When in Florida

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.

Publix Key Lime Pie beats out Joe's

While in Florida, I also visited Havana Hideout, a, well, hideout in Lake Worth made famous by Guy Fieri’s Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Check out the Guy Ate Here stencil on the wall above the blackboard

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.

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One thought on “When in Florida

  1. Sara Bennett says:

    Next time you’re in NY, if you have time I’ll take you to Steve’s Key Lime Pie in Red Hook, one of my favorite places in Brooklyn. I’m not a key lime aficionado, but it’s reputed to be among the best.

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