The food: key lime pie and fish tacos
The best key lime pie I’ve ever eaten was made by my friend Fern Rubinstein, who brought a pie consisting of a key lime filling topped with meringue, within a buttery, homemade pâte brisée pastry shell, to a dinner party I had.
So good were my memories of that pie that when I was in Florida recently, I sought out some key lime pie in situ. The closest I got to the Keys was Miami Beach, but a chowhound poster had recommended the pie at Joe’s Stone Crab, so I swung by the restaurant’s takeaway shop in South Beach, and did not flinch at the $6.95 price for a slice of what’s billed as Joe’s Original Homemade Key Lime Pie (pictured above).
I did flinch upon eating it though – for my taste, it was way too sweet, not very limey, and suspiciously green (food colouring alert). I had disregarded another poster on chowhound who recommended the key lime pie at Publix, a supermarket chain in Florida, but I figured it couldn’t be worse than the Joe’s version, so I picked up a slice, for the low price of $2.49, and found it to be markedly superior – it was suffused with a tangy lime flavour, was not excessively sweet, and the colour was more natural. The whipped cream and toasted almond topping added some nice textural contrast too.
E ordered a menu item that was actually called “Get What Guy Got.” It consisted of half a Cuban pressed sandwich, 1 fish taco, and some tropical shepherd’s pie.
I went for something simpler (and meatless): two fish tacos with pineapple salsa for only $6.50, less than the price of that awful Joe’s Stone Crab pie slice.
We both liked the fish tacos best – they were fresh and salad-like, the generous amount of pineapple chunks brightened them up, and they represented not only good value but appeared to be made by hand, a quality rarely found in restaurants north of Miami, where, unfortunately, restaurant chains rule.