So this trip was about a week after my husband’s birthday, and as a gift to him, I got a gift certificate for the spa at the Pier House and I made an appointment for him Monday morning for a massage. He plays hockey a lot, so massages help with his old sore muscles! Believe it or not, I’m not a spa person at all, so my plan was just to shop a little while he was there. We woke up and headed to Cuban Coffee Queen first. As I’m sitting here back at work in cloudy, cold Illinois, Cuban Coffee Queen is what I miss the most. Hubby had the Cuban American with a bacon egg and cheese sandwich and I had the café con leche with pan cubano. Pan Cubano is Cuban bread toasted and loaded with butter. I’m not sure where this has been all my life, but I’m glad we got acquainted last week! After we ate, he went to the Pier House and I walked down Duval to Key West Aloe to make a few gift purchases. After we met up again, we began our long day of eating and drinking everything we can get our hands on. Oh boy. I’ll try to piece this day together the best I can. I know all the places we went, I just don’t remember the order! We started at Flying Monkey. I don’t know how long we were there, but I finished two squeeze bottles of drinks. I think I had the Howler and the Pain in the A**. We made friends with the awesome bartender Jason, who happened to be from our neck of the woods. We talked about how he made his way down to paradise and talked about how sad we were that Jay Cutler was out for the season (boo!). We had a blast. After a couple of hours (I think?) there, we were hungry for a snack, so we settled on Amigo’s. We again split the fish taco plate. Delicious again!! After this we went to Pepe’s because we wanted to watch the oyster race that a local had told us about while we were at the Monkey. Well, he told us it was 30 minutes later than it actually was (he started drinking much earlier than we did), so we only caught the end. Oh well. We wanted to stop here anyway. We had a few beers here and headed out. I think after this we tried Mallory Square again. It was REALLY crowded this night. There was still a ship docked, so I think that’s why. I thought that ships had to be gone before sunset, but we saw two during our trip that were still there past sunset. Maybe I heard that rule incorrectly. Anyway, we found another bench in front of a boat docked on the other side of the crowd called “99 Problems”. I convinced myself that it was Jay-Z’s boat (you know – he has a song of the same name), so I snapped some pictures. I’m pretty sure it actually wasn’t his boat, but that’s ok! We decided after this to hit Kelly’s for happy hour wings. We sat ourselves at the bar where hubby had two beers and I had two margaritas. The people next to us obviously had a long day of drinking also because I heard the woman tell the same story at least three times. ‘Tis ok, we’re on vacation! The wings and the drinks were yummy. I suddenly remember that Scott Kirby is playing all week at Smokin Tuna Saloon, so we head there. This place is really nice! I started out with a beer here, and because I haven’t fully mixed alcohol today (keeping track? Howler, Pain in the A**, beer, margarita, more beer…) I move on to a vodka and soda. Big Ed the bartender had a heavy hand, so I basically had two vodkas. Oye. We sit here for awhile and decide to call it a night. Oh, but not before stopping at Mr. Z’s. Were we hungry? Probably not. Did we need this extra meal? Probably not. I thought maybe the fries would work their magic again. Needless to say, I had a hard time sleeping that night.
We wake up on Tuesday and decide we’ll lay off the booze today. I suggest heading to South Beach. I have to be honest that this was our first trip to a Key West beach ever! I know, right? We have breakfast at Southernmost Café, where I had bagel and lox and hubby had pancakes. Very good! Our server was from Chicago as well! We get two chairs and an umbrella on the beach and park ourselves there for a couple of hours. It was sunny and very warm. The water felt great. The guys working there (Manny and I forgot the other gentleman’s name) were great. They passed around frozen towels and a frozen strawberry to everyone. We got to see an older gentleman in one of those delightful bathing suits (if you want to call it that) that don’t leave much to the imagination. People were taking pictures with him and then he decided to play volleyball! Sweet! We head back after a few hours and rest up before dinner. Tonight we decided on A&B Lobster House. One of our favorites. We had a great table on the water and split the Maine Lobster dinner where they split a lobster, stuff it with crab meat and serve with an 8 oz filet. We had this exact dinner on our honeymoon 8 years ago. It was delicious and our waiter was awesome! After dinner, we went to Kermitt’s for some Key Lime Pie – good as usual. We were sad that Blonde Giraffe had closed since our last visit since that was our favorite Key Lime Pie, but Kermitt’s is definitely great. I noticed that his shop has popped up all over the island.
We decide Wednesday is another great day to relax on the beach. After breakfast at Cuban Coffee Queen (same coffees, this time we split the Pan Cubano). We walk down Duval to the beach where Manny is working again. He remembers we were there yesterday, so he welcomes us back. He’s great. Today at the beach we are sans hangovers, so hubby had a couple of beers and I had a rumrunner. Good stuff! After a couple of hours, we head out to clean up for dinner. We decided on El Meson de Pepe. I had one of their combination plates (I think #81) and husband had one of the meat dishes. I forgot which one, but it was one of the meats I had in my plate. I had the sweet plaintains with my dinner, and everything was great. Only complaints were that the Cuban bread served before dinner wasn’t very good. Cuban Coffee Queen is much better. My mojito was also really strong. Other than that, the food was really good. After dinner we hit SWB for a few drinks. The bartender was from Michigan and a few other people at the bar were from our area in Illinois, so we had a good time just talking sports. We called it a night and headed back to our rental. I love where Poinciana Place is located. We took different streets home each night, and enjoyed looking at all of the different houses. Some had Christmas lights up already. Night time way from Duval is so quiet and peaceful. My favorite times in Key West are early in the morning and later at night when it’s just quiet and you can just take it all in. My favorite parts of this trip were just walking and enjoying the weather knowing we’d be coming home to gross weather for the next few months.
Thursday, Thanksgiving morning, was the start of our last full day. I woke up a little sad. I was also a little sunburned and my feet were covered in blisters from all of the walking. Maybe I am a little full and tired from all of the eating and drinking as well. Oh well! We’ll try to make the most of our last day. I had the idea to try Sarabeth’s for breakfast since it was right down the street. It was closed for the holiday. I understand, so I decide I want Harpoon Harry’s. Closed. I’m not complaining, I think it’s nice that some places close so their employees can be with their families. I was starving at this point, so we settled on Two Friends again. I had the pumpkin pancakes and husband had the regular pancakes. The pumpkin pancakes were really good! After breakfast, we did some more wandering. I was getting pretty tired and my feet really hurt, so I suggested the Conch Tour Train. I know it’s pricey and touristy, but we did this tour on our honeymoon and we really liked it. It got us off our feet and we got to enjoy the breeze while someone else drove us around. I enjoy the history of the island, and the train takes us to neighborhoods we never really think to venture out to on our trips. All in all, it was a good decision. We had a really nice time. After this, we were starving, so we decided on Half Shell. I had the beer steamed peel ‘n eats and onion rings. My husband had the fish and chips. A very good meal for Thanksgiving! After this it was late afternoon, so we decided to head back to the room to start cleaning up and packing. This is when my exhaustion really set in. I was very emotional because it was our last day, and I was also very tired! I honestly wanted to just stay in and pout for the rest of the night, but my husband knew I wanted to try Flamingo Crossing for ice cream during this trip. He convinced me that we should go out and try it, no matter how tired we might be. I’m glad we did because it was excellent! I had a cup with coconut and Tahitian vanilla. He had a cup of key lime ice cream. This stuff was great! I can’t believe it took us this long to try it! We walked down Duval until our ice cream was done and decided we were plenty full and tired. Time to just realize the week had caught up with us! We were completely sober, so we had a better grasp on the drunk idiots that were surrounding us. Ick.
I woke up Friday morning with such a heavy heart. We love Key West. It took us 4.5 years to get back, and it seems like the week flew by in an instant. In the back of my head, I’m already planning the next trip. I do think that we will try to stay on the southern part of the island next time. I think I enjoy the quiet end of Duval a little more now.
Anyway, we hit Cuban Coffee Queen one more time. I got my café con leche and one last Pan Cubano for the trek back up to FLL. We said good-bye to the cat that we made friends with during the week (I think Princess?). I loved this cat. I love all of the cats who roam the island. I was very teary eyed (ok, I was all-out crying) as we waved good-bye to our “home” for the week and drove away. Luckily we had an uneventful drive back up US1 and a smooth flight home.
Thanks for letting me remember our glorious week. I’m sure I left out a few things –and there were a few places I really wanted to try, but just didn’t make it to! Hopefully we will not let 4.5 years pass before coming back.
Sorry this is so long!