Meet Me in the Keys

Chef and travel agent, Lydia Gwin, brings the best of Key West to Kirkwood.

Key West is home to historic houses with fascinating stories, from charming grand mansions once owned by wealthy cigar barons to quaint, tropical pastel-trimmed gingerbread "Conch" homes. Homeowners customize their gingerbread trim to personalize their homes. Theodore "Fats" Navarro's family home has trumpets carved into his home's banister as a tribute to the great “salt water” locals. People born and raised in Key West are called "salt water." Transplants who have lived in the Keys for over ten years earn the title of "fresh water."

El Siboney is a longstanding favorite restaurant serving locals in the Florida Keys for over 60 years. The Cuban Mojo Pork, Rice and Bean is a house favorite. 

I’ll share the recipe here, and if you savor a truly “salt water” experience in the Florida Keys, let’s talk travel. Adventures by Lydia offers immersive travel packages across the Keys and around the world. 

Cuban Mojo Pork, Rice, and Beans 

6 to 8 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt (blade roast)

2 2/3 cups lime juice 

1 1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons dried oregano

15 cloves garlic finely chopped

3 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 yellow onions, sliced 


1. Mix the first 6 marinade ingredients in a bowl. Marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Place marinated pork in a deep bowl. Generously season the outside of the pork with salt and pour the remaining marinade all over it, spreading the onion rings all over the top.

3. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

4. Transfer to crockpot. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Black beans

1 can black beans

1 cup water

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ketchup

Add all ingredients to a pot and heat. 

Cuban white rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

Heat oil and garlic in a saucepan. Add water, salt, and rice. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork, and serve.

For more visit @GwinsTinyKitchen and @AdventuresByLydia

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