Trip to Key West, August 1999

August 13: We drove down to Key West (KW), stopping for lunch at the Whale Harbor in Islamorada, a charming Tiki-type bar and restaurant right on the ocean. A mother and son were lunching at the next table, eating shark that the boy had caught earlier that day. We had soups and salad--wanted to save room for dinner in KW--and Bob began his sampling of conch chowders.

Once in KW, we stayed at the Banyan Resort, a very cozy place in walking distance of Old Town. We had dinner that first evening at Dim Sum, a "pan-Asian cuisine" place that we had been to on our last trip that must have been like 10 years ago. We loved it so much then that we were anxious to go back and were delighted it was still extant. Bob had spicy Dragon Noodles, and Sherry had a dish that we forget the name of, but was assorted seafood in what was described on the menu as a "passionate" sauce. We shared a Thai banana for dessert.

Later, we did Mallory Square, but the sunset was feeble because of the grayish weather.

August 14: We had breakfast at Pepe's, where we had seen Dave Barry with Gene Weingarten on a previous trip. Still good food: Bob had an omelet loaded with stuff, with pineapple bread on the side; and Sherry had French toast with fresh peaches and blueberry sauce.

We spent much of the day doing Duval Street and environs. It was kind of drizzly, but that was actually kind of pleasant because it took the edge off the heat. There was an enormous cruise ship, the Leeward, docked down at Mallory Square. We did take a ride around the island, checking out the beaches on the south shore and Flager's famous Grand Hotel. Lunch was at a little place called Lobo's, where they specialized in wrap sandwiches and Bob had to try their conch chili.

In the afternoon, we took a break in the hot tub where we were staying. Then it was off to dinner at the Turtle Kraals, where Sherry had a key lime margarita to go with her pork loin chops with chili-apple salsa. Bob had a big seafood burrito and continued his conch chowder tasting.

We had to move quickly along the harbor walk to catch the tail end of the sunset back at the end of Duval, but it was a good one--the weather had started clearing up.

August 15: Breakfast this morning was at Camille's, where Sherry had an omelet with lobster and other goodies, and Bob had a scrambled egg croissant.

We went the Aquarium for the 11:00 tour and feeding. (Bob assigned Sherry to be the one to pet the shark.) Then it was time for lunch at Coco Palm, a little place on the second floor with the slogan "Jamaican Me Hungry." Bob had a jerk pork sandwich, and Sherry had jerk chicken.

As usual, much of the day was walking around Old Town. The sun was out, and it was much hotter than yesterday. Time to finish up the shopping--a good excuse to spend more time inside in the air conditioning. Sherry's favorite purchase was a T-shirt dyed in chocolate from Crazy Shirts. Bob got some hot sauces from Peppers of Key West (they also had a very funny-looking car parked out on the street). Sherry also had to have a strawberry daiquiri at Billie's down by the wharf, because she remembered how good they made them--with real strawberries--the last time we were there. She wasn't disappointed.

Dinner was at the Conch Republic Seafood House, which seemed to be a pretty new place on the harbor walk. Sherry had woodgrilled dolphin and a sample of calaloo soup, and Bob had blackened snapper over penne pasta and of course conch chowder. We shared a chocolate rum cake for dessert.

This evening we went out to the Sunset Pier to close out the evening. Sherry had another good strawberry daiquiri.

August 16: Our day of departure, but we can't leave without having another good breakfast. This morning it was at the Two Friends. Bob had plain ol' eggs and toast and Sherry had a seafood omelet. Then it was basically pack up for the long drive home. Then time to start cutting back on the eating for a while! Oh, but, by the way, all the conch chowder was really good.