Very Belated Birthday Post

Fruit tart from my lovely cousins - yum!

For my most recent birthday we ventured to Cobb County for a performace at the Cobb Energy Center. Before the show, Calvin researched and found a nearby Italian restaurant - Taverna Fiorentina - for us to try for my birthday. The space is small , which I liked although too many of the tables are near the kitchen, adding to the noise and decreasing the intimate ambiance. The service, although a bit slow (they were pretty full that night) was decent. The food we tried was a mixed bag. I loved the Caesar salad and the pasta and risotto dishes were tasty but the food felt heavier than it should have. I liked the grilled squid a lot but there wasn't much squid on the plate! The scallops were cooked perfectly and not overdone, which always makes me smile. I would like to give this place another try in order to taste more dishes from their menu. Unfortunately since there are so many new places to try, it might be awhile before that happens.

Seafood mushroom pasta.

Grilled squid with fruit jelly.

Stellar Caesar salad.

Risotto with Scallops.

Italian rice pudding.

Taverna Fiorentina on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Las Brasas - Decatur

Peruvian rotesserie chicken, potatoes with Huancaina Sauce, Salad and Roasted Corn.

Las Brasas - a takeout only Peruvian place in Decatur specializing in rotisserie chicken, is one of those charming hole-in-the-wall places you want to return to again and again. The owners were nice enough to entertain all of our questions about what to order and the chicken - so tender and juicy. I love the green hot sauce they serve on the side. The corn and potatoes were also delicious - the potatoes covered with a creamy spicy cheese sauce. On Thursday and Friday
they have Lomo Saltado - Peruvian stir fried steak. I plan to return to try this specialty soon. The flan also looked tasty. Specialty sodas are available and limited delivery is offered too.

Las Brasas on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 18, 2011

Zuffy's Place

Zuffy's Salad and Shrimp & Grits.

I've driven past Zuffy's Place dozens of times on my way out Buford Highway, but never gave it much attention. Could it possibly compete with the Korean BBQ, green tea bubble tea or nasi lemok I was headed for? Finally, after hearing from someone that they have Creole food, I gave it a try on a rainy Saturday for lunch. The result was a pleasant surprise. The menu is a mix of Creole and traditional American fare. The shrimp and grits were creamy and delicious. I want to go back to try the etouffe and gumbo. Calvin enjoyed the fish po'boy. One of my co-workers who is from New Orleans has even given it his stamp of approval, although he wasn't too pleased with the jambalaya. Zuffy's holds all kinds of events also, such as Texas Hold 'Em and comedy night. There is a full bar and the ambience is bar-like. Still, with such good food - I'll be back!

Fish Po'Boy with mac & cheese.
Zuffy's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Twin Tops Fish Camp: Belmont, NC

Shrimp scampi and fried clam strips.

On one of our many trips to Charlotte we stopped for dinner at Twin Tops Fish Camp in Belmont. In addition to very tasty seafood - the fish and fried oysters were my favorite, this place also has a neat candy shop that will make you nostalgic for your favorite treats. I got a Charleston Chew.

Included with all meals is a generous portion of hush puppies and a salad bar. I was impressed that they even had gourmet toppings like Craisins (which, as an aside, are apparently extremely difficult to find in countries like Chile, where my cousin is currently studying; we got her a bag at Costco when she came to be in the wedding!) for the salad bar. The food is plentiful - next time we decided we only needed one plate! Fish camps are abundant in some parts of the NC Piedmont. There are several on the way to this place from the highway. I'm really glad this authentic kind of local food still exists.

Platter that included everything - deviled crab, flounder, catfish and oysters with hush puppies.

Twin Tops Fish Camp on Urbanspoon

Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin

Better late than never, right? I made this scrumptious soup served in a hollowed out and baked pumpkin back in December. It's a little out of season now, but it was very tasty and a neat concept. Our dinner companions were quite impressed. The secret ingredient - parmesan cheese and lots of it. I modified and combined several recipes for pumpkin soup and added my own touches - next time I'll try to write it down!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm Back!

Loyal readers, Thank you for your patience during the past few months. I will be posting regularly again now and have a HUGE backlog of food experiences to write about. Please check back often in the coming weeks. There are also quite a few new places opening up so stay tuned!

Below is a photo of my delicious and gorgeous wedding cake made by Gail at Cheesecake Etc. in Charlotte and above is one of us in the orchid house at the garden where our wedding was held. I may do a longer wedding post later but here is a sneak peak of our big day!