Traveling requires keeping the noggin open. This involves going off the beaten path, getting lost. It involves reading maps and finding the way. It involves, when traveling in Key West, Florida, key lime pie and sea food.
As a little challenge during our three-night stay, I decided to try as many different slices of key lime pie as time allowed.
The place rated with the best pie was Kermit’s Key Lime Pie, a shop for tourists to buy food gifts and full pies or chocolate covered slices of pie on a stick. I bought the prepackaged slices of key lime pie on display in the cooler. It was good. Very sweet. It tasted like the other key lime pie I had tried.
I know it was supposed to be top notch stuff, but my favorite slice of key lime pie was at a restaurant that boasts of its entrees and fine views of the water and colorful bar top tables, not key lime pie. The Sunset Pier, a restaurant that is part of the Ocean View Resort, serves a key lime pie with a graham cracker and cashew crust and covered in a thin layer of vanilla bean whipped cream spread over the top. It was just a little different than the other pies being served in town.
Key West’s Duval Street is a lot like New Orleans’ Bourbon Street. The architecture of two-story shotgun homes with elaborate balconies and tall windows framed with shutters is a lot like New Orleans, too. Like on Bourbon Street, we’d move from place to place on Duval for drinks and food. Most restaurants in Key West serve casual bar food. My husband and I and our friends, Lauren and Chris, would stroll Duval to find a place for our evening meal. Lauren made it her mission to keep an open mind wherever we ate and often opted to try seafood.
At the Half Shell Raw Bar one night, Michael and Chris both ate the oysters. Lauren tried Edith’s Cracked Conch dinner, a steak and seafood combo. She also tried a calamari appetizer.
At Sloppy Joe’s, she tried the Peel & Eat Key West Shrimp. This shrimp had the tails and feet, and as promised, required peeling before eating. The shrimp came in a basket lined with wax paper. There were plenty to share. I ate two. I liked the sauce the shrimp was cooked in but didn’t like the aesthetics of it all–pulling off tails is one thing, peeling away at the legs is another.
Lauren and Michael gobbled up each piece. “Oh, those are so good,” Lauren said. She sounded surprised. I’ve known Lauren for ten years. I know she picks fruity vodka drinks over beer. I know she likes wearing sassy dresses when out on the town. But I didn’t know she could make a small event out of shrimp. She made eating it look fun. She watched Michael for the proper way to peel the shrimp and giggled when she licked her fingers.
Traveling may require a noggin open to possibility. Yet, traveling also creates notable occasions for partiality. (Yes, I’m just having fun using a word that starts with P.) To clarify, isn’t it wonderful how a trip is creates moments to become more fond of people you already know? Has that happened for you?
This post is brought to you by the letter N and O and P in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April. I thought I’d call this post Noggins-Open-To-Possibility the same way we blur together L-M-N-O-P when we sing the alphabet song. And just like we blur our letters together, I thought I’d blur together a few thoughts about Key West.
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