Sublime Key Lime

April 8, 2011

You know, I have always wanted to go to Key West. Blame Jimmy Buffett, or Ernest Hemingway, but there is such allure to grabbing a margarita and watching the sunset there. One day, I say. And when I do go, I’ll refer back to this post from guest blogger Denielle!

I find that as soon as you tell people you are traveling to [INSERT NAME OF ANYPLACE] you discover that everyone and their mother has been there at least once and has great suggestions for you!

This was the case in the several weeks leading up to our recent trip to Key West, Florida. My husband and I escaped for a few days without the kids, thanks to my incredibly generous and capable mother-in-law. She stayed at our house and my girls were treated to more fun in 6 days than they have with us in 6 months, so it was win-win!

Key West is a really unique place. It is the southernmost tip of the United States, which in itself is a pretty cool claim.  It has a rich, diverse history including Spanish explorers, pirates, President Truman, a US Navy Submarine base and a host of famous authors and singers. We flew into Miami and drove 3.5 hours through all the Florida Keys – a beautiful drive – to arrive at our hotel.

We stayed at La Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was very pretty and the property was on the water.  My favorite part was the popsicles they served by the pool in the afternoon. Don’t let the icy cold treats fool you into thinking it’s a place for kids. While I saw kids there, it didn’t feel like a great family destination (no Kids’ Club, no beaches, no obvious kids dining places). We went snorkeling in a reef that is populated by sharks. “Not the kind that eat people,” we were told. Thanks. Now I feel MUCH better!

There are great restaurants in Key West and 150+ bars.  My top restaurant recommendation is Louie’s Backyard (great food, great outdoor dining overlooking the ocean), followed by Nine One Five (also great food, fun people watching on Duval Street). We heard positive reviews about Sarabeth’s (not related to the NYC brunch spot) and Grand Café but did not try them. A unique hotspot is Blue Heaven (famous for brunch, but all food is good; AMAZING Key Lime Pie!). The seating is outdoors in a somewhat dilapidated looking backyard with wild chickens walking around (they are the unofficial mascots of Key West, brought over by the early Bahamian settlers). There’s always a wait, but there’s a fun Reggae band, a ping pong table and bar. B.O.’s Fish Wagon is even more casual than Blue Heaven and famous for amazing fried grouper sandwiches on Cuban bread. They did NOT disappoint!

It happened to be Spring Break during our stay so we saw lots of pub-crawlers and discovered Key West’s tolerance of open containers, particularly on Duval Street (a commercial street, lined with bars and restaurants), despite it being illegal. Famous, fun bars include Irish Kevin’s, Captain Tony’s and Sloppy Joe’s. I cannot offer firsthand knowledge about all of these places, but if Ernest Hemmingway’s picture on the wall and hoards of loud college kids are any indication, then yes, they are very fun spots.

We opted for the “dessert crawl,” a.k.a the Search for the Best Key Lime pie.  Final judgment: we couldn’t find a bad piece of pie!

The weather was a perfect 75-80 degrees each day.

Thanks to a surprise storm in the Northeast, my trip home was diverted and when I finally arrived, I had to drag my luggage through SNOW. So much for a gradual re-entry from vacation!

Single of the Week

Ken gets it done:

Today’s single of the week by Weeknd remixes a song by Siouxsie and the Banshees from 1980, the year I turned 10 and had my first crush. I’ll always have feelings for you, Walter Mondale.
Watch it here.

(Note that after 3:26 is the completely different and less awesome song, “Glass Table Girls,” which I’m pretty sure does not refer to women who work in factories that manufacture glass tables.)

Etc.

A big week: my huge project at work finished up, I still keep waking up at 4am and I am the proud owner of a new iphone. Fruit Ninja 4eva!

Enjoy the weekend!!

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