“…7 days a week here it's paradise…”
Yes, Key West is a paradise.
I'm surprised, myself, to be saying this – I've never said it about any place I've been before.
But with a climate that's never too hot or too cold, a rich culture (whether you're interested in music or theater or art or literature), festivals every week, seafood galore, great food in general and friendly people (a good morning is received from everyone), it's truly a wonderful place to go. Now, it's also not inexpensive. I'll try to put together a post on Key West on a budget in the near future.
But for now, here's what I recommend for a perfect day in paradise.
A Local Festival
The Key West Commercial Fisherman's Association raises funds for scholarships for high schools and to support any people in their association who find themselves on hard times. They run a number of fundraising events – I found my way to their Florida Keys Seafood Festival. The entrance is $5 at the gate for adults and free for children. What you get is a social event with plenty of music, great food and a chance to mix with locals.
Sunset at Fort
I was in Key West with my sister and mother. Essentially, I moved house for two weeks, worked every day while helping take care of mom who is in a wheelchair due to a stroke. It was a privilege to be able to spend so much time with her. We spent each morning on the porch, me with my laptop, her saying “hello” to everyone who passed by. At the end of the day we often went to take in the sunset at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Here are two different sunsets.
No Such Thing as a Bad Meal
Really, the food in Key West was, without exception, fantastic. And for a quasi-vegetarian, one who eats fish, it was paradise of yet another form.
My best meal was dinner at Camille's – Denise is the owner. It was the Yellow Tail Tuna Tartare on the menu. Made with avocados, sesame seeds, coriander and lots of raw tuna which is actually gently cooked by the sauce itself. Spectacular! If you love crab go to Camille's on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday and they'll serve you all you can eat until they run out. And though I didn't have a chance to try it, I would love to have had their Crab Cake Benedict.
Oh, and the Wonder of Key Lime Pie
Now the key lime pie at Camille's was named “The Best Key Lime Pie in the World” by the Zagat Survey, but really it's all a matter of taste. My taste goes more towards the key lime pie at Blue Heaven with its crisp graham cracker crust, tangy filling and mile-high meringue. To die for!
The two restaurants are very different. Camille's is spacious and indoors like the family restaurant it's proud to be. Blue Heaven is more of a backyard affair with an outside bar, band, ping pong table, sand and… it's casual and fun. I can recommend both as well as Mangia Mangia Pasta Cafe, The Cafe (all vegetarian food), and Only Wood Pizzeria and Trattoria.
Yes, more than one fine meal was enjoyed in the many perfect days I enjoyed in paradise.
For more information on Key West you can go to their site.