key west foodcation!

by now anyone who reads my blog regularly knows my vacations, road trips and life adventures revolve around food. i took a two night trip to key west with my best friend josh and of course ate my heart out.

the first stop in key largo was not the best for me, as we went to a local pub of sorts that only seemed to have meat & fish dishes. i ordered a “bowl” that was suppose to come with rice, beans & veggies. i asked what type of rice was used and they said white. when the food arrived it was YELLOW rice. so instead i had a plate of fries for lunch. most yellow rice is cooked in chicken stock. anytime i’ve picked up a bag of yellow rice in the grocery store chicken stock is included in the ingredients. i asked the server what the rice was cooked in and he found out it indeed is cooked in chicken stock. why he didn’t tell me this when i ordered it, i have no idea. so not a great start to vacation but whatevs. my fries were pretty tasty!

when we arrived in key west i was pleasantly surprised to see a juice bar / natural foods store / cafe a block away from our bed & breakfast! so stoked. we tried to grab some juice but they were closing (as everything apparently does on sunday evenings) so we went out for a mexican dinner. we found old town mexican cafe on duval to have the most veggie options. i ordered a black bean burrito (86 cheese and sour cream add guacamole). came out right and was delicious!

vegan burrito at old town mexican cafe

we decided to wash our burritos down with sangria! yipppeeee!


a great first dinner! super delish!

monday morning we decided to skip the breakfast at the b&b and headed over to Help Yourself. i ordered the mango french toast (vegan) and josh had some sort of egg wrap. (love when eateries cater to both vegans & their non vegan friends!) breakfast was DELICIOUS. so so so so so so so good. perfect way to start off our day.

mango french toast (vegan)

i’ve never had mango bread. it was super yummy. i need to recreate this dish. the staff at help yourself is super friendly and has all sorts of great suggestions for our time in key west. if you are vegan (or just super healthy eaters) you MUST come here while staying in key west. so not only do they have a kitchen, a juice bar and a garden, but they also have a store with all sorts of raw and vegan goodies you might need while vacationing in the keys. this would basically be my whole foods if i lived there.

enjoying our breakfast at Help Yourself

after breakfast we decided it was kayaking time. we headed north a bit and launched at one spot but it was super windy & choppy and also creepy. when did the keys become the graveyard for deceased boats? ugh. saw so many sinking vessels and boats underwater. totally creepy.

kayaking in key west

we deflated the kayak and launched from a different location which turned out to be much more enjoyable. we paddled through mangroves, by a few homes, and a local eatery!  totally relaxing and enjoyed every second. sadly this is the FIRST time kayaking since may 2008 just before i moved to san fran! crazy it’s been that long. i can’t wait to save up and purchase my own kayak!

after heading back to the b&b i got some take out for lunch from help yourself. josh had a hummus wrap. i ordered the raw noodles and a tempeh wrap. also enjoyed a juice while i waited for the food. carrot – beet – pineapple – kale. pretty tasty for me not liking beets! i’m going to have to try juicing them!

tempeh wrap
raw noodle salad!

this food was amazing. i wish they were located in my area instead of key west, but i was so happy to have them down the street. my tempeh wrap was outstanding. the tempeh was marinated perfectly. it was smoky so my guess is liquid smoke and tamari (which is what i would use). the raw noodle salad was so good too. i seriously love this place!

after a bit of relaxing we decided to go out and explore duval street. we did some touristy sight seeing and decided to check out badboy burrito. i went to middle school with the owner and was so stoked to try it…. but after a torturous 30 minute walk in the stifling heat we got there only to find out they were closed. i guess it’s a lunch place. SAD FACE. i really wanted to have a kick ass healthy burrito for dinner. sorry chris, next time!

luckily ambrosia (recommended to us by the sweet girl at help yourself) was only a few more blocks away and open for dinner!

veggie sushi!

this place was pretty fancy and attached to a kick ass hotel which i will hopefully stay at next time i visit key west… the veggie rolls weren’t anything to get excited about. happy to have a selection to choose from though. veggies were fresh. i’m still spoiled from cha ya vegetarian in berkeley. THOSE were some veggie rolls to get excited about. the seaweed salad was pretty good and i loved the tempura a la carte! i ordered a sweet potato, two broccoli and an avocado tempura. SO YUMMY! be careful when ordering the tempura at any sushi restaurant. the tempura sauce usually has fish sauce or fish flakes in it. my suspicions proved correct this time so i opted for soy sauce instead.

seaweed salad

sad that vacation is almost over as we are heading north in the morning. i don’t remember it being quite this easy to eat in key west…. love all the additional options around.

as we drove north on us-1 heading back to fort lauderdale, we stopped in big pine key at good food conspiracy because i’ve been dreaming of their carrot colada ever since i first tasted it in july 2008. i loved it just as much as i did many moons ago. and bought a bottle of the coconut juice home so i can juice some carrots this week! i also got a hummus wrap to go for the ride back to broward. good food conspiracy has been in business for over 30 years and they are still thriving. love that place!

i’ll be back soon florida keys…


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