I drove home to Key West on Monday. I think I wound up making the best time yet, which was just about seven hours, give or take a half hour spent at Robert Is Here in Homestead. For those unfamiliar, Robert Is Here is a fruitstand and milkshake shop that sits among the tomato fields and palm nurseries on SW 344th Street. When I worked at the Waterfront Market, our produce buyer would occasionally purchase hard to find tropical fruits from Robert Is Here, and that's how I first came to know of the place. This visit had perhaps some of the the most interesting items I've seen there so far. Particularly interesting was the monstera deliciosa that you see above. I had heard the name of this fruit before, but I guess I never connected it to what it was. The taste is similar to a sugar apple in that it's sort of a composite of mango, banana and pineapple. My first reaction to its taste was to compare it to something artificial, as it was more intense than the regular flavors of any of the fruits I mentioned. At $5 a pop, it had better be intense.
As you can see, the hexagonal scales have started to flake away. The pulp beneath is to be eaten, the scales are not. We learned this last night after trying a few of the scales and discovering that eating them was akin to gargling fiberglass. The pulp, however, has a custard-like texture--slimy and yeilding. I now have to wait for more scales to flake off before I can start eating more of it. As I understand it, the pulp is as unpleasant as the scales until they separate from each other.
More visually impressive, but not nearly as tasty, was this dragonfruit. Actually, I found the pulp, which was similar to a very ripe pear, to be just slighly sweet and otherwise bland. It was similar to smaller cactus pears, maybe with slightly less of the berry-like taste that I associate with them. It sure was pretty though. I had kind of hoped to get one of the white-fleshed ones, but the red is pretty striking as well.
I also came home with a Kent mango (background in the first picture), but I havn't cut into that yet. I'll post an update when I do. Almost all of the mangoes I have access to in Sarasota are the stringy Tommy Atkins variety. The Kent is supposed to be less fibrous. It also smells amazing, like a mango ought to.