I love the show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, on Food Network with Guy Fieri. I’m certain I’m not the only one super jealous of the person who gets to travel the U.S. tasting delicious foods and seeing so many neat cities. Well, I did my own mini-version of the show while we travelled to Key West, FL for my sisters wedding.
How cute is my husband? He sampled a Bloody Mary. It was pretty good but it did have horseradish in it and neither one of us care too much for that. No worries, it did not go to waste.
Now obviously, the highlight of the trip was my sister’s wedding. It was gorgeous and so was she. But, since we travelled all the way to Key West, we also wanted to do some things just the two of us. This mostly included eating, drinking, walking all over town and PARASAILING! Parasailing was so fun and I was so happy to be able to go with my husband, sister, Mom and Aunt. So lucky.
One thing I had to try was the local, famed conch fritters. I have never had one, nor had I ever even seen one before. Conch (pronounced konk) fritters are a traditional Bahamian dish made with the conch. The conch is that seashell looking sea snail where you can ‘hear the ocean’ if you put your ear to it. You also see people blowing into them sometimes playing music. The fritters are fried and served with some sort of dipping sauce ranging from mustard to mayo or more ketchup type substances. We ate our fritters at Fogarty’s on Duval Street.
Here is the inside – it looks like it had red and green peppers, seasoning, bread and some conch. The conch wasn’t real noticeable – it was sort of chewy and naturally, had a seafood texture. Mr. FeistyEats said they tasted like fried dressing and I agree. I’m glad we tried them, but I didn’t go out of my way to order them again. Our waiter was very attentive and funny. In fact, we had great service nearly everywhere we went. Things are spendy, but we knew that going in, especially compared to North Dakota. I think my brother thought $10 for a rum runner was crazy.
This was obviously nothing special – just some chips and dips to tie us over. I took a picture for the rum runner in the background. This one was DELICIOUS and the frozen drinks are very popular and commonly seen in Key West. I cannot remember the name of this restaurant, but it was my favorite as it was on the water and we could watch boats, fish and birds go by. It was so gorgeous while we were there – about 80 and a breeze. Our waitress here was also great. We had gone on a sunset party cruise and that was a total blast – food and drinks were included with the fee! (Which my sister paid for, thanks!)
The previous rum runner was so good, I got another one at Hog’s Breath Saloon. We tried to stay away from any chains and stick with local places, but we had never been to a Hog’s Breath location before. It was a lot of fun, nice bartenders and great drinks. We also visited on several occasions Sloppy Joes (SO FUN) and The Bull Bar. FYI, we did not visit the Garden of Eden, the Keys clothing optional bar.
We also saw this guy at Hog’s Breath. What? Doesn’t everyone walk around with their pets on their shoulder?
Another Key West “thing” are the chicken. They are everywhere. I really liked seeing the hen moms and their little chicks. It is odd how they just roam around. Key West has a fascinating history and I learned the part of it was formed due to landfill.
One of my other items on my TO EAT list was a Cuban. Not an actual Cuban person, a Cuban Sandwich. I think if you are going to a place known for certain food, you should eat it or at least try it. I have seen Cubans on Food Network and wanted to try one and figured the restaurant El Mesen de Pepe was the perfect place. A traditional Cuban features pork, ham, mustard, dill pickles and Swiss cheese on a pressed Cuban bread. My sandwich also had tomato, lettuce and a bit of mayo. It was really good, although the fries left a lot to be desired.
I dined with my Mom and she got the Cuban nachos: plantain chips covered in pork, onions, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and some really good guacamole. Service was super fast.
My husband was able to go fishing and he caught some yellowtail snapper, mackerel and some other stuff. He fried it up at our house and it was a hit. I am not a huge seafood fan, but it was good Mr. FeistyEats!
We most certainly did not visit any fine dining establishments, but that isn’t really “us” anyway. One day we had some extra time and went to find the No Name Pub which was a 30-40 minute drive from Key West in Big Pine Key. They claim to be the oldest bar in Florida, boast some excellent and rumored to be difficult to find. I do hereby verify that they are indeed a bit tricky to find. They have a really neat history and the bar is absolutely covered in $1 bills – we heard 20,000+!
The menu featured appetizers, pizza and entrees with some neat items like smoked fish dip, chili and chowder and a good selection of sandwiches and beer.
Most of us went for pizza – we got the Caribbean Chicken (above left with Jerk chicken, cheese and green onions) and the one below with pepperoni, sausage, onions and green peppers. My brother got a pepperoni and sausage calzone above and it was HUGE! It was stuffed with cheese and kind of greasy. It made his plastic utensils break even!
This was my favorite of the two pizzas. It was really good and our crew finished off everything! I don’t think it was the world’s best but it was fun to see the place, the history and all.the.dollar.bills!
You can get an idea of all the bills from a picture of myself and the hubby.
Stuffed and ready to go home! I think after all that pizza and beer, we napped.
Of course, there was other food and we also were able to grill at our house. One place nearby to us was Wingmasters. For anyone who knows me, knows I love wings so this was great. They have a sign saying they have the best wings on the island and I believe it. This was a truly tiny, greasy joint. The guys were funny and the food good. I loved it. It was a total dive, but in a fun way. They do not serve beer, but encourage you to go across the street, get one and bring it back.
We had a ton of food at my sister’s reception held at the house we were staying in. Can I just say her cake was so gorgeous? And it was the best wedding cake I have ever eaten! White cake with buttercream and a KEY LIME filling. Yum, yum, yum! We also had burgers, dogs, salads chips and of course, while in Key West…
If you are looking for a tropical destination with a party vibe and laid back feeling, I would definitely encourage you go to Key West. I felt very safe there and there was so much to do. Thanks to my sister for inviting us!