My New Year’s Resolution for 2011 is simple. It has nothing to do with going to the gym, or losing weight, or saving money, or anything else that would destine me for failure. I merely want to live happier. I want to be in a state of well being and contentment, actively seeing out pleasurable and satisfying experiences (this is the definition of happiness according to Merriam Webster…yes, I really looked it up). Basically, I am going to be the “yes woman,” ready to go to all sorts of places and try new experiences! Since I only have about 4 months left in Miami before my graduation, I figure I better get started here and right away. So Ariana and I drafted a long list of all the things we want to do before May and got to it!
First on the list, kayaking in the Keys. Ariana had once read that Bahia Honda was pretty cool and rated number one beach in the country, so we packed up our beach bags and made the two and a half hour drive down there to check it out. Of course, when we got there the park sign said that it was rated number one beach back in 1992, which made us a little nervous, but it turned out to be great (although I still wouldn’t say it was the nicest beach I’ve ever been to!). Within minutes of our arrival, we were sitting in a lime green 2-person kayak and heading out to sea. We spotted a little island way out in the distance and decided that we wanted to go there and explore, possibly even collect some seashell party favors! After about 30 minutes of paddling, we started approaching the island and noticed that there was a man in a wet suit walking around and collecting something. Our minds think alike and we begin discussing the possibility of him being some hot young scuba diver that we can befriend. As I am dismissing this as mere a fantasy, we get close enough to see that he is in fact young, certainly muscular, and undoubtedly hot. Lets recap: we choose to paddle out to a random island in the middle of ocean and by freak chance run into a hot, young guy….could this have had anything to do with my lucky coin?! (read previous blog post if you don’t know what I’m referring to). Well long story short, he turns out to be collecting crabs for aquariums and enlists our help. We spend the entire afternoon gathering crabs and talking about life with our new friend, Matt. I also took it upon myself to be the conch match-maker, rescuing them and then pairing them together out in deeper waters so they could survive the low-tide. Ariana then pointed out that these arranged marriages seemed cruel and that each conch should choose it’s own mate, and that’s pretty much when I got on board with crab collecting.
After exchanging numbers we then kayaked back to shore and set out to find some delicious grub! We were told to go try Key Fisheries and it was everything we were looking for in a restaurant—on the water, with a bar, and tons of seafood. Ohh, and the $1.25 stone crabs at the upstairs bar were a deal that couldn’t be beat.
We got started off downstairs, ordering what we considered to be our “appetizers”—Lobster Rueben and Coconut Shrimp. Although Ariana and I aren’t the biggest fans of lobster, we felt pressured to try this sandwich because it was clearly the most popular item at the restaurant. Not only was everyone around us ordering it, but they actually had a ticker next to the ordering window, keeping track of the number sold to date! So far they have sold 142,570….we figured it must be pretty delicious.
When it finally arrived at the table, we were taken back by the size. The sandwich was massive, 2 huge pieces of rye bread containing lobster meat, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. The bread was toasted and buttery, and the sauerkraut was delicious. However, Ariana and I weren’t totally in love with it because of our lobster aversion….it didn’t convert us. I would have preferred if the lobster had been shredded a little bit more because it was kind of chunky, which took away from the texture of the sandwich. It was tasty but not particularly our favorite. The fries, on the other hand, were incredible! Not for any special reason, just simply fried, salty, and delicious. I also really enjoyed the assortment of condiments that were available to dip the fries in; mustard, ketchup, malt vinegar, and hot sauce! Mmmmm…it was almost hard to choose. We agreed that the Coconut Shrimp with Mango Horseradish Sauce were fabulous!!! They had huge flakes of coconut that were fried to a beautiful shade of golden brown, and the flavor of the mango dipping sauce was a perfect contrast. I could put that mango sauce on just about anything!
After our appetizers, we ordered drinks and headed to the upstairs bar for $1.25 Stone Crab with Mustard Dipping Sauce. It was my first time ever having stone crabs and I absolutely fell in love! Of course, I wish that you didn’t have to work so hard for the meat of the crab, but it was totally worth it. I loved alternating sips of margarita with bites of delicious crab, all while watching the sunset over the ocean…it was almost too perfect. One of the happiest and most content moments of my life (certainly achieving my New Year’s resolution!). But just when I thought the evening couldn’t better, the bar tender passed around free shots for the sunset toast. This is a daily tradition at Key’s Drinkerie, and one that I undoubtedly support! It was a perfect nightcap to send Ariana and I on our way home. We left with sandy feet, salty hair, bronzed cheeks, full bellies, and a great buzz. After this experience, I’m officially positive that you could drop Ariana and I anywhere in this world and we would make friends and be happy.