Key West is an “island” in and of itself. Just 90 miles away from Cuba, Key West more than any other point in the Continental US exemplifies “island living”. Translation: everything moves slower. But, it’s not just the laid back pace of the island that defines this key’s “island life”. Surrounded by miles of ocean, “Paradise U.S.A” as denoted on its Welcome sign exhibits a particular blend of living–one that Key West residents embody & one that visitors “catch” like the flu upon arrival. A “sickness” or rather a “madness” that rapidly takes over once visitors set foot on Duval Street. Notorious for its hedonism & its no holds bar attitude, Duval Street’s motto could best be described not by what it does but by what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t judge. People are welcome to and in fact encouraged to be who they are—not a bat of a drag queens eyelash to be found. Arguably, if it weren’t for alcohol-induced brawls, Key West could rival Asheville, NC for the title of Happiest Place in the United States—at least in my opinion; and, perhaps in the opinion of Key West’s most famous former resident, writer, Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway who lived on the key in the 1930s made an indelible mark on the area. His house remains in tact & is open as a museum complete with tours of the house, its property, and its current residents, Hemingway’s polydactyl cat, Snowball’s progeny—all 48 or so of them. Not part of the tour, but open to the public, step into Hemingway’s studio where books such as A Farewell to Arms, some of his poetry, and a myriad of his news clippings were written—one of his Royal typewriters remain on the desk. We highly recommend the trip up the extra staircase.
And, after all that exercise, do what “Conchs” (native Key West-ers) do best, Relax & Have a Drink. Just a street over from the Hemingway house is Duval Street—the man had enviable real estate property! And, don’t think the man didn’t “abuse” the drinking proximity; Papa Hemingway was a staple at Sloppy Joe’s bar—his face now is part of the bar’s brand. The bar remains in business at the beginning of Duval.
The DILAW gang decided to tackle Duval head on. Tits, our co-founder Lauren, & board member Tina began at Sloppy Joes on what we ingeniously called a “margarita tour.” The rundown went like this: Sloppy Joes, Irish Kevins, Fat Tuesday, Margaritaville, and finally Ricks. Which one was the best? There’s contention on this BUT in Tits’ opinion: the Sloppyrita from Sloppy Joes. It’s famous, after all. But, be careful of how much alcohol you consume, research has linked high levels of boozing to an increase in breast cancer risk.
And, if you have only enough time to go to one place to eat on the key make it Better Than Sex I926 Simonton Street). Not only a laughable/memorable name, Better Than Sex serves by far the best desserts on Key West & perhaps throughout the Florida Keys. And, like any worthy Keys restaurant, the Key Lime Pie is a signature item & the best we’ve tasted so far—& we’ve been around the block when it comes to Key Lime Pies. But, don’t just make room for dessert, be sure to get yourself a “rim job” as well—the name for their signature chocolate dipped glasses served up with your favorite alcoholic beverage. Our favorite: “Man Candy”: dark chocolate and white chocolate dipped pint glass with strawberry ale.
Amidst the romantic lighting and menu reading by flashlight, Better Than Sex has just the right balance of Key West quirkiness & naughtiness to keep us coming back as does the entire key.
Stay Tuned tomorrow for Tits’ Tip on Breast Health.
Do It Like A Woman, Inc. is a charitable organization focused on helping breast cancer patients & survivors reclaim their femininity. Through a diverse multimedia campaign, Do It Like A Woman shows women that they can beat the stigma of cancer–that they are still powerful, sexy, & strong because they are still women. & that they are not alone, together we’ll fight because when we fight, we Do It Like A Woman.
For more information on Do It Like A Woman, Inc., please visit our website at www.doitlikeawoman.org
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