Soon it will be dark and freezing in most of our northern and midwestern states. Depression will build, and tempers will shorten. As brother Bluto said in Animal House, it’s time for a road trip. With the homeland security hassle at airports, I think more and more Americans will opt to stay in the U.S.A. So where to go? Over two decades ago, I found the answer: Key West. Debbie and I liked our initial visits to Key West so much that we moved to the Keys in 1992 and have lived here since. We are therefore in a pretty good position to help you travel to Key West like an insider.
Where to start? For their first breakfast or lunch in Key West, our family always wants to go to La Crêperie at 300 Petronia in the heart of Bahama Village. It’s directly across from the excellent Blue Heaven restaurant and bar and right down the street from Besame Mucho, an apothecary, home goods and clothing emporium, and more, which Debbie visits regularly.
We are big on La Crêperie and, in fact, have a considerable bias. We have known the owners, Yolande and Sylvie, for over a decade. In fact, Yolande made the wedding cakes for both Matt’s and Becky’s weddings in Key West. So yes, we have a horse in the race when it comes to the little French café on Petronia Street. Sit at the counter like a local so you can watch Sylvie turn out La Crêperie’s fabulous buckwheat crêpes. Have some French wine at lunch and stick around for a while. No one is in any rush in the Keys, and you are on vacation, right? So kick back and relax. You are in a real French café.
Yolande and Sylvie offer exactly the good cheer and ambiance you might expect on the Left Bank in Paris or in the cafés of the Burgundy countryside. The French countryside murals were painted by an out-of-town visitor who simply showed up one day. The artist used pictures from Yolande’s native village in Brittany. Have Yolande tell you the story. You may find yourself waited on by Yolande’s new daughter-in-law Allison or her sister Katy. Lucky you. You will love the girls and be treated like a member of the family.
Key West is all about the little neighborhood places, not touristy Duval Street, though there are a few must-hit spots on Duval I will tell you about in coming weeks. You’re going to have a great time and will want to return to the Keys over the years. Have fun.