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Key West Travels (vegan & gluten-free!)

This Spring Break I had the luxury of traveling to the rich island of Key West for the very first time along with my Mom and Sister. Key West is known for being the furthest point South in the continental United States, just 90 miles from Cuba! It is just 8 miles square and its streets are filled with rich American history, seaports, marvelous sunsets, and of course the bars that line Duval Street. I was surprised at the combination of the old, the new, and the timeless components that make up this tiny island but I was thrilled to find the amazing vegan & gluten-free dining options that fit perfectly into Key West’s laid-back style.

We enjoyed two meals at The Cafe, a health-conscious pescatarian restaurant with incredible vegan options and gluten-free adaptions! We visited for breakfast on our first full day and it was the perfect stop to fuel our day with delicious eats. I ordered their daily juice (a combo of carrot and pineapple) as well as their tofu scramble.

After, we mistakenly walked the whole width of the island and bumped into the famous buoy marking the Southernmost Point of the United States!

Sadly, our short trip had more chilly days than not and we even experienced a rainstorm that left the streets flooded for a few hours. With not much to do, we had ourselves a spa day at the hotel spa and enjoyed the comfort of our hotel room. We ended the day back at The Cafe, this time for dinner, and all of us were impressed by the food, portion sizes, and boozy drinks. I ordered the Vegan Kale Caesar (to share) and a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry special along with their Dad’s Famous White Sangria (a must try!) This was by far the most filling meal I had all trip and I was happy to enjoy the (mostly) whole-food plant-based dishes and even take some to-go.

Back when the sun came out for us on this trip we walked our way to Date & Thyme and it seriously was the cutest restaurant I have been to. I could tell how consciously curated the restaurant and market were and their incredibly fresh menu.

We ended up here two days in a row and I would have gone every day if it were up to me! I had their Acai Bowl (no granola) that’s made with homemade coconut milk which truly elevated the experience. It was more liquidy than I prefer when it comes to smoothie bowls but it was delicious nonetheless and complemented well with fresh pressed Carrot Zing juice.

I love how their menu notes dietary values for every item which made it very easy to navigate what I could choose from. After discussing with one of the servers, they told me they could make their Rise & Shine bagel sandwich on a *non-certified* gluten-free bagel that was also vegan! Because I am not celiac and I am not allergic to gluten, I took the risk with the bagel and I loved it! It was incredibly filling and paired well with a cold Tropical Green smoothie.

A vacation would be incomplete without ice cream–well technically sorbetto gelato! After a sunset trip to Mallory Square, we stumbled upon a tiny gelato shop called Gelateria Nuovo Fiore. It’s run by a woman who makes the gelato herself using all natural ingredients! I opted for the sorbetto (a usual safe vegan option) and enjoyed the berry, mango, and pineapple flavors. As I snapped this photo a man behind me laughed and said, “now you’ll never forget it!” and after that embarrassing encounter, I certainly will not forget this sweet treat.

As for drinking, I did not indulge too much since I know my body works and feels best when I am sober. Moderation may seem like a foreign word in Key West with their lively bars and drink culture but it is possible to co-exist and enjoy. It is certainly a vivacious-yet-somehow-quaint town surrounded by the clearest blue water in the US that made for a memorable (& delicious!) visit. Next time I’m there may the sunshine follow!

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