There are some dinners that were so amazingly special with the right mood and the perfect wine that they are forever emblazoned in your mind. This, however, was not one of those dinners. It was memorable for a whole other reason: Mother Nature.
Don’t get me wrong, the food and the ambience were spectacular…and then…it started to sprinkle. But let me start from the beginning:
We decided to splurge and go on a sunset dinner cruise. Sounds fabulous, right? Small boat, captain is also a gourmet chef, BYOW and we’re good to go. Perfect! Wonderful! Very Key West! Our cruise was originally scheduled for Friday, however, it rained all day (and we’re not talking light drizzling either), so the captain asked if we could reschedule for Saturday night, when the weather was expected to clear off. Ironically on Friday, the weather cleared off right before sunset and it was a gorgeous night.
But I digress. Fast forward to Saturday. Big day (snorkeling and oysters!), beautiful weather, we were pumped up, dressed up, we had wine for each course, and were excited about our cruise! We show up, meet Captain Alex (James & I–Sissy & TK have taken his dinner cruise before!), take off our shoes (Captain’s orders!), hand over the wine, and climb up to the top deck of the boat, where our table is set up–along with another table for another couple.
The boat heads out to a lovely spot with some great views of the harbor.
We’re drinking wine, talking, and out comes the bread: grilled! It was so delicious. Who would have thought to throw the bread on the grill? Well, Captain Alex obviously, but I certainly would not have. Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), the bread did not last long!
Not long after the bread disappeared the pre-appetizer comes out: a hand-carved cucumber shrimp boat, with grilled shrimp and a Thai chili sauce. If you’ve never had grilled shrimp with Thai chili sauce, you should DEFINITELY try that at home!
Next came the appetizers of crabmeat stuffed portobello mushrooms and potato & goat cheese tarts (this all paired really well with the buttery Napa chardonnay that we brought!).
After the appetizers came the salad–a mango rosemary salad with toasted almonds, mixed greens, white cheddar, a honey vinaigrette dressing, served with a side of rain.
That’s right…rain. At first it was sprinkling…so we put on our big girl panties (yes, even TK!) and just hovered under the canopy. It’ll blow over, we said. The rain got harder. Any minute now it’ll stop, we said…the rain continued to get harder.
Finally Captain Alex announced that the radar showed a massive storm blowing in and we would be safer if we docked. So, he closed up the grill while we all braved the rain to climb down the ladder and squeeze into the cabin below!
We opened the second bottle of wine (a big, fat, delicious Texas red!) and once we were docked and could reopen the grill, we continued with the main course: a fresh catch of the day with a spicy peppery sauce, grilled zucchini and a rice dish.
We wrapped up the evening with the most amazing key lime white chocolate whipped cream & blueberries. I tried my best not to lick my plate. And by that, I mean, I waited until no one was looking until I licked my plate.
All too soon, it was time to say good-bye to Captain Alex and disembark. I could tell that Sissy & TK were a bit disappointed by the turn of events because they were so excited to share this little treasure that they discovered with James & me. However, I think it was an extraordinary evening. After all, when you have great friends, great wine, and great food–who cares when Mother Nature throws a storm your way??