Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Finding a Haven at Blue Heaven

If you go to one place in Key West, this has to be it.  

When we were recommended this place by a local bartender at the Key West Pub, we were also warned there would be a long wait, especially for brunch.  If we know that going in -- and they have cocktails -- I can prepare my husband.  (Restaurant waits are one of the only times he is impatient.)  Our friendly bartender used to host here, so we got to hear stories about Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown visiting their favorite Key West place. 

As soon as we approached the restaurant, I knew we'd be fine to wait.  Just off of Duval Street, Blue Heaven is tucked behind gates that lead into an island paradise.  Trees and plants create a canopy over the patio, bar, and outdoor stage.  Even though it was ninety plus degrees and humid, this cover provided some need relief from the unforgiving sun.  Since it was a Sunday morning, we were entertained by a local artist on the stage.  

We ordered cocktails and found a seat at the bar.  Casey got the "Goose Driver" - the best screwdriver he has every had with Grey Goose Vodka and fresh squeezed orange juice.  I chose a Bellini.  Half way through the first round, Casey didn't ever want to leave.  He was plotting and planning to eat at least one meal at Blue Heaven for the rest of our trip.  And this was even before we ordered food.

As we waited, friendly chickens and roosters waddled around patrolling the restaurant.  Seemingly unbothered by the customers, they roamed around, engaging with each other in chatter and babble.

Then, there is the food.  The waiter greeted us and explained the specials.  As soon as Casey heard Lobster Eggs Benedict with Bacon, he was sold.  I ordered my avocado omelette.  The blueberry pancakes sounded too good to pass up, so we opted to split it.  It dawned on Casey as the waiter walked away that he probably just ordered a twenty-five dollar breakfast.  It was worth every penny.  

We couldn't leave without one last drink at the bar.  Our brunch just turned into a two and a half hour ordeal.  Casey truly enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere where his fave artists as played, while soaking up some vodka, too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Key West Escape (aka Casey's Homage to Jimmy Buffett)

I don't want to be an on the bus tourist, I want to be an in the bar tourist, says my husband as we sit at the Green Parrot for the third time and watch a trolley full of tourists go by.  Every time we saw one he made a point to observe how bored the passengers looked, hence his traveling philosophy.

After he said this, I realized a couple things to be true about this vacation: One, each bar we went to was a museum to him, full of history and stories he has heard in his songs for more than thirty years.  Two, this could quite possibly be the last trip we can run around like drunk twenty-somethings and sleep until noon.  On that note, here are the ones worth mentioning.  

Tour of Bars: The Smittys' Review

The Original Margaritaville

While it has become more commercialized than a lot of the other dives we visited, we most definitely could not go to Key West without at least a drink here.  Had to have this shot when we heard the name: Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw. (For all of you non-Parrotheads, look up the song.)

Green Parrot

One of our faves. And a fave for the locals, too.  We'd fit right in down here listening to live music with a cocktail in hand.  

Blue Heaven 

Probably some of the best drinks we had all trip.  Casey said his Goose Driver made with fresh orange juice and Grey Goose vodka was the best thing he ever had.  He was feeling pretty good as he started the second one.  My Bellini went down pretty easily, too.  We will definitely be returning here next time.  More on this place later.  

Captain Tony's Saloon

The oldest bar in Key West.  As all Parrotheads know, this is the same Captain Tony who was elected Mayor.  Again, look up the song.  This place was a true museum with so much history of Captain Tony, Jimmy Buffett, and all of their friends on the walls.  Photos, newspaper articles, autographs, and bras kept my husband busy.  

Willie T's on Mojito Monday

Best mojitos on the island!  And I'm pretty picky  I had the Parrot Bay Mango and Casey the Cruzan Banana.  This place also had thousands of dollars stapled to the walls.  We had to leave our mark, too.

The last day of our week long trip, we looked at each other and decided we were tired of drinking, tired of eating, tired of sweating, and tired of spending money.  A successful trip.