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Key West, May 2011 (Part 5b)

Island in the Sun

sunny 88 °F

Way back when I first started thinking about this getaway, a snorkel and sunset cruise on our last night in Key West seemed like the perfect finale. Two things happened while we were on the island that changed our minds. Because of the Sundance slash Barf Bucket incident, I wasn't too keen on jumping on another boat right away. And, we had been bitten bad by the lazy bug. We just didn't want to do anything structured. Wandering around Old Town and just letting things happen seemed far more appealing. Our only goal for the night was to find Colombian Grace and have dinner there. After all, we hadn't had nearly enough to eat at Little Palm Island.

We parked near the Southernmost Beach Cafe and meandered down the upper end of Duval Street. We knew that Colombian Grace was located somewhere on Petronia Street and that Petronia intersected Duval. When we tried to find it the first time, we were in a car, in the dark, and in a strange place without a map. Our chances were much better on this outing. It was light, we were walking, and we were far more familiar with Key West. Petronia is a narrow (even by Key West standards) street that feels more and more residential the further you get from Duval. We walked for awhile past small shops and homes. We looked in the windows of a cute little powder and lotion shop called Besame Mucho. Unfortunately, it was closed on this Sunday evening. When I turned away from Besame Mucho, there was Colombian Grace. I honestly felt like we had stumbled upon El Dorado or the Fountain of Youth!

I've mentioned earlier that I use Tripadvisor.com as one of my resources when planning any trip. I especially like the forums because the advice is coming from real people, either residents of the area or people who have visited before. Colombian Grace routinely shows up in the forums as one of the best casual restaurants in Key West. When I checked out the menu, I thought we would like it, too. Even the breakfast menu sounded yummy with dishes having names like Happiness, Delicious, and Grace. Who wouldn't want those things for breakfast? Knowing this restaurant was highly rated, I was expecting a full house when we arrived. It was empty! We grabbed an outside table where it was cooler and set to work making our decisions.

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While we perused the menu, our waitress, Olga, brought us glasses of red sangria. Is it appropriate to say a glass of wine was delicious? I don't know, but this was. It was sweet and cool - the perfect drink on a hot evening.

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Our entire meal was sweet - literally. I chose Petronia Chicken which had a glaze of orange juice, rosemary and brandy and was served with rice and sweet plaintains. Jay chose coconut encrusted yellowtail which was also served with rice and sweet plaintains. I was tempted to lick the last bit of orange glaze from my plate but by that time another couple had shown up and I felt they might be offended by my behavior. The chef, who I believe is also the owner, came out to speak with us. We couldn't say enough good things to her. Everything was superb. And we didn't even try the really authentic stuff. I bet it is all out of this world.

Because we were now stuffed again, we felt the best remedy was a walk. So we wandered slowly back to the car. This time we stayed off Duval so we could get a different view of the town. Key West has a very intimate feel. The houses are close together and close to the road. I think it would be very hard to keep any secrets from your neighbors.

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The guy at this house gave us a good chuckle. We are huge Phillies fans so we wanted a photo of this home to show our families. While I was snapping shots of the Rally Towel, Jay struck up a converstation with a resident of the house. He was very quick to explain that he was not a Phillies fan. He was a Texas Rangers fan (whom the Phillies had beaten 2 out of a 3 game series that very week). It turned out that this gentleman's roommate was the Phillies fan. Ever curious, Jay inquired where the roommate was from. The guy shrugged his shoulders and very nonchalantly said, "I have no idea." I may be a bit uptight, but I think I would like to know just a bit of information about someone before I start sharing living quarters with them.

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Since we had unintentionally created a third goal of seeing the sunset from a different place every evening, we decided this night to head to Mallory Square for the show. We parked on Green Street right near Kermit's (on purpose) and walked the lower end of Duval to Mallory Square. We found a spot and waited patiently for the show. Unlike the other two sunset viewing areas, there was a lot going on here - street performers with large groups of observers, people jostling for prime seating for the sunset, music coming from Pepe's, artists with booths. It had much more of a party atmosphere. Regardless of the distractions, the sunset did not disappoint. The cloud formations made it exceptional.

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Mallory Square emptied out pretty quickly and we joined the masses as they surged onto lower Duval Street. We were headed back to the hotel but decided to make a quick detour into Kermit's for some frozen Key Lime pie on-a-stick. The pie at Little Palm Island left us wanting something more familiar. Jay chose strawberry white chocolate covered pie and I chose dark chocolate because I love citrus and dark chocolate together. We took the pies back to the room and attempted to keep them frozen by covering them with ice in the ice bucket. We were still too full for dessert. We ended our last evening in Key West by floating in the pool one last time. Once again, it was bliss. After one last soak in the jacuzzi, we headed to our room for our one last sleep in the Keys. The pies on-a-stick had melted a bit making the stick thing tricky. Messy, but still very good. We finished them off, curled up in bed, and slept like babies.

Posted by sjyoder 19:24 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets key_west

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