Ooooo, I think this afternoon I'll take some time to catch you all up on yesterday's Key West meanderings. In the morning, I read a book while Rich found a hardware store and did some guy shopping. Mid-afternoon we hit Duval Street in Key West.
Duval is definitely where it's happenin'. After parking near Mallory Square, we walked several blocks along Duval to Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet's bar. We sat at the bar and ordered a couple of...wait for it...Margaritas!
After walking in blazing hot, humid but typical, afternoon conditions those Magaritas really hit the spot. The oh-so-cute bartender, Derek, obviously took pity on overheated me because he gave me the extra that was left in the blender of drinks he was making. My favorite was a Mango/Ice Cream concoction that was soooooo delicious...I may have fallen a little bit in love with him...shhhh...
In our search for another one of those way cool zippered jackets for keeping your beer cold, we checked out several shops on our way back down Duval. This must be the most unique Walgreens store of all; it's located in the old Strand movie theater. And we made friends with Lucy, the parrot along the way. Not to leave you in suspense, we do each have our own beer bottle jacket now!
All that strollin' and shoppin' makes one real thirsty in that heat, so we dropped in at Sloppy Joe's, a favorite hangout of Ernest Hemingway back in the day. As many of the bars do, they had live entertainment...two raucous, raunchy, hilariously funny guys who sang many of their own 'compositions'...I use that word rather tongue-in-cheek. Another margarita (research only...we had to see how they compared) and our first taste of conch fritters along with lots of laughs made this a favorite stop.
If you squint and look real close, or simply click and enlarge it, you'll see me standing at the corner of Sloppy Joe's Bar. The next photo is of the Cayo Hueso Cafe which is in a former cigar factory building in front of Mallory Square. More about that later.
As all tourists must, we spent a couple of evening hours at Mallory Square enjoying the street performers and checking out a few of the many vendors while we waited for the daily Sunset Celebration. Even though the guy was really trippy, my favorite was the Cat Man...he has actually trained cats to do tricks and they are not leashed at all! There were several jugglers, acrobats, a tightrope walker, musicians, a sword swallower, a bagpipe player...you get the idea. Here are a few photos...
And then, the performance to top all of the others...
Sunset on Mallory Square, Key West!
But wait, there's more! The literal translation of Cayo Hueso is 'flat island covered with bones' and that was the original name given to Key West by Ponce deLeon in 1513 when it was discovered. The bones are believed to have been the remains of warring Indian tribes. Cayo Hueso eventually was pronounced and spelled in the current English of Key West. Only ninety miles from Cuba, many Cubans came to Key West to live and work. Okay, that's enough history for today...let's get back to the Cayo Hueso Cafe of today, as pictured above.
After enjoying the sunset, we had dinner at the Cayo Hueso Cafe. I wish I had reset the settings on my camera to show you this fabulous Cuban restaurant, but I didn't so the photos are all too blurry to use. The names of the dishes escape me but we each had one of the best meals ever...really. Cuban bread with a couple of delicious dipping sauces started the meal; black bean soup was next; then Rich had beef and I had pork that had been marinated in complex spices. It turns out that Cuban food is very flavorful but not hot...perfect for me! And the rice...it was suffused with saffron and other spices...oh my... The fried plantains were not a favorite but that's okay because there was plenty of the meat and rice and bread.
We ended the meal, and the evening, with my first (and last) Mojito. Now there's a drink for drinkers I suspect, not for light weights like us. It's such a popular drink but let me tell you, it is potent...lots of rum, lots of lime, lots of bitters, lots of mint...lots of heavy flavor. Oh well, I can cross that off my list of things to try.
Not to close on that Mojito note...you must surely have figured out that we had yet another fabulous day here in the Keys!