I’m not usually this organised. What with being jet-lagged at the beginning of the week, and having to drink copious amounts of tea and diet coke to stay awake through the day…I’m surprised I even had the energy to get some of my Miami photos sorted and edited. So…surprise! Here’s my first vacation post.
We crashed with a friend in his apartment in Ft. Lauderdale during our weekend stay and drove daily to more exciting parts of town like Miami and Key West. There were long rides on the harrowing freeways of South Florida (there were some insane driving moments – and did you know you’re allowed to speak on the cell phone while driving? Erm yes, WITHOUT a handsfree set!) but at the end of each ride, we were rewarded with sights to behold and gorgeous food to stuff our faces with.
Marker 88 is a mile marker on U.S. Highway 1. The mile markers in Florida begin in Key West at zero and go northward ending in Fort Kent, Maine. It is 2,390 miles long. Marker 88 is also a restaurant. Yes I’m sure you’ve guessed it – it sits right at the 88th mile marker – in the village of Islamorada. (Also known as ‘village of islands’)
The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside…but once you step into the grounds, you’re greeted by the beautiful Florida bay. Calm, clear, aquamarine water lapping on the side while you sit by the bay.
White wicker dining furniture dominates the front of the restaurant facing the bay, but there are also a couple of outdoor canopy-covered wooden booths. Cute! Of course we chose to dine in the booths. Right next to the pier sits a short stretch of beach with colourful deck chairs, kayak parking spaces (people do kayak instead of drive to the restaurant – how cool!) and cute benches for couples to snuggle and smooch on while they watch the sunset.
Now comes the food. We started with cocktails and coronas. (Yes, light version’s mine…stop with the scoffing already)
Then the appetizers. I have to say, this was a fabulous start to our eating extravaganza. We had the hot blue crab dip (omg…creamy, slightly spicy, cheesy blue crab dip is to die for!), crab cake (none of those potato-pretending-to-be-crab patties. This was full of chunky crab meat. So delish!) and conch fritters. I’ve never tried conch before. The only conch I know of was from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Ok, irrelevant info…anyhoo… Conch is a large mollusk (like a sea snail for lack of better description) and in this dish, it’s cut up into small pieces and mixed with a thick batter and piped into the deep fryer. It doesn’t taste like much, but hey it’s a fritter. It’s deep fried. It has mayo and salsa dipping sauces. Therefore it’s good.
Please excuse the blurry conch fritter shot. I thought it looked ok on my tiny netbook screen. I blame jet-lag. And I’m not too enthused with the idea of re-loading and editing another photo. Sorry!
Making up for it with the mains now. Grilled Mahi Caesar - Grilled mahi over a Caesar with Haiku tomatoes, roasted red peppers & Reggiano croutons. Yum or what? Captain’s Platter - Broiled Florida Keys Lobster, grilled mahi and grilled shrimp. Need I say more? And the guys shared an Islamorada Fish Sandwich – Blackened fresh Mahi topped with sauteed onions and cheddar. Served on a Kaiser.
A lot of food for three right? Which explains why we only shared one dessert. Marker 88′s most famous dessert – Key lime baked alaska. Divine!
That’s it for now. I’m off to Amsterdam for the weekend. I know – it’s a ‘tough’ life. But I’ll be back with more travel news and I promise I won’t be trying any space cakes while I’m there!
Marker 88 Restaurant
8800 Overseas Highway (mile marker 88)
Islamorada, FL 33036