Well, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with
I won’t say it’s a good thing Gustav veered west, because I am so, so sorry for poor old
Some of you may be wondering why we, who seem like relatively intelligent human beings, would choose to vacation in
Anyway, after eight days in
Best place to buy books (you knew I’d start there, didn’t you?): Key West Island Books. They’ve been around forever, have books piled up to the ceiling, an impressive “pirate” section, and, if you’re lucky, Suzanne will be working when you visit. She’s extremely friendly and helpful and can recommend great places to see, as well as fantastic restaurants.
Best key lime pie ever: Mangoes restaurant. I won’t even say best I’ve ever had, just best ever, because I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere makes it better than this. Besides, I’ve made it a point to be a life-long key lime pie taster, so I’ve eaten my fair share of it over the years. No too-gooey meringue on top. No sickly-sweet filling. No heaviness in the stomach after two bites. Just the perfect amount of tartness. The perfect amount of light creaminess. And the all-important graham cracker crust, somehow made extremely light and thin. Yum!
Best Italian food I’ve ever had: Opera. Remember: I’ve never been to
Best place to get a mojito: Conch Republic Seafood Company. They let you use their drink coupon (lots of bars give out “buy one drink, get one free” coupons in KW), for one thing, even for mojitos, which other bars, we discovered, don’t. Secondly, it’s just a wonderful, large bar. Thirdly, their mojitos are delicious. They’re deadly, though. If you’re a lightweight like me, don’t drink more than one (at least, if you want to remember your vacation).
Best place to get microbrews: Kelly’s. This is a charming-even-for-Key-West little bar and restaurant, owned by none other than Kelly McGillis (no, we didn’t see her). All the wait staff wear the old PanAm insignia on their shirt sleeves, because it apparently stands on the spot of what was once the PanAm building. Their dark stout is delicious, as is their IPA.
Best day trip: the
Best dive site: the Cayman wreck. I’ve never been one much on wreck diving (believe it or not, it’s a bit too spooky for me), at least, not until now. Who knows? After this experience, maybe I’ll even learn to penetrate a wreck one day. I was slightly tempted but ultimately decided that going inside things like ships under water still isn’t quite my cup of tea.
Best drag queens: 801 Bourbon Bar. Okay, I admit it: I love drag queens. Bob, not so much, so I decided, even though he offered, not to subject him to a two-hour-long night club act. I will have to go back someday with a group of people who are more into such things. Any takers?
Best historic site: The Hemingway House. It’s worth it just to see the fabulous studio where he spent his most productive writing years. Wish I had a place like that to write. Oh yeah, and then there are the cats, and the cat condos, and the urinal-turned-cat’s-drinking fountain. Only at Hemingway’s house, no?
Best author to read while visiting (no, not Hemingway, although I’m sure many would disagree with me): Tom Corcoran, most especially when the first murder in the book takes place on the very street where you’re staying. His books are pure male fantasy, but if I haven’t yet convinced you that you want to visit
Best advice: don’t bring four books with you. You really, truly, with all there is to do (especially if you’re a diver, which means every morning is taken up with that), will not have time to read them. Bring a couple of Tom Corcorans, and if, for some reason, you happen to finish those, you’ll have an excuse to go back (because, of course, it was the first place you went when you arrived in town) to Key West Island Books.
Coming soon: photos (but not a 2-hour-long slide show, I promise!).