Monday 27 March 2023

Key West update

Things I am dreaming about lately:
The Saint Hotel's Spicy Margarita and their Truffle Fries

I met with Isabelle, Emily and Isabelle's mom Kristin for happy hour in The Saint. The cocktails were amazing and the food was too!  (Truffle friiiiiiiiiiiiiies mmmm)
Kristin, an ex model with the most fabulous skin ever I must say, works for this skincare line and she kindly gifted me some samples.  So far, I am very impressed. If my skin continues feeling and looking as good as it does right now, I think I will be buying some of this.

Hollywood comes to Key West!

Rachel McAdams, Abby Ryder Fortson and Judy Blume were all in town for the premiere of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret.  How exciting for our little small town, and how exciting just in general!  I am so very much looking forward to seeing this film when it is on public release.

Sunday Chores

We got up on Sunday morning with the whole day stretched ahead of us with no plans whatsoever. Namely no boat plans because of the weather.  So that had us a bit rankled!
We both started poking around the house and garden and actually we ended up getting a nice few tasks done.  Which meant that we felt we very justified in going for a nice Happy Hour that evening to the Southernmost Beach Cafe.

Who wants to read all about the chores we did?! Well, it's coming at ya!

Patrick went up on the roof (eek) to get a good angle at a clump of coconuts that have been needing cutting down for a while now.  He got a great haul and shared them out amongst the neighbours which was nice! While up there he also did some other tree trimming and now there are 4 bins of yard waste to be collected on Wednesday with the garbage collection!

While he was doing that I watered some of our plants.  I am not a great gardener and I am struggling to identify whether a plant or tree needs watering every day (a little) or watering once a week (a lot).

While out in the yard, we talked about one little trouble spot where we have been trying out different bushes and trees to get more privacy from a big house overlooking us.  We have finally decided to change tack and try a "sail".   We nipped in the car to Home Depot to see if they had what we wanted - they didn't - so then I found one online which looks like it might work so that was ordered.

On the subject of the car we also did some work on it! Our neighbour across the street had a spare shade/bimini top for his jeep and he gave it to us.  Looks pretty cool eh?! Plus also we checked and the freedom panels fit on too - right over the shade.

I did a ton of housework - I cleaned the kitchen, and I also cleaned both bedrooms.  The second bedroom (Buddy's room lol!) was strangely messy...I suppose related to it being tax time and we had pulled out some boxes for paperwork etc.

Finally, Patrick asked me to help him choose and order a gift for his dad's birthday.  We got a fabulous bottle of wine.  Delighted with that.  Not so delighted that I had to use the LCBO website to order.  Paaaaaaainful.  Canada has a lot of rules around alcohol regulation, bought to mind my visit to Sweden back in December 2004 when I first got an insight into State regulation and State off-licences.

Perfect Saturday

Saturday afternoon/evening:
We went out and checked the crab traps, rebaited them and put them back down.  And then we just relaxed!  Patrick with his fishing rod, casting with a new lure and hook on it.  Myself with an adult beverage ;)
We came in around 7/7.30 and decided to stop at the VFW for a blue cheese hamburger (I am obsessed) but to my disappointment their kitchen was closed :( Instead we ended up ordering take out of the dodgiest chinese ever, which we both ended up regretting.
Ah well, all that said, can't change that we had the most glorious time out on the water.


Southernmost Beach Cafe

We had a lovely end to a nice weekend at Happy Hour at the Southernmost Beach Cafe yesterday evening.  Patrick loves the view there (and rightly so!) and I love the atmosphere - I like to pretend we are on vacation because it feels like a beach bar that we might go to if we were on holidays in Mexico lol.

And in other Happy Hour news, I started a fun little instagram page where I will post up to date menus of Key West Happy Hours - so that people will know the times are accurate/the offerings are still the same, compared to some of the old stuff on websites etc.

I woke up this morning to the grand sum of 5 followers! Ha!
Want to follow?  Search for keywesthappyhours on instagram

Monday 20 March 2023

Now, that's a view!

We went for dinner in Louie's Cafe which is upstairs to Louie's Backyard.  We had a "not so great" experience in Louie's Backyard about 4 years ago and we have been sworn off it since.  But we said we would give their upstairs tapas restaurant a shot and it was a really lovely experience, so while we may never dine downstairs again we will be back to the "cafe"
We had lobster risotto, bacon wrapped crab stuffed shrimp and Vietnamese Style Wok Fried Beef Filet.
And, what about that view?!


St Patrick's Day 2023

All of the team made a great effort in the hotel with their green!

I worethis green dress for the second time. It literally hangs in the wardrobe all year round waiting for March 17th

Quiet enough St Patrick's Day with both of us working.  We just had a nice dinner of steak and butcher sausage with wine to mark the occasion.

Happy St Patrick's Day, friends!  I hope you had a wonderful day, particularly those of you in Ireland who had the day off work!


Sister Season Fund Casino Night 2023

The Sister Season casino night is always a good evening.  It was held in the Marriott Beachside Resort, in their big function room.  Dinner was chicken caesar salad, prime rib with a cool little MASH POTATO bar with a variety of toppings and gravy.  Food was really good this year I have to say.

The gaming is managed by a company who come down from Miami.  The majority of their croupiers spent years working on cruise ships so they know what they are doing - and are helpful to novices like me lol.  There is also a Silent Auction and a Big Draw.

And there is a photo booth!  Which the photo above is from.  Funny story about my hair... It is a  miracle it looks anyway normal in the pics.  Patrick drove to the event....and it was a very breezy evening...and our jeep has no doors or as you can imagine that is a bit of a recipe for some crazy hair - even on a regular day I always tie my hair up in a tight bun.

To avoid arriving at the event looking like Bridget Jones I wrapped a blouse around my hair and tied it under my chin like a head scarf in 1970s Ireland.  It looked ridiculous during the drive but hey, my hair style survived!

Monday 13 March 2023

Little catch up with photos

Lovely Saturday light dinner/quick happy hour in Half Shell Raw Bar.  You simply can't beat Half Shell for their tasty appetizers, good value hh drinks and that water front ambiance.

We got out on the boat twice this weekend.   Checked the crab traps and harvested 4 medium size claws.  The season is slowing it always does around this time of the year.  Feels like we might only have two more rounds of crab traps left.  On Sunday morning we went fishing and Patrick caught this beauty of a Spanish Mackerel.  I caught a nice size porgy.  And that was that.  It was a fun morning out all the same - our neighbours pulled up beside us in their boat and fished alongside which was a bit of craic!  Patrick was working hard all afternoon then, so I am glad we got up and out so early (8am - 7am old time - daylight savings kicked in etc etc!)

The cat is still a little molly.  Seriously.  Have you ever seen anything like this??!!!

The Saint is getting ready for St Patrick's Day! I ordered this big backdrop for people to take photos/selfies in front of and it arrived much bigger than I remembered ordering 🤣🤣


Fish tacos. Specifically Spanish Mackerel tacos

I used my nice Hog's Breath blackening spice which has a good bit of flavour and heat to it.  You can see Patrick's fish on the left and mine on the right - I put waaaaay more spice on my fish than on his which I know he likes.

It cooks up fast in the frying pan.

Lovely guacamole and Rick Bayliss salsa



70 years of the Glass Bottomed Boat in Key West!

On Friday evening after work I popped down to Zero Duval for a lovely celebratory event marking 70 years of the Glass Bottom Boat in Key West.  I like to think of all the tourists coming to Key West in the 1950s, how exotic and exciting it must have seemed to be able to go out to the reef and see lots of lovely tropical fish.  Now of course there is so much choice for excursions on the ocean - jetsking, snorkeling, diving, dolphin watching, sunset sails - but back then a glass bottom boat must have seemed like the height of technology and sophistication.

Thinking about it now, the glass bottom boat seems rather quaint in comparison doesn't it? But it is still one of the most popular attractions in Key West which is nice.

It was a lovely event and very well ran.  Full bar with complimentary drinks, lovely appetizers, a nice display of historical paraphernalia and a nice band playing the background. Very enjoyable.  Only thing missing was my date.  On Friday afternoon, the news broke that Silicon Valley Bank had collapsed so Patrick had to stay close to his desk and computer for the evening.

Oh yes! I had some cake indeed

Fantastic Jazz/Swing style band provided entertainment.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Afterwards I went and met a work colleague and his wife in BEL MARE!!  Only one of my most favourite restaurants in Key West.  It is pretty new and making a nice name for itself.  

I started with a spicy margarita.  Heck it was Friday, eh!  We shared some appetizers of cerviche, mussels and some rice arancini

Oh lordy!
Pork Osso Bucco, pureed potatoes and jus

Are you been to all the usual places in Key West.  Why not try out Bel Mare next time you are in town?


Hot Yoga in Key West and Stock Island

I am just coming out of a two week stint of neck and shoulder (mainly neck) pain and two weeks of NSAID's treatment.  I can't say for definite if the pain is 100% gone, and indeed if gone forever :(  But definitely it is way, way better than a fortnight ago.

To continue to aid in its recovery I vowed to get in two yoga classes this week.

First up, I went to Fyt Gym on Stock Island.

It's a ritzy hipstery place.  Jammed full of men and women who look like they were flown in from Miami straight from Wilhelmina Models.  Eeek.  Not intimidating at all lol.

Ah I am exaggerating.  They all were stunning looking but really nice too.  Not intimidating.  Friendly and professional.  And omg what a buzz and energy in the place!   

The yoga was hot but a kind of flow yoga, which while new to me was very enjoyable.

This morning I went back to my regular studio "Mata Yoga".  It is only down the road so nice that I can cycle there.  It is a lot less glitzy, but more my pace I have to say.  And it is proper hot Bikram yoga which I adore.  Absolutely adore.

So, how is the neck?  Pretty much the same tbh :(  
Watch this space.  And cross your fingers for me please!

Ps.  A thought.  Is this what old age is????


Monday 6 March 2023

NEW! Extended Pigsy Collection in Effusion Gallery, Key West

To top off a super Key West weekend of fishing, crab traps and great eating, I stopped by Effusion Gallery on world famous Duval Street to view the new art from Irish artist Pigsy in their collection.

Each piece thoughtful and inspiring


Feel really lucky that I can see Pigsy here in Key West.  What originally was a collection of 9 (5 sold) is now a beautifully curated assemblage of 8 new pieces.  No doubt these will sell fast, so if you want to see some beautiful Irish art, my advice is get in fast!  And ENJOY!

Oh! And if you are in Dublin, Ireland why not catch his latest exhibition!
"Lost in Thought" will be exhibited in Ranelagh in April 2023.

Great Day Fishing!

 For some while now Patrick and I have been doing some soul searching, and asking ourselves, used we catch more fish on our little tiny 12ft Carolina skiff compared to the fancy new Pioneer??

Well this weekend that question was answered!!! And answered with gusto.

But not with pure luck I have to add.  There was some strategy involved:

Last week when we were driving back in from an(other) unsuccessful trolling trip, we noticed a boat anchored and bottom fishing in certain spot.  "What is that boat doing there" we both mused.  'That's the Salty Goat", Patrick said.  (The Salty Goat is a charter that we have gone out with many times before we got our own boat).  Both of us together:  "well if THEY are there, that must be a good spot!!"  So we marked the spot as best we could using a variety of methods.  And fair play to the captain (Patrick) he found that spot for us this weekend!

Confession time.  Ok, so Patrick caught this lovely Spanish Mackerel that I am posing with, lol!

7 fine porgy, a 12 inch yellowtail snapper and an 18 inch spanish mackerel!

That yellow tail was lucky to get aboard by the way.  Biggest shark I've ever seen in my life chased it up 😱

Weekend summary a.k.a what I ate

Came home from work on Friday night to a fine feast of Stone Crab Claws and Prosecco.

Took last half glass of prosecco and sat out front of our house on adirondack chairs.  Admired the radiant evening sky.  As my friend Alice said, "like it was designed by Lilly Pulitzer".

On Saturday we went to one of our favourite early lunch spots - Colez Peace Bakery - and split one their lovely sandwiches made with their baked bread.

That afternoon we headed out on the boat to get gas and check the crab traps.  After the hard work of the traps we drifted around on the ocean and had a little drink - me a mixed drink (vodka & diet coke) and Patrick a cold Pacifico beer.  On our cycle home we stopped off at the local VFW and split a burger - blue cheese mmm!  And fries with vinegar!  What a (naughty but nice) treat.

On Sunday we got up early and were on the water by 8am.  Happy that we got gas yesterday we headed to a new spot and it was HOT!  See separate blog post about our adventures there.  

That evening we celebrated the fishing success with an Oysterfest at Alonzo's. Oysters on the Half Shell, Baked Oysters and Battered Fish Bites. I paid because I lost a bet with Patrick 🤣🤣 and the wager was a Happy Hour.