Key West: Banana-rama
Like many things in Key West, the Dade County pine shack that’s home to Blue Heaven has had many previous lives: billiard hall, bordello, boxing ring (where rowdy matches where refereed by Ernest Hemingway back in the 1930s).
Then in 1992, with little culinary experience other than a family cookbook, locals Richard and Suanne Hatch turned it into a fun, offbeat eatery with an island Caribbean menu that’s still going strong. You can dine indoors, but al fresco, under the lush canopy of almond and banyan trees, is where the action is. Just be prepared to share the space with the occasional feline, a Key West fixture, as well as the Rhode Island reds who wander the premises. Every dish is yummy but the culmination is a dessert called Banana Heaven, spectacular in its own right. Here’s the recipe:
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Captain Morgan’s Spiced Run
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 slices of your favorite banana bread
vanilla ice cream
Peel bananas, halve crosswise, then lengthwise. In a medium skillet, add banana, sugar, butter, orange juice, and cinnamon. Cook at medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes or until banana is heated through. Heat rum in small saucepan until it’s close to simmering. Carefully ignite rum and pour over bananas. Pour topping over banana bread slices; serve with ice cream. Makes 2 servings.