Does the best key lime pie actually come from Key West?
I went on a mission to find out.
When my parents were first married, the spent some time traveling through south Florida. For fun, they tried as many key lime pie variations as they could sink their forks into. By the end of it all, they had declared the slice from Key West itself as the winner. They don’t remember where in famous Key they found their champion, but they know it was delicious.
Fast forward about twenty some-odd years. Among the many food favourites I have inherited from my parents, key lime pie is near the top of the list. It is tied with lemon meringue for the role as my favourite pie. So, appropriately enough, I have been on my own mission to uncover the perfect key lime pie.
I must say, this is a difficult competition, considering I have liked almost every singly key lime pie I have eaten. They just never seem to disappoint! However, I have been able to narrow the list to three, all of which are from Florida. Ironic? Non. It seems the closer I got to the bullseye of Key West, the better the pies got. Notch another point for the 100-mile diet.
In Third Place: California Pizza Kitchen
I know. Weird, eh? Would you have thought that one of the best key lime pies ever would be found at a chain like CPK? I didn’t. So I actually tried my first CPK KLP (yes, I just did that) in Seattle, but I’ve had it in Naples, Florida too. This pie is perfectly lime-y, and has a wicked graham crust, exactly the way I like it.
The Runner Up: Tommy Bahama’s
I’m talking about the Naples, Florida location of this tropical relaxation chain. Not only did their key lime pie occupy the top spot on my list for years, the rest of their menu is absolutely delicious. Once, about an hour after I had a late breakfast, my mum told me we were going to TB’s for lunch with my cousins. Not hungry, I simply had a slice of KLP. Excellent. TB’s KLP is a little less lime-y than I’d like – tart is the way I play – but their crumbly graham crust is so fine that it melts away right alongside the creamy lime filling. No matter what, every time I hit up TB’s, I hit up the KLP. It’s a must.
The Grand Poobah: Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe
After twenty-three years of visiting the state of Florida, I finally got to go to Margaritaville, aka Key West, in March 2009. This was it. Time to find out for certain if this truly was the key lime pie mecca. After agonizing over which shop to visit, I settled on Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe mainly because of the dude with the pie that hangs out front of the store (is it Kermit?). Apparently this is the best key lime pie in Florida. Big reputation to uphold. Ohhh my it did. I was so excited about it, I didn’t even take any photos of the pie! Kermit’s was the limiest (is that a word?!), most delicious key lime pie I have ever tasted. I truly didn’t want it to end. I’ve just revisited the website and discovered that they ship to Canada. Oh snap. Diet done. Game over. Send me that pie.