Every good couple has a “thing”…right?
Our beach quests are always the same- we seek the ocean sunrise, sand, relaxation, surf, shells, stone crab, the ocean sunset - and always - the perfect slice of Key Lime Pie. Chuck and I have been on a key lime pie quest since the dawn of our married life. Oh - it was all tropical paradise and promises in 1986 on our honeymoon in the Bahamas over the best piece of key lime pie we’ve EVER shared - until we got to the last bite. Chivalry and self-sacrifice out the window, a two-forks battle ensued. I WON! And I still have the battle scar to prove it. If you click on the picture top left and zoom way in you can see it. It’s huge! ;-D We’ve been on a shared quest for the best battle-worthy piece of key lime pie ever since. It's our “thing”. But now that we can afford two pieces of pie, we can't afford the calories. No matter - wouldn't be as much fun anyway. Two forks please!
So - here we are below midway through our 30th anniversary and seventh trip to Marco Island in south Florida. This charming little strip of white sandy beach on the Gulf shore south of Naples started out as a special place for our large extended family to gather in peace that first Thanksgiving in the aftermath of the horror that was 9-11-2001. Chuck and I fell in love with it, though, and have returned regularly to this peaceful retreat. Over the past 15 years we have come alone, with friends and now with our own little expanding family that includes not only our two grown children but their wonderful significant others in a unique little tribe we call Team Rosé. The only thing better than having a "thing" is sharing it with those you hold most dear. We've successfully managed to suck Team Rosé into our perfect slice of beach and, by extension, our perfect-slice-of-pie quest.
Oh yes - the perfect slice of key lime pie does exist - but not where you may be thinking…
How hard can it be to find a good key lime pie in south Florida? The four basic ingredients are simple: Fresh key lime juice (a Florida no-brainer), sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and a good graham-cracker crumb-based crust. It shouldn't be rocket science - except apparently it is. Truthfully, our prior Marco pie quests were barely quests at all. We happened across the street one day years ago to fresh seafood and key lime pie perfection at Captain Brian's Restaurant and Improv bar. We looked forward to it every time we ventured to Marco. Sadly, we arrived this time to find Captain Brian’s no longer in business.
Sooooo - bring on the key lime pie quest!
Here's the blow-by-blow. Our favorite stone-crab restaurant- frozen key lime pie - ummm - pass. Local favorite from a fish market - seriously? - where was the lime? A random local restaurant reviewed on Trip Advisor - key lime pudding with airy, spray can whipped cream and soggy crust. A local high-end restaurant - key lime meringue torte - better than pie they said - huh? A high-end resort on the beach - key-lime-is-it-cake-or-pie? My personal “favorite” from a seafood restaurant on the dock - whipped key lime jet fluff as one member of Team Rosé hilariously dubbed it.
In all, we rode the sugar wave and walked off five different versions of the pie and, in the end, we all agreed - the perfect key lime pie must get these three elements right: texture, tartness and crust. We don’t want key lime cheesecake pie or key lime torte pie or key lime jet puff fluff pie - and hold the meringue please. Not saying these interpretations are bad - but - if we're going to invest the calories, we want key lime PIE pie - a glossy, silky-dense, lime-zesty custard filling with with the sweet-tangy flavor balance tilted in favor of the tartness of the key lime (that you can feel tingling on the sides of your tongue before you've even taken the first bite) all nestled in a sturdy but not too thick buttery crisp graham cracker crumb crust and topped with a generous mound of real, thick whipped cream for just the right lightly sweet creamy balance. Yep - THAT pie.
We held out hope for one more restaurant that was highly reviewed, The Marco Brewery, but couldn’t get there before we had to head home. I guess that means one trip more - one pie quest more. <Sigh> - I feel so blessed but our little team is growing and changing and establishing their own metaphorical “two fork pie quests” - as it should be. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll start getting sucked into their “things” and won’t that be fun!
You will find us occasionally enjoying the perfect slice of key lime pie right here (no kidding - we should know - It’s our “thing”) at The Pie Junkie in Oklahoma City. Two forks please!
Here's to you and your "things" my fun maker-people - for all the Love and People you put In Knit!
(If you're wondering what Key Lime Pie is doing in my knitting blog - vacation and a change of name and branding for my knitting blog and knitwear design business have kept me busy and away from my regular knitting blogging - but I am happy to be back in town, back in business and back “In Knit” with all of you!)