LUCY BURDETTE: Ever since seeing the city of Adelaide, Australia early this winter on a foodie walking tour, I've become convinced that walking and eating is the best way to see any city. So when I learned of a new food tour in Key West, I signed up. Oh sure, we already eat plenty of good meals in town, courtesy of the research I must do for food critic Hayley Snow. But I was intrigued by the possibility of new places, and always in the back of my mind, plot threads for another book.
I met our tour guide, Analise, and two visiting couples in front of Camille's restaurant on Simonton Street. Camille's is an old time island staple, always busy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our guide seated us at the bar for our first taste of Key West, infamous conch fritters. While we waited for bites to be served, we heard about how Key West natives became known as conchs, and how a new baby's sex was announced according to the way a conch shell was placed on the porch. The fritters came out hot and fresh, with a zesty lime remoulade on the side. I will never be a huge fan of conch fritters, but these were pretty darn good.
Stop two was at Anna's Cuban Café, a small takeout place very near the Southernmost Point. The roasted pork with white rice and black beans and a small fried plaintain was delicious. (Remember on this kind of tour--you don't have to eat everything, though you will work some of it off:).)
Afterward, we all enjoyed a little shot of strong sweet Cuban coffee, a.k.a. colata.
The tour proceeded past the Southernmost Point with a quick stop for a coconut milk. I've seen hundreds if not thousands of tourists carrying green coconuts and drinking out of a straw, but I've never tried it myself.
Verdict: even though coconut milk is all the healthy rage, let's just say once was enough.
Analise then took us into the Bahama Village, formerly a segregated area for islanders of Bahamian decent. I learned new facts here, such as the existence of a white horse that walked up and down Duval Street to keep black faces from crossing into white territory. We also admired a new home renovated by Habitat for Humanity. The decorative latticework was designed in the shape of the trumpet to celebrate one of the home's former jazz playing residents.
We enjoyed a fish taco at Andy's Cabana...
And a mini- key lime pie at iconic Blue Heaven. (LOL, this is the maxi, not the mini!)
Our last stop was Flamingo's Crossing, for a mamey flavored ice cream. This tropical fruit is the national fruit of Cuba and especially popular in milkshakes and ice cream. Although I never would have chosen this flavor on my own, we all agreed it was quite tasty--like strawberry mixed with orange.
Analise was the real star of the tour, a conch herself and full of interesting facts about her town.
Where would you like to go on walking foodie tour?
SEEING REDS: Where you can find us
Saturday 4/4 @2 PM Brookline MA Public Library with Roseanne Montillo
Monday 4/6 @7 PM Weymouth MA Public Library
Tuesday 4/7 @6:30 PM Buttonwood Books Cohasset MA with Holly Robinson
Wednesday 4/8 @7:30 PM Sweetser Lecture Series Wakefield MA
Thursday 4/9 @7 PM RJ Julia Madison CT
Friday 4/10 @12:15 PM Bank Square Books in Mystic CT
Monday, 4/6 @7 PM Brookline Booksmith interviewing Michael Sears, Brookline MA
Tuesday 4/ 7 @7 PM Newton Free Library Newton MA
Thursday 4/9 @7:30 AM Habitat for Humanity North Central MA "Women Build" Breakfast, Keynote Speaker Sterling MA
Saturday 4/11 Maynard Library Book Festival with Archer Mayor and Norton Juster
Sunday 4/12 @9:30 AM, Lyceum at First Parish Church, Bedford MA Keynote Speaker
Wednesday 4/8, Belmont Library, Belmont, CA