Dining Outside the Home: The Green Room in Key West, Florida! When the locals tip you off with their favorite watering holes, you kinda pay attention. The Green Room takes pride in serving up thirst-quenching organic drinks in eco-friendly surroundings. Not only that, they believe is supporting the community as much as possible. It is an island, after all. Environmental sustainability is critical to survival. The bartenders are as laid back as a Florida sunset and the live music is cultural, no matter the performer. Stop by for a few. You’ll walk away feeling like family.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Mint Leaf Peach Salad! Sliced peaches with creamy goat cheese medallions, OMG! This delightful salad is ideal for a light lunch, an afternoon brunch, or an early dinner. Indulging in the sweet tangy taste of a ripe, plump peach mixed with the nutty crunch of sugared pecans wrapped around medallions of earthy herbed goat cheese is like taking a bath in a tub of dairy rich cream. At first bite, you won’t mind being pampered. The fresh mint leaf garnish is like icing on a cake.
MINT LEAF PEACH SALAD
1 ripe peach, sliced with pit removed
4-6 cherry tomatoes; halved
2 ounces creamy goat cheese
1/4 cup sugared pecans, crushed
Fresh mint leaves
Cut ripe peach into 7-8 slices. Arrange in a pinwheel design on a salad plate. Cut cherry tomatoes and place seed side up around the peach slices. Crush sugared pecans on a sheet of waxed paper. Take a goat cheese slice and roll in nut mixture to coat; repeat. Arrange medallions on salad plate around the peaches. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Dining Outside the Home: Paradise Restaurant in Key West, Florida! “Behind every storm, there is a paradise waiting for you,” say owners Christian and Julian Velez. Together they created Paradise Restaurant, specializing in tasty Latin American food. Their hospitality alone embraces everyone who comes to dine here. Sure, the iguanas may come into view over your shoulder, but that only adds to the ambiance of outdoor seating. Sit back, sip on a salty-sugar rimmed margarita for good measure while deciding what to order. Ever tried sweet and succulent fried plantains? You must. They are simply delish caramelized niblets of green bananas. Pair them with pork carnitas and Cuban black beans. Talk about Paradise.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Lamb Burger Sliders! For all the meat-lovers out there, lean lamb is a healthier choice simply because it is good for the heart. Personally, I prefer the tender cut of meat with its mellow flavor, especially when partnered with garden fresh vegetables. By adding a touch of spice, it actually enhances the flavor. If you’re looking for a break from beef, chicken, or pork…think lamb.
LAMB BURGER SLIDERS
1 pound ground lamb
1/8 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tomato, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup tzatziki sauce with feta chunks
6 ciabatta slider buns
Form ground lamb meat into six mini patties. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning; sprinkle with sea salt. Brush both sides of patties with olive oil. Grill lamb patties 2-3 minutes per side over medium-high heat, turning once. Set aside. Toast ciabatta buns. To assemble lamb sliders, spread tzatziki sauce on the bottom of the buns. Next layer buns with cucumber slice, tomatoes, lamb burger, and red onion. Serve immediately.
“We must walk consciously
only part way toward our goal,
and then leap in the dark
to our success.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
“There are two means of refuge
from the miseries of life:
Music and Cats.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
Dining Outside the Home: Nine One Five in Key West, Florida. During the day you may walk by this charming whitewashed Victorian home, with ocean blue accents, thinking it’s a magnificent private residence. What a glorious sight. However once the evening hours roll around, every table seems to be filled with jovial guests on the wrap-around veranda before overflowing into the front yard beyond the white picket fence. Notice how the amber lights soften the mood for intimacy and celebration. Your first thought may be, “How do I get invited to the party?” My advice? Make a reservation because if you don’t, you’ll wish you did. Take time to enjoy every course. For starters, think about the raw Ahi Tuna Gravlax or fig balsamic Burrata. Delectable choices. Homemade pastas like fettuccine, cannot be resisted, especially when mixed with Key West pink shrimp and capers. The menu is varied to appeal to every palate. Go ahead, you’re worth it.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Kickstart Breakfast Burrito! Eggs have a way of warding off those mid-morning hunger pangs, in my opinion. Being high in protein makes them a favorite and keeps me from caving in to foods with empty calories later on. Because I’m a bread-lover, the tortilla satisfies like manna from heaven. Cheese, turkey sausage, and veggies kickstart my breakfast so I can stay focused and on point. Choose a breakfast wrap the next time you want a little variety in your day.
KICKSTART BREAKFAST BURRITO
2 flour tortillas, burrito size
2 tablespoons salsa
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 lemon chili pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2-4 turkey sausage links, precooked and sliced
4 tablespoons Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
Top tortillas with salsa. Set aside. Combine onion, green pepper, tomato, and lemon chili pepper in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Microwave on High for 1 minute, 45 seconds. Remove and set aside. Heat turkey sausage chunks for 30 seconds on High in the microwave oven. Set aside. In a nonstick medium skillet over medium heat, add beaten eggs. Cook, stirring occasionally for one minute. Add turkey sausage, shredded cheese, and vegetable mixture. Cook one minute longer or until eggs are set. Do not burn. Divide scrambled egg mixture between the tortilla shells. Fold into a burrito. Makes two breakfast burritos.
Dining Outside the Home: The Salty Angler in Key West, Florida! When a coastal downpour catapults you indoors for cover, thank your lucky stars if it happens to be The Salty Angler. Not only is it a comfy watering hole, the live music from local talent is a plus. Pub-worthy Loaded Fries are smothered in jalapeño queso dip and crispy bacon. Perfect for sharing. Go ahead, smack your lips and lick your fingers. The laid-back atmosphere is like being surrounded by friends. Add a Bloody Mary with garnishes that perfect the flavor. Make it spicy, if you dare. At The Salty Angler, they aim to please. Give ‘em a nod for food, drink, and entertainment.