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Featured Recipe

5 Brothers Grocery and Sandwich Shop   Bollos Recipe

2 cups of dried black-eyed peas
4 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

Cover the peas with water and soak overnight. Drain, reserving the water. Puree the peas in a food processor until as fine as cornmeal (or use a food grinder, which will take several grindings). Add the seasonings and about ½ cup of the reserved water. Mix until the mixture is light, adding additional water if necessary. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and drop in teaspoonfuls of the mixture, a few at a time. Deep-fry the bollos for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. You may want to taste one before frying the rest.

Makes about 40 fritters


Key West

Long known to the Spanish as Cayo Hueso, Key West was considered ‘Northern Havana’ to many. In 1815, Spain deeded the island to Juan Pablo Salas of St. Augustine, who then sold it to an American businessman for $2,000. Following the Cuban War of Independence in 1868, Key West became a cigar capital. With the influx of cigar workers, the streets were filled with the sounds of the Spanish language and the scent of café con leche.

The Spanish and Cuban population had a major effect on the island. In 1875, Cuban revolutionary Carlos Cespedes was elected mayor of the city. Shortly after, Cuban cigar maker Eduardo Gato introduced a mule-powered streetcar system as a form of public transportation. By the late 1800’s, Key West was the largest city in Florida and took on a distinctly Spanish accent. Today, the Cuban influence is not obvious, but if you look closely, you’ll find some hints of the city’s Spanish past.



Pepe’s Café and Steakhouse

Established in 1909 by fisherman, Jose “Pepe” Palaez, Pepe’s Café calls itself “the oldest eating house” on the island. Back in the day, Pepe would serve up coffee and ham sandwiches to the workers at the Electric Company across the street. It was the place to catch up on the day’s gossip and was frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman. Today, it offers the more tropical American cuisine and gets especially crowded for breakfast.


5 Brother’s Grocery and Sandwich Shop

This is a tiny shop in Old Town Key West, where locals go for their café con leche and Cuban cheese toast fix. The family’s third generation now work the kitchen, making Cuban Mix sandwiches just like their grandparents did, and they’re the only spot in town that still serves up the tasty black-eyed pea fritters called “bollos”.


El Meson de Pepe

This popular Cuban restaurant opened in 1984 and is housed inside a former cigar factory. It offers an expansive menu full of Cuban favorites and is filled with artifacts that pay homage to the city’s Cuban past.


San Carlos Institute

It was here that Jose Marti united and invigorated the Cuban exile community in the push for independence and where Cuban children were educated in both English and Spanish. The present-day building opened in 1924 and today serves as a museum and shrine to Cuban heritage.

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