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After savoring this Schooner Wharf's signature dish of peel-and-eat drunken shrimp basted in beer and spices, our waitress came back to the table to give us a hint. "Make sure you save the shells so you can feed the fish on the docks," she instructed. It's the sort of advice you'll get only at a true local's place, a dive bar that sits right on the harbor and is constructed out of what looks like flotsam and jetsam. Originally located aboard an actual schooner, the bar moved ashore and became a haven for writers, musicians, drunks, and poets, each looking wash down mojo-marinated mahi-mahi sandwiches with frosted bottles of Key West Sunset Ale. The bar is a picture of Old Florida, from the din of the boat captains just a few feet away to the Buffett-esque philosophies of singer/songwriter Michael McCloud, who plays on the ramshackle stage just about every day. And those fish do bite: With shrimp shells in tow, we coaxed jack fish, tarpon, and a hungry-looking nurse shark out from under the docks. They seemed to enjoy the place too.
Last week, our dining critic, John Linn, headed to Key West, where he managed to find a few worthy restaurants still slinging food in this quiet time of year. Café Marquesa The converted 1880s "conch" houses that form the Marquesa Hotel back up... More »
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