The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is a haven for all those who who want to drop off the map and wake up in another world. A long line of land that drifts and drags in parts from the tip of the state of Florida, The Florida Keys is for many the ultimate vacation destination between food, fishing, fun and fabulous weather.

On my recent trip there, I made a few stops!

KEY LARGO

  1. To stay – Amoray Dive Resort – This is considered one of the best scuba dive destinations in the world, with an extra touch in style, comfort and service located in Key Largo, Florida. Amoray Dive Resort offers a favorable location with spectacular views of the sunset over bay waters. Step out from one their rooms directly onto our 45 ft catamaran dive and snorkel boat, located conveniently at the resort.
  2. To eat – Sundowners – Here you can experience sunset at it’s best whilst sipping on a Key Lime Martini and munching on appetizers like their crispy fresh Tuna Pizza with olives and jalapenos or Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Pommery mustard. Main wise, their Caribbean Glazed Mahi Mahi with spinach and kale, accompanied by some Oregano and Sea Salt Cauliflower is a stand out dish.
  3. To experience – The African Queen – The iconic vessel the African Queen is located in Key Largo Florida. Made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn she still remains a timeless classic. This famous steamboat is available for daily canal cruises and dinner cruises in the Port Largo Canal area and also for private events, and is well worth the nostalgic experience.Amoray Dive ResortAmoray Dive ResortSundowners FishThe African Queen

MARATHON

  1. To eat – Tarpon Creek – The restaurant’s water-side Tiki Bar is known as a spot where folks meet and mingle from early in the day to the cool of the night. However more than tropical drinks and good cheer are is served here. Food wise, it’s worth stopping in for lunch or dinner to try everything from their wood fired pizzas (prepared fresh on site in their wood fire stove) to fresh fish dishes and unique salads such as their Signature Watermelon Salad, with arugula, fresh watermelon, feta, olives and balsamic glaze (add the grilled shrimp for a sensational touch!) Clean this off with a slice of their Key Lime Pie, and you are set.
  2. To experience – The Sea Turtle Hospital – Which provides a unique look at the lives of one of the area’s most beloved creatures through on site tours of the turtles that reside their. The Turtle Hospital (Hidden Harbor Marine Environmental Project, Inc.) is a charitable corporation and fully functioning veterinary hospital for sick and injured sea turtles. Here they rescue, rehab, and release sea turtles in the Florida Keys, whilst providing an eye opening and educational experience for all ages.Sea Turtle HospitalTarpon CreekTarpon Creek SaladTarpon Creek

KEY WEST

  1. To Stay – The Perry – Inspired by the industrial nature from which Stock Island has developed, The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina blends smooth wood finishes with rustic metal details, paying homage to the area’s iconic maritime heritage. Perched at the edge of a brand new state-of-the-art 220-slip marina (the largest deep water marina in the Florida Keys) the 100-room boutique hotel’s pool deck overlooks the working waterfront. Guest rooms with spacious, private balconies and waterfront views welcome visitors from all walks of life, while two ‘boat-to-table’ seafood-driven restaurants, Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen and Bar and The Salty Oyster Bar and Grill offer classic Key West comfort food with an innovative twist.
  2. To eat –The Stoned Crab – Experience Paul’s culinary magic in action during this three-course fresh seafood extravaganza at The Stoned Crab restaurant, located on Ibis Bay’s marina. The seafood caught earlier that day by Ibis Bay’s commercial fishermen is prepared for you that same night. Grab a drink from their eco bar, featuring cocktails made only with fresh local fruit and sustainable liquors and head to dinner. Guests should be sure to tuck into the restaurant’s We Smoked It Fish Dip, Conch Fritters or Key Lime Ceviche Salad before moving onto any of the pasta or Steamer Dishes, all decorated with the freshest fish around.
  3. To experience – Ibis Bay Nightboarding – There’s no better way to enjoy the twilight hours of Key West than on LED-lite stand-up paddle boards or kayaks in the Ibis Bay. Led by an expert tour guide, you can explore the underwater world of Ibis Bay after dark, when the lobster, fish, and coral are most active and vibrant.
The Perry Hotel

The Perry Hotel

Dining at The Perry

Dining at The Perry

Ibis Bay Nightboarding

Ibis Bay Nightboarding

The Stoned Crab

The Stoned Crab

Montauk, The Hamptons; Dining Out

Montauk; Dining Out

On the farthest tip of Long Island you will find Montauk- a hippy-chic beach town with great eats, buzzing bars and a prime oceanside location. Every summer, I make a point to visit and try something new.

To grab a quick drink or a light dinner – South Edison: Pick up some salt water taffy on the way in and park yourself at the bar of this fun  and quirky beachside restaurant. Their selection of beverages has something for everyone, but particular favorites include the Coconut Thing, made with mezcal, plantation pineapple rum, fresh lemon and lime, cream of coconut, cinnamon dust. Their customizable Pickle Martinis also throw a twist on the classic cocktail, with choices from fresno chili to beet and more.

Stay for dinner and sample some great dishes like their Summer Salad (of mesclun greens, watermelon radish, sungold tomato, feta, macadamia nut and prickly pear vinaigrette) or fish dishes like their Black and Blue Scallops (with green pepper pine nut romesco, graffiti eggplant, garlic scape, asparagus, fresno chili and garlic-chive oil.) Food is made to share but with great care, and a tonne of eclectic oceanfront flavor!

To dine out – Arbor – If you’re looking for a chic yet romantic spot, this is a pretty spot on choice. This summer in particular, Arbor has a great al fresco pop up bar (in partnership with The Garret from New York) serving drinks like the rosemary cocktail (Mezcal, Aperol, rosemary infused Velvet Falernum and lemon juice,) the tarragon (rum, pineapple, tarragon and Greek yogurt) and the habanero (gin, elderflower, cucumber, habanero and lime.) Pair any of those with their tuna taco appetizer or head to the glittering inside bar for a selection of raw local seafood to start (from fresh oysters to topneck clams.)

Whether you choose to eat inside, or dine outside in their majestic outdoor garden, this menu boasts a little bit of everything. Personal favorites include their Organic Quinoa & Kale Salad with chickpea vinaigrette and the Pan Seared Scallop with cauliflower purée, asparagus spears. Paired with a crisp glass (or bottle) of Rose and some good company, Arbor very much embodies the term ‘a midsummer night’s dream.’

To get in the mix – The Grey Lady – The simple, yet charming waterfront feel of The Gray Lady, may seem calm, but don’t be suprised – this spot fills up fast at night. The bar and restaurant here provide that laid back cool, that continues to draw young New York escapees to Montauk. Come for a Gray Lady brewsky or a Spicy Watermelon Margarita (with jalapeno infused tequila, watermelon juice, agave, fresh lime juice) or stay longer and reserve a spot to dine.

Raw seafood is a must to start, as are their Mussels Escabeche with pimenton de vera oil and tuscan grilled bread. Then tuck into dishes like their Saffron Lobster and Shrimp Tortellini, with lemongrass veloute, chervil or Crispy Whole Branzino, with cherry tomato confit, grilled lemon. If you still have the energy after dinner, take it back to the bar where you’ll find a lively young scene that builds with the hours. Yet, as an all-in-one experience goes, The Gray Lady is up there, with an atmosphere that transforms from cocktail bar, to dinner spot to late night busy bar.