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New places in Key West--2 Cents and Firefly

j
JmVikmanis Dec 9, 2013 02:35 PM

Made our annual pilgrimage to Key West to take in the Christmas Parade. They really do it up big. Always a good time.

While there we had dinner one night at 2 Cents and breakfast/brunch at Firefly. Both were new to me and since my search here turns up nothing on them I want to give them a shout out.

I tripped on to 2 Cents reading a Key West feature in a recent Travel and Leisure. Looked and sounded good, so we decided to stake a dinner on it. Glad we did. It was a wonderful way for 6 to share lots of interesting tastes and have a great time.

We had their special heirloom pink radishes with sea salt--excellent but a bit pricey at 8.25, nonetheless pretty unique, their wings in garlic, cilantro and chili sauce--one of the more "normal" things on the menu but incredibly tasty, several other items (unfortunately I failed to take notes and as usual with a night in Key West things start to blur after a while), but the big winners were the scotch eggs--quail eggs in 5 spice sausage and mussels in a wonderful curry. It was all good--even the homemade potato chips with onion dip--not your mother's old recipe for sure.

The place is on Applerouth street off Duval about half a block. Nice covered outdoor dining and a cute bar. Everyone dining that night appeared to be as happy as we were. This is a winner.

Firefly was a totally serendipitous find. We had just been told that the wait for breakfast seating at Blue Heaven would be an hour and could not find a seat in the waiting area. Sent one of our party to scout whether Santiago's Bodega was open and looked good. He returned very excited about finding Firefly a block or so from Blue Heaven with what he thought was an excellent menu. Great pick.

This place has only been open 6 weeks so we can be excused for not knowing about it beforehand. It's a real Southern cooking place, very chef driven and religiously sourced with everything pretty much made from scratch. We tried nearly everything on the breakfast menu and everyone was happy, really happy. I had the Cathead biscuit with eggs, country ham and sawmill sausage gravy. A winner. Best biscuits I've ever eaten and enormous. The country sage sausage side I ordered was nicely restrained (not too spicey) but still very tasty in a subtle sort of way. The chicken and waffles came in a thin almost crepe-like waffle, a nice variation that cuts the over abundance of breadiness a regular waffle gives this dish IMO.

Our waitress Suzie, seems delighted with her new gig and already knows the names of the chickens who live next door and keeps track of the number of chicks they herd about. She is enthusiastic about the place and the menu and a delight to chat up as she takes your order. Of course, she's one of those folks who came for a week and has stayed forever. She had the chef come out to talk with us as we raved about everything and questioned him on the mayhall jam Suzie brought us for the biscuit someone ordered separate to go with her poached eggs instead of with sausage gravy. A story of how to find the berries, make the jam and preserve tradition followed.

I'm not steeped in real Southern cooking, but if I can find more places like Firefly, I could get to be. This was good eatin'.

One word in praise of an old place--Southernmost Hotel Cafe. Beautiful view, all open place with good, solid standards but their corned beef hash deserves special mention. Good, fatty corned beef used in it, giving it great flavor and texture. Recommend without reservation.

Key West dining keeps improving year after year. Can't wait for next Christmas Parade.