by Shayne Benowitz
Conch fritters, key lime pie, bacon cheeseburgers, nachos… I know, I’m drooling, too. When you’re on vacation, don’t you just want to pig out on everything you see? When you get home, do you complain to your friends about how you gained fifteen pounds of vacation? One of the best things about Key West is that it is a foodies’ haven. Bar food, gourmet food, and yes, even health food. For those of you who might like to balance your Key West diet with a few good for you and good tasting options, here’s three of my personal faves for healthy eating on the island.
#1 bad boy burrito
If there is one cuisine I could eat over and over again without tiring, it would probably be Mexican food. I love the flavors: rice, beans, avocado, cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos. Wrap it up in a giant flour tortilla, add organic chicken, kobe beef, pork carnitas, or my personal favorite tofu, and you’ve got a healthy and filling lunch. I have to admit, I’m hooked on this place. Everything is made fresh to order using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. They have a great variety of homemade sauces including mango habanero and pico de gallo. In addition to burritos, sample the fish tacos on homemade corn tortillas, a wide variety of salads, and their selection of homemade juices and smoothies. Try the hot pink, a frothy mixture of beets, strawberries, and pineapple.
#2 The Café… a mostly vegetarian place
You won’t leave The Café hungry with their heaping portions of vegetarian food. I definitely love being able to stuff myself, but know that it’s with pretty healthy food. At The Café, I love the Szechuan stir-fry with flat noodles, veggies, and tofu. It’s enough to last me two or three meals. I like to pair mine with an order of their deliciously crunchy spring rolls with sweet chili sauce. They serve up a pretty decadent quiche of the day (alright, probably not the healthiest thing on the menu!). Their veggie burger is fully loaded and pretty fantastic, too. In addition to their lunch and dinner menu, they’ve also added a champagne Sunday brunch that I’m dying to check out.
#3 Help Yourself
This is the newest addition to Key West’s health nut hubbub. Help Yourself is serious about their farm fresh, dairy-free, organic produce. This is the only place in town to sample the raw food craze with tacos filled with brazil nut meat and other unique offerings. Help Yourself boasts wraps, salads, and nourishing bowls filled with everything you need for a high-charged, fully-fueled kind of a day. You can build your own meal, as the name of the restaurant implies or go with one of their suggestions. I like the hummus wrap and the coconut curry nourishing bowl. You’ll feel lean, clean, and green (all good things, right?) after a meal here. Save the conch fritters for happy hour!
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.