Joy and I took Southwest direct from Sacramento to Orlando where we
changed planes to Ft. Lauderdale. Southwest has additional snack
options on long haul flights including the "Plane Cookies." The
bourbon was obviously extra, but I had plenty of drink coupons!
We found a great sushi place in Miami Beach for lunch on our first day.
I was very impressed with the sushi and sashimi!
We had to change our plans on the first day since our glass bottom boat
trip in Key Largo was cancelled due to a subtropical storm. We
explored Miami instead. This is a cool cigar factory near Little
They hand roll the cigars in this place. I ended up getting one
Joy ended up wanting to find another "Indian" to hang out with on this
Joy and I are taking a selfie by the Little Havana sign in Miami.
It was a windy day.
Although I did try the shot of Cuban coffee at the cigar shop, I got a
frappe made from Cuban coffee and a typical guava Cuban pastry at this
little coffee shop in Little Havana.
I found an AMAZING ice cream shop in Little Havana too! They have
this awesome flavor called Abuela Maria!
Joy found a great place for dinner in Key Largo called Snappers.
They were devasted by Hurricane Irma so they were still
rebuilding. The food was all cooked in this little trailer.
The food was great at Snapper's. I tried Conch Chowder for the
first time there too!
The waterside bar was destroyed by the hurricane. They are still
trying to get over the damage.
The place had a nice vibe, and it was just a cool place to chill and
take in the scenery too.
Joy never tried Waffle House before so we stopped there for breakfast
the next day on our way down to Key West.
One can see the old railroad which was converted into the old overseas
highway from the new highway.
We stopped at Bahia Honda Key State Beach. We were able to go up
and walk on some of the original overseas highway also.
This is Duval Street which many say is like Key West's version of
Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The street is very lively at night.
We toured the Hemingway House in Key West as well. It was really
The Hemingway House has a LOT of cats. Many of them are
polydactyl which means they have extra toes.
This was a great view of the Key West Lighthouse from the balcony at
the Hemingway House. The original shoreline was around the house,
but they kept reclaiming land from the sea to make Key West larger.
Here is the writing studio where Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his
Key West just has a "chill vibe" when one is walking around.
We had a Sunset Rum & Reggae Snorkeling Tour when we got to Key
West. The water looked amazing. No wonder people call it
The visibility was terrible because of the recent subtropical
storm. The water was warm however. I took my 4K camera in
the water with me.
Here is a picture of the boat from the water. There was a ladder
that was lowered from the boat for us to get in and out of the water.
Key West has lots of roosters and chickens for some reason too.
This is a picture of Joy and I at the Stoned Crab in Key West during
dinner. I am wearing a bib. LOL.
Here is my custom seafood bake at the Stoned Crab. I got Key West
lobster, mussells, stone crab claws, and clams!
We went to see the Little White House the following day in Key West.
The Harry S. Truman Little White House is an active Presidential
retreat. Many famous meetings were held here in the past.
We checked out Mallory Square too after the Truman Little White
House. This is where they have a festival each night to celebrate
the sunset in Key West.
Here is another picture of the beautiful teal colored water in the
We found a great tequila bar near Mallory Square. The bartender
made amazing drinks from scratch!
I loved my beverage at this tequila bar!
We headed back to Key Largo for a glass bottom boat tour, and we saw
this antique boat called the "African Queen." Apparently, it was
in some old movies.
We are headed out to open ocean from one of the canals in Key
Largo. There are nurse sharks inside this canal.
The sea conditions were still not the best so we did not see that much
on this trip.
We went to Dania Beach Pier on our last day in South Florida.
It was so relaxing just standing on the pier and watching the waves
We rented a fully loaded Fusion with moonroof for this trip. I
remember James Bond had a "Ford Mondeo," which is kind of the Euro
version of the Fusion in a movie. I thought I would do a Bond
shot too. LOL.
We went to the Zagat rated Bao Kitchen + Bar on the trendy Las Olas
Blvd in Ft. Lauderdale for lunch. The food was delicious!
This is a cool little canal next to Bao Kitchen + Bar in Ft. Lauderdale.
For Memorial Day Weekend 2018, Joy and I flew out to
Florida to go explore the Florida Keys and Miami area. I have
been to Miami a few times, but I had never been to the Keys
before. Taking advantage of our Southwest Companion Pass, we flew
from Sacramento to Orlando on a direct flight before having to change
planes to get to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Southwest serves additional snacks on long haul flights, and they were
pretty good about coming around frequently to refill drinks and bring
additional snacks. I think they got a contract with Nabisco since
many of the snacks were not Southwest "branded" items. Moreover,
one of the items was called "Plane Cookies." They were kind of
like "Teddy Grahams," but the cookies were shaped like a plane.
We arrived into Ft. Lauderdale pretty late after
flying what seemed like all day due to the time difference. After
getting our fully loaded rental car with moonroof, we headed out to our
hotel in Miramar, Florida. We stayed at a Home2Suites by Hilton
there. I was worried that subtropical storm Alberto would cause
havoc on this trip, but the sky was overcast with no rain when we got
there. I think the media just hypes up a lot of these storms many
The next day, we did have to change our plans around
since the glass bottom boat out of Key Largo got cancelled due to the
rough seas. We went to Miami Beach for lunch at a great sushi
restaurant. The place was called Hoshi and Sushi. It was
located in one of those fancy high rise buildings, but luckily they
offered valet parking for guests. Our beautiful Cuban looking
waitress served us great sushi and sashimi. Joy thought it was
the best sushi that she ever ate. We also had some great
ceviche. Afterwards, I took Joy towards South Beach before
heading back into Miami to explore Little Havana. Around Little
Havana, we found a cool cigar factory. They use tobacco grown
from Cuban seeds, and they also hand roll their cigars there. In
addition, they serve you free Cuban coffee while you explore the
shop. Cuban coffee is VERY strong, and it is served in espresso
shot glasses. After buying a cigar, we headed out to Little
Havana. In Little Havana, we found a cool Cuban coffeeshop where
I enjoyed a traditonal guava pastry with some Cuban coffee
frappe. Then, we found an AMAZING ice cream shop where I loved
the "Abuela Maria" flavor. I think that means "Grandmother Maria."
After exploring Miami, we headed out to our 2nd
hotel for this stay. The Hampton Inn in Homestead, Florida was
our next stop. After checking in, we headed out to Key
Largo. Along the way, we saw portions of the Everglades National
Park. Key Largo was hit hard by Hurricane Irma last year so they
were still rebuilding. Joy found a great restaurant called
Snapper's. It was right on the water. The place was
practically destroyed in the hurricane. A trailer was used to do
all the cooking, and the seating was all outdoor. The inside had
major water damage. I tried conch chowder for the first
time. The fish was great too!
The next day, we stopped at the Waffle House in Key
Largo for breakfast since Joy never experienced one of those.
Then, we continued down the Overeas Highway to Key West. Along
the way, we saw some cool little keys. I thought most of the road
was over water on bridges, but I think they created a lot of land
bridges so the roadway was not over water as much. The water was
a pretty teal color too, and I think it was fairly shallow. I can
totally see how the area would be devasted by hurricanes since in some
areas the water almost was coming by the roadway. We stopped in
Bahia Honda Beach State Park before getting into Key West via the Seven
Mile Bridge. Our hotel in Key West was the Hilton Garden Inn -
Keys Collection. Hotel prices were much higher in Key West than
other parts of South Florida.
We explored Duval Street after getting into Key
West. Duval Street is a fun and bustling area. Afterwards,
we saw the Hemingway House. Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West
for many years, and he also had a liking for cats. The Hemingway
House had these special cats with extra toes. We got a guided
tour of the home. The grounds were very lush and tropical.
Afterwards, we went to Schooner's for a snack. Andrew Zimmern on
the Travel Channel suggested this place for their "pink shrimp."
The pink shrimp were so delicious!
That evening, we had a sunset Reggae and Rum snorkel
tour out of Key West. Unfortunately, the sea conditions were not
the best for snorkeling, but we still went since it was our last night
in Key West. I ended up going into the water, but I did not get
to see much due to low visibility as a result of the subtropical
storm. They did make great rum punch for us on the boat, and we
were able to take in a beautiful sunset. The crew was very
For dinner, we enjoyed the Stoned Crab in Key
West. I had some conch chowder followed by a seafood bake of Key
West lobster, stone crab claws, mussells, and clams. Dinner was
very relaxing and peaceful in the tropical climate. I love
Florida a lot!
The next day, we explored more of Key West. We
saw the Harry S. Truman "Little White House," which is an active
Presidential retreat. Many famous meetings and summits happened
here. Afterwards, we walked to Mallory Square and took in more
views of the beautiful teal colored water. After checking out a
sculpture garden, we found a fun tequila bar to enjoy a drink and some
snacks. The bartender was really good at her craft.
We had to head back to Key Largo for the glass
bottom boat tour in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the sea
conditions were still a little rough, and the visibility was not as
good as usual. We did not see much, and I did get sea sick from
the rocking of the boat over the reefs.
The next day, we enjoyed a nice stroll on Dania
Beach Pier just north of Miami. Afterwards, we had lunch at a
zagat rated Asian fusion restaurant on Ft. Lauderdale's trendy Las Olas
area. We loved the food! Then, we had to go back towards
the airport to drop off the rental car before our flight back home via
Las Vegas. Joy and I just finished another fun and relaxing trip