An important part of planning a destination vacation is taking the time to experience the local culture. A vacation is not going to be too exciting if you only end up doing the same things you can do at home. There are many reasons that people plan a vacation in Key West as opposed to other places, but one of those reasons is something most people may not think about. They may be familiar with the legendary nightlife on Duval Street, they may know about the 500 years of history, they may be intrigued by the rich proliferation of art, but not many people are familiar with the excellent food prepared by the several award-winning Key West restaurants.
With more than 300 different restaurants to choose from, there is certain to be several options to choose from regardless of what mood you might be in. However, the island is best known for a style of cooking that was created there. Called New Island Cuisine, this combines traditional methods of preparation as taught by the finest academies around the world with the fresh and succulent ingredients available in this tropical paradise. Incorporating island spices and fresh fruit, these dinners are something that cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
The centerpiece to all of this cooking is the fresh seafood. Key West, Florida sits on the only barrier reef in North America. On this reef live tens of thousands of different species of fish and seafood. Not only are many of the animals unique to this area, they do not freeze and ship well, meaning you will not be able to find hogfish filets or stone crab claws at your local grocery store. If you want to know how good they taste, you need to come to them.
Be sure you check your calendar before you do, however. The residents of Key West and the Florida Keys know how important this amazing seafood is to their way of life. That is why they have very strict limits on how many you can catch and also several different times during the course of the year when harvesting is illegal. These actions of conservation help to ensure that the species will continue to grow and thrive for many generations to come.
One of the reasons many people plan a trip to Key West in August is to be there for the start of lobster season. Far different from their northern cousins, these clawless species are known for being sweeter. Getting in town on or after August 6th means you'll be able to see some of the best chefs in the world prepare the prized lobster tail in a number of ways. This is just one of the many examples of why food lovers from around the world have discovered Key West, Florida.
Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who lived in Key West for several years. http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.com