Apologies to readers for the dearth of posts here, but on something of a lark, I

agreed to come down to Key West to cook for my cousin Robert and his crew who

are racing a Farr 40 in the annual Acura regatta, nine sailors and assorted friends

and family, dinner for 15 in a swell old Key West house. Reminds me of college,

with people sleeping all over the place. We're making big family meals–ribs,

big strip loin roasts, local snapper, tonight lobsters, tomorrow scallops and

pork belly. Donna convinced me to do it by saying it was the only way I'd give

myself a vacation. So here I am. It didn't hurt that the temperature in

Cleveland when I left was -4 degrees. I'll be back blogging next week.

Probably… I'm really liking this balmy air…


36 Wonderful responses to “Key West Boondoggle”

  • boonie

    i can act as commis chef!…ya gotta hit Kelly’s before you leave…crank up Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” close your eyes and dream…

  • Sean Kelly

    Some of my most cherished memories are of fierce Cleveland winters. How many people can say icicles formed on their eyelashes when the winter wind made their eyes water?

    Such was the life of a Plain Dealer paperboy!

  • Beanie

    Well, here I am still in Cleveland, while you are in the land of Island Time and street-side margaritas. We’re looking at day 13 of snow and no end in sight…I might have to go to the Market and get a gyro, just to feel better.

    Enjoy it! Key West is the best boondoggle in the country!!

  • wineguy

    “I’m really liking this balmy air”…gee, how not surprising. Don’t worry, we’ll all shiver for you. Enjoy the warmth for those of us who can’t!!

  • Andrew

    Watch out! Many people go to Key West and never come back. It’s addicting.

    Try out the following restaurants while you are there: Opera (the ricotta gnocchi is amazing), Santiago’s Bodega (real tapas! my fav is the “Saganaki”), and can’t forget breakfast at the tourist trap, Blue Heaven. I just can’t get enough Lobster Benedict with a side of homemade country sausage.

  • allen

    I was just there last month, great place. Just outside the Everglades national park is a fruit stand with the odd name “Robert Is Here” that has a key lime and fresh coconut milk shake that is worth the drive back from Washington state! Enjoy and don’t forget to relax.

  • ml

    I (and my family) often dream about the sandwiches at Ana’s Cuban cafe near the southernmost point. When I first went there in 1998 it was a literal a hole in the wall. Going back ten years later I was surprised to see she was still there and the sandwiches hadn’t changed (although she now has a sign). Many of my family members who haven’t returned since 1998 still reminisce about “the big sandwich” we got at Ana’s.

  • cherylk

    Just for the record, we were at a balmy 15 today in Cleveland and, get this, the sun was out . . . for about 10 minutes. Tomorrow though, it’s going to be in the 30’s! Why, that’s almost Spring-like! Stay as long as you can!

  • luis

    Oh yeah! now you are living it large Michael. We were down in Duck Key Resort for a week last year. Doesn’t get any better than that. Specially when you do your own fishing and cooking and are surrounded by fam and friends. Live it up for a week or so and then walk away!. Don’t let your feet bury themselves in the sand. That sand can cast a spell on you there, and what’s more interesting you will be happy to stay. Happy writers never wrote anything worth reading.

  • ntsc

    When I was in college my family used to Christmas in Key West.

    10-11 days in a motel on the beach, dinner most nights, including Xmas, at the A&B Lobster House and 10 cent a bottle beer, down to the 13 year old.

    When I worked in Ft. Lauderdale, my first wife and I often weekended down there. Cheap and fun.

  • Feisty Bourbon Girl

    Oh wow. Key West in January. Is there anything better? Went down there for a week once by myself after a bad breakup. Could feel the “ice” melting off me the minute I stepped from the car (drove from Miami, the *only* way to arrive IMHO). Enjoy yourself Michael, that food sounds scrummy. I am supremely jealous.

  • Laura

    Sounds like you’re living the life of Ryan down there! I’m very jealous, especially of the local seafood. It’s all been a bit uninspired in New York lately for some reason, and I’ve been hankering for some really amazingly sweet fish.

  • Alex

    Weird, I just returned from there. I walked past the Acura sailing tents several times on Saturday. Small world. Check out Key Fisheries Restaurant in Marathon.

  • Mark

    Would you believe I just went from a webpage listening to an interview from the leader of the Farr 40 Class to your webpage and found your message about cooking for a crew at KWRW? I was confused for a second and checked to make sure I was on the correct webpage. This is exciting stuff for a snowbound amateur sailboat racer and home cook like myself.

  • Carol

    I grew up in Islamorada. My neighbor used to catch so many lobsters (by hand – he knew their local hidy-holes) and give them to me, that I’d end up with several in the freezer (my parents are both allergic to shellfish). I used to boil up the old ones for my cat. I still find it mildly offensive to now have to pay lots of money for something I used to feed to my cat.

  • Mike

    Rob told us the menu for the first three days in his report. What was on the menue on day three and tonight?

  • Rhonda

    Hi Michael, hi everyone.

    I just noticed that Bob del Grosso is nominated for a food blog award (Best Food Blog by a Chef). You can vote for him via his website “A Hunger Artist” which is linked from this blog.

    Congratulations, Chef!

  • Rhonda

    Oh, bloody hell. I am so embarrassed.

    Congratulations as well to Chef Pardus

  • Kanani

    Have a great time! I think she was right… writers rarely take time away. (Though I’m just back after barbecuing hot dogs for 380 Marines at Camp Pendleton, which was a lot of fun. More details on my blog to follow. This is now my weekly volunteer project).

  • b. barnett

    not a food tip but the best place to stay in Key West is Simonton Ct. Hands down.

    Plus, any conch fritter in the Keys is better than anywhere else in North America. (sorry jimmy buffet….it’s true)

  • Tags

    You can enjoy yourself in peace and rest easy in the knowledge that Rob Ryan is bringing smashmouth football to Cleveland again. Something tells me the Rob Roy is about to become the most popular drink in Northern Ohio. Full disclosure: I’ve always been a Buddy Ryan fan.

    Pleasant dreams!

  • Claudia (The Original)

    Key West – fab! I’ve been going there for years! Make sure you load up on all the stone crab you can stuff down!

  • Michael Sheehan

    Michael –

    Thank you for the fabulous food in Key West. It was a pleasure spending time with you and Donna. I can speak for the whole crew when I say, that we feasted like kings! Other crews were jealous and wondering how to get an invite to dinner. If you write a book about this, some of the guys are hoping you use pseudonyms…..