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The husband and I wanted to take a kid-free vacation to celebrate his 40th birthday, and there's no better place to do that than Key West! This isn't really a run down of any touristy, schedule-filled trip. It's basically eating and drinking. This my review of the husband's 40th Birthday Key West Trip, and eating and drinking is what was on our schedule. Oh, and sleeping in too.
This review is going to be really long..since I took a ton of pics, and I wanted to keep it all in one post.
Lucky for us, Key West is an easy, three and a half-hour ferry ride directly out of our home town.
Below is the deck we sat on for our voyage. We had views of the food counter and the bar.
The last part of the ferry ride was pretty rocky, since it started to storm pretty bad. It's a good thing neither of us get seasick. The ferry workers were walking around with barf bags ready to hand out though!
We got off the boat pretty easily, called an Uber and checked in to our super cute hotel, called the Truman Hotel. I highly recommend staying here if you want something in Old Town and close to Duval, but not near the rowdy, noisy side.
We checked in, but had to wait a bit for our room to be ready, so we headed out to grab some lunch. The streets were pretty flooded from the storms, but it stopped raining not long after we arrived.
We stopped at Pinchers Crab Shack, and only because it was close to the hotel. Since we had a couple of bags with us, we didn't want to go too far. This restaurant is in our home town, which is why we normally wouldn't go here when visiting another town. They do have two-for-one beers, so there's that.
I had mussels for my lunch and they were pretty good. The husband just had a burger and fries, so I didn't take a pic of that. The fries were soggy and he asked for a new batch, and the second batch was soggy as well. No good. He gave up on them.
While we were eating, we got the call that our room was ready. Yay!!
I was very happy with our room and here are a few pics.
After dropping our bags off at our room, we headed back out. Our first stop...Fat Tuesday. You have to have a frozen drink at Fat Tuesday when you're in Key West. It's the law. I don't really even love sweet drinks, but you just have to. Rum floaters on top make them extra fun too.
After people watching for a bit at Fat Tuesday, we moved on. We made a quick stop at The Smallest Bar for a beer to go. Yes, in Key West you can walk along the streets drinking alcohol. It feels so weird, but when in Rome... Here are some quick facts about The Smallest Bar, if you are thinking of making a visit. You can see people pouring their beers in to-go cups and walking out.
Here are a couple of views of Duval Street on our walk. It gets a lot more crazier the later it gets. It's pretty tame here, which is probably around 3pm.
The next stop was Hogs Breath Saloon. We didn't stay long here since it's mostly outdoors and there were too many smokers.
After wandering around for a few hours, it was time to eat again. We decided on Caroline's Cafe. My food was really good here, but I was so hungry, I forgot to get pictures. I had Caroline's Famous Fish Sandwich and the husband had the conch fritters. He said the conch fritters were just ok. Too bad.
We headed back to the hotel after eating, and we did venture out that night, but not for long. We were tired from getting up so early. I also didn't take any pictures. I petered out.
On our walk to breakfast, we saw the cutest little bicycle planter high in the trees. I love looking at all of the colorful and unique houses in Key West.
Breakfast was at my all-time, most favorite place to eat breakfast in Key West, Blue Heaven. It is such a cute place, and the food is outstanding! I love to eat outside under the big trees, but today it was rainy, so we had to sit inside. Another unique thing about the outdoor dining is there are always chickens running around between all of the tables. If you haven't ever been to Key West, you may not know that there are chickens all over the place there. This is a good story about the history of the Key West "Gypsy Chickens".
They had the smoothest, creamiest cafe con leche. Just look at that froth on top! I really wanted to order a second one...but I resisted.
Here is the husband's freshly squeezed orange juice.
After stuffing ourselves with the most amazing food, we headed back out to do more walking, drinking and probably (definitely) more eating.
We stopped into a random boutique on Duval Street and found this super fly jacket for the husband.
We got yelled at for taking a picture of it, which was weird I think.
For lunch, we stopped at Jack Flats. I've been here a few times before and I am obsessed with their pretzel bread. I even took my kids here one time when we stopped on a cruise, specifically to get the pretzel bread, and only the pretzel bread. It's so warm and toasty, crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Pure heaven!
The soup sounded good for me on this rainy day. The husband opted for the Philly Cheesesteak. His had mushrooms, but I would have added peppers and onions. Both the soup and the sandwich were good.
Our next stop was The Bull for drinks and people watching. People watching is a super fun thing to do in Key West. There is no lack of odd people, and odd things going on there.
One interesting thing about this place is that there is another bar on the second floor called the Whistle Bar. You can sit out on the balcony for even better people watching views. On the third floor is yet another bar, called the Garden of Eden, which is a clothing optional bar. We didn't venture up there, but I hear it's usually about 50/50 of clothed peeps vs naked peeps.
After The Bull, we decided to walk towards Mallory Square. Lots of chickens and roosters along the way.
I thought this fence was pretty and unique. It was in a small sort of alleyway towards Mallory Square, near the next bar we stopped at, which was El Meson De Pepe's. They had an outside bar, so we sat here and resumed our people watching activities.
This was our view from our seats at the bar at El Meson de Pepe's. Time for a mojito!
Wait...are those ants in my mojito?
Why, yes. Those are ants in my mojito. Apparently ants got into the simple syrup mixture?!?! I received a newly made, ant-free mojito in no time. Our neighbor who also was drinking a mojito had ants too, but apparently was ok with that.
There was a little stage outside the restaurant.
I went to the bathroom inside the restaurant, and there was such cool art on all of the walls, some 3D. It looked like you were walking through a small village.
I loved all of the artwork at the outside bar also.
We watched a street performer putting on his face paint for a while.
One more view of Mallory Square before we decided to move on to the next place.
This rooster was so pretty!
Our next stop was a little bar called the Tiki House and I absolutely loved this place! It was so colorful, tropical and fun. This little area with the sign was also the spot the musician sat and performed at.
The bathroom was wild! The walls made me a little dizzy and I'm sure it wasn't the day drinking. The light was straight up blue, so don't even try to check your makeup.
As you can tell, it was not crowded when we were there!
My new coozie!
We decided to head back to the hotel to relax a little. On Duval Street at some intersections, the crosswalks are rainbow colored. So pretty! (Ignore the actual dirtiness though.)
Here are some pics of our hotel outside. This is the lobby.
Pool area in the center of the hotel property.
One of the porches outside of a few rooms.
These stairs took us to our room.
Day three started with breakfast at Camille's, which was around the corner from our hotel on Simonton Street. Breakfast here did not disappoint! Looking back, I don't think we really ever ate dinner, since we ate such big breakfasts, and snacked throughout the day. I think we may have gotten subs at Subway once, late night.
At Camille's, the Mr. had the Fabulous French Toast, and I had the Crabcake Benedict, which was unbelievable. I highly recommend it! The cheesy grits were just ok. The cheese was melted on top, rather than mixed in, which is what i prefer. When it's melted on top, it turns into a separate layer, and you can't really mix it into the grits. If you try, it just turns into a big ole cheese ball.
After breakfast, we walked down to the Southernmost Beach pier, just to take a look around, and walk off some of the food.
We walked down Duval again and had some lunchtime beers at Willie T's.
After hanging out at Willie T's for a while, we took a new route back to to the hotel, since there is always so much to see every way you go. I also want to point out we utilized the Duval Loop bus many times during this week. It was free, and there were two buses that made a constant loop around Duval. There are many stops along the route, so you can always get pretty close to where you are going. There is also a website you can check to see where the buses are at any given time, and you can see how full the buses are. This was a lifesaver this week. It also helps keep cars off the crowded Key West streets, which is a much needed relief. More info on the Duval Loop bus is on their website.
This was the fence in front of one of the fire stations. Cute!
Here are some more colorful houses and beautiful gardens along the way.
Our porch outside our room.
This was a cozy little seating area outside of our room. It was nice to sit here in the evenings.
Later in the afternoon, we headed back to Duval Street, since today was the actual birthday boy's birthday day.
We ended up at a place called Duval Central, and there was a mystery punch behind the bar that the bartender gave out to us several times since it was the hubby's birthday. I still don't know what it was.
While on a trip to the bathroom, I took some pictures of the unusual artwork in Duval Central. First there was a painting of Kramer...
And a few animal heads on the wall.
And this honoring one of the many roosters in town.
I returned to more free birthday mystery punch shots! Yum!
We walked back towards Mallory Square just to see what was going on. This picture is of an island off of Key West called Sunset Key. I would LOVE to live there. I don't think there are any cars there, and it's only accessible by boat.
We headed back to Duval to grab some lunch at the Banana Cafe. My lunch was again amazing. How can it not be when it's got Key West Pink Shrimp in it. Seriously, the shrimp here is like no other shrimp. Nothing compares. Here is a link to some info about Key West Pink Shrimp. Also, put capers in anything, and I'm in love. The hubby had a cheeseburger, that looked unexciting to me. Mostly because he eats it all plain Jane and all. I need fixings and mayo. He ate it all though, so it must have been good.
We headed out to do more walking and it started to rain, so we ducked inside The Salty Angler and waited out the storm at the bar. The Rum Bar was right across the street. I made a note to go there at some point, but we never made it.
Inside The Salty Angler. This was the super nice owner that bought us a round.
Rain, rain go away. Luckily it's Florida...it only lasts a short time.
We walked around some more later that night in the Bahama Village area before calling it a night.
Day four began with yet another unbelievable breakfast at Bagatelle on Duval Street. The restaurant is in an historic old house that was moved to this location many years ago. There are tables both inside and outside on both the first and second floors. We sat outside on the second floor. These pictures are of our view and the 2nd floor porch.
Of course, we needed our usual morning beverages...coffee, water and OJ. For our meals, we both ordered the same thing...the biscuits and gravy. Their's had a peppercorn cognac sausage gravy that was heaven! One of my favorite biscuits and gravy breakfasts ever. (I had the poached eggs, hubby had the scrambled.)
After breakfast we walked to another area we hadn't frequented too much. We saw how cute BO's Fish Shack was. I just love how everything is so unique in Key West.
Around the corner from here is The Waterfront Brewery, which was our next stop. They brew their own beer here, so we wanted to try some local beer. They also offer tours of the brewery, if that is something you would like to see.
I decided to try the Flagship Flight, so I could try four different beers. The hubby had one of the IPAs.
More of the outside of the brewery. I love the ironwork and artwork on the building. It was painted by the artist, Wyland, who also recently painted the hull on the new ship, Norwegian Bliss.
This was across from the brewery. I'm not sure what it was for, but I liked the colorful pelican posts!
After leaving the brewery, we walked along the docks to head to the Half Shell Raw Bar for happy hour and food.
There were a ton of fish swimming under the docks.
For happy hour, we got the fried calamari, smoked fish dip and raw oysters. All of it was outstanding. They have great happy hour appetizer prices too. If you've never had smoked fish dip, you should definitely try it! It's a Florida thing!
After leaving, we walked back down Duval to head to our hotel. We made a stop at Fat Tuesday for a refill, since we had to make good use of the discount you get when buying the refillable cups. Drinks to go!
When we got back to the hotel, I took some pictures of the pool area at night. It was so pretty!
Day five was our last day. We skipped breakfast and opted for a spicy bowl of conch chowder from Half Shell Raw Bar. Again, they did not disappoint. This is another Key West delicacy.
We walked around for some of the morning and got a few pictures, but it was super hot, so we napped in our room until we got kicked out. We headed toward the ferry terminal where we were allowed to store our bags for the day for a fee. I think it was $11 per bag.
And that concludes our laid-back, do-nothing Key West trip!