"I'm headin' for Key West, the key to happiness…"

by Katie Pizzuto on August 4, 2009

in Uncategorized

eggshashHoly mother of Zeus, that looks fucking amazing. Maybe, if I can distract everyone at once, I can bury my face in the plate and just inhale deeply without embarrassing my kid. Maybe trip the waiter. Yeah, that aught to give me enough time to reach over and try Myra’s, too. I mean, stuffing a piece of key lime pie between slices of french toast? What culinary psychopath/genius creates a dish as sinfully delicious as that?!? Mercy.

That about sums up the thought process of a 38-year-old woman who had just succeeded in imbibing more than her own share of Champagne the night before at her brother’s wedding in Key West, and was now sitting before that glorious gastronomical perfection up above, called simply “Hash and Eggs.” A humble name for what is, essentially, a potato hash combined with shredded short rib, topped with 2 perfectly poached eggs, then doused with a truffled hollandaise. Yeah, you heard me right.

Some of the greatest culinary moments are often the ones you stumble into with nearly no forethought. You walk into a restaurant unassumingly, with nothing more than “Oh, you guys should try Azur for breakfast” and wind up having a passionate yet fleeting love affair with your first meal of the day. You stare at this amazing plate set before you and realize in that instant that you just might be forever indebted to the guy who recommend the joint on nothing more than a whim—but if that guy’s your brother, well, eternal gratitude is a little much, so a punch in the arm and a word of thanks before you call him a jackass for the eight millionth time should suffice. I’m usually the first one researching food/wine destinations when I know I’m taking a trip. But when I knew I was headed to Key West, I’ll be the first to admit that I figured on conch chowder, conch fritters, conch salad, conch gumbos, conch burgers, conch martinis and conch ice cream. It’s the ubiquitous mollusk that graces the flags flying over the island, and I assumed that it was the beginning and the end of The Conch Republic’s cuisine. To a degree, I was right—I always am. It’s a painful cross to bear, I know. But I never figured on Azur, and I sure as shit never figured on the meal of the trip being BREAKFAST.

piefrenchtoastOh, and did I mention—yeah, I know I did so humor me—the Key Lime Pie-Stuffed French Toast? While I’m not sure that I could’ve handled all that soury sweetness for an entire breakfast serving, the decadent tower of sinful yumminess was enough to make me swoon. Not an easy feat given my Champagne-leadened legs, mind you. After pouring over their lunch and dinner menus I found myself even sadder than I was before entering Azur, at the prospect of having to leave Key West. Sure it was the end of a much-needed vacation in the tropics. And yes, it was the post-climax depression of a great wedding. But when I thought of the dishes I wasn’t gonna get to try because US1 was calling my name, I nearly threw myself in a corner and shackled myself to a table. But alas, I had left my shackles in my other purse.

So I left with a promise to return for many more Key West meals at Azur, none of which involve conch. Any reason is good reason to return to Key West, but the mouth-watering anticipation of great food and great people is the best of them all.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey August 4, 2009

wow! yummy! just dont think about the calories and dive in :o)

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2 Linsey August 4, 2009

oh i looked at the restaurant site – ooooooomg i was drooling as i read it, actually im still drooling!

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3 Jennifer August 4, 2009

My oh my, I’d want to slurp truffled hollandaise through a straw. We travel to Key West every year, and I’m adding Azur to the must-try restaurants. Virgilio’s and Blue Heaven are my faves so far.

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4 Katie Pizzuto August 4, 2009

Jen, the pulled short ribs that were in the hash were as amazing as the truffled hollandaise…definitely stop in!!

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5 Mike Mongo August 4, 2009

I ate at Azur for lunch today, and I know what you mean: In a word, WOW! GREAT STUFF!!

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6 Linsey August 5, 2009

how much does one of those breakfasts cost … because i might come to terms with the fact that i will never taste it if i cant afford to eat there!! lol

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7 Katie Pizzuto August 5, 2009

Not at all, Lin! I can’t remember the exact cost but it was more than reasonable! I’m hoping Drew, one of the owners, will chime in here soon and maybe he can answer that question. But certainly not anything that made me think twice!

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8 Drew August 5, 2009

The food goddess hath summoned me.
Thanks for all your great comments and thank you Katie for that excellent write up.
Our menus are online at azurkeywest.com if you want to get an overview or our price range. Everything in Key West tends to more expensive than the mainland. The only thing that doesn’t have to make the trip down US1 is the fresh yellowtail, black grouper, and Key West pink shrimp we buy from the local fishermen. Despite this, we are known for being moderately priced.
We also run specials throughout the summer and offer five different lunch entrees each week for (holy crap!)$5.

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9 Linsey August 5, 2009

Thank you Katie and Drew for making more envious now – I saw the $5 entrees – no way can you buy that quality that inexpensive in the uk

so now im not only drooling, im going waaaaaaaah!! too

🙂

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10 Alexander August 5, 2009

LOL! I’ll take that as “thanks”!

Your Welcome.

-Your brother
(who expects some sort of eternal
gratitude…)

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11 Katie August 6, 2009

No eternal gratitude to the dweeb who still owes me money 😉

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12 Mark August 6, 2009

I don’t remember mom’s “Hash and Eggs” ever looking like this. If it did, I may have never left the dinner table! The pic and post looks and sounds frickin’ awesome! I’m drooling all over my desk. Thanks a lot.

If you ever travel to Chicago, you’ve got to try a place called Orange Contemporary Brunch. Here’s the link- http://orangerestaurantchicago.com/orange/html/.

Your experience at Azur brought back memories of a recent trip that I had at Orange. They also see breakfast in the same twisted way as Azur.

Cheers!
Mark

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13 Katie August 6, 2009

Thanks for the reco, Mark….I will absolutely add Orange to my go-to list. Ashame, my sister used to live in Chicago but has since moved, otherwise, a road trip would be in order!!

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14 Raul Rovira August 6, 2009

Dearest Gastrosexual, I too have tasted the pleasures of this gastronomical den of iniquity, this bordello of culinary indulgence known simply and unassumingly as Azur…and I must say that your inability to control yourself is completely merited.

Your unabashed ode to the aforementioned “hash” was quite stirring. It is, for lack of a better word, “orgasmatastic”.

However…I must make a plea for my own rich mistress, a naughty, carbo-succubus called “breakfast carbonara” that sits patiently on the menu. Calling you with bedroom eyes “have a little taste” she becons…wait…I need a minute…

The virginal white bowl in which this pasta-harlot is served conceals her true lusty nature. It is a generous helping of beautiful al dente pasta tossed in a silky cream sauce and adorned with savory bits of pancheta, reggiano parm and fresh mushrooms…

So far its just “carbonara” but what brings the “breakfast” to the dish is the impressive rack of two gorgeous, perfectly poached eggs (just like the ones on the hash). Their golden souls lovingly wrapped in pearly white skins, at the slightest touch their glowing yolks pour over the dish like molten gold…again…I need a minute…

It is something both holy and obscene. And quite simply the perfect hangover remedy. (Something your champagne pickled liver would have thanked you for that day). Loving it is wrong…yet it feels so right…I encourage, nay, implore you to return to Key West and experience this forbidding treat. You will never look at carbonara the same way again.

Yours in gastronomy,
Raul

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15 Katie Pizzuto August 6, 2009

Raul! My long-lost gastro love!! At long last you make it to my blog and THIS, this ode to gustation is what you leave for me…I am honored!! But I must tell you one thing that may, in fact, burst your bubble (or your egg yolk depending on how you look at it): Because a good carbonara should always have egg yolk in it to create the creamy “sauce” (which by the way should NEVER involve actual cream), I make my carbonara at home with a perfectly perched egg yolk sitting atop the mound of steaming, pancetta-jeweled pasta, and serve each plate as such, with a healthy grating of reggiano, so that each diner may break their own golden globe for themselves.

Nonetheless, I look forward to a quick return to Key West with you and your amazingly beautiful, talented wife, so we can dizzy ourselves with Azur’s cuisine!!

Come visit me here once in a while, will you please?!? 😛

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16 Linsey August 6, 2009

makes a suggestions

Azur open up a restaurant in NY – i have more chance of going to it then 🙂

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17 Linsey August 6, 2009

ok due to the type of adding an S to suggestion at the end

i also suggest one in England too – so even more of a chance :):)

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18 Eugenia Incer August 6, 2009

Hello darling Katie,

When and why did we not experience Azur together? We were in the same place, at the same time… Although I think back and it’s all a wonderful blur. But alas, wedding bells ringing and sisterly duties called.

I love these almost ravenous, uncontrolled postings. Raul, one thought, “down boy, down..” Should I be worried of a carbonara/egg hatted mistress..? Or make carborana with eggs every night..?! But it’s true, when I was in Rome, the eternal city of carbonara, (and this may sound terribly blasphemous to many) I did not have a carbonara like this one. I don’t have to travel accross the Atlantic, just go south.

But it’s true, it’s all true, what a wonderful and dangerous glimpse into food addiction that restaurant is. I too have been delighted just as you have and for me, not only does it carry the heavy memory of flavor and want, but also of starry-eyed beginnings and wedding plans. We went with the bride-and-groom-to-be so many times to Key West (our future dream residence) we actually lost count! But breakfast remained the same: Azur.

No other place and to be honest I have no idea what their dinner menu looks like… so there is a need to go back, and soon. Missing you in Miami, Eu.

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19 Raul Rovira August 6, 2009

OK, so it’s a bastardization of the original… which I think that makes this torrid pasta love even more forbidden hahaha.

I knew about the eggs but the poached eggs on top were a new one for me.

Yall’s need to come down to the new Chateu in Le Cutler Bay we just bought 😉 she’s a sweetie 😉 move down here already dammit!!

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20 Katie Pizzuto August 6, 2009

Workin’ on it guys…the house market ain’t what it used to be 🙁 Either way, I think YOU TWO should make a trip up north here during the Fall so we can eat/drink ourselves silly in NYC!

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21 Raul Rovira August 7, 2009

Temptress!

I know EU would be all over that! Maybe next spring?

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22 John March 9, 2016

It’s on my list, can’t wait.

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