A Truly Locally Sourced Meal in Key West

I would like to say I’m vigilant about where all my food comes from and what additives might be in them, but I’m not (I’m currently snacking from a box of crackers while I type this). But when given the option to try out a “farm to table” restaurant or buy produce that I know was grown locally, I’ll certainly take advantage of it. Still, I don’t think anything beats the freshness of the meal I had when I was in Key West recently.

I took a half-day fishing charter one of the mornings I was down there and was fortunate enough to catch several fish, including a few hogfish. Hogfish is one of the best tasting fish I’ve had, but it doesn’t keep well frozen, so it’s hard to find anywhere outside of where it’s native. I gave some of the fish to the crew as a tip and wasn’t sure what to do with the rest when the mate gave me a suggestion. He said several of the Key West restaurants offer a “cook your catch” option where they will take your fish and make dinner for you.

I called up one of the places he recommended and made reservations for that night. I dropped the fish off early, and the chef asked me what I had in mind. I figured they would just fry it or grill it. She laughed and told me not to worry. That night, we had a three course meal that included hogfish in all three dishes, prepared differently each time. And as far as freshness goes, I don’t think I’ll ever beat eight hours from ocean to stomach.

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