That's right kids, Kitchen Monkey is on a much-needed vacation in Key West, Florida. For three days now, nothing but killer food and drink, sun, and meeting interesting people. You see, Kitchen Monkey has friends in high places. One of my college buddies grew up in Key West, and his pa, John Vagnoni, is a co-owner of Key West's coolest bar, the Green Parrot Bar. We're not talking about your bubblegum tourist trap (cough * Sloppy Joe's * cough), but rather a comfortable corner bar with loads of history. Nearly every photo, painting, or tchotchke on the wall has an interesting story behind it. They book an astounding variety of acts, with tendencies toward blues. This is where the locals go, and if you're ever in Key West, you should DEFINITELY stop by for some live music and local flavor (never any cover charge!) But please, if you go, do not snivel. Check it out here.
On to the food:
We ate raw oysters and steak at Pepe's Cafe, the "oldest restaurant in Key West." Delicious. Firecrackers were going off in the background. Also, as you may know, the town is crawling with wild roosters. The longer you stay, the less you notice their cockle-doodle-doodling. Also, you need to see this picture of John Vagnoni's great kitchen. Check out this vintage stove! It could date back to the 1930s.
The next morning we woke up with a shot of buchi (basically a super sugary espresso) and toasted cuban bread. We then went to the beach, where Kitchen Monkey acquired a beet red sunburn on certain torso regions that somehow managed to escape sunblock. Lunch was a great pastrami sandwich from the Waterfront Market. That night we went over to to the house of a couple of very talented local artists, Tom and Carrie--both lovely people and serious foodies. They made us awesome bar jack fish sandwiches, along with tomatoes and fresh mozarella, and some dynamite kimchi. They'll have to forgive me for posting this picture without permission, but I had to give you a shot of their awesome open air kitchen:
That night was finished off with some live blues and Jack Daniels at the Green Parrot. Life is so good. So to wrap up, an ENORMOUS thanks to Nick and John Vagnoni for all their hospitality, and thanks to John as well for the very tasty bottle of Hendrick's Gin.
Tomorrow its off to Tallahassee, where I will revisit my favorite sushi restaurant and hang with some dear old friends. Expect plenty of posts this summer!
Posted by Kitchen Monkey at 8:40 PM