Eating in hog (fish) heaven, Key West, Florida

On any coast, I’m a sucker for fresh fish and a casual attitude. Give me a picnic table, a roll of paper towels, today’s catch, local beer on tap, and I’ve got all the atmosphere I want.

Hogfish Bar & Grill, Stock Island, Florida

Locals in Key West sent me to the Hogfish Bar & Grill, a great restaurant, they said, if you can find it.

Hogfish is a trip. It’s not walking distance from downtown. It’s not even on the same land mass, but only a short drive to a quiet road off U.S. 1 on nearby Stock Island. If you’re driving, set your GPS for 6810 Front St., Safe Harbor Marina, Stock Island.

Too bad I only had one mealtime to give. Advertising and word of mouth forced me to try the Killer Hogfish Sandwich, a slab of the tasty and moist fish, with onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese on Cuban bread. I passed  over the Baja Fish Tacos, the Lobster pot pie, and the Havana roast pork with rice and beans.After dinner, take a walk on the Stock Island waterfront, which looks a lot like Key West used to be, before the upscale lifestyle began to intrude.

BTW, on the same island, the same owners — Bobby and Michelle Mongelli — recently opened Roostica Wood Fired Pizzeria, at 5620 MacDonald Ave. Terrific thin-crusted, Neopolitan pizza choices. From one of the high stools, you can watch your pizza cook fast, at maybe 1,000 degrees, “hotter than Vesuvius,” say the owners.

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