Weekly Eats

Our 3rd week in Key West ended on Friday with an 18-hour ride back to VA. Many good memories and good times!

Sunday

Breakfast: a papaya- mango yogurt cup and a half of a Kind bar

Lunch: Lagerheads Beach Bar Рwe ordered fish tacos and crab cakes (comes with 2 cakes topped with the same mango salsa that are on the tacos). Then we each had 1 taco and 1 crab cake. A cantaloupe slice and a small chocolate chip cookie also came with it.

Dinner: Smokin’ Tuna – yellowtail in a soy-ginger sauce with cole slaw and corn on the cob on the side.

Monday

Breakfast: homemade yogurt, granola and fruit bowls.

breakfast fixins

fruit, yogurt, granola bowls

Lunch: Bad Boy Burrito – a burrito with chicken, mango-habenero salsa, avocado, red onion, cojita cheese, sour cream and their rice/black beans. Eaten by the pool at Southernmost Mansion!

Dinner: We grilled out with our friends Emily and Rick on their boat. Steak, sausage, hot dogs, cole slaw and cauliflower. Very good!!

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk,  banana, blueberries, peaches and blueberry cardamom yogurt. Then I spilled one of the smoothies all over the counter. Smoothie-abuse!

Lunch: I sauteed more of our freshly caught fish and served it with cole slaw and a side of black beans, topped with a fried egg, a sprinkle of cheese and some salsa.

fresh fish

Randolph and Walter got a haircut and bath today!

Randolph, walter and me

Dinner: Santiago’s Bodega – we sat at an outside table and shared a greek salad, the mako shark special, the lamp chops and the camembert wedge with roasted red pepper/almonds/apricot. Then Travis had to go and order the bread pudding! What?! Of course, I want some…

Wednesday

Breakfast:¬†smoothie with almond milk, banana, frozen cherries…topped with a little granola for crunch and some strawberry slices. Chomp-chomp!

cherry,  banana smoothie with granola and strawberries

Walter with a sand beard and Randolph

Lunch: We grilled up 2 small super-thin steaks and served them with more of the coleslaw and some potatoes and onions cooked together with a fried egg on top. Salsa on the side. SO good after spending a couple of hours on the beach that morning.

Dinner: Sushi at Origami

Elissa

Thursday

Breakfast: a yogurt-fruit-granola bowl made with dark cherry chai yogurt. Super yum!

dark cherry chai

Lunch: Lagerheads Beach Bar Рshared a hamburger with my man

Dinner: Abbodanza – Our friend Rick’s fav spot so we ate dinner together on our last night in Key West. I had the pasta primavera.¬†

Friday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, banana, frozen cherries, strawberries and a vanilla agave yogurt cup.

Lunch: a lobster roll (local spiny lobster) at a small local fishery in Marathon, FL

Dinner: Sushi, edamame and miso soup in Jacksonsville, FL

Saturday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, protein powder, blueberries, pineapple and banana

Lunch: leftover pasta primavera

Dinner: The last of our Key West fresh-catch snapper. I roasted them with salt, pepper, EVOO and lemon slices. Fresh asparagus and pine nut cous cous on the side.

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Weekly Eats

The latest installment of my week in food. We’re still in sunny, perfect Key West!

Sunday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, protein powder and almond butter

Lunch: 6 Toed Cat – a “hogfish” benedict with tons of avocado and tomato and perfectly runny eggs.

Dinner: Half Shell Raw Bar Рwe had to do the cheap happy hour seafood again! Oysters, clams, shrimp and tuna!

Monday

Lunch: Went by¬†Cuban Coffee Queen¬†about 9:30am because it’s right by Conch Harbor Marina where our friends and their boats are. We had a day of deep sea fishing planned and this is where I made a pit stop for 2 cuban sandwiches for lunch on the boat. I also got us both an iced coffee and a smoothie. Amazingly delicious!

Here are some of the fish we caught:

Key west fish

Dinner: Freshly caught fish, steamed broccoli and an iceberg lettuce-cucumber-tomato-onion salad!

Tuesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and PB2.

Lunch: I went to Big Pine Key with my friend Emily for the day. We left my house before I had a chance to eat so my lunch was a Cliff bar and a banana. I also ate some smarties by the pool!

We took a 2 mile walk on a trail that her grandfather made. How awesome-sweet is that? He has been spending the winter in the same campground for 38 years. The rest of the time he lives in Iowa. These are some Gumbo Limbo trees near the end of the trail.

Gumbo Limbo trees in Big Pine Key

I also got to feed and pet a Key Deer (no pics!) and we went to a small state park where 2 alligators live but they didn’t surface for us to see them. We saw turtle though!

turtle

Before we headed back to Key West we stopped in No Name Key at the No Name Pub for a drink. Sangria!!

sangria from No Name pub

Dinner: More of the freshly caught fish, steamed spinach and more of that ravioli with sweet potato and kale (like I had last week). We also had a sourdough bread roll.

Wednesday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and almond butter

Lunch: We headed over to Simonton St. beach for about 4 hours on Wednesday. We rented a couple of beach loungers and played with our dogs, got in the water and soaked up the sun. There is a little cafe there called Lagerheads Beach Bar¬†and everyone was raving about their fish tacos so that’s what I had to try. Tons of fresh tuna topped with cabbage, finely diced mango and tomatoes and drizzled with some yummy special sauce. On the side was a slice of cantaloupe and a chocolate chip cookie. YUM-ME!

Simonton St Beach, Key West

Dinner: Old Town Mexican Cafe – veggie tostada with corn tortillas, squash, onions, greens, beans, olives, tomato, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.

Veggie tostada

Thursday

Breakfast: smoothie with almond milk, blueberries, banana, peaches and protein powder

Lunch: 6 Toed Cat¬†– AGAIN! This time a crabcake benedict with tons of avocado and spinach and gooey-ooey runny eggs (I didn’t eat the hashbrowns). I also shared some granola, fruit and yogurt with Travis.

crabcake benedict

granola, fruit and yogurt

Dinner: We ate dinner in 2 parts. Dinner #1 was for happy hour appetizers at Half Shell Raw Bar. We had raw oysters and clams and a drink. Then, since it was our first rainy night during our trip, we went home and ordered delivery from The Cafe. We both had the lasagna special: mushroom, eggplant and a cilantro ricotta. That came with a side salad with carrots, cabbage, tomato and sprouts all topped off with a balsamic vinaigrette!

veggie lasagna and salad

Friday

Breakfast: A carrot cake Cliff bar

Lunch: A spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, blue cheese, onion, shrimp and raspberry vinaigrette.

Spinach salad

Dinner: Blue Heaven – seared scallops, wild rice, corn salsa, green beans and cornbread. This place usually has a long wait but we went in on a whim and not only were seated right away but got a table right next to the live music. I hugged the hostess!

Saturday

Breakfast: a Mango smootie and iced coffee from Cuban Coffee Queen

Lunch: Half of a cuban sandwich from Cuban Coffee Queen (extra pickles!) and a half of a granola bar.

Dinner: More of our freshly caught fish. I baked it with salt, pepper and taco seasoning. Then we created fish tacos with lettuce, sour cream, jalenpenos, salsa, avocado and cheese. We also ate a mix of corn and lima beans on the side.

Weekly Eats

We have been in Key West Florida for the past week! Sunny days. 80 degrees. Palm trees. Beaches and pools. Fishing and friends. Here’s what I ate…

Look at all those doggy paw prints in the sand:

Simonton st beach

Sunday

Lunch: Subway – 6 inch turkey on wheat with fixin’s

Dinner: The Cafe – stir fry bowl with soba noodles, squash, red & green cabbage, celery, broccoli, edamame and shrimp

Monday

Lunch: Bad Boy Burrito – burrito with chicken, queso fresco, cabbage, red onion escabeche, avocado and mango habenero salsa. We also shared a green smoothie with kale, spinach, banana and pineapple.

Dinner: Abbodanza Рpenne primavera with broccoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, zucchini, squash and mushrooms!

Randolph, Walter and Lola

Tuesday

Lunch: Fishing trip day! I thought we would only be gone for 3 hours but that turned into 6 hours so this is all I had until dinner: 1 cup of coffee, a half of a Kind bar (the other half went through the holes in the basket of my bike!) and a pack of peanut butter crackers.

Dinner: Old Town Mexican cafe – Snapper served with sauteed spinach, rice and black beans. I also had a side of guacamole with my chips and salsa.

Wednesday

Lunch: Lobo’s – I got the “#1″…a veggie wrap with spinach, romaine, sprouts, mushrooms, avocado, green peppers, tomato and a dill sauce.

Dinner: Fresh caught black-belly-rose-fish (from Tuesday’s trip) served with sauteed spinach and some ravioli with sweet potato and kale that I bought at the store.

black belly rose fish

Thursday

Lunch: La Creperie –¬†La Veggie with spinach, mushrooms, chives, tomatoes and goat cheese. I added avocado.

Dinner: Half Shell Raw Bar – raw clams, oysters and peel-n-eat shrimp. The best happy hour prices ever! You can pig out on fresh seafood and have to try hard to spend $50!

classic Key West rooster

Friday

Lunch: Banana Cafe Рtuna nicoise salad. Can you say key lime vinaigrette? Tangy awesome-ness!

Dinner:¬†Lobo’s¬†– a quesadilla packed with veggies like spinach, onion, mushrooms and avocado.

Key West sunset

Saturday

Lunch: an authentic cuban sandwich with extra pickles from Ana’s Cuban Grocery. I think this had the most meat that I ate all week!

Dinner: sushi, edamame and miso soup from Origami before going on a late night fishing trip!

Key West in pictures (and an engagement!)

We recently took a 10 day trip to one of our fav places…Key West, Florida! We typically don’t plan anything…especially when it comes to trips. Last year I knew the day before we left that we were going to Key West. Actually, the only reason that we didn’t leave the same day is because I had a doctors appointment the next morning that I didn’t want to miss! So anyway, I knew that I wanted to go to Key West again this summer soon after I got out of class…we decided not to drive this time, found a great deal on plane tickets and grabbed them up 2+ months in advance! Whats wrong with us?!!

The first thing that I HAVE to share is that we got engaged!! It all happened at the little cottage we rented the first morning we were there. It was raining out but we had plans to go fishing with our friends that afternoon. Before we left to go out on our boat trip Travis surprised me with a little box he had hidden in his luggage. It was completely surprising and unexpected and he picked it out ALL BY HIMSELF. LOVE! And now I a FIANCE!

Travis posted on Facebook: “she said yes and now we are bonafide”.

engagement

Travis and I being happy!

Travis and Elissa

Self portrait:

Me

Fishin’ the afternoon after we got engaged. We caught three fish that we just under the 20-inch minimum length that you can legally keep. Look at that gorgeous red grouper!

Travis caught a red grouper

Devin and I watching the fishin’ poles:

me and dev

It was drizzling off and on all day so when we were coming back in from fishing I covered in a towel to stay dry. Look at that bling on my finger!

fishin in the rain

Since we had to throw back all the grouper we caught we bought some fish from this guy who caught them by spear fishing. He also filleted them for us! The guy on the right watching is our friend Rick who owns a boat rental business…he is also my friend Emily’s boyfriend. We had gone out to the grocery store to buy veggies to go with the fish to make up for dinner!

speared fish in key west

Ping pong at Blue Heaven while waiting to have brunch:

Blue Heaven

We had brunch at Blue Heaven and got to watch our buddy Chad play while we ate. I had a vegetarian eggs benedict that had thick slices of fresh tomato and grilled asparagus where the ham usually is. I also ordered a side a cheese grits which was more like a large bowl of cheese grits but the grated gruyere cheese on top was so good I had eat all of it even when I was beyond full. This is a video of Chad from the next day playing at the Conch Republic (in the video you can see Devin and the back of my wet hair!)

Chad playing at Blue Heaven

How cool is this banyon tree? It’s huge, right?!

me and banyon tree

Virgilio’s! Pasta! Martinis! Friends! Emily!

me and emily virgilios

Devin and I at Half Shell Raw Bar by Conch Harbor. They have oysters for $6 a dozen during happy hour. The raw clams were my fav!

eat it raw key west

This is the La Printaniere from the La Creperie in Bahama Village. A buckwheat crepe with spring mix, baby arugula, goat cheese, avocado, pear, strawberries,
caramelized walnuts, served with a Honey Dijon mustard vinaigrette. SO good!

buckwheat crepe with salad

Sangria from Old Town Mexican Cafe!

Sangria

We ate a lot of awesome dinners in Key West but this is the only one I remembered to take a picture of. Seared tuna on soba noodles with shiitake mushrooms from Bagatelle.

Seared tuna and soba noodles

MY NEW FIANCE Travis playing his guitar in our pool at the cottage we rented.

Travis playing guitar in the pool

Here is both if us at the same pool a couple of days later when it was all overcast out.

me and trav key west

We have more videos than pics of our trip thanks to Travis’ Go-Pro. This video is of me at the pool at the Southernmost Mansion where Travis, Devin and I spent an afternoon, had a pizza delivered and enjoyed a couple of cocktails (Dev had a virgin pina colada here!). It’s a not-so-secret-spot where for $10 you can use the pool, get towels and a free drink ticket!

I do not drink bourbon but Travis wanted me to pose with his empty Maker’s Mark Bottle. This was a corner of our backyard where we parked our bikes…there’s also a key lime tree behind me!

me and makers mark key west

Key lime tree!

Key lime tree

We went into an open house one day and the owner told us about her friend Meagan that owned Stand Up Paddleboard Key West. We had wanted to try these out so we booked it for the very next morning! Travis, my friend Emily and I went and all agreed that the word “EPIC” best described our tour! We weaved through the islands and mangrove trees between Key West and Stock Island and saw 2 small nurse sharks, puffer fish, baby barracudas, a large sting ray and pelicans!

Elissa and Emily paddleboarding

Travis said this was me not being a “fraidy cat”! I loved paddleboarding and can not wait to do it again soon! There was another day that we went out on a hobie cat and I was freaking out…you can hear me in the video saying that I feel like I’m having a mini heart attack!

me paddleboarding

Higgs Beach aka the doggie beach. Our dogs were back in Richmond with my brother but we still took the boat here one afternoon and sat in the sand and swam around. A beautiful corner of the world!

Higgs Beach

Places We Love in Key West

We have just returned home from a 3 week vacation. The first 2 nights were spent in Vero Beach, Florida. Over 2 weeks was spent in Key West. Then our last couple of nights were spent in Miami. We won’t count the 3am stop in Walterboro, South Carolina…it was¬†strictly¬†for sleeping purposes when we were too zonked to make it the last 7 hours home ūüôā

I thought it would be fun to share some of the places we ate while on our trip and go ahead and take the time to write Yelp reviews while I was at it. Yelp is a good resource and sometimes the reviews are dead wrong. Hopefully these reviews will help to set a few straight.

Santiago’s Bodega

One word. Tapas. We ate here of for lunch one of the first days of our vacation. We had a greek salad, yellowfin tuna ceviche and shimp with a ginger-lemon glaze and fresh cilantro. Divine! And very filling portions for 2 people.

We also enjoyed our last dinner here (on Sunday, July 15th) with our friend Emily.¬†All 3 of us ate until we were stuffed and only spent about $80 (before tip).¬†We enjoyed the yellowfin tuna ceviche, frog legs, bacon and basil stuffed mushrooms, roman meatballs, chicken skewers, crab cakes, spanakopita and miniature quesadillas….and of course we had the sangria which was happy hour half-priced at the time we ate.

Here is my review on Yelp and¬†Santiago’s website.

Blue heaven

Cats, chickens and ping pong.¬†The atmosphere here is Key West-y fun! We love to stop by for drinks and a quick ping pong game. We stopped by about 3 times on our last trip to Key West and ate dinner here once. My boyfriend had the Seared Sea Scallops Proven√ßale and I had the Sauteed Yellowtail Snapper with Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce. I can’t imagine being in Key West and not making this a priority stop.

Here is my Yelp review and Blue Heaven’s website.

Louie’s Backyard

Louie’s is right next to Higg’s Beach which is a small stretch of beach where dogs are welcomed with open arms. We took our labradoodle and goldendoodle here every day.¬†I chose to here here on my birthday dinner on Friday, July 6th. We were planning to go with another couple we had met on July 4th but the guy called us about 2 hours before dinner to say that his wife had a little to much to drink that afternoon and was sleeping so they would have to decline…only in Key West!! I love the food but there is a reason we only ate here once during our almost 3 week stay on the island…the prices. At $10-20 per appetizer and about $40 per entree my birthday dinner was pricey. If you are prepared for that then dinner and the view will not let you down!! It’s excellent!

I will also add that in the cottage we rented there was a copy of Louie’s Backyard’s cookbook. I read it almost cover to cover and decided to get a copy of my own. I can’t wait to try to recreate some of their chefs best dishes in the future.

Here is my Yelp review and Louie’s Backyard website.

Pepe’s Cafe

The best raw oysters in Key West. My boyfriend and I loved their homemade cocktail sauce so much that we ate it with a spoon when the oysters were gone. It had crunchy onions or shallots in it and was more like a horseradish-y salsa than a cocktail sauce. We ordered a dozen oysters then ordered a dozen more! It was half-off happy hour after all! Our dogs also sat with us in their outside bar area and were not only welcomed but were brought there own separate water bowls. LOVE it!! ūüôā

Here is my Yelp review.

Bad Boy Burrito

My son and I were looking for a place that delivered lunch one day and ran across Bad Boy Burrito. After seeing that it was less than 3 blocks from the cottage we were staying at we changed our mind on delivery and walked over for take out. It’s a small little place that packs a huge healthy and fresh punch with their food. Everything is homemade!! We ordered from their make your burrito menu where you pick one meat, one salsa and 3 veggie’s to make your personal burrito. It also came standard with rice and beans. Mine was so good that a few days later I ordered the exact same thing again….chicken with mango habenero salsa, pickled red onions, sour cream and queso fresco cheese. I opted to add avocado for an extra dollar.

There are only a couple of chairs and a small bar so you may want to plan to take out when you try out this place. Perfect for lunch!!

Here is my Yelp review.

Half Shell Raw Bar

Half Shell Raw Bar has the best happy hour prices and view in Key West!¬†We ate here 3 different times on our last trip. The raw oysters and clams were very, very good…and a fab price because they were half off between 4:30pm and 6:30pm. We also shared their large house salad which at $7 impressive…you got tons of lettuce, sprouts and cucumbers. It’s right net to the dock where we rent boats from our friends that own Florida Keys Boat Rentals and that makes this place a great stop after a day in the sun. Happy hour drinks are also cheap at $5 or less. I loved the Tito’s vodka and sweet tea cocktail…and it was only $2.75!!!

Here is my Yelp review.

DJ’s Clam Shack

DJ’s has good food and if I was starving and right by it I would stop again otherwise it doesn’t really stand out too much. We also had to wait a long time for our food. Longer than I thought since there didn’t seem to be too many people there. I had the fish tacos which came with 2 tacos that were a pretty large size. They were spicy and satisfying but weren’t as delicate and homemade tasting as I would like. My son and boyfriend were both happy with their fries and whatever fried seafood they chose (I can’t remember what they ate).

Here is my Yelp review.

Old Town Mexican Cafe

I love ordering vegetarian dishes when I go out to eat even though I’m not a vegetarian. Old Town Mexican Cafe does not¬†disappoint¬†in this area.¬†I had their Veggieladas and they were SO, SO good! Even the beans on the side had something special about them that made me keep eating until they were gone. My son and boyfriend both had their fajitas and were happy as well. We have eaten here multiple times and I rate it 5 stars because anytime I was hungry for Mexican while here I would think about this place….thats a good compliment ūüôā

Here’s the link to my Yelp review.

Lobo’s Grill

We were recommended to eat at Lobo’sby our friends that own Florida Keys Boat Rentals.

It’s a great find for lunch food. The wraps are huge and enough to share (if you want to that is). At about $8 per wrap that’s a great deal! I ate here twice on my last trip and the first time I ate half of my #4 wild mushroom wrap and took the other half with me to eat when I was out on the boat later that afternoon. Delish!!

They welcome your dogs to sit at their outdoor cafe area and they will bring them their own water bowl. Here is my Yelp review.

Banana Cafe

Banana Cafe is a good brunch spot.¬†A little pricey but on point. Their coffee is amazing and they offer free refills. Our server even gave us more coffee in a to-go cup when we left. My boyfriend and I shared their Salmon and Bagel plate because we just wanted a light breakfast. The bagel was large and they are generous with the salmon. It also comes with a side salad with onions and large tomatoes….very good!

Here is my Yelp review.

Sarabeth’s

I love the atmosphere at Sarabeth’s.¬†¬†It’s a large old house/turned restaurant with a neighborhood feel. We have eaten here multiple times and always sit on their outdoor patio. When we last ate here I had the mahi-mahi and my boyfriend had the meatloaf. My fish was very fresh and light. I could eat it everyday. The meatloaf portion is generous, my boyfriend even took some home and ate the rest the next day. They only serve wine and champagne cocktails so prepare if you have a boyfriend like mine that was hoping for a bourbon. This is one of our Key West fav’s!

Here is my Yelp review.

Key West (and Dottie’s Pasta Salad)

My boyfriend Travis has been tracking down a dune buggy to buy for the longest time. A little over a week ago he found his dream dune buggy and announced that we were taking a road trip to Orlando, Florida to get it. We quickly decided that if we were going to drive 10 hours to Orlando, we would drive another 10 hours to Key West…our favorite vaca destination!

We left Richmond about 11:30am on Tuesday, June 26th. Drove 10+ hours, got the dune buggy and drove on to Vero Beach, Florida where we spent 2 nights. Above is Travis playing his guitar on Vero Beach…

Our house in Key West is to die for. My dream vacation house!! Look at the bathroom with the clawfoot tub and beautiful old, slanted wood floors!

The most beautiful spot in the house is the kitchen. I could spend my whole vacation in here! Check out these countertops!!

One pot as clams…the other corn on the cob ūüôā

Me…getting the plates ready. Notice the large glass of bubbly!!

Travis ready for a night out to hear live music…

Creepy, awesome tree on Southard St.

For our 4th of July dinner with our friends I decided to make Travis’ grandma’s recipe for pasta salad. Our friends had all the hamburgers and sausages ready…this pasta salad was packed full of veggies and easy to take out on the boat for our picnic ūüôā

It was nice to find and big square container in the kitchen (with a top that fit!) to carry the salad in.

This pasta is simple and yet crunchy and super yummy. It will remind you of grandma’s house too. You will go back for a second scoop!

Dottie’s Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 16 ounce box macaroni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 small white onion, diced small
  • 4 stalks celery, diced small
  • 4 tomatoes, diced small (seeds and cores discarded)
  • 1 small/med english cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • ¬†1 small jar Marzetti’s Cole Slaw dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Cook pasta. Chop all veggies and combine in a large bowl. Toss, veggies, pasta, mayo, Marzetti’s, salt and pepper together. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.