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.