Winter Vacation Tips: Food Tour – Key West Food Tours

I can’t believe the holiday season is over. The crazy thing about the wonderful high of the holiday season, is the crash that comes just after the new year.

Many people, including myself, use this time of year to set goals, readjust priorities, and travel! I’m not a travel expert, but I do know that the U.S. winter season is a great time to travel near or south of the equator since it’s much warmer there.

We recently took a 4 day Royal Caribbean cruise that stopped in Key West and the Bahamas. We’d been to the Bahamas before but were excited to finally visit Key West. We’ve found that one of the best ways to learn about a new city and experience the best food is by taking a local food tour.

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We decided on KEY WEST FOOD TOURS and we were not disappointed! I wanted to give you a quick snapshot of our tour in hopes of encouraging you to try out a food tour on your next vacation. This might give you some ideas for the next time you’re in Key west or it might give you an idea for something new to try if you like traveling and if you like enjoying local food.

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The first place we visited was El Siboney a Cuban spot located at 900 Catherine St. This quaint restaurant was a great place to start our tour. We were served bread, beans, rice, and some of the best pork I’ve ever had. Our guide discussed the history of the restaurant and shared some of the stories behind this traditional cuisine.

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Our second stop was to Bad Boy Burrito located at 1128 Simonton St. Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri stopped here for an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and tried out their Cayo Hueso Fish Tacos. We had the opportunity to do the same and I’ll admit it was a very delicious taco! My only warning is that it’s very spicy, so be prepared with a tongue cooling beverage.

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Next, we walked over to the Speakeasy Inn Rum Bar and they served the tour participants a local rum runner cocktail. This was a tiny restaurant but if you’re into rum, this would be a good place to stop. There were some fun tidbits of history here and I was pleasantly surprised to learn how this stop shared so much Key West history!

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Our next stop was to Camille’s Restaurant. I loved this stop because it was my first time trying conch! We had Fried Conch fritters and I’m happy to say, I’m obsessed! I’ve heard horror stories about conch fritters but I think I can safely say this place does a great job making a fritter that’s not to doughy and that is bursting with flavor.

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Blue Heaven Restaurant and bar was such a neat stop. I felt like I was walking into a secret garden. The Key West island is a little bit of paradise, but this outdoor/backyard restaurant is its own piece of paradise. Here we were served Traditional Key lime pie and although I’m a huge fan of the Publix version, it’s got nothing on Blue Heaven’s version.

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Our last stop was to Key West Distilling. Here we were given a tour of the distillery and those who were interested, were allowed to taste their finished products!

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We truly enjoyed our Key West Food tour and recommend it to anyone who plans to travel to Key West soon. We opted for the Key West Food Tour over the one provided by our cruise line and it was definitely worth it! If you’re interested, visit www.keywestfoodtours.com for more information and to book!

 

 

Red Curry and Shrimp

I love seafood and I love flavor. My typical seafood seasonings are salt, pepper, old-bay, garlic, and some other traditional seasonings. After a brief conversation with my husband regarding his new love of curry, I knew I needed to try some “upgraded” flavors for my seafood dishes.

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Have you ever combined red curry, coconut milk, seafood, and spinach? I hadn’t… but now that I have, my eyes have been opened to a new world of flavor combinations. I found a recipe from PaleoLeap.com and adapted their Curried Shrimps and Spinach recipe (already delicious) into a slightly elevated and non-paleo feast.

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The traditional curry most people find in stores is a yellow curry. I decided to give red curry a try since it was a special item for sale at Aldi recently. Red curry and yellow curry are similar but have a slightly different profile. The red curry is a little spicier than the traditional style. It’s amazing that I’ll see one simple item at a grocery store and develop an entire meal around that one item.

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If you’ve never made shrimp stock you need to learn how to now! Shrimp stock is a staple in New Orleans style cooking that adds a delicious seafood flavor to your meals. It can be used to replace chicken or vegetable stock in recipes. For my red curry shrimp recipe I used shrimp stock in my recipe to give my sauce a seafood flavor without overcooking the shrimp.

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I also boiled my rice in the shrimp stock instead of water to give it a little extra flavor. To make the stock you boil shrimp heads and shells in water (or chicken stock) for about 20 minutes and strain so that only the liquid remains. I like to call my shrimp stock… liquid gold.

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This meal turned out much better than I expected. it will probably become a staple in our home. My husband gave it the seal of approval and I must admit, it was quite delicious. If you’re looking for a slightly exotic recipe that’s relatively quick and easy. Check out my Red Curry and Shrimp recipe below!

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  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Shrimp Stock

  • 1.5 lb shrimp with shells and heads still on
  • 5 cups water

Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice
  • 2 cups shrimp stock

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red curry powder
  • 3/4 cup shrimp stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Shrimp Stock

  1. Peel, remove heads, and clean shrimp. Set the shrimp aside for recipe use.
  2. In a medium sized stock pot combine shrimp heads, shells, and 5 cups water.
  3. Bring water and shell mixture to a boil and continue to boil for at least 15 minutes. The longer the mixture cooks, the more flavor the stock will have. If you cook longer than 20 minutes be sure to lower the heat to low so the mix can simmer.
  4. Pour shell mixture through a strainer into a container, saving liquid and discarding shells.
  5. Any unused stock and be frozen for later use.

Rice

  1. In a small saucepan combine 2 cups shrimp stock and 1.5 cups short grain rice.
  2. Bring to boil.
  3. Once boiling, cover and simmer over low for 20 minutes.
  4. Fluff rice with fork, re-cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.

Sauce

  1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in onion and cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add red curry powder and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer onion mixture to a blender or food processor and add in 3/4 cup shrimp stock and tomato paste.
  5. Blend or pulse mixture until pureed and smooth.
  6. Pour puree mixture back to pan, add coconut milk.
  7. Cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring to combine.
  8. Salt and pepper sauce to taste.
  9. Mix in shrimp and spinach until spinach is wilted and shrimp are pink.
  10. Serve over rice.

*Recipe adapted from Paleo Leap Curried Shrimps and Spinach.

Restaurant Review: Savory Seafood at Tin Can Fish House & Oyster Bar

Restaurant: Tin Can Fish House & Oyster Bar

Location: 230 Hammond Dr NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Overall Rating: 8.5

Price Range: $$ ($11 – $30)

Website: http://tincanfishhouse.com/

Click HERE to view the Menu


William and I have a standing tradition of having a dining out date night at least once a week. Most weeks that date night is our “Taco Tuesday” which takes place on any night of the week but always at a Mexican restaurant. Every once in a while we switch up our dining out date night and try a new restaurant. Recently we decided to try something new and ended up at Tin Can Fish House & Oyster Bar.

Photo via Urban Spoon

Tin Can Fish House & Oyster bar is located in Sandy Springs, Georgia just outside of the 285 Perimeter (Roswell Road area). We visited on a Thursday night and arrived around 6:00 PM. Upon arrival (to a relatively empty restaurant) we were enthusiastically greeted and quickly seated. Our server arrived just after were were seated and immediately took our beverage order.

After our drinks arrived we ordered raw oysters that arrived within 5 minutes of the order being placed. While we were eating our oysters we put in our entree orders and they arrived just after we finished the appetizer.

It was amazing how quickly the restaurant began to fill up with guests. We noticed that almost everyone who was eating at the restaurant ordered the raw oysters as well. By time we left, the restaurant was very full and it was nice to see the range in demographics of the people eating there.

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The Oysters

My husband and I have been craving oysters on the half shell so we were excited to see them on the menu here. They were delicious, and nicely shucked. They were served with a house cocktail sauce and saltine crackers. A dozen cost $15.00. There are other seasoned options for oysters on the menu if raw isn’t your thing. The oyster sizes were not consistent. It would have been nice if a few of them were a little bigger… but all together, they were just what we were craving.

The Entrees

Fried Oyster Basket: The oysters were fried to perfection and seasoned just right. They were not oily and the batter is so different than anything I’ve had before. Just thinking about these oysters is making me hungry. The basket came with two sides and cost $11.00.

Fried Crawfish Tail Po’ Boy: One word… Amazing. I’ve had crawfish tail po’ boys before but they have never tasted like this one. The crawfish was cooked perfectly (there’s nothing worse than over fried crawfish tails). The bread for the sandwich was fresh and soft. There was a great sauce on the sandwich that was a spicy but not overly spicy. The po’ boy came with two sides and costs $11.00.

The Sides

Jalapeño Slaw: I’m not a slaw person, but this slaw was rather tasty. The jalapeños were not overpowering but gave the side a nice flavor.

Hush Puppies: I love hush puppies and these did not disappoint. 6 were served with the entree.

Fried Okra: If you’re a southerner you know all about fried okra. The okra was great. It cooked perfectly — nice and crunchy!

Cheese Grits: Nothing special but tasted good.

The Sauces

House Tartar Sauce: I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like tartar sauce. The standard mayonnaise and pickle combination usually isn’t my thing. Tin Can Fish House & Oyster Bar has changed my mind on tartar sauce. Their house made sauce was great and I would encourage anyone (even the non tartar sauce people) to give it a try.

House Cocktail Sauce: The house cocktail sauce was served with our oysters. It was good. Nothing particularly special about it.

RATINGS

ATMOSPHERE: 7.5  – The atmosphere for the restaurant was inviting. There were quite a few TVs (playing sports) and the music was was inviting and at a good sound level for holding a conversation.  Because the restaurant is located in a strip mall so the view is of a large parking lot. It’s not super “hip” but it is inviting.atmosphere

Taste: 9 – The food was really delicious and the portions were perfect. Our food was served quickly and at the right temperature. service

Service: 9 – Great service. Our server was knowledgeable about the menu, offered suggestions when needed, and had a great personality. service

Overall: 8.5. We really enjoyed the restaurant and are excited to have found another affordable and tasty restaurant in the metro Atlanta area. We can’t wait to go back and try some other items on the menu.taste