Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Travel: Romancing the Florida Keys: Dinner at Pierre's

Part 1 of a three-part series about romantic travel in the Florida Keys.

Pierre's in Islamorada
Pierre's is only an hour or so away from Miami, but a world apart.

As a native Miamian, I always ask myself why I don't spend more time in the Florida Keys. Once my tires hit the overseas highway, it's like I'm in another planet, leaving behind the crazed, sprawling metropolis I call home.

My new favorite and relaxing getaway is dinner at Pierre's, quite arguably the most romantic waterfront dining spot in all of South Florida. Pierre's certainly gets my vote as such and boy, I've been keeping tabs on waterfront dining for quite some time now.

Miami couples take note: it's well worth the drive for an extraordinary experience. Go on a lazy Sunday, when traffic won't be so bad on the Florida turnpike. From South Miami, it's only an hour away. I don't think twice about enduring traffic on I-95 to go to Fort Lauderdale, which is at least a 40-minute schlep. Why not go south and enjoy a mental vacation?

Pierre's also transports me back in time, if only for the decor. Located on a quiet beach facing Florida Bay, the path to Pierre's begins at a large bowl filled with colorful bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers. The exterior echoes a colonial style from a bygone era, with outdoor seating under a verandah that is simply lovely when kissed by bay breezes. The interior is cozy and elegant, with teak tables and artifacts from exotic destinations around the world. And the Green Flash Lounge, which welcomes thirsty travelers with plush leather sofas, potted palm trees and sandalwood incense, inspires me to order something sophisticated to drink.

Pierre's in Islamorada
Hues of red, magenta and pink foretell the richness of the meal to come.

Pierre's in Islamorada
The verandah offers a spectacular sunset view.
Pierre's in Islamorada
A monastery door from India frames the entry to the lounge.

Oh but the food, carefully crafted by chef Benjamin Loftus. As beautiful as this spot is, it's the food at Pierre's that will make you fall in love. Food with tantric attention to detail, much like the kind you should be giving your lover as you sit across from each other savoring each bite. No moment should be wasted in love, as should no bite in your meal. Every burst of flavor should be appreciated here.

As someone who eats out regularly and goes to foodie events, meals may come and go in and out of my memory. It's different at Pierre's; I will raise my glass and call it memorable. I'll let the pictures do the talking:

Pierre's in Islamorada
A feast for all the senses: tempura lobster tail with hearts of palm hash, soy glaze and wasabi creme fraiche. Rich textures and flavors make up this dish, which has been on the menu for 11 years. This one definitely gets a "sex on a plate" rating.

Pierre's in Islamorada
Delectable and tender: house made lamb ravioli, brunoise vegetables, wilted brussel leaves and creamy lamb jus.

If you're inclined to spend the night in Islamorada and not drive back (you may want to land in bed and in each other's arms after such a sensual meal), the Moorings on the property features 18 villas.

Pierre's is also part of Morada Bay Beach Café, another favorite spot of mine. This is a more casual option that's also worth a day trip for lunch or for popular full moon parties.

Bon appetit!


Mike LaMonica said...

YEAH BITCHES! We drag ourselves thru 95 North traffic to meet with so many of our SM peeps up north! And it's worth every minute. Why not go to Pierre's? One hour to paradise. Great perspective.

And it looks like you took notes on my photography post...these are the best pictures I've seen of yours (IMO).

Rock on!


Jessica said...

I ate at Pierre's once at night and it was absolutely romantic. The tiki torches were lit, the dark sky eluminating the stars, and they had a performer with a guitar. It was just perfect! The food was great, too!

South Florida Food and Wine said...

hmmmm. That's SOME food porn ya got goin' on there missy....I'm a little green and wondering are you fixin' to take over food porn=foodgasms??

Christina GP said...

Awesome post. I love Pierre's and the full moon parties at Morada Bay are an experience. Amazing photos, too. Mike, I need to find your tips!