Joe’s Stone Crab

Joe's Stone CrabFor more than 100 years, no visit to Miami has been complete without stopping in at Joe’s Stone Crab.

The restaurant was opened in 1913, by Joe Weiss, who began his Miami Beach career by cooking at Smith’s Casino. Joe’s is the top buyer of Florida stone crab claws, and it plays a significant role in the industry, influencing the wholesale price and financing many crabbers.

Even though stone crabs are their most famous dish now, fish was served, rather than crabs, when the restaurant first opened.

Joe’s Stone Crab is often visited by politicians, actors, and athletes. The restaurant is reputedly referenced in Ian Fleming’s novel “Goldfinger” as “Bill’s on the Beach” in which James Bond ate the best meal he had ever eaten in his life.

There are two sections to Joe’s – the Take Away section, although you can eat in too, and theJoe's Take Away main restaurant that offers a lunch and dinner menu.

Joe’s Take Away, is the best of both worlds. The Take Away is casual dining serving three meals a day, 7 days a week with a coffee bar and private room, JoAnns, for special occasions.

There’s a selection of breakfasts and speciality dishes available starting from 7:30am and yes Stone Crab is available for breakfast if you wish.

They have seasonal opening hours that coincide with the Stone Crabbing season (Oct 15 to May 15). When the season is over, Joe’s Take Away closes and the main restaurant only offers a reduced dinner menu available in the evening.

They also offer the famous authentic Key Lime Pie. You can buy them by the slice or alternatively take a whole pie away. This is a great option as you can freeze it until you need a piece (if it lasts that long!).

Interesting Facts about the Florida Stone Crab

The Florida Stone Crab is a delicacy known around the world. Its sweet taste and perfect texture, however, means its popularity has spawned a number of impersonators, including Pacific Rock Crab, Baja Stone Crab, Red Rock Crab and Japanese Crab (to name a few).

Select your fresh Stone Crabs
Select your fresh Stone Crabs

Because these non-Florida Stone Crabs don’t have the benefit of the warm tropical waters of the Keys and Gulf, they are stringier in texture and much gamier in taste. That’s why at Joe’s Stone Crab they only serve the real thing.

Florida Stone Crabs are found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts but are commercially harvested almost entirely in Florida. In the wild, adult Stone Crabs are easily recognized by their oval body and two large claws.

The adult body of the Stone Crab is dark brownish red, more or less mottled and spotted with dusky gray. An interesting feature about the Stone Crab is the mark on the inside of the large claw that resembles a thumb print.

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How To Prepare a Mango

Mango is the “King of Fruits” and definitely brings a taste of the exotic to the table.

It’s not the easiest fruit to prepare, being so juicy it tends to slip and jump out of your hands. There is a better way.

I will show you how to prepare a mango with the minimum of fuss and mess. This method will help you extract the most flesh from your ready to eat ripe mango and keep the juice from escaping all over you and the kitchen!

Follow these easy steps and you’ll look like a professional mango connoisseur.

  • Wash your Mango
  • Leave the skin intact
  • Hold the Mango so the pointed lower part of the mango is facing you and the top pointed upper part is facing away from you
  • With a sharp knife slice the right hand side of the mango.
  • Repeat on the other side. You should now have three separate bits of mango. Set the middle core section aside for now but do not discard.
  • With the same sharp knife, score vertically across the flesh of one segment, but do not cut through the skin.
  • Using the same segment, score horizontally across the flesh. Again, do not cut through the skin.
  • Turn the mango over so the skin is facing you and turn the mango inside out – pushing with all your fingers (see image below)

You should now have something that looks like this

Follow my steps to easily prepare your mango
Follow my steps to easily prepare your mango
  • Using your knife, cut off the raised segments into a bowl. Discard skin.
  • Repeat above on the second half of mango segment

To remove the flesh from the core

  • Using your knife, slice either side of the main core so you have two thin strips. Carefully remove the skin from these strips and chop into chunks.
  • Discard the skin and main core
Minimal mess and lots of sweet mango pieces to enjoy.
No mess and lots of sweet mango pieces to enjoy.

The Farmer

Whilst traveling out and about we popped into The Fresh Approach to have lunch. Outside they have a tractor and a sign reminding us how valuable farmers are to keep a country going and everyone fed.

Thought provoking words
Thought provoking words

I found an article called Lessons of Farm Life Invaluable and wanted to share an excerpt which compliments the plaque I found at The Fresh Approach and is a reminder how hard farmers have to work to keep things ticking.


Responsibility: No matter how late you party on Saturday night, the cows have to be milked on schedule, even on Sunday morning.

Perseverance: Even if the tomato rows are endless, and the hay bales heavy, you keep going until the job is done. And even if a hailstorm destroys your tomato crop just as it is ready to harvest, you start again next year.

Crisis management: If the electricity goes out because of an ice storm, and the regular milker can’t come in, you figure out how to get 100 cows milked.

Appreciation: If you enjoy a good hamburger with lettuce and tomato and French fries, you know that they didn’t “just appear” in the restaurant. Somewhere, one farmer grew wheat for the bun; another, corn to feed the beef cattle that another farmer raised.

Patience: A farmer invests thousands of dollars, plus many hours of “sweat equity” in his crops. Then his profit depends largely on things over which he has no control: the weather and the markets. And if a cow needs his attention all night, he will be there.

Resourcefulness: A farmer is many things: Businessman, mechanic, soil scientist, civil engineer, amateur veterinarian, community leader; the list could go on.

You can read the original article here at

An Oliver Tractor
An Oliver Tractor

Easy Hummus Recipe

First of all lets tackle that big question – what is the correct spelling?

You may know it already but I have spotted so many different ones on manufacturer’s packaging, restaurant menus and even in the supermarket that it’s hard to know for sure.

Apparently this is the correct spelling


a thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic, made originally in the Middle East.

Now we have that cleared up…lets make some Homemade Hummus to tantalize your tastebuds and play with that blender again 🙂

Play around with your own ingredients to get different tastes

Once you have the basic recipe you can add or remove ingredients to suit your taste. Just add a bit of olive oil or water if the mixture is too thick. Have fun.

There are lots of ways to serve Hummus – warm pita bread, carrot sticks, veg – how do you serve yours?

The Original Miami Beach Meatloaf

Here’s my husband’s famous Original Miami Beach Meatloaf


What You Will Need

Strong blender, mixer or food processor – we use the Ninja Kitchen Master

  • 1.5 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 slices of cooked smoked bacon
  • 5 medium white mushrooms
  • 1 large egg
  • splash of water (optional)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • sprinkle of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • sprinkle of taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 6 splashes of French’s Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 6 saltines

Meatloaf Topping

One of three simple ingredients that garnishes the top of the meatloaf. Adding dijon mustard and honey brings out the flavor.
One of three simple ingredients that garnishes the top of the meatloaf. Adding dijon mustard and honey brings out the flavor.
  • 2 tbsp Hunts Ketchup
  • 3/4 tsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Orange Blossom Honey


  1. Set up your mixer as required. We used setting one and the largest bowl attachment with knife blades.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  3. Chop the onion in half and add to the mixer bowl. Blend for 10 secs or until onion finely chopped.
  4. Add mushrooms and blend for 20 secs.
  5. Remove knife attachment and replace with dough hook for kneading.
  6. Add 1/3rd of the ground beef, egg, saltines, bacon and seasoning. Mix together for 1 min on setting one until the ingredients are combined and you get a smooth liquid substance.
  7. Add another 1/3rd of the meat and continue mixing. Repeat until all the meat has been combined for approx 2 minutes.
  8. Check consistency and add small amounts of water if necessary
  9. Using a spatula add the mixture to a tray or foil container to fit the size of your meatloaf. Your meatloaf should be 1.5″/2″ thick.
  10. Cook in middle shelf for 30 mins
  11. While your meatloaf is cooking prepare the topping.
Add a tasty topping to your meatloaf.
Add a tasty topping to your meatloaf.

Meatloaf Topping


  • Combine tomato ketchup, dijon mustard and honey together in a small bowl

Remove the meatloaf from the oven after 30 mins and add the topping evenly over the meatloaf.

Return the meatloaf to the oven and cook for a further 20/30 mins or until fully cooked.

Serving suggestion

Serve hot with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Total Cook time 50/60 mins

Once you start eating it you just can't stop. Quick and easy to make.
Once you start eating it you just can’t stop. Quick and easy to make.

Easy Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth is one of the tastiest, filling meals or stock base you can make yourself. There’s no need to buy those too salty off the shelf, tin, cube or boxed broths when you can probably make one today with what you have in the fridge. How? Let me show you…

Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan this article is probably not for you but for the rest of us who like chicken, chicken soup and broths here’s my tip to stretch that chicken dinner a little further.

What You Need?

One whole cooked chicken
Two Stalks of Celery (chopped)
Two Large Carrots (chopped)
Half a large onion or one medium onion (roughly chopped)
Pepper, Salt, Herbs (for taste)


Use what you need and then save the rest to make an easy and tasty broth.
Use what you need and then save the rest to make an easy and tasty chicken broth.

Take your leftover chicken carcass, which may include some of the meat, all the bones and some or all of the skin and place in a large saucepan.

Add the chopped celery, onions and carrots to the pot. Season with salt, pepper and your choice of herbs. You can add other vegetables for flavor but these are the ones I would recommend.

Remember, keep it simple at this stage as the vegetables you add now will be discarded along with the chicken bones, carcass and skin and any meat, as once cooked you will only be interested in the leftover broth.

Cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Simmer on low for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. You can pretty much leave it to it’s own devices once the simmering has settled down nicely and you know it’s not going to boil but keep an eye on it.

Remove from heat and stir well.

Pour the liquid through a strainer into a separate container. Leave to cool.

Discard what is leftover.

Add your own ingredients to make a chicken vegetable noodle soup
Add your own ingredients to make a chicken vegetable noodle soup

If you do not wish to use straight away, place in fridge.

You now have Chicken Broth. You can drink this as it is or take it one step further and make Chicken Soup using the liquid you just made as the base. Don’t forget the meat you pulled off as you can then add that back into the soup. You can also use the broth to flavor rice. Do you have any other tips for using homemade broth?

Why not check out my easy
Chicken and Vegetable Soup
using the Slow Cooker.

Neighborhood Trees

If you wander your local neighborhood what kind of trees do you have?

Here are a selection of my local neighborhood trees and a lot of them are fruit trees 🙂 with a few mystery trees thrown in – do you know what they are?

Papaya Trees

A big thank you to Beatriz of for pointing me in the right direction – these are actually Papayas not Mango as I incorrectly identified. See, I need all the help I can get 🙂 

However, I’m going to keep this fun Mango fact here 😉 because it’s so interesting.

Mango Mystery – Solved
Mangos are distantly related to a few plants that you’d probably never guess: the cashew and pistachio.

Fig Trees

Did You Know?
Fossil records date figs back to between 9400-9200 B.C.


Fun Avocado Fact
Avocados will not ripen on the tree. They must be picked from the tree to initiate ripening. The leaves supply a substance that prevents ripening. The best way to store avocados is to leave them on the tree; they will store for 7 months or more when left on the tree.

Now it’s your turn..

I need some help identifying what the following trees/fruit are? Any clues?

and then of course there was this tree…

Large and nicely displayed in oversized plant pots but do you know what it is?
Large and nicely displayed in oversized plant pots but do you know what it is?

and this was underneath it…a good clue and useful to help identify it. Does this help?

Can you eat this? Looks like something you would dry and put out at Christmas time.
Can you eat this? Looks like something you would dry and put out at Christmas time.

If you can solve the mystery, please leave a comment below.

I’ll leave you with one last photo – a collection of mini balls that were under a palm tree. They’re definitely the fruit/seed from the palm tree (usually green when still attached) but to me they look like eyeballs. I guess Hallowe’en must be on my mind, even though it’s a couple of months away, and the colors reminded me of Fall/Autumn.

Not really eyeballs but it was such a funny collection I just had to snap a picture.
Not really eyeballs but it was such a funny collection I just had to snap a picture.

If you liked this, you may be interested in other food and drink articles
Witch Finger Grapes and The Most Tasty Cocktails


Witch Fingers Grapes

Whilst in the supermarket the other day I noticed an interesting bag of grapes called Witch Fingers.

Could be a lot of fun to eat at Hallowe'en
A spooky shaped grape. Could be a lot of fun to eat and have around for Hallowe’en

What a uniquely shaped grape! I’ve never come across this variety before.

Apart from the obvious use at Hallowe’en – can you think of any other uses they would be good for?

Have you tried them? Let me know what you think.

What Hides Within

Welcome…you managed to find me in the vast w.w.w universe, so now you’re here you may be wondering whether you should invest your valuable time and little grey cells exploring further. I hope this mini tour helps you discover a sample of some of the topics that hide within…

Cycling – As I’ve had some kind of bicycle most of my life, my posts on this subject will be a mix of my adventures and the places I visit as well as how my bicycle has become a big part of my everyday life. The useful products that I’ve discovered to help make cycling fun and some pictures of my journey. Check out my latest post My Purple Electra Townie Bicycle

Drawing – I never thought I could draw (I still think that…I mean I’m no Michelangelo) but then I started drawing with various apps on my iPad and the more I practiced the more confident I became that maybe I did have some hidden talent. My husband says he can see a certain style in my drawings and I just think everything looks like a cartoon (well apart from the ones that are trying to be a cartoon) but I will share my doodles here from time-to-time and maybe I will inspire you to unlock your inner Michelangelo.

You can find more of my drawings here

I’m venturing back into the wonderful world of using a pencil and paper which comes with it’s own quirks so look out for my articles on that subject soon.

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Why Travelling Banana?

Are you curious about the name Travelling Banana?

Did you know there are ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that depict people with bananas?
Did you know there are ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that depict people with bananas?

There was a time if I went on a journey I would pop a banana in my bag in case I needed an energy boost. However, sometimes I would forget it was there – so the banana would come with me on my adventures and invariably end up back home uneaten and a little worse for wear.

Each time I would take a banana with me it would become known as the Travelling Banana, an expression my husband came up with.

My tagline, Creative Exploring, covers the diverse range of topics that I am interested in and the creative pursuits that I am exploring such as drawing, photography, art, writing, knitting and technology. I also cover my cycling adventures and throw in a recipe or two along the way.