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JCP Travels

Key West Travel Guide

Hey, y’all!

There are few places that I love more than Key West, Florida. In fact, it is one of the places here in the states that I repeatedly visit (and will continue to do so). I typically elect to use my travel budget to see new cities, new beaches, new countries – but, it never hurts to have some consistency.

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To quote Key West Travel Guide, LLC: “Laid back, free-spirited, artistic, quirky, and scenic, Key West is one of the most unique places in the United States. Known for its live-and-let-live attitude, tropical climate, and seemingly continuous happy hour, this tiny Florida Keys island has been welcoming visitors seeking a vacation from the normal for two centuries.

Since its earliest days, individuals have come here to fish, write, carouse, and rejuvenate. From the famous, including Ernest Hemingway, John J. Audubon, and Tennessee Williams – to the infamous, Key West has always been a place where you can be yourself, find yourself, or re-invent yourself.”

Why do I love Key West?

The people. The food. The culture. The easy-going attitude. The acceptance. The sunsets. It’s unlike any other destination!

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Where To Stay:

Marquesa 4-1-4: 600 Fleming St.

Ocean Key Resort & Spa: 0 Duval St.

For my fellow Parrotheads, Margaritaville Resort & Marina: 245 Front St.

For the economy traveler, don’t miss out on deals on Airbnb!

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Where To Eat:

Breakfast (think: pineapple or banana pancakes, lobster benedict) at Blue Heaven729 Thomas St. 

Lobster rolls at DJ’s Clam Shack, 629 Duval St.

Oysters at Half Shell Raw Bar, 231 Margaret St.

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Fish sandwich (and amazing tartar) at Caroline’s, 310 Duval St.

Conch fritters at Key West Conch Fritters, Wall & Whitehead St.

Key Lime Pie at Kermit’s, 200 Elizabeth St., 431 Front St.

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Cuban food at El Siboney, 900 Catherine St.

Upscale dining at Seven Fish, 921 Truman Ave. Latitudes, Located at Sunset Key Cottages. A & B Lobster House, 700 Front St.

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Where To Drink:

The Green Parrot, 601 Whitehead St.

The Rum Bar, 1117 Duval St.

The Porch, 429 Caroline St.

Sloppy Joe’s, 201 Duval St.

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What To Do:

Photo Op: US1 Mile Marker Zero, the end of an interstate running from Maine to Key West. Intersection of Whitehead and Fleming.

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Visit the Hemingway House907 Whitehead St.

Watch a Key West sunset – one of the world’s best.

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Snorkel/dive at The Dry Tortugas, accessible by ferry, catamaran, or sea plane. 70 miles from Key West.

Photo Op: Southernmost point of the contiguous United States. Whitehead and South.

Kayak though the mangrove trees with Lazy Dog, which leaves from Hurricane Hole, Stock Island (4 miles from downtown Key West).

Where To Beach:

To the surprise of many, Key West will not offer the prettiest beaches that you’ve ever been to – especially if you are spoiled from visiting the Caribbean islands; however, your best choice is to go to Ft. Zachary Taylor at 601 Howard England Way!

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Extras:

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The best way to see Key West is by biking or, if you’re like me, by renting a golf cart. It makes everything easier!

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Have you ever been to Key West?

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JCP

FTC: This is not a sponsored post; all opinions are my own.

 

Burrito Del Sol

Hey, y’all!

If you are like me, you visit the Destin/Santa Rosa/Ft.Walton/Navarre area every summer; if that is the case, listen up – and listen up closely.

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I found out about Burrito Del Sol from my friend Chelsea when she lived in the area. That was in 2015 — and I’ve been back over 10 times.

To quote their website, “Burrito Del Sol is a Mexican Restaurant serving fresh Baja-Style Mexican food in Downtown Fort Walton Beach, FL and our newest location in Destin, FL. All dishes are prepared in one of four signature styles including baja, chipotle, bbq, and southwest. Our chicken and steak are slow roasted for up to 7 hours. Popular menu items include blackened shrimp tacos “baja style”, steak nachos “chipotle style”, and chicken burritos “southwest style”. We are 100% family owned and operated.”

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The decor of Burrito Del Sol is iconic, for they use a lot of Frida Kahlo artwork. Personally, I have only been to the Ft. Walton location (it’s closer to where I stay in Navarre), but I’m sure both locations will serve you well.

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My ultimate suggestion would be to order the Baja shrimp tacos on corn tortillas. Additionally, you should get a 4 oz (the largest) queso and guacamole. In my opinion, it could be the best queso that I’ve ever had; additionally, the guacamole is delicious – thick, chunky, and a little heavy on the onion, which I love.

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Be sure to check them out – and tell them that I sent ya!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: I was not compensated for this post; all opinions are my own.

Memorial Day 2018: Jimmy Buffett + Lake Erie + Cleveland, Ohio

Hey, y’all!

I recently went up to Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate Memorial Day with my friends Shelby and Evie.

If you didn’t know, I was born a Parrothead. I would truly struggle to tell you how many Jimmy Buffett concerts I have attended. While I’ve been to many shows, his are, by far, my favorites. He plays the classics. The fan base — well, we are an interesting one. Always lively, always fun, always dressed to the nines for the occasion. One of the reasons that I love his concerts so much is that my father, the late JC Phelps, was a huge Parrothead. When I listen to his music, I feel a level of connectivity with him and my childhood.

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My friend Evie’s family is from the Cleveland area and they live right on Lake Erie, which was so beautiful. I walked the shoreline early one morning and found so much peace in doing so. It was my first time at a Great Lake!

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Another highlight of the experience was eating at Barrio in Lakewood, Ohio. The food – and drinks – were great. I also loved the decor. Prior to the Buffett concert, we shared a pitcher of blood orange margaritas; if you don’t have a margarita when you see Buffett, you’re doing it wrong in my book.

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While it was a quick trip, it was a fun one – and one that I will certainly remember.

Fins up, Parrotheads!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, and Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Best,

JC

FTC: I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, Louisiana

Hey, y’all!

Today we’re talking serious deliciousness (even more than usual). I recently visited New Orleans, Louisiana; naturally, this required a visit to Cafe Du Monde!

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To quote their website, “The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.”

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Their beignets are French-style doughnuts; in effect, they are square-shaped hunks of heaven, liberally covered in powdered sugar.

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If you are in New Orleans, you MUST visit! While there are many locations, I suggest visiting the French Market shop:

800 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA 70116, (504)-525-4544.

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As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

Where To Grab A Bagel In New York City

Hey, y’all!

Yesterday I talked about pizza – and while I love pizza, bagels are on my mind today.

When I am not in the city, bagels are what I miss most. New Yorkers have such an immense privilege in having a plethora of amazing bagels. While I love the Commonwealth, we are lackluster in comparison.

Picking a place to stay in New York is not easy; however, I like to stay in Midtown because I desire to be centrally located. Very close to our hotel, I stumbled upon Ess-a-Bagel… and I am thanking the Good Lord that I did. Everything that I tried was delicious… and I would pay a pretty penny to have some shipped to me right about now.

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To quote their website: “Ess-a-Bagel was established in 1976 by Florence and Gene Wilpon and Florence’s brother Aaron Wenzelberg. Coming from an Austrian baking family, the art of baking or crafting the perfect bagel came naturally to them. Within two years of opening, Ess-a-Bagel was voted #1 in the Tri-State area, and had attracted a loyal following.”

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You can find Ess-a-Bagel at 831 3rd Avenue (Between 50th and 51st St).

Don’t miss this place – fantastic bagels, cream cheeses, delicatessen items, sandwiches, and more!

As always, Happy Eating!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JCP

FTC: I was not compensated for this post. I, at times, am fortunate enough to receive accommodations in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Where To Grab A Slice In New York City

Hey, y’all!

If you read my last post, you would know that I just came back from New York City. The most important part of a trip to the city, in my opinion, is pizza. I love Chicago style pizza, I love original pizza, and I love New York pizza. No, I don’t love NY pizza. I LOVE NY Pizza. It’s my favorite.

Naomi Davis (of Love Taza, a blog that I have religiously followed for nearly a decade) put out a guide that I took straight to heart.

Her recommendations include: Patsy’s (61 W. 74th Street), Little Italy on 43rd (1 E. 43rd Street), Joes (211 8th Avenue), Rubirosa (235 Mulberry Street), and Juliana’s (19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn). Read more in her post here.

Those recommendations will serve you well – but, I want to add one more… and it’s an important one: Patzeria Pizza, which is my favorite. It can be found at 231 W. 46th Street.

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This is a small, often crowded pizzeria just off of Times Square (which happens to be one of my least favorite parts of the city). However, the journey into that area of the city is well worth it for their slices.

The interior is no-frills, casual, yet inviting. There is an eat-in bar with four stools; there is also a small outdoor counter on the street, which looks into the kitchen. This is my favorite spot to eat at — and one of my favorite places in all of the city.

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It doesn’t get much more New York than that ^^

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The slices are typical NY style, offering classics and special slices. My favorite is the lasagna pizza, which is so good that you’ll want to write home to your MeeMaw. I also love the white pizza. At $3-$5 dollars a slice, it is not the beloved dollar slice around the city; however, the premium is worth it.

As always, Happy Eating!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JCP

February In New York City

New York is always a good idea. Always.

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It doesn’t matter how many times I visit New York — I never grow tired of it. It’s impossible to visit every restaurant, store, coffee shop, bakery, mural, photo opportunity; thus, I keep going back… again and again.

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The culture — unparalleled.

The experience — riveting.

The pizza — incredible.

Don’t get me started on Cronuts.

For a country boy, it’s quite special.

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My friend Katie and I recently did an extended weekend in the city . We’ve been to New York together before, but each visit becomes more adventure-filled, more fun, and more fattening. Ha!

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28 cab rides, 1 subway ride, and 25 miles walked later… I’m back in the Commonwealth (for a short while). I’m feeling extra thankful for the experience.

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As always, Happy Eating!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JCP

FTC: I was not compensated for this post. I, at times, am fortunate enough to receive accommodations in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

 

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