Tuesday 26 February 2019

Barbeque Tales part 9 - Casual Monday Chicken

Casual Monday night chicken - my choice of beverage and drinking vessel (vodka & diet coke in a Guinness tin cup) denoting how casual it is.

If I could post an emoji here it would be the crying laughing face.

I smothered my chicken in lots of delicious stuff.  Cheese, hot green sauce, guacamole, salsa, bbq sauce. And purple corn chips.  

Emoji: Monkey hiding behind face hands (because of the sheer amount of bbq sauce and the purple chips)

Yeah, just a casual Monday like I said.  One where someone presents a lovely bouquet of flowers to you for no reason whatsoever.  

Emoji: Blushing happy feeling lucky face (And probably a bit of monkey behind face again - because I'm oirish after all.  It's against the law to feel too proud/lucky/happy etc)

Barbecue Tales part 8 Surf n Turf

We're eating these steaks (and shrimp) quite a lot.  I am not sure what they are even called...they come in packs of 6 and are thin little guys - good everyday strip steaks I guess.  They are so thin, in fact they take literally 3 minutes to cook.  One could argue the little shrimp take almost longer than them!
But like I said, a good everyday steak. With the remnants of wine left over from the weekend and some broccoli, onions and tomatoes grilled in a little foil parcel, a lovely dinner they make!

Film shoot! (A mini one)

On Sunday I took part in something which was a lot  of fun!  Keys TV was filming a little segment/promotional type  movie, or ad for The Saint Hotel and I was asked to be part of it.

I was filmed as part of three different segments.  One sitting at the bar drinking a mimosa and eating brunch (real tough work I think you will agree), the second sitting on a sofa in the lobby - chatting with friends and doing cheers with our cocktails.  And then finally I had to walk into the hotel from the street, up the red carpet and in the front door to the lobby.

It was exciting getting up early on a Sunday morning and heading off to do something new and different - filming started at 9am!

And then afterwards we took the scenic route home via The Green Room bar and Sloppy Joe's.  It was my first time back in Sloppy Joe's this trip round and it was good craic - good band playing Van Morrison covers, nice drink. And I always love, and appreciate, the history of it related to Hemingway.  I had a good look at all the photos and memorabilia on the wall.

I am looking forward to when the piece airs! I will be sure to post a link to here.

Sunday 24 February 2019

The White Tarpon, Key West

This trip to The White Tarpon can be summed up as follows: 
My first time going there, certainly won't be my  last.

We shared a smorgasbord of peel 'n' eat shrimp, cheese quesadillas with guacamole, cider braised chicken wings.  Disappointingly they had ran out of crab claws which we were most excited about when we view the menu.  Not to worry, everything else was so good it made up for it, and again - we will be back.

The location is second to none, down by the oceanfront in between Alonzos and The Boathouse.  We sat outside and there was lots of people watching to be done over our drinks and food.  I started with vodka and then went on to an, excellent it has to be said, Malbec.

On the subject of quesdilla's… I am kind of obsessed with them these days.  These are a small snack from Bad Boy Burritos that I nibbled on before meeting with friends in the Hogs Breath Saloon on Friday night.  Duck and (strong!! sharp!! mmm) cheddar cheese.  It is with shame that I tell you I never tasted a quesadilla in Ireland or before January 2019.  I guess I am making up for lost time eh?!

Fun night with lovely Sheila and Key West author, the ever etertaining Michael Haskins, listening to an awesome band RST in the Hog's Breath.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Eating out in Key West - First Flight & Salute

First Flight KW is the current incarnation of what used to be Kelly's Key West.  Kelly's was so named because it used to be owned by the actress Kelly McGillis.

When it was called Kelly's it was fittingly air travel themed - a little bit of Top Gun (her jacket from the film was framed and on the wall) and a lot of Pan Am. It being the birthplace of Pan Am and tickets sold from here back in 1927! How cool is that.

Sadly now the Top Gun memorabilia is gone.  But the Pan Am stuff remains.  One of my favourite items is a large poster/ad for travel to Florida from the 1980's.  It's in the back room, be sure to check it out if you go.

From a food/beer perspective it was ok! Some food was better than others.  The wings (not pictured) were actually very good.  We got the thai hot chilli.  The fried oysters (not pictured) were totally meh.  They literally could have been anything, deep fried in a (lovely it has to be said) southern fried chicken type batter.  Lesson learned, oysters should be just eaten, not messed around with.  I liked the pretzel sliders with beer cheese, my date not so much.  The devilled eggs were very nice! And strangely enough the jalapeno poppers (aka deep fried jalapeno peppers) were divine.  Hot though! Be warned.

Salute on the Beach! (there is an accent on the e which I don't know how to do on the laptop means it is pronounced Salutay).
Well this place was just super.  Nice food - I got meatball marina and spaghetti which I know is unusual for the beach and for the weather but I just craved some intense tomato flavor and boy did I get it.  The garlic bread it came with was another intense one, I swear the garlic was roasted before being applied to the bread.  My date got a shrimp salad sandwich and it was generous in size and as expected in flavor.

The drinks were "ok".  This longboard beer was fine for one or two, but no more.  The pinot noir was fine but I really would have killed for something a little different (a Malbec, or heck even a bog standard old cabernet sauvignon).  The other option for wine was a montepulciano which I am not sure would have been much better.

But heck the best thing about Salute (Salutay!) is the location.  I honestly think we had one of the best seats in the house.  Our table was literally at the restaurant edge/right on the beach.

Look at that view!

We ended up staying there for nigh on 3 hours and it was just a lovely evening and a great way to finish a long weekend (it was President's day in the US) so yesterday was a Bank Holiday Monday.

Barbecue Tales Part 6 & 7 - Chicken and Fish (Lane Snapper)

I simply cannot describe how delicious this chicken tastes.  I know you are probably looking at it and thinking "well Amy, it looks like a right old concoction of mush being completely honest". And you'd be right!  

But my god that mush tastes good.  And this chicken is just a simple mid week supper so who says it has to look like something served up by cordon bleu chef?

On Sunday I went fishing!  I love it so much!! #obsessed
We went on a new boat - the Gulfstream out of Garrison bight - and it was a really great experience. Lovely big boat with plenty of seating areas. Fantastic staff - friendly and efficient.  Great value for money - we went 10 miles out (we were 1/9 on our way to Cuba lol!) and did 4 different fishing stops.  And as you can see from the picture above we got a great haul of fish.

There is nothing like bringing fish (plump Lane Snapper) that you caught yourself home and cooking it on the grill.  The fish was so fresh it really didn't need much prepping.  Some light seasoning and some sweet potato, and it was a perfect dinner.  

And there is another batch the same size waiting in the freezer for next weekend!

Thursday 14 February 2019

Barbecue Tales Part 5 - Steak, shrimp & lobster

Psst.  Who wants a recipe for a pretty perfect Valentine's Day dinner at home?

Take a large plump lobster tail and a large plump filet mignon steak

Admire the beautiful colours the lobster shell turns as it cooks on the grill

Add some large plump shrimp to the barbecue, lightly seasoned with oil and garlic. 
Smather some Kerry gold butter over the lobster meat.

Plate those babies up!

Add some good company and wine.  Enjoy!

Dessert.  Take one tumbler of wine, a tin cup of vodka (yep, that's how I roll*) and one giant Reeses's heart


Happy Valentine's day and much love to you all. wherever you are in the world, reading this right now.  Mwah!

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Weather report

This morning I woke to a grey overcast sky. It was coldish too. As I sat out in the tiki hut, drinking my first coffee of the day, I commented that it felt just like Ireland.  Specifically the West of Ireland...you know that greyish Galway weather? To be fair, Galway is always lovely no matter what the weather is like.  And I mean that!  Sure there's always the open fire and good live music in the King's Head or the Quays Bar when it is cold and miserable, right?!

Well what rolled in just two minutes later was nothing like anything I have ever experienced in Ireland.  Extremely loud claps and rolls of thunder, bolts of lightning, and torrential tropical rain.

I ran inside to take cover and I swear it has not let up since then. It has been a funny old morning of staying indoors because of that.  I finished work at 11 last night and I am not in until 3pm today so I did take a snooze at around 11am for 30 minutes.  Napping during the day is something I battle against/struggle with.  I always feel a little lazy or guilty doing it but to be fair I felt tired, and I fell asleep quickly so clearly my body needed it.  I really shouldn't feel bad, you need to listen to your body sometimes.

I also don't want you feeling too sorry for me about the weather.  Ahahahahaahha, I can hear the Irish cries of  "WE DON'T AMY!!" all the way over here.

Check out that weather forecast for tomorrow and onwards!

Already I am making nice plans for this weekend! It is a long weekend because of President's day so we are planning a fishing trip on Sunday (and cooking the fish at home that night) and then a fun Monday of some local pier fishing, a touristy tour (train or trolley) or maybe a museum, and then a nice dinner on the beach at "Salute on the Beach".

Side note. This blog post, and some of the sentences within, has reminded me how much I do love an oxford comma.

Monday 11 February 2019

New dress. Who dis?

I'm not much of a shopper.  Honestly, I really am not.  Like to be honest, shopping actually bores me.  But I guess I wouldn't be my mother's daughter if I didn't enjoy finding a bargain.

This morning I plotted out a nice little sojourn for myself in New Town.  The plan was I would have a lovely cycle over and then go for a coffee and bacon in Denny's, and enjoy that while reading my New Yorker. Signing up for that subscription this year was one of my best decisions ever! That is to say, amongst a few other good decisions ;)

While there I figured I would nip into a store (similar to TJ Maxx - or TK Maxx as it is called in Ireland) and buy a yoga mat as I want to restart bikram classes soon.  I got one for $9 which I was very happy about.  And I also spotted this cute little dress which I quickly tried on and quickly bought.

Doesn't it sit well?

It's a pretty casual dress (and very comfortable!) but tonight I will dress it up a little, with this (Banana Republic) jewelry as I am going out for dinner.  

Yay Alonzos! 

Sunday 10 February 2019

Barbecue tales Part 4 - Sausages

Today started well and ended well.  That is all.  I could literally lock up shop and sign this blog off now, but I do have some photos so I guess I will share these with you and some more information too.

Today was a celebration of some good news and I was treated to a fabulous brunch in the old Westin hotel, now a Margaritaville resort. Amazing seafood as pictured.  Not pictured are the bottomless mimosas, prime rib, french toast and bacon, lobster pasta, skirt steak, sushi, freshly baked pastries, smoked salmon, poached salmon, tuna steak, tuna tartar, meat charcuterie, cheese and more.  And the desserts! The desserts!
The good news was that I have a job! I am working in a cute (and  very beautiful) boutique hotel here in Key West.  I am working with a lovely group of people, and every day am meeting nice happy people who are on their holidays travelling down South from all over the USA.  So that's very exciting!

After the lovely brunch - which by the way we relaxed over for hours - we went for a nice stroll around the harbor/historic seaport of Key West. And then cycled back via Duval Street.  Duval was buzzing!  A really nice atmosphere, everyone just having the craic and enjoying the sunshine while having a few drinks.  On the subject of having a few drinks, that is pretty much what I did for the remainder of the afternoon, relaxed in the tiki hut with a little vodka cocktail.  Oh.  I did one other thing. There may or may not have been a bit of snoozing on the daybed going on *embarrassed face*

So after a fancy brunch of a LOT of food I really didn't need much for the rest of the day.

We made sausages on the barbecue.  Nice big flavourful Wisconsin pork sausages!  Here it is pictured on a Hawaiian bread roll with mustard, tomato and barbecued red peppers. I ate mine plain, no bread, with (French/grain) mustard and bbq sauce.

Last photo of a super day! Here is me at the barbecue (Look Ma, I'm cooking!!!).

I posted this on facebook and Instagram with the caption "And later tonight I shall be teaching my aerobics class down at the Y"
Bahahahahahhaaaa.  Yes I'm silly. I just think my outfit looks so 1980's lol!  Feck it, if you can't have a little laugh at yourself sure what is the point of it at all?

Barbecue Tales Part 3 - Chicken

Firstly, apparently I spell barbecue wrong.  Thanks for that point out reader!

Reader. I have a reader! Woohoo! *Waves to reader*
Secondly, the culinary adventures continue.  Tonight on the menu was plain old chicken which turned out to be anything but.  In fact, it turned out AWESOME! Interested? Read on my friends, read on!
Here are of some of the essential requirements for Amy's Awesome Chicken:
1. Red wine...rioja...I was never much of a rioja drinker in Ireland, preferring an (even more) full bodied grape such as Malbec, Syrah or if I was feeling wild a South African Petit Verdoh..
2. Green salsa brava hot sauce purchased from the local Mexican shop for $1.39
3. A red pepper chilli from same Mexican shop - 29c
4. Pam oil for the barbeCUE. Yeah it's cheap, and a little bit nasty, God knows what is in it but it gets the job done
5. Only the best "BBQ" sauce in the whole world.  Not too sweet and nicely tangy - dare I say it, even with undertones of HP brown sauce at times - this sauce is incredible.  Keep an eye out for you on your next supermarket visit; Stubbs Original Legendary Bar-B-Q sauce.
5. Frontera (red) salsa sauce

That's a nice little bit of heat there as you can see.  Eating and enjoying food with a sizzle in it is a skill of mine I picked up in the Navy.  Ok I think you know I wasn't in the Navy.  That's something I just like to say for fun.  Hmmm, probably sounds better when spoken.  Moving on.

It's true though.  I love hot food.  It's a taste I started developing way back when my friend was going out with a fella who owned a couple of Indian restaurants around town.  We were aged 20 and penniless and ate there a lot. Some days we used to eat the staff curry which was blow your eyeballs out hot #goodtimeswithTara&Amy
A couple of years later I visited India, and ever since then, as cliched as it sounds, the hotter the better for me.

I like to assemble all my cooking ingredients and utensils on the bar for the cooking.  Yes I have a home bar. Yes it's outdoors.  Yes I am not using it for the purpose intended.  I know, I know, old Amy who used loved nothing better than hopping behind a bar and whipping up a cocktail (crafting, I believe they say these days) or pouring a pint, is probably turning over in her grave back in Ireland.  But such is life, time moves on and ones interests change.  No doubt some day this bar will be used for entertaining, but for the moment it is a food prep area. I posted this photo to show you where the barbecue is set up in context to the bar, and I think you might agree it's pretty perfect.

Side note. If you would like to try out my recipe for my very popular at parties caiproska cocktail click here.

3 nice flat (more on that below) chicken fillets, broccoli left over from yesterday's dinner (Chinese), and tomatoes. 

I noted above that these fillets are nice and thin.  Different to the fat plump ones in Ireland.  
These are perfect for the purpose of barbecuing.

I whizzed the broccoli around in a small bit of olive oil and garlic.
When buying the barbeque, we had hummed and hawed over a couple of different models.  The fact that this one has a side burner for cooking in a pan or pot was one of the deciding reasons that we went with this one.

That's lovely strong sharp cheddar melting on the chicken! Mmmm
Doesn't the charring on the chicken look nice?

Someone was a little more sophisticated than I and  hadtheir chicken on a Hawaiian bread roll (lightly toasted on the barbecue) with some guacamole, tomatoes and bbq sauce. Along with the side of garlic broccoli.

Chicken a la Amy
Whereas I just went lunatic and dumped every since sauce known to man (or to our kitchen cupboard at least) all over my chicken.  Yes, I ate that chilli too.  Did I mention I like spicy food?

Saturday 2 February 2019

Barbecue Tales Part 2 - Seafood

Tonight the menu was mainly FISH!

Yellow tail snapper fillets
Crab claws (exorbitantly priced it has to be said, but nice for a special occasion - the special occasion being: I am in Key West woohoo!)
Garlic dipping butter
Wild Rice
Home made Guacamole
Purple corn chips
Frontera salsa
Good company

Barbecue Tales Part 1 - Steak

One difference (amongst, like a million differences) about my life now, compared with my life in Ireland is all the barbequing I am doing (or grilling as the Americans like to call it!).  So I thought it would be fun to document as I go, all the food we cook and eat "from the grill".

Yesterday I went to meet with my friend Lara, who was in town from Texas for a music festival.  Seeing as Lara is Texan I didn't need a second invitation to take advantage and wear my cowboy boots to our meet up. The cowboy hat was borrowed for the photo from Lara's son in law and friend :)

After enjoying an awesome catch up with Lara, and listening to some good live music in The Green Parrot I headed home for dinner.  On the menu was STEAK!!  Mmmm!

So! Because I only decided today, to start to keep a record and chronicle my barbequing feats, I am afraid I don't have photos of the full meal and sides etc.  You will just have to do with a written log of it instead!
- Steak
- Wild rice
- The Most Fab barbeque sauce ever.  It tasted like a mixture between barbeque sauce and Irish/English brown sauce.
- Guacamole and purple corn chips