A Taste of Key West
Seafood is understandably the kingdom of Key West cuisine. Locally caught Florida spiny lobsters are available from August to March, stone crabs from mid-October to mid-May, and yellowtail snapper and pink shrimp year-round. Crabmeat is often substituted for Canadian bacon during breakfast, making for quite a tasty eggs Benedict. Conch, another Key West specialty, is particularly scrumptious served as a fritter or in a spicy chowder.
To taste several of the fruits of the sea properly steamed, boiled, baked, blackened, or dragon-rolled, choose from an ample supply of shellfish shacks or go fancy at one of the island’s many fine-dining establishments. The Half Shell Bar, Square One, Schooner Wharf, and Conch Republic are all sure bets to tantalize the taste buds. Key West chefs adhere to the culinary philosophy of uncomplicated cooking using sustainable, fresh ingredients.
Traditional Cuban dishes like ropa vieja can be savored at the many family-owned Cuban restaurants, where dual-language menus are the norm. Choose between a quaint place like El Siboney or a more atmospheric one like El Meson de Pepe. (Its mojitos have a potent kick.)
Of course, no visit to Key West is complete without a taste of an authentic key Lime pie—lip-smacking yellow custard in a graham-cracker crust topped with a dollop of whipped cream, or stop by the Key Lime Pie Factory for a chocolate-dipped Pie on a Stick. It’s just one of the many out-of-the-box treats that make Key West so special.
Journey into the colorful history and characters of Key West aboard the Conch Train. See the Hemingway House and Audubon House. Learn about legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher’s discovery of the lost Atocha. Travel back to the days of the Flagler railroad and the largest cigar manufacturer in the world.
Relax on the expansive sundeck of a Fury catamaran as it skims across the Atlantic’s surface on the way to an underwater adventure. At the snorkeling site, explore a thriving coral environment brimming with parrotfish, stingrays, moray eels, grouper, and more. Back on deck, grab an ice-cold beer for the brisk sail back.
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