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Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

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Lynchburg, Virginia
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Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

With grown kids who have lives, we were taxi'd to BWI at around 2 for our 4:20 flight to FLL. I asked TA for suggestions as to the best non-fast food place to grab an early dinner at the terminal. I had decided that Vino Volo looked like a winner, but once hubby checked out the frou-frou menu, he nixed it. So, we ended up going across the way to Villa Fresh Italian. It was surprisingly good! I ordered the lasagna and had the Mediterranean salad. The lasagna was cheesy, with chunks of sausage. Layers and layers of noodles. The salad was fresh and crisp. Hubby got pepperoni pizza. A big slice. Not typical food court food, but in a food court setting. After our meal, we walked further on down the pier to Obryckis A Bar for a cocktail and to watch the planes. My Lemon Drop martini was icy cold and delicious. My husband enjoyed his Gin and Tonic.

Our flight boarded with no problems and we arrived at Ft Lauderdale near 7 pm. Picked up our car and headed to the nearby Davie Holiday Inn Express for the night. Not much nearby in the way of dining, but there was a Waffle House next door. (Waffle House is our go to motorcycle trip food stop when we're riding somewhere.)

We walked over for dinner. Patty melts with smothered, and covered hash browns. Washed down with southern style suh-weet tea. Back to our room to chill out, web and channel surfing. This was just the prelude to vacation.

As a teaser... we stopped at Ma's Fish Camp in Islamorada TWICE (going and returning from KW) it was that good. In Key West, we ate at El Maison de Pepe, Le Croissants France, Cuban Coffee Queen, B.O.s Fish Wagon, Two Friends Patio Restaurant, Fat Tuesday, Hot Tin Roof, Santiago's Bodega, Camille's, Dante's, Point 5 (the upstairs wine bar at Nine One Five), Schooner Wharf Bar, Conch Republic, Rooftop Cafe (for our Anniversary Dinner), Better Than Sex Dessert Restaurant (for after dinner wine), Sarabeth's (twice for breakfast, it was that good), Sunset Pier, Mangia Mangia, Cafe Marquesa for after dinner cocktails.

Details to follow.

NYC
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1. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

I admit to being quite curious about any foodie report that has Santiago's Bodega in the same visit as . . . Fat Tuesday! ;)

www.traceyg.travellerspoint.com

Edited: 16 October 2012, 00:41
Lynchburg, Virginia
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2. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

As for other activities: We went on several boat rides... Sunset Sail on the Appledore V, a day sail on Adirondack III, and to Fort Jefferson on Yankee Freedom III (her second voyage), we also took a bicycle tour with Jimmy from Eaton St Bikes (lots of fun), finally toured Hemingway House, where we were well and truly "catted" by several of the feline residents, Mel Fisher's Museum, we rented bicycles for the week from Eaton St. Bikes (lovely operation, friendly and profesional), and we took a pedicab from Mallory Square to Better Than Sex. . . SO worth it.

...as for Fat Tuesday, it was quite warm that afternoon and we happened to need something cold and intoxicating. What can I say.

Daytona Beach
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3. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

Yes,we have dined on several 190 octanes @ Fat Tuesday...the chef never fails to please our palates!

Lynchburg, Virginia
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4. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

Hotel breakfast on Sunday, then on the road... the GPS said, "Continue one hundred seventy miles" once we got on the highway. Simple enough!

Stopped at the visitors center in Homestead to pick up brochures and ask where the Hurricane Memorial is (MM 81.5). The gentleman was very helpful. Heading back to the car, I was hit with the reality of being in FL: That lovely afternoon sunshine and mugginess. Back on the road.

I wanted to find a pair of sandals, so we stopped at the Sandal Outlet in Islamorada. Didn't find shoes, but I did get hubby a very spiffy hat. Asked how much farther to the Hurricane Memorial and were told, 1/2 mile further on, on the left. Lovely place with a tall coral block marker. It is dedicated to those who died in the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. The crypt at the site contains remains of some of the victims and is topped with a beautiful ceramic tile map of the keys.

A quarter mile on down the road was Bluewater Potters. I'd seen a bio on them in one of the brochures from the visitors center. We stopped in to have a look around. Lovely stuff! We got a lot of our Christmas shopping done when I asked Carmen the proprietor, "do you ship?" As we wrapped up our purchase, I asked about Ma's Fish Camp, just next door. I wasn't able to finish my question, "Eat there!" Carmen said. We could hardly have gotten a more enthusiastic recommendation.

We walked over and were welcomed and seated immediately. The menu was simple, with lots of seafood items. I went for the Blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich which came with sweet potato fries. My husband ordered the healthy Mahi Mahi option: Grilled, served with yellow rice and steamed veggies. The waitress warned us to save room for dessert, so I checked the dessert menu. OMG The Deep Dish Key Lime Pie (topped with strawberries and whipped cream).

The Conch Chowder looked tempting, so I requested a cup as an appetizer. It was red, spicy and delicious. Loaded with tender conch. Our meals were AMAZING. My sandwich was on thick bread, the fish had the perfect amount of spice. The fries were seasoned with cinnamon sugar. A nice contrast to the heat of the sandwich. My husband's lunch was equally tasty. With fresh tender fish that had him rolling is eyes. He even ate the veggies!

We got the pie to go... and it wasn't 30 minutes before I asked him to break it out ( I was driving by that time) and start feeding me. So good! It was more on the fluffy side than custardy, and purists may phish at that. We liked it.

Onward to Key West. We didn't make any other stops, as we were hoping to get to La Te Da for happy hour to meet some new friends. We arrived and checked into Sunset Suite.

Key West, Florida
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5. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

Sounds fun and yummy so far; can't wait for the rest!

Thanks!

UK
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6. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

I am enjoying this, carry on!

Lynchburg, Virginia
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7. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

Sunday (arrival) continued.We called our friends and learned they were still 2+ hours from Key West. Ah, well. Chaz and I decided to walk down to El Meson de Pepe for a "start the vacation Mojito" and Cuban Nachos. The mojito was delicious as always, just sweet enough, with a healthy fistful of fresh mint and half a lime, and topped up with an obscene quantity of rum and just a splash of fizzy water.

I love El Meson's Cuban salsa(?) - tangy and just spicy enough with a tablespoon of finely minced onion added. I can eat it with a spoon. We ordered the Cuban Nachos. Plantain chips piled high with Cuban roasted pork, cheese, veggies, and served with a dish of that wonderful salsa. Then we wanted to find a place where we could watch the Orioles play the Yankees, and the bartender suggested JDL Big Ten Pub (and a few others, but we decided on JDL). We walked toward the bight, strolling along Front St. A window display at Bon Voyage caught my eye and we walked inside to ask about the lovely dress there. I tried it on and it fit! Chaz bought it for me... my other clothes went in the bag and we strolled out.

JDLs wasn't very crowded and they only had the Orioles on in a private viewing room, but we could see the screen from a table. We ordered beers and watched for a while. We also saw that it was only 48 degrees at home. After the game, we headed back to our place for the night.

Lynchburg, Virginia
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8. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

I wasn't initially thrilled with our condo, Sunset Suite. The stairs to the bedroom were killer. Very narrow, and the tread on the first step isn't as deep as the rest. I nearly tumbled the first few times I tried to descend until I figured out what the problem was. However the location and direct access to the pool (shared) was terrific.On to day 2 (Monday in Key West beats Monday anyplace else)...

We got up and walked to Croissants de France and Le Bistro for take away caffeine and a pastry. Fresh Beignets! Make mine Key Lime, please. And a double espresso. We sat along the ledge outside overlooking the street. My husband has a knack for attracting folks (he comes by it honestly, he's a Preacher's Kid). A homeless guy rolled his bicycle along the sidewalk and then started a conversation with us. Offered "gently used" items he had evidently scavenged from the morning's trash. <sigh> When the garbage truck came by, he moved along.

After breakfast, we walked up Eaton St to rent our around town transportation at Eaton Bikes. We'd been using A & M,, which is at the end of the block where we stay. But after hearing so many recommendations for Eaton here on TA, we decided to give them a chance this year. So glad we did!! They had different styles of bikes, I wanted something with straight handlebars, so I got a "hybrid."

As we signed papers, I spotted a flyer for a bicycle tour of Key West... "Let's do that!" I said to Chaz. The gal at the desk said she'd call Jimmy and make the arrangements for the next morning. By the time we had wrapped up paperwork, we walked through the shop and our bikes were ready to go. A few minutes tweaking the fit of mine and we headed off.

As we pedaled down Truman Ave, I heard a "clackety, clack" as something fell on the pavement. I looked back to see my phone in the road behind me. Got stopped and was walking back to get it when the car behind me ran over it with both wheels. "REALLY??!! How hard would it have been to avoid the phone in the road? Not like you would have had to run over a small child to do it." GRRRR.

I picked up my Blackberry and the screen had white lines in it. Then it tried to reboot. I removed and re-installed the battery and stuck it in my pocket. When we stopped again, the screen was just white. Oh well. Guess I'm getting a new phone in Key West. Found the Verizon store on the web site and spent about an hour. Stacy was VERY nice and helpful. Set me up with a new Droid Razr Maxx.

We ended up going to B.O.'s Fish Wagon for lunch. The fish was amazing. But BEWARE, the pricing on the posted menu is very confusing! Adding two sides to your fish essentially doubles the price of your meal( taking it from a "platter" to a "dinner") $46 for lunch for two was rather shocking, and I stupidly paid rather than confirming what I was paying for. If I had asked for clarification I would have dropped one of the sides I'd requested.

Anyhow, we cleared a table for ourselves and waited for the food to be brought out. The sun was shining, we had cold beers in our hands. When our meals arrived, we dug in. Chaz ordered the grouper platter, but received a grouper sandwich without fries. My blackened mahi mahi had a little heap of fried onions on top (huh?) I scraped them off. The key lime mayo on the side was tangy and delicious with the fish. We enjoyed our meal, but will order more carefully next time.

After our meal, we walked over to the pier near SWB to find our about sunset sails, etc. The Western Union was sitting there adjacent to Appledore V. The pitchman said that since it is slow season they were offering $10 off the sunset sail that evening and they needed 4 passengers to go out. As it happened there was another couple standing in earshot. We looked at each other and said "why not?" We paid for our tickets and then decided to return to our condo for a bit, as the temperature had climbed.

Edited: 18 October 2012, 22:21
Lynchburg, Virginia
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9. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

Our sunset sail was amazing! So much fun! Jordan was the skipper, with Jen and Parker the greenhorn. There were also two locals who work other boats, and had nothing else to do this evening. We motored out from the dock and got the sails up quickly (We helped!), then the wine was served. Sangria, and some lovely white wines. I fear I got so engrossed in conversation with Neil, one of the locals that I didn't pay any attention to how much I was drinking. I fear I had close to 10 "glasses" of wine. It was so terrific to be out on the water on a beautiful boat. Appledore V is lovely. We managed to get back to our condo, but only barely.

In the morning, we headed to Cuban Coffee Queen for breakfast before our bicycle tour. Cafe con Leche and pan Cubanos. Then to Eaton Bikes where Jimmy was waiting for us. It was a great time, though I think I knew almost as much as Jimmy about some of the historical figures (Henry Flagler in particular) important to Key West. We had a great, lazy time.

Then over to Two Friends Patio Restaurant for lunch. In keeping with the seafood theme, I ordered the shrimp salad on a croissant, and Chaz ordered the Mahi Mahi sandwich. My shrimp was good, but not mremorable. His fish was unseasoned (bleh) and there were far too many onions and peppers piled on top. It made for a very challenging to eat sandwich.

We went over to the dive shop and spent far more than planned on snorkel gear. We dropped our bags off and headed back out to Duval... I needed something cold and intoxicating. I keep intending to visit Flying Monkey, but we invariably encounter Fat Tuesday first, as we head down Duval so just stop there. Chaz ordered a lemonade, and I a hurricane. The hurricane tasted like really bargain brand fruit punch. Eh. The lemonade was pretty good. Since I was mostly catching up in my travel journal while resting my feet, I was able to get through it.

We had dinner reservations at Hot Tin Roof, and time, so we finally visited Mel Fisher's museum. Really cool, but the galleries were so dark it was tough to see things. Afterward, we swung by El Meson de Pepe for a Mojito to go. Drinks in hand, we circled around Mallory Square checking out the carts and the crush of people for a while. Then made our way to HTR. Sunset Pier was packed with tables and people. It was buzzing and the food on trays that went passed us looked tempting. I made a mental note to add Sunset Pier to our list.

We walked up the stairs to the restaurant and were seated at one of the outside tables. Magnificent view. Clouds on the horizon made it impossible to see the actual sunset, but the sky was captivating.

My husband ordered a Casa Noble margarita, and I chose the special Hot Tin-tini. We shared the tomato- burrata salad, which was a delight. Fresh heirloom cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and oil with small balls of burrata, cream filled fresh mozzarella. The mixed bread basket was accompanied by a little dish of herb seasoned butter. I could have eaten the butter with a spoon.

For our entrees, my husband had a hankering for red meat and chose the Filet dinner. I ordered the Paella which sounded so amazing. I figured where better to have a classic seafood meal than in Key West? My husband's dinner had him rolling his eyes in ecstasy. My paella was well, unfortunate. First, the half lobster tail was over cooked. Tough and leathery, as were the shrimp. All were unseasoned. The shellfish was sweet and tender, but they also lacked any seasoning, not a hint of garlic or salt. The rice underneath had been cooked to mush and the chorizo had apparently been cooked along with the rice, no flavor at all. It was only recognizable by texture.

I ended up asking for a second little dish of the seasoned butter in an effort to salvage my meal. We passed on dessert.

10. Re: Key West Trip Report for foodies 10/6-10/14 in several parts

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