Sunday, March 12, 2017

Key West breakfast

Here are the best places in Key West to eat breakfast or brunch. 
#1 - Blue Heaven on Thomas Street
#2 - Pepe's on Caroline Street
#3 - Harpoon Harry's on Caroline Street

Over the years of visiting I've been to these places countless times. It's the most important meal of the day and in Key West all the following restaurants are excellent. Don't stay in your hotel or guest house - get out to these!

A word of warning - all these places, and especially the first 2, get VERY busy. Even more so at the weekend. 

If you don't get in line at 11 o'clock (in season) or later you will be waiting an hour or more. At Blue Heaven this is not a problem as you can wait at the bar and have a drink or two; at Pepe's there is a small bar but most people stand on Caroline Street outside the restaurant (which is not much fun!). So go early!


Winner - #1
Blue Heaven

Thomas Street

This is an amazing place anyway and on my list of unique top things to do in Key West. So you have to eat here. My recommendation is to eat here for both dinner and also breakfast. If you can do only one then I would choose breakfast, and it's the best place to eat breakfast in Key West.

Famous, one of a kind, unique venue, in the open air all year round with chickens at your feet and live music. And what's more the food is GREAT. Best is breakfast but dinner is good too.
Key West institution
Sit at the bar for an early martini or their special - bloody mary.
Food great.
Live music, even for breakfast
No reservations, no parking - walking is best
Expect 45 mins to 1 hour or more wait every weekend in season

The best breakfast plate: BLT (bacon, lettuce, lobster) benedicts $24 - amazing! their number 1 seller!

BTL (lobster) benedict, the best breakfast dish on Key West, at Blue Heaven








For more information and to view the menu - read the post I wrote here.


Second place
Pepe's
Caroline Street

Very old established place. 
Full breakfast menu. Really good. Very friendly.
Outside seats and also inside.




Third place
Harpoon Harrys
Caroline Street



Best place for quick coffee and cake

Forget Starbucks on Duval - keep it local.... Coffee Plantation on Caroline Street. Then sit on their porch (which is in direct sun in the morning) and watch the world go by.


For best restaurants for dinner or lunch click here.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Key West changes 2016

When you have not been somewhere for two years you you really notice the differences. And wow Key West has changed a lot in the two years I've been away.

This quote from the Key West Aids memorial summarises what made Key West so great - i.e. because it was different:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

I'm afraid, Key West heads even more rapidly and inextricably towards being the same as every other town.

A perfect example was when I went into one of the shops mid-Duval and asked the sales lady a question. She was Latvian, which is fine, but her unfriendly, aggressive attitude was horrible. I left the store immediately. Wow!

Of course, another example of this downward trend, one which is close to my heart, is the continued widespread permanent vandalism by the Tree Commission in allowing the chopping down of historic trees in Key West. You know, I just don't get why this happens - beauty is Key West's number 1 selling point - or how locals stand by and allow it to happen.

It's been a continual trend in the Citizen's Voice:

"This weekend we took our visiting guests to legendary spots. Our guests pointed out the beautiful trees surrounding these properties, including many trees growing straight through the roofs and canopies. I laughed because the current Tree Commission would allow those trees to be cut down like the beautiful trees on the corner of Southard and William, which now looks like an open parking lot.” 

and again...

"The Florida Keys are the best place to live in the USA and maybe the world! Yeah for us who live here. Sadly, since we realized our dream and moved here, the crazy, fun, shopping, eating, drinking, galleries of Duval Street are changing, and not for the better. More funky shops and restaurants have closed. So, leaders find out what’s going on and stop it. Losing Fast Buck Freddie’s was a devastating blow and each month more closures. Pretty soon Duval will look like every- where USA. Not a big deal, but charm does not equal for-rent signs!”
citizens voice 7 july


Sunday, January 22, 2017

11 must do Key West best bits


1.Definitely go to Blue Heaven, Key West’s most famous restaurant, and definitely go for breakfast. Have a cocktail at the bar (yes, at breakfast, you're on vacation!), eat in the open air under the tree canopy, wild chickens scratching, live music. Heaven indeed. What to order: their lobster benny, without a shadow of a doubt.


2.Fly by seaplane to the Dry Tortugas (tropical islands). You'll do all of the following in half a day: sea plane, amazing flight, tropical island, snorkelling....There are so many reasons why this is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip. You get to land on the water. During the flight the altitude is only 500 feet, so low you can see the sea life swimming below in the blue waters. When you get there you have the island to yourself (and the few other passengers of the sea plane) for an hour before the hordes arrive (the daily ferry) so you can snorkel in peace (this is the best snorkelling location in Key West). Take the half day trip and go in the morning. Book before you arrive in Key West as the trips sell out.

3.Drink the largest, strongest and best martini in Florida at Virgilio’s martini bar on Duval Street. All the martinis are great, the best is the raspberry chocolate bomb. A challenge: see if you can survive two of them! Other bonus: you get a great view of Duval Street madness from your barstool.

4.Wander the streets of Old town off Duval Street. Take your camera to capture the beautiful houses, flowers and trees.


5.Eat! - I’m going to put all my dinner recommendations in one, here they are: Michaels for the best steak and dessert (chocolate volcano). The tastiest fish in the world is Hog snapper and it’s the speciality of fish specialist restaurant Cafe Sole - the best single fish dish in Key West. Finally, for the best lobster and the best dinner table view on the island go to the A&B Lobster House (the restaurant on the first floor). If it’s not too humid, get a table outside on the deck - views of the harbor. All three restaurants will get super busy so book in advance.  

6.Go to see the hilarious drag show at Aqua on Duval. Nightly but pick a night Inga is performing.

7.Take a drink at legendary Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street. In the 1930s it was Hemingway's regular bar. Take pictures of the iconic neon sign.

8.A fun way of seeing the whole island in comfort and all in just over 2 hours, with a very informative live commentary, take the bus tour or as they call it here in Key West the conch train tour.  

9.Walk up and down Duval Street. I know you are going to do this anyway.

10.Chill on the beach. The best beach in Key West is Fort Zac - it’s beautiful, but not sandy (rocky bits/limestone and coral pebbles). If you really really really want sand go to Higgs Beach but it’s not as pretty.

11.Walk the boardwalk on Key West’s historic harbor. There is always a hundred things going on, great people watching and of course views of the ocean. Really worth the diversion from Duval Street.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Key West vacation

Welcome my Key West vacation guide - you're almost there!

A Key West vacation can be hot, sunny, beautiful, fun; and also at times expensive, humid and wet. 

This blog is all about helping you decide if Key West is right for you and hints and recommendations about how to make the most of your visit. 


Let's dive right in with the bad and the good about Key West. The not so good first.


Downsides of a Key West vacation
  • Key West is expensive - the hotels and B&Bs, especially in peak season (i.e. the season you'll want to come here) charge a small fortune. There are only a few good cheap accommodation options
  • Key West is small, really small
  • Key West in off peak (August to November) is uncomfortably humid 
  • There are only 2 beaches on the island and only 1 is good
  • Key West is not that geared up for kids
If you prefer to see the glass half full, here are the best things about Key West. 


Upsides of a Key West vacation 


WHAT IS A KEY WEST VACATION GOING TO BE LIKE?
  • Sunny
  • Hot but not too hot (heat is never a problem, it does get very humid between August and November)
  • Pretty - Key West style houses, tree laden streets, flowers, plants, lush tropical 
  • There are some great hotels but many of the B&Bs / guesthouses are even better (as they are original historic homes built in the 1800s so you are living like a local in a cool looking property)
  • Mostly friendly people
  • It's a walking, not driving, town
  • Can be busy in peak time, but walk a few streets away from Duval Street and it's quiet and peaceful
  • Great selection of bars covering all tastes
  • Great selection of restaurants covering all tastes
  • 80% of bars and restaurants within walking distance of most hotels and B&Bs - meaning you don't have to drive and so you can relax (and drink a lot!)
  • Some world famous stuff like Sloppy Joe's, the Hemingway House, Blue Heaven restaurant
  • Historic - Key West has a long and fascinating history to discover (e.g. Key West museum, lighthouse, Audubon House)














THINGS YOU GOTTA DO ON A KEY WEST VACATION

click below to read more....

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 10 posts on Key West Lookout

Here are the top 10 most read articles on this blog since I started Key West Lookout in 2009. Key West Lookout is written by me and only me. I am a regular Key West visitor, and have been taking vacations in Key West since 1998. My aim is to provide the best, most comprehensive and most up-to-date Key West vacation guide on the planet. See you in Key West! This blog was last updated in January 2017.

#1: Best time of year to visit Key West








#2: Key West hotels












#3: Top things to do in Key West









#4: What to do in Key West when it rains








#5: Key West restaurants

#6: Gay Key West

#7: Best cocktails and martinis in Key West

#8: Key West guesthouses

#9: Planing a Key West vacation

#10: Key West pictures


PICTURES:
  • Crazy Key West - 25 of my funniest, silliest pictures from the last 10 years in Key West. Yes, Key West is eccentric and a little mad.

VIDEO:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Planning a Key West visit

This post will help if you're planning a Key West visit or vacation and have questions like when to visit Key West, how long to stay, when is the rainy season, what are the best budget hotels, and how to get to Key West. Here's the Key West truth from a fellow Key West visitor.
Planning a Key West visit. This picture is taken during the summer when crowds are much fewer
This post will answer these questions:
  • When should I visit Key West?
  • How many days should I stay? Is a weekend too short?
  • How to get to Key West?
  • How bad is the traffic?
  • Where to stop off on the way down the Keys?
  • How long to stay in Key West?
  • Do you need a car / what to so with the car while in Key West?
  • What to wear in Key West?  How formal is Key West?
  • Where to stay and what to do?
  • How good is Key West for children?
So click on the link below and let's get going....

Beautiful Key West

Beautiful Key West
Key West is a really beautiful place to visit. It's a beautiful collision of nature, the ocean and the sun at full power. 

You'll need to get off Duval Street, relax a bit and wander. 

You have to come here in person and walk around the place. So all I can give you is an impression. Everything you see below is available in a few square miles in Key West Old Town. All these pictures are all mine and unadulterated by Photoshop or the like.

If you're visiting Key West, take some time to get off Duval Street and explore. 

If you're not, then sit back, look at the following pictures, and dream tropical!

Below please find, for your visual pleasure, Key West's beautiful:

  • Ocean views
  • Trees and flowers
  • Buildings
  • Animals
  • Sunsets (and a sunrise too)


The ocean
Dolphin in Key West waters, very close to shore - this taken from the East Quay wall at the Truman Waterfront
Perfect pelican off Higgs beach


>> MORE BEAUTY...click below for Beautiful Key West Trees and Flowers; Animals; Sunset - 43 amazing pictures….

Monday, December 19, 2016

Most beautiful Key West houses and homes

There are some very expensive and beautiful homes in Key West. They are all in Old Town Key West and so very walkable in an hour if you are in a rush or a few hours if you just randomly wander down a few streets in Key West.

Here are a just a few highlights to make you want to come to Key West and also to make you jealous of these beautiful and historic homes.

I think this is my favorite Key West home, 1029 Fleming Street. Immaculate white and all the elements of the house work together in perfect harmony. Very Key West Old Town it also helps that this house is very imposing and also huge. The second image below shows the side view, showing how long the house is. It's not so uniform from the side, for example the 4 sided feature, which I think  makes it even more interesting.

One of the most beautiful homes in Key West - 1029 Fleming Street