Wednesday 26 July 2023

Islamorada - little get away

We had the most fabulous few days away in Islamorada the Islander Resort...but because I tried to make a STUPID TIKTOK MOVIE about it I have barely any photos for this blog!

No photos of our visit to the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center.  No photos of our lovely room, the lovely food we ate at the shrimp shack, no photos of the replica (Hemingway's) Pilar boat in the Bass Pro Store, no photos of nuthin'.


What I do have is photos of the cute little diving lines in the parking lot of the fishing store.  Isn't this just adorable?!

We made a stop at the Islamorada Brewing Company and sampled a few of their beers.  They were quite good aside from I don't recommend the coconut lime one!!! (Seriously???! lol)

And of course I adored the sign to the resort and just had to have a photo! 

We had two fun evenings at the shrimp shack.  What can I say - their bacon wrapped shrimp are amaaaaaaazing.  Plus Islamorada is small, there is not a huge amount of stuff within in walking distance off site of the resort.  And yes, that that margarita was just lovely.

A quick trip back down the keys (80 miles to be precise) in the doorless, windowless, Key West jeep and we were home to Miss Buddy the Cat. She was delighted to have us home and we were delighted too.

Oh btw...if you are wondering about the Tik Tok thing, not good dear reader, not good.... Link:

Friday 21 July 2023

The Black Crows will play Key West


The Black Crows are coming to Key West.  Only one of Patrick's favourite live bands!  Quite amazing really, getting a band of this calibre down to little old Key West.  They are playing in the amphitheatre which is just super all round - water behind you, stage in front, great sound, great weather for outdoors.
Tickets went on sale today at 10am and so to save money on silly fees etc I said I would pop down to the box office which is just one block away from the hotel where I work.  Typical Key West, the person who was supposed to come in for 10 didn't arrive.... Also typical Key West, small island, I was put in touch with the box office manager on facebook who dm'd me and told me she had two tickets held for me to get in touch with her. I popped out to meet her at the store she was working in and soon I had two precious tickets in my little paws.  Talk about great customer service! Fair play to her.
So that was the excitement of today.  Now it's just roll on October!!

Mahi season contines!

Photos from last weekend! Three in total. Three!

Removing hook...

Patrick's catch on Sunday

Myself with Patrick's catch on the right and my smaller one on the left

My big one from SATURDAY!  This pic is a still from a video fyi :)


Smoked fish

We decided to try smoking one of last weekend's haul

Just 30 minutes at 250 degrees

Look at the beautiful colouring the smoker gave the fish.  This was pure white going in with a small amount of seasoning

I just adore the color!

It had a strong smoked flavour to it.  Bringing to mind, the smoked kippers from the Isle of Man, of my childhood.

If I was to do fish in the smoker again I think I would use a lot less wood chips.  It absorbed the flavour so much more than the robust meat of St Louis ribs and I think it would lend itself better to a more delicate flavour. Whereas I liked this experiment a lot, Patrick was not as keen as I.


Monday 10 July 2023

Movies Under the Stars

 In conjunction with Monroe County Public Library, The Tropic Cinema continued their popular outdoor screenings series ("Movies Under the Stars") and I was delighted to go to Grease!

Myself, Megan and Jacqueline got in the spirit by dressing in 1950s outfits.  Well, this was the best I could muster from my wardrobe without ordering online

Megan had an official Pink Lady jacket!

I joked that I was Patty Simcox :))

You can see the start of the set up here in this pic.  The Tropic provides the big screen and the movie and you bring your own chair. And of course you can pop into the Tropic to get your cinema food.  Popcorn, mmmm!

Toronto July 2023


Out of all American airlines, Delta is my clear favourite.  Efficient and reliable (which is important when you are flying from a little small island in the middle of nowhere) and lovely staff and customer service.

While this was a work trip for Patrick (which, lucky me, got to tag along), we did manage to squeeze in some visiting time with Patrick's parents.  This is a pic of Patrick and his Dad, in the garden of their condo building, grilling some lovely lamb.  This is his dad's specialty dish and we all joke that while Patrick follows his dad's recipe his dad's lamb always beats Patrick's.  Ok, so it is me, I may or may not have started this joke lol.

I started reading this book of theirs and his mam insisted I take it with me. I had brought her a book as it happens (Running with the Bulls by Valerie Hemingway).  This memoir by Irish woman, American citizen, and ex US Ambassador to the UN is just INCREDIBLE.  I cannot recommend it enough.

Did I mention this was a work trip for Patrick.....aka Amy Vacay :) I spent a lot of time in the hotel Health Club - in the whirlpool and reading the above book.

And of course I did a lot of pottering around the city (aka getting lost, my dreadful sense of direction struck again, a few times actually). 

By pure chance I ended up in the CBC building (via the underground "PATH" system) and again, by pure chance, found a small museum/exhibit of some old CBC equipment.

Recording machines from the 50s and 60s for the radio shows,

My interpretation is that this CBC employee informally started saving and storing stuff which eventually became this museum.  Good man Ivan Harris!

This was nicely done: a view into a storage area where there was shelves and shelves of tv cameras, vintage tvs and various tv and radio miscellaneous items.



I had a famous Toronto peameal bacon sandwich in St Laurence Market.  I loved it.

We had some great Japanese food for dinner.

Visited McVeigh's Irish bar...very interesting history!

I could have eaten a million of these but oh my gosh I don't want to think of all that sugar and calories. This is a little piece of heaven called a Canadian Butter Tart.

Toronto! Have you been? Would you go? Let me know! Comment below :)

Key West weekend fun

 A brief summary of the weekend since we got back from Canada.  

Friday evening: An early start of a 3am wake up call on Friday morning for a 6.15am flight - which by the way, was the right decision to get up so early, the airport was extremely busy even at that time in the morning.  Also, I had issues checking in online so we needed to go to a physical desk.  Plus, add into the mix that we were flying international after all and needed to go through US immigration prior to getting to our gate. 

As you can imagine we were quite tired that evening (also factor in that Patrick was working in the afternoon once we arrived back to Key West), so we decided to take it easy and pop around to Shanna Key for dinner.  Shanna Key is nothing fancy as you know but it is reliable as a local (Irish) bar/restaurant for a bite to eat and a drink.

After a great night's sleep for both of us we were up and out on Saturday morning, headed out to 400 feet trolling. Success! After about two hours of some hard trolling we caught one.  And with a great story to boot! Pure chance we were both looking backwards at the two rods (normally one person is looking, the other focusing forward on the driving) and we both witnessed the mahi mahi jump twice, at great speed, BEFORE taking the hook.  It was incredible to watch.

And another story to tell! The second fellow was caught at 180 feet, 5 seconds before Patrick was about to call it and reel the rod in - like he was literally on his feet walking over to the rod and then boom, it hit!

Two nice 26 inchers (22 on the fork - they must be bigger than 20 to keep them).  We had a fabulous dinner of fresh fish on Saturday night and then again on Monday evening.

Saturday morning, another day of up and out.

One of our dockmasters gave us co-ordinates of a new spot to try out.  It is where the snapper are spawning right now so it was a popular spot with maybe 10 other boats there.  We didn't stay out too long. We hadn't brought all the accoutrements needed (chum!) and also didn't fancy anchoring today so we just floated around and enjoyed the time on the boat.  We drove home around the island the opposite way we normally go and that is always a nice trip when we change it up.

Bill texted Patrick and they came up with a plan for happy hour so I was delighted with that.  They are going to Ireland on Wednesday and kindly offered to bring anything back for me if I wanted so I quickly rushed to the store and bought a few little small things for my family.  Oh my gosh, how cute are these little shoes for my niece!!!

Always a great time with this pair.  It was lovely chatting with them before they head off on their big Irish and Scottish adventure!  Bon Voyage to them and their family!