Thursday, April 25, 2019

Pines Park

Sunrise at the Pines Park, a small area of casuarina trees wedged between the East Martello tower with the flag below, and the airport off to the left of this picture:
Rusty spent an inordinate amount of time trolling the park benches where for some reason people had dropped edibles judging by the crunching going on in the darkness. The park is the place where travelers in vans and cars tend to hang out in winter on those long boring days in Key West as they eke out money trying to live for free and doing nothing much. Apparently they also drop copious quantities of food as well. 
When the small brown dog got bored, or could find no more edible trash we decamped back to the DMV office a bit further down South Roosevelt Boulevard where I had parked the car. Apparently the view was enticing enough a car pulled up nearby illuminating the dog enjoying the grass.  
 It was a fresh cool windy morning and people were out walking and biking the waterfront. 
 I struggled to make a decent picture of a cruise ship arriving in Key West:
And then it was time to go home:
Where we got a little extra walking on the old Flagler Railroad bridges now converted to pedestrian and bicycle use:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Bahama Village

Banana leaves: that's how you know this town is on the hot end of the spectrum because, yes we have bananas growing wild. 
And then I caught a glimpse of the traveler palms, supposedly a source of water in those thick  stems for dehydrated travelers. Apparently the water is black and stinky. But if you are thirsty better  than nothing. 
Aronovitz Lane is named for a federal judge with some tenuous connection to Key West...but despite being a  Conch and graduating Key West High, he actually practiced in Miami. Nowadays he has a lane and a courthouse named for him.
Key West, where your car is larger than your house:
We have more than banana or traveler palms growing outdoors:

Bicycles at the Green Parrot, the first and last bar on US One.
Buyer beware! Parking issues for sale. Pretty much all over Key West parking is an issue.
This yard on Mickens Lane has a keep out sign in the distance. I wondered if wandering the yard would be okay as long as you kept out of the house.

Fixer upper sold. I wonder how much you get for a house with broken windows and many repairs. Doesn't bear thinking about in a town where an affordable home costs a quarter of a million.
Mickens at Angela Street.
A  few cars lined up...like I said  parking is a an issue in this tiny town.
I sued to own one of these with all touring gear. It was a great bike which I bought used in Ft Myers when I lived there and rode across country to California when I decided to move back. A problem free ride.
New suspension street side:
Weird signs as usual:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Barbecue In Key West

Feel free to call me obsessive but I still miss Finnegans Wake, the Irish pub more authentic than any other with a superb Irish food menu that used to occupy the space at 320 Grinnell. Other places have come and gone since then, and the last occupant Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar has moved to the three hundred block of Duval. That departure left room for the weirdly named barbecue joint that seems to be quite popular in this its third week, and now appears to be doing a good job of filling the space.
They have  a stage for live music and a full bar and they even offer three unusual and enticing vegetarian plates in an effort to cover all bases for a modern clientele, which gets a thumbs up from me.  Vegetarian Sloppy Joe barbecued pineapple as I recall and a home made bean burger that they describe as a cut above what you are used to in bland frozen mass produced patties. I have to say I was tempted just to put them to the test yesterday!
I confess I miss the atmosphere of Finnegans and the Irish beers and so forth but we have to put the past behind us and I have to try to march to the tune of a new drummer. They do have only a  couple of TV screens so I was able to position myself out of the line of sight of those nasty attention grabbers, so thta was a huge plus for me.
In the rear they have a giant smoker which bodes well... 
 ...and appreciation for the blues which is apparently the preferred music of the brothers that own and run the place. Nothing wrong there.
I ordered a sausage with a side of mac and cheese and George did the same side with an order of tenderloin. It took an absolute age to get the food order in and despite numerous apologies it took a correspondingly long time to get the food. Do not come here on your lunch break as you will never get in and out in less than an hour. If waiting interminably for food, even good food, stresses you out this place will jangle your nerves.
Luckily neither George nor I were in a hurry so the wait just made our tummies rumble and they did bring me refills of the Diet Pepsi I was drinking. I had just come from noon Broga  so I was hot and thirsty. I am not drinking much alcohol at all these days since my Catastrophe and even though George enjoyed  adelicious looking pint I wasn't tempted for some reason.
Here's the thing, and I've said this before: I am useless at do-it-yourself. I hate eating in places where you have to assemble your food on your own. Even Subway stresses me out and I leap in a fog of panic and ask for a sandwich they assemble. I can't stand Sinz where you have to choose ingredients while standing in line to build your own burrito or bowl. My friend Gary posted a picture on Facebook of himself and daughter eating breakfast in Tennessee at a do-it-yourself griddle in the middle of the restaurant table. He loved it; I think it's weird. The point is here you get bread and meat and it's up to you to sauce the food. Stress city for me. I smeared the buns with ketchup and mustard and made a puddle of habanero mango sauce on the plate and hoped for the best. The smoked sausage tasted okay but I had the nagging feeling I short changed myself in some way. I would need to come back with my wife because she loves to make sauces and stuff at the table. However not on her lunch break when she is teaching in Key West as it takes too long to eat here for a working person. Grr. Before a movie maybe with plenty of time in hand.
Above you see my indulgence of an order of beignets, New Orleans doughnuts, half a dozen, far too many for five bucks. They were delicious and I took three home to share with Herself.
George collected two free cups to take home to his family and I retrieved my Burgman 200 scooter from the motorcycle parking lot across the street. Then I came across my sister's favorite kind of vehicle: a classic Land Rover so I stopped:
I paused for a few pictures and sent them by Internet magic to Ullapool in Scotland. She got them immediately and replied such is the blinding speed of modern technology!
Pretty cool all round. Broga - paid for as a gift by the same sister!- was great. I am stronger than I think which is nice to know, but also I feel like I am restoring myself to my full life and that is excellent. I don't commute by scooter yet as eight hours at work wears me out and I want to be alert for the drive home in the morning. But I am riding to town for exercise classes and chores when I don't have Rusty and that feels like another step back to normal.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Eating Out

Friday was, to put it bluntly and eating out day. I went to my second Broga class of the week at which I exercised in far better shape than I had any right to expect, and with a swift change of shirt I presented myself on Stock Island for a Mexican lunch.
Nick comes here every week but he was nothing loathe when I suggested a lunch together at Chico's so we sat and ordered chile relleno for two and he told me about the classic car auction he went to see in Palm Beach.
I splurged when he wasn't looking and though he pretended not to care he made sure he speared his half of the very full plate of sopapillas Mexican doughnuts covered in sugar and offered with a  honey butter sauce. 
I went home and worked off lunch by taking Rusty on a  walk with my neighbor's little girl. Roxie is helpful because she makes Rusty jealous plus she deserves a decent walk as often as I can sneak her away. 
By dusk I girded up my loins and prepared to attack a new eatery at the Sugarloaf Lodge. The old fashioned style motel at Mile Marker 18 has had a variety of eateries in the restaurant but this time they seem to be onto a winner. It goes by the laborious name of South of The Seven and the decor celebrates the fishing lifestyle of our "region" in the Lower Keys.
They do have  a busy Facebook page where they celebrate the local art they have used to create lively and local decorations for the restaurant and bar:


For our own dinner we had Korean barbecue and fried cheese for appetizers and we four tore into them. I guess that means they were good....
I ordered pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon with mashed potatoes and roast sweet potatoes. Hit the spot for meat and veg:
Layne and Wayne (!) got the shrimp and grits which came with tomato sausage and sausage, weird but good:
And to maintain the theme of the indulgent day we shared  blackberry and blueberry crumble and chocolate cake:
In talking about the new place we figured it is looking like it might well be a success. Why places get popular I couldn't say...Fish up the road is not crazily popular but is still open while Bella Luna on Cudjoe five miles away has closed. 
Wayne and Chuck enjoyed the meal as much as we did. There were lots of people too who seemed to enjoy the full bar and restaurant. Bodes well in this unpredictable restaurant market.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Olivia Street By Night

It was early in the morning. Rusty woke me up and demanded a walk. It had been a while since we came to Key West before dawn so I drove us downtown from our home on Cudjoe Key.
I started by taking him to Truman Waterfront which held no interest. So then I stopped on Olivia Street for a look see. This Rusty inspected with greater enthusiasm. I got a few pictures.
It was around five in the morning by the time we got here but there was no one around, except for passing cars on Duval Street. 
I wandered along behind Rusty's busy nose enjoying the warm night air and the architecture that never bores me.
We are told Key West is the largest historic wooden neighborhood in the country. 
Not surprising really. Simonton at Olivia:
I can look at this stuff all night long. All day too, except it's more peopley then.
It's remarkable to me how much detail there is in the homes around Old Town and I've been looking at this stuff for two decades.
Olivia Street looking east, away from Duval Street that is.
And not all of it is wood:
But there again this is old Florida and it looks excellent and atmospheric:
Back on Duval Street briefly, at Petronia: