Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cocktails in the Keys: Hemingway Daiquiri

As I write this blog post, I am watching a blizzard take place outside my window. So much for a walk with the dog this morning. Sorry, Eesah. Maybe in June.

Our vacation to Florida seems so far away now. But, as promised, here's a little info about cocktails in the Keys:

They suck.

We probably should have driven into Miami to find some good cocktails, but it's hard to leave a room with a deck on the ocean to drive into traffic and chaos and nightlife, unless the nightlife includes snorkeling and kayaking and alligators, which it might in Miami. I'll never know.

We did drive to Key West, which felt like going to the State Fair. With bars. Maybe even like going to the Trumansburg Fair, on demolition derby night, except less teen mothers. And with bars. The drunken crowds were ten deep on the pier for the sunset which was partially blocked by a circling cruise ship.

We did finally go out in Key Largo to a tiki bar where we drank pre-made fructose-sweetened pina coladas from plastic cups, which tasted pretty good, probably because we drank them on the beach.

So I've got two things for you today: a list of awesome, hidden places to go to eat, drink and play in the Keys, and a tropical drink recipe from Leah that does not involve artificial colors, blenders or seizure-inducing sweeteners.

Drink in the Keys:
The Juice House, Key Largo (MM 103): Cuban coffee and Cuban bread
Any grocery store: A six-pack of Corona and limes

Eat in the Keys:
Puerta Vallarta, Key Largo: Mexican food
Calypso, Key Largo: Seafood
Ma's Fish Camp, Islamorada: Best fish sandwich in the world, plus amazing key lime pie
El Siboney, Key West: Cuban food and Cuban coffee; sangria

Play in the Keys:
John Pennecamp State Park, Key Largo: snorkeling and canoeing
Backcountry Cowboy Outfitters, Islamorada: kayaking
Shark Valley, Everglades: bicycling and alligators

Stay in the Keys:
The Floating Inn, Key Largo

And last, but not least, a drink recipe from Leah. For a coconutty tropical alternative, check out our recipe for a Key Largo cocktail.

Hemingway Daiquiri

2 ounces light rum
1/4 ounce cherry liqueur
juice from two limes
juice from 1/2 grapefruit
simple syrup (half water, half sugar) to taste

Shake all ingredents with ice. Serve in a rocks glass over ice. For best results, drink on the beach.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Cuban Bread

I haven't written about Key Largo cocktails yet because my recently diagnosed allergy to preservatives has prevented me from the partaking of candy-colored tropical fruity goodness blender drinks. Sadly, I've yet to find a bar that squeezes fresh limes for their daiquiris. (Did I spell that right?) I'm sure Ernest Hemingway didn't drink Rose's lime juice or fake yellow #5 margarita mix.

A wonderful food find, though, in the absence of a decent bakery in Key Largo: Cuban bread. All the Cuban delis carry it. Ingredients: water, flour, lard, yeast and salt. No preservatives. And it's made with lard. Brilliant.

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Sent from my iPhone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Found Out What I'm Missing

Being in Florida is not, in fact, about eating only fresh seafood. It's about eating Mexican food. And Cuban food. The. Best. Food. Ever.

The Mexican shack down the road from our floating inn in Key Largo (recommended by the locals) served me the most amazing ceviche last night for dinner, with leftovers enough to eat it for dinner again tonight. Leah had a shrimp fajita with more grilled jumbo shrimp than she can count, and she can count pretty high. At least to twenty.

Que rico. Que sabor. Que perfecto. Voy a quedar aqui siempre.

Oh, and one other thing: Corona. With lime. And a sunset. Ya.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Virtual Friends

Blogging makes the world feel cozy. One of my regular blog readers who lives in Pennsylvania came to town for a wedding this weekend and sought out Felicia's for a cocktail. We met face-to-face. Strangers become friends, through writing, the web and drinks.

Facebook instills a similar sense of connection. A friend's Facebook status recently scolded voyeurs who read and never comment, so they know everything about you, but you know nothing about them. Creepy? I kinda like it. Felicia has 1300 friends, and I don't get a chance to comment on everyone's status. You don't know me, but I'm watching you. You make me laugh. I've got your back. I know your bra color. And I'm here for you, whenever you're ready to come in for a drink.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Key Largo Cocktail

Nat, our good friend over at Alpha Cook and a former Felicia bartender, sent a package of goodies this year at the holidays. Cookies, her infamous homemade marshmellows, a hat for Leah, and fresh grenadine were some of the treats in the box. This week, we opened the bottle of pineapple gum syrup. Since Leah and I are about to head to Florida for a week (don't worry, the Lounge will still be open), we thought we'd start practicing for our tiki drink marathon.

No blender necessary. We're too lazy to get it out, use it, clean it and put it away. Whew. I got tired just thinking about that.

Here's a picture of Nat riding a creepy rabbit. No pineapple gum syrup in your house? You can buy it online from Small Hand Foods in San Francisco, or try substituting pineapple juice.

Key Largo Cocktail

1 and 1/2 ounces Bacardi Coco rum
3/4 ounce pineapple gum syrup
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
lime wheel

Shake with ice. Enjoy on the rocks or straight up.

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