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Eatin' with the chickens!Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 8:01 AM
There's no place else like Key West! There is so MUCH to see and do--and it's all so colorful and outlandish. The last time we went, we took the 4-hour ferry ride, then rode the cute little shuttle train around the island to see the major points of interest. However, a four-hour stay on that island just doesn't do it justice!
This time, we drove the highway and stayed two days. Yes, I know--that still doesn't do the island justice, but I'm really not able to move down there and get a job as a pedi-cab driver for the winter.
We parked our car in a parking garage and walked the town as much as possible, until my feet wore out on the way to the Hemingway House. But that's a story for another day...Right now I want to talk about the Blue Heaven Cafe, which we found quite by accident.
It appeared to be on the corner. We looked through the open windows to see chairs and tables, but a crudely-scrawled sign read "Go to main entrance" and there was an arrow pointing to the right. We kept following the arrows down a narrow, broken sidewalk, past rough-looking alleys and dilapidated buildings, until we came to an opening.
Ducking our heads, we entered a crude hut-like structure with a dirt floor. It opened into a larger-than-expected room full of people seated at tables, eating. Some sat at a crude bar, drinking marguaritas and other exotic concoctions. A lovely lady greeted us and escorted us to a table not far from a wooden fence, through which banty chickens came and went.
Our waiter recommended the special of the day, which involved lobster, vegetables, and rice. We split an order, knowing how large it would be. Delicious, of course!
As we ate, we kept an eye out for a pair of brightly-colored little roosters, who circled the tables, peering underneath for dropped morsels and stretching to peek on top of the tables to see what everyone was eating.
One group of diners, obviously unfamiliar with the habits of chickens, shared a portion of their food with the little beggars. This act of generosity initiated a fight between the two roosters, who were each determined to get the lion's share of the feast.
Before we finished our meal, a waitress came whisking through with a 5-inch high piece of pie, yellow and topped with with meringue. Lest we be unaware of what she had, she loudly announced, "Key lime pie! Uh, huh! Uh, huh! Key lime pie!" This, of course, prompted a rash of new orders for the pie, which was (I do not lie!) ambrosia!!!! I can hardly think of it right now without agony!
I am sure there are those who would be appalled to share their dining experience with chickens, but, being a farm girl, I have no such aversion.
I suspect that if visitors are of a fastidious nature, they would be wise to cross Key West off their itinerary and choose a more civilized location.
From the sunny shores of Ft. Myers, Florida, this is your rural reporter Madeline, out of her element and lovin' it!!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.