Saturday afternoon of Key West Food and Wine Festival always brings a lot of fun, usually in the form of Duval Uncorked. This year, we started our afternoon at the Santa Barbara Pinot Noir seminar, put on by the folks at Flying Goat Cellars and Riverbench. We smelled dirt. (Yes, actual dirt from the vineyard schlepped here in little tiny jars from California.) We tasted barrel samples and wines from 2010 – 2012. It was perfect for my (not-so) inner wine geek.
After n informative, but somewhat sedate seminar we were off to Duval Uncorked, the mile long wine and food extravaganza. I always say that it’s the
most fun you can have on Duval Street, and once again I was not disappointed. We started at Grunt’s on Caroline Street, but noticing the line, we decided to go straight to the next stop, the Curry Mansion Inn. At that point, four friends had joined us, under the theory that “Stephanie always knows where the good stuff is. That is why I am following her. She is like the freakin’ pied piper!” Well, Claudia was onto something with that, because as we moved to our second stop, we picked up another couple people. After one more stop we picked up even more, making us a posse of about eighteen people trying to move from place to place as one group.
Was it madness? Yes. Did I tell tourists which stops were best if they had to pee? You know I did. Did we have a blast? Duh. I can’t cover all thirty-odd places that we stopped, so I am just going to give you the highlights, as I saw them, in no particular order:
Well, before I get to the good stuff, I do need to rant for just a sec, OK? Key West Key Lime Pie had a table sampling Key Lime wine (as I mentioned, not so much wine, per se, but still a fun beverage.) You’d think they could do little samples of the pie, right? Wrong. It was very weird, but I don’t particularly like their pie, so…
Vino’s on Duval had by far the best wine, with a lineup of four wines from T-Vine (grenache, zinfandel, a red blend and a new
label pinot noir). Chuck Easley was on hand pouring and schmoozing and managing to keep the out-the-door line moving at a good clip.
DJ’s Clam Shack, which is soon to appear on a Key West edition of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (yes, the show with Guy Fieri),
served the same dish they made on the show – the jalapeno steamed clams. They also served a clam chowder and everyone was pleased with the food. (I believe the wine there was a nondescript pinot grigio, but it paired nicely.)
Leathermasters, a shop with all sorts of adult toys, costumes, pasties and many items that required an explanation from a gay man, had a couple of wines outside, being poured by two men showing off the wares. They also had some crudite and cheese inside, so you could peruse for yourself all under the guise of getting a snack.
Seadog Tavern is a new restaurant in the spot formerly known as Salsa Loca. They served a mediocre shiraz, but also had plentiful and delicious chicken wings with about eight different dipping sauces. Nicely done! (It was also a favorite bathroom stop with our crowd.)
Cork and Stogie, a wine bar we frequent, always does a nice job. They had tents set up and plenty of seating. As e arrived there last, we heard that the Southernmost Beach Cafe stop had closed up shop (otherwise I may have had to name the Riverbench best wine, but I did not make it there.) So we camped out at the Cork and Stogie for a while with our new found friends, some of which insisted on buying FKGuy and I wine, as our awesome abilities as tour guides made their evening that much more enjoyable. Because that is what I needed after four hours and a mile of wine tasting: more wine. Yep.
This year’s festival was really better than ever, and I am looking forward to 2015. Mark your calendars, the dates are
January 27 – February 1. Let’s see if we can get the folks behind the event to give the loyal Florida Keys Girl readers another great discount code next year. Look for it here, sometime around November.