a.k.a., How I ate my way across Key West in 4 days.
01.07.2011 - 05.07.2011
Despite the late night, I was awake at 5:30 a.m. No one else was awake, and I didn't expect them to wake for a while, so I decided to take advantage of my early morning solitude.
I grabbed my little travel buddy, Zoey, and walked her down to White Street Pier. Zoey is a great traveller and she loved Key West. It was too hot to take her out unless it was very early in the morning, because she is old and fat, but she loved it all the same. She especially loved that I kept ordering things with bacon and kept bringing the excess bacon home to her.
On a side note, while Zoey loved Key West, she did not love her very special July 4th outfit. She said it made her butt look fat.
It was at this point that I really wished that our travel companions had agreed with me to rent bikes.
It was a looooong way to that pier.
Nevertheless, Zoey and I trucked on. She needed the exercise to work off all that bacon and I was enjoying the time alone. It was a still and quiet morning. Key West was still asleep and the streets were empty with the exception of about 6 people coming out of Denny's that I am pretty sure were still up from last night.
And the guy sleeping on the steps of the Rum Bar. I wasn't sure if he just hadn't made it very far after leaving the night before or if he was trying to get any early jump on the next day's drinking.
Not only was it a long way, but my walk stumbled me right into the middle of the unofficial Higgs Beach Hobo Camp. It's what I get for not paying attention and strolling around in my own little world 99% of the time. Before I knew it, Zoey and I were standing in the middle of about 30 homeless people in various stages of waking up in one of the beach pavilions.
It really wasn't that bad. Everyone was nice to me. Everyone was nice to Zoey. They all wanted to pet her and, the creepy factor totally lost on her, she genuinely seemed to enjoy all the attention.
One guy even tried to pick me up. Although, I'm not sure how that would have worked out. Where do you go on a date when you live under a picnic table?
We made it to the pier just as the sun was peeking it's way into the hazy sky.
Zoey and I were pretty hungry now, so we headed back to Croissants de France and drooled over the bakery counter.
I couldn't make up my mind, so I ended up with a Key Lime Beignet and a Coconut Crème Croissant.
Back at the house, it was almost 8:00 a.m. and everyone else was still asleep. I ate my pastries in glorious silence, but quickly, lest anyone stumble through wiping the sleep from their eyes and, god forbid, expect me to share. As I licked the last of the powdered sugar from my lips, I heard the others finally start to rouse.
I guess they can't hold their flying monkeys like I can.
We made it a lazy morning by the pool, finally heading out around noon. We did a little shopping as we made our way over toward Blue Heaven.
Yes. I chose the most popular, crowded, well known, crowded, talked about breakfast spot for Sunday Brunch, the most popular, crowded, well known, crowded breakfast day. Did I mention crowded?
I never said I was smart.
Sure, there was a wait, but they had a breezy garden bar, Grey Goose Bloody Marys, and a little lady channeling Minnie Pearl was putting on quite a show.
Besides, I wasn't hungry yet. I was still full of pastries.
Two bloody gooses later (bloody geese just doesn't sound right, now does it?), we were seated as Oksana-the-waitress-with-the-thick-Russian-accent-who-just-happened-to-be-a-University-of-TN-Knoxville-grad told us about the specials and the brunch rooster strutted back and forth behind our table.
I settled on shrimp and grits with the homemade banana bread. Matt dove headfirst into the strawberry and blueberry pancakes. I'm not sure who won the ordering contest. Both were simply divine.
And that wasn't the bloody goose talking.
Unaware that 2 drinks along with a giant pile of food could possibly leave me inebriated, I had to throw out the white flag after brunch and go doze off my buzz. I gave. Duval Street won. I was spinning! That bloody goose will sneak up on you. Watch that one.
Appropriately de-goosed, we later did a little more shopping and strolling. We hit Flamingo Crossing for coconut and lime ice cream.
We said "hello" to the hot dogs.
We checked out some potential new rides.
Matt dragged me a way from the bicycle full of Chihuahuas so that I wouldn't be arrested for stealing. I was pretty sure I could fit all 4 Chihuahuas inside my purse but he wouldn't let me try.
I found beautiful handmade jewelry at Besame Mucho, quite literally the best smelling store in the universe. Matt talked me out of buying a $1000 friend for Zoey at Dogs on Duval. We found cool t-shirts for Matt at Graffitti. I drooled over $178 swimsuits at Aqua.
Before we knew it, it was time for a sunset sail. Typically, I hate things like this. I am not one for crowds, tourist attractions, or booze cruises. However, we were traveling with friends and pretty much planned this trip around their tastes and things we thought they would like. So, I lined up with 122 sweaty people in Key West tank tops and sun visors and boarded the Fury Catamaran. Yes, I know. I sound like a booze cruise snob, and I guess until last week, that's exactly what I was.
Who knew I had been turning my nose up at such a super fun time?
I owe every wife-beater wearing, flip flop flopping, booze cruise loving tourist an apology.
I LOVED THE SUNSET SAIL.
I loved the live band. I loved the never ending plastic glasses of cheap champagne. I loved waving at the folks on Mallory Square as we sailed by. I loved lining up at the edge of the boat with 122 other people to take a picture of the sunset.
Call me a convert. I had a great time.
It might have had something to do with the fact that there was a freakishly beautiful sunset that night.
Nope. These colors have not been digitally altered.
It was almost 9:00 by the time we got off the boat with the other 122 people and we were HUNGRY.
We made our way down to Amigo's for some frozen margaritas and square tacos.
Amigo's has cool bar seating facing the street, so there is live entertainment no matter when you go. Amigo's also has an extensive collection of unique hot sauces categorized by heat. I particularly liked how the hotter the sauce, the raunchier the name. A mild sauce, for example, would be Melinda's Mango. Isn't that sweet? A medium sauce? How about Rectal Rocket Fuel. A hot sauce? Why, that would be See Dick Burn or Bubba's Butt Blaster.
I ordered a frozen margarita and the waitress upsized me to the "Big Guy." I only got 2/3 of the way through that monster before I was toast. TOAST.
This was the first time in my life I was full on drunk twice in one day.
I am so ashamed.
(not really, but my mom is reading this)
The food at Amigo's was my husband's favorite of the trip. And he is the seafood fanatic of the family. Their shredded beef and slow roasted pork carnitas were pretty fine.
I think I managed to stumble my way back to the house. I have a vague memory of going to bed with my stomach on FIRE. But I liked the burn. Mmmmmm..Amigo's. I love you.