Archive for November 2013

Key West Day Three   Leave a comment

So. After our late night escapades, we got a late start this morning. “When have I ever slept ’til 10:00 in the morning?” exclaimed DH. That would be never. 😉

The late start nixed our plan to go to the Blue Heaven again. We decided to aim for some place closer. I’d read good things about Bagatelle and boy were the reviews spot on!

They do brunch so you can order breakfast or lunch. DH got the huervos rancheros, and not being a huge breakfast person I went with the lobster grilled cheese. OMG, this was eyes rolling to the back of the head good! Ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. That and sitting outside in the Key West sun made for a perfect meal.

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We walked off breakfast, enjoying the wonderful weather and a cruise shipless Mallory Square. We hadn’t realized that Meson de Pepe had a gift shop. Deciding to pop in, I found this year’s Christmas ornament; a bell painted like the Southernmost buoy. Score! DH pointed out that I’d just done my Black Friday shopping. Thank goodness I didn’t miss out!

Lunch was to be the famous Garbo’s Grill. This time they didn’t close as soon as we arrived. 😉 I had to go with one order each of the short rib tacos and the mahi tacos that I’d read so much about. DH and I had one of each and OMG were they as fantastic as advertised. The beef ones were probably the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. Wonderful!

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This was our day of new spots. So we went to Turtle Kraals for Happy Hour. I thoroughly enjoyed their potato skins (although it would be better if they were cooked to order). They’re made with chorizo, pumpkin, and cojita cheese. After taking in the lovely sunset from the Tower Bar, we went downstairs to see our first turtle race. 
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The turtles were 30 minutes late so I wonder taking in the Christmas decorations. 
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Our turtles lose (boo!) so off we go.

Vowing to have an earlier evening than last night, we went to the Tuna for more stone crab and another listen to Caffeine Carl. I continue to be amazed at how talented he is. You really must check him out if you’re in Key West.

Back to the Chart Room, we have a couple of drinks and enjoy the company of Emily the bartender. It seems the folks we’ve been hanging out with for the last two nights are a bit broken at this point and had turned in early. Glad we weren’t the only ones moving a bit slow today!

Posted November 30, 2013 by cubechick in Key West and Bahamas

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Another Great Thanksgiving in Key West   Leave a comment

Like last year the Day of the Turkey is cool and windy. But it wasn’t as cold as last year… and when compared to 30° back home, well, there really is no comparison.

DH and I go across the street to Two Friends for breakfast. We both have the breakfast special; a crab cake omelet topped with lobster. Seriously yummy stuff.

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As is our norm,  we do a lot of walking around but today we decide to ride the Conch Train for the first time. We chose it over the Trolley because the Trolley seems more transportation than tour. With a cruise ship in town, the trains fill up quickly, but they run frequently, so getting a spot isn’t too difficult.

If you haven’t done the tour, I highly recommend it. In 60 minutes we saw more of Key West than we had in 3 previous visits. Better yet, we got the quick history lesson and finally get a sense of what were seeing as we roam. The best part to DH and I was the talks about architecture. I love little details like porch ceilings being painted sky blue, and that the tradition started as it wss thought the color would prevent bees building nests. I had never noticed this detail on my own.

After the tour, we had lunch at Roof Top Cafe. Although I had read great reports of their fish tacos, neither of us had that!  I had the black bean soup and roast pork sandwich.  My sandwich was delicious but messy (lots of mango BBQ sauce) and my soup good but cold. It obviously sat for a long time before being brought to the table. So I’d give the food a 5 and the service a three.

It hit DH after we’d sat down that we should have picked a spot for lunch that he could watch football from! So after lunch we headed to Island Dogs only to be told that they were temporarily out of Fat Tire. The Horror! So we ended up at the Pier House and watched the game from the beach bar.

While we were there DH looked up bars with Fat Tire and found the Conch Farm on the list. So off we went for the 4:30 game and happy hour.

Dinner reservations had been made at Hot Tin Roof. They had a set menu for Thanksgiving which was delicious but overpriced. In my opinion if you spend $69 on a meal you shouldn’t walk away hungry. Very tiny portions.  However the service was wonderful and the atmosphere lovely, but DARK!. Seriously. You could barely see the food (which ruins presentation) and I had to use the light on my phone to see the check! Overall a 4 star experience.

After dinner found us at the Tuna listening to Caffeine Carl. wow, is he talented!

We wandered to the Chart Room saying “We’ll stop for one more.” Yeah. Right. We had a great time and closed the place! Very weird for us, but that’s Key West for you!

Posted November 29, 2013 by cubechick in Key West and Bahamas

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Thanksgiving Eve in Key West   Leave a comment

To continue from my quick post yesterday, while at the Conch Farm, I received my call from the Pier House telling us our room was ready. So we finish up our food and drink and stroll on over.

I am elated that they were able to honor my request and gave us the same room as last year. Now we feel even more at home. As soon we were in the room we stepped outside to our view:

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After we were settled we went to Island Dogs. I’d seen on Facebook that they had 2 for 1 drinks for Happy Hour. This is where DH died and went to Heaven upon discovering that they had Fat Tire ale on tap.  That and a 1/2 dozen grilled oysters and we were all set!

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We then began our Duval crawl with a stop at the Smokin’ Tuna where DH continued his joy with large Stone Crab. Seriously yummy. Found the Green Parrot and did a little shopping in the new gift shop there. After hitting up Mr, Z’s for a couple of yummy pizza slices, we made the long walk back to the hotel.

Our room had been turned down and we found a nice card with a hand-written note from the new General Manager welcoming us back. He included a couple of free drink cards, which was a nice touch.

Deciding to stick near the room we hit The Chart Room for a couple of beverages and some popcorn. DH brought up the Trip Advisor rumor of new management closing the Chart Room. She quickly squashed that. Said she felt like new management was more interested in the Chart Room than the old. She pointed out that the Chart Room is featured on our key cards. So it’s good to squash that rumor!

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We Made It!   Leave a comment

We arrived in Key West. Little over an hour late which is far better than not at all!

Disappointed that the “First Call” bar is no more. Oh, yes there is still a bar at luggage claim…this is Key West after all!  The bartender is thrilled to have real refrigerators, and promises they are working on the atmosphere.

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Dropped off our bags at the Pier House after a shared ride in the cab (new policy).

Missed having lunch at Garbo’s Grill by a minute!  We were assured they are open Friday, but what a bummer!

Instead we are at the Conch Farm. No stone crab until this evening, which has DH pouting…and settling for fish tacos and tuna tataki for me.

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So far we’re in flips in Key West, so what could be better.

Posted November 27, 2013 by cubechick in Key West and Bahamas

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Tomorrow Key West…I hope!   Leave a comment

The weather isn’t cooperating, but I think we’ll be okay…

The storm booming up and down the east coast threatens!  The good news, for us anyway, is that our flight is first thing in the morning. So if there are delays, we should be on the beginning side of things. Also, we’re expecting rain instead of the white stuff predicted west of us. Getting up at 4 in the morning (ugh) is a small price to pay if it means arriving in Key West as planned.

So, fingers crossed, DH and I should be several hours into our latest Key West adventure this time tomorrow!

As usual, it is my intention to post live from The Rock. I only hope it’s fun in the sun I am writing about rather than interminable airport delays!

Posted November 26, 2013 by cubechick in Key West and Bahamas

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Conch Republic Dreams…   Leave a comment

Gearing up for another fabulous visit to “The Rock”. No, no, no, I don’t mean Alcatraz. I’m referring to that wonderful hunk of land that makes up the southernmost point of the United States; Key West.

In less than two weeks time DH and I will jet our way to our current favorite destination in the US for the third time in a year and a half. It will be our second Thanksgiving celebrated in the Conch Republic and we can’t wait!

I started stalking Southwest’s website immediately upon our return, waiting for them to extend their booking window to November. My mistake (one I won’t make again should we decide to return next year) was not booking it the moment the flights were released. Southwest doesn’t charge change fees and I was foolish not to pounce when I could always get a refund if the prices went down (as if!). I dawdled for a month, which cost us about $100 total. The reason I dawdled was the flights were less than ideal. Our flight home will involve a stop plus a plane change. DH hates flying and I always try to go for the most direct route. We could have flown home the following day and avoided the extra stop (keeping the return to just the one plane change). However I calculated that between the higher price of the flight the next day, needing the hotel for an extra night, and those extra hours carousing around Key West, avoiding the touchdown in Tampa would cost us $800 minimum. Kinda made the less desirable flight a no-brainer. (Something that I will keep reminding myself when we’re flying home!)

Anyway, I booked the flights and hotel (Pier House again of course!) back in May. I’m curious how our experience at the Pier House will be as the hotel changed ownership since our last visit. Reports on Trip Advisor are positive so I am expecting the same friendly and professional service that we’ve come to expect. Picturing us sitting on our balcony, looking over the Gulf of Mexico makes me happier than I can express!

As usual we’ve jotted down a list of things we may (or may not) want to do while we’re there. Always on the list is the Hemingway House and the Truman Little White House (haven’t made it to either), and this year I’ve added the Key West Cemetery, the Old Town Trolley, etc. We’re determined to finally hit Garbo’s this year and sample their fish tacos (although I may go for the Korean BBQ ones!). Oh and we’d like to go to the Tower at Turtle Kraals. Really the list is endless…it’s one of the reasons we keep going back; there’s always something new to experience!

Of course we’re looking forward to some of the favorites…the Conch Farm, Island Dogs, Blue Heaven, Hog’s Breath, Half Shell, White Tarpon, Lazy Gecko…oh I almost forgot the Smokin’ Tuna! That needs to be higher up on the list! Can’t wait to have stone crab!!! OMG they’re so good!!!

Here’s to adding to the favorites on this next visit. :-)

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