Happy Monday from New England. Your Survival Guy’s thin blood is adjusting to the cold, having just returned from a tropical island getaway to Key West. I’m here to report that the Conch Republic is alive and well. And notice it’s not a democracy. The Republic is where you go to get that neighborhood walkability without all the sensibilities.
Tops on our list are lunches at Louie’s Backyard and the Thirsty Mermaid. Say hi to Patty at Louie’s and Ionela and Ava at Thirsty, and enjoy your cheeseburgers in paradise. Both are fab. And be sure to hit the waterfront at the Half Shell Raw Bar to see our friends for some oysters and beer. And not in any particular order.
Dinner at Antonia’s is the one reason we hit Duval Street at night to be greeted by friends TK, Bismark, Nicole, and Stephanie. Your Survival Guy’s favorite yellowtail with lemon and capers is here. And when you want the best black grouper with wasabi mashed potatoes, it’s Café Marquesa for you.
Not to be missed is Onlywood Grill for our favorite Italian outdoor dining, thanks to owner David Cremascoli, Layla, Rob, and Guiseppe.
And if you need one more reason to hit Duval, go for the fried (whole) fish at 915 and, of course, say hi to our friend Jenny.
Most don’t go to Key West to golf. But we do. It’s a tough course. It’s tougher when F-18s and F-35s practice carrier landings nearby. Try not to be distracted. Stay down on your wedges.
Shopping? Yes, but of course. Say hi to Meredith at Besame Mucho in Bahama Village after lunching with the roosters at Blue Heaven. Archeo for Gabbeh rugs and jewels. Say hi to Tanya at Vignette. And, of course, Claude, Joe, and Will at Assortment.
Want to see the island from a new perspective? Go on a jet ski tour. Walk the street with an iced con leche and pan cubano from Coffee Queen Coffee. Get your Cuban mix sandwich from the Restaurant Store or Five Brothers. And your bagels with lox at Goldman’s. Sunday pastries at Old Town Bakery.
Our mornings start at Date and Thyme for a coconut latte, egg wrap, green juice, and any other “health” food you need to keep you going.
If you time your trip just right, take a walk down memory lane for a live concert at the intimate Coffee Butler Amphitheater to catch Little Feat and the Jerry Garcia Band. Old Dominion is in town in a couple weeks.
And yes, it’s hard to beat the views from your beachside table at Latitudes on Sunset Key.
And if you must hit the town at night, get your Panama Jack hat from Stephanie at La Rubia. Cheers!
Action Line: When you’re ready to plan your trip, let me know.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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