Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wave Your Freak Flag Proudly!!!!

Well, it's that time of year again.... It's Fantasty Fest in Key West!!!

I'll keep you updated with pictures and stories, as we are bound to have some!! Fantasy Fest is kind of like Key West's version of Mardi Gras and Halloween combined. There are theme-parties every night all around town, all culminating in "the Big Parade" Saturday night. This parade has huge floats, amazing costumes, LOTS and LOTS of beads being thrown... it is a true spectacle.
Our nights here at Damn Good Food TO-Go tend to be fairly slow during the week of Fantasy Fest because everyone is out partying and generally being on display. However, each morning, people wake up in a fog, body paint smearing on their pillows, and need to eat!! Lots of Biscuits and Gravy (our secret recipe and a well-regarded hangover cure!!!) and LOTS of Gatorade are sold this week!!!
At night, I always look forward to our customers coming by to show off their various costumes, and they range from the fancy and creative, to the down-right naughty!!! Take a look above and below at the first couple of Fantasy Fest pictures we have.... more to come throughout the week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Best Wishes for a Life of Happiness!!

I had a lovely experience this evening, and feel honored to have played any part in it. A really nice couple came in around 10pm - Mark and Dina, from New Jersey. They just wanted to have some coffee and to sit and relax. As I brewed them a fresh pot, we chatted quite a bit. They had stopped in earlier in the day to pick up a menu, and Mark looked familiar to me; I knew he was someone who had visited before.

As we talked, Mark told me that they had gotten married at sunset this evening, out on Smather's Beach! They had gone out the night before for a very romantic dinner at "Latitudes" Restaurant (http://www.sunsetkeyhomes.com/lattitudessunsetkey.htm), and so decided that today they would let their wedding be the highlight of the day and not try to top that romantic dinner from the night before. No bridal party with 16 attendants, no tuxedos in the humid Key West evening, no big frilly wedding reception. Just a nice walk around town, and a cup of coffee in their favorite local spot, a little of the beaten trail.

So instead, they came and spent a piece of their wedding night with me, drinking coffee, chatting, and watching the fascinating parade of characters that comes through our door every night.

I feel blessed and honored to have played a role in their wedding night, a night they will remember and talk about forever!!!

It's kind of neat to think of all the different things that Damn Good Food is to people. We are their morning coffee spot, their place to pick up lunches to take fishing, their room service. We are their place for bar snacks as they sit at The White Tarpon (bar, directly next door to Damn Good Food To-Go), their place for desserts after walking off a big dinner....

And we are the place to spend a quiet, memorable evening after a beautiful, private, sunset wedding in Key West.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Bully Named Ike

I never thought that I had much in common with the phenomenal Tina Turner.... But now I find myself being bullied by a guy named Ike. He's making my friends and family go away, he's stealing my lunch money and in general threatening my safety and well-being.

So, here's the latest (sunday 9/7, 7:45am). Hurricane Ike is currently a Category 3 hurricane. All tracking models show the storm going over Cuba. After that, they divererge a bit in their predictions but all models show the storm riding south of us as a Category 1 or 2 storm, passing us sometime around Tuesday evening. It looks, at the moment, like we are most definitely going to experience what we like to refer to as "A Significant Weather Event", but that's as much as I feel comfortable predicting at the moment.

Damn Good Food To-Go is currently open for business, and we intend to stay that way, as always, until the power goes out or until there is simply no more demand for our services. Over the years, I've watched the pattern of behavior as a Hurricane approaches, and it looks like this:
    • When the visitor evacuation is declared (and that went into effect this morning - Sat - at 9am.... FAR too early, but that will take me down a whole different ranting path!!!), the departing visitors as well as our locals start to "nest". They order food like it's the last time they'll be able to eat, and they gather to talk about the storm.
    • When the storm is within 24 hours of passing us or hitting us, people stop eating and begin drinking....Hurricane Party!!!! Woohoo!!!! This involves excessive drinking, purely as a way to show respect to Mother Nature, of course. You see by getting completely hammered, people are saying to Mother Nature, "I acknowledge that I am completely powerless against you. Do with me what you will. I will not put up a fight oh Great One!"
    • When the storm has passed, and people awaken from their alcohol-induced stupors, they realize that they have not eaten in days.... and they call Damn Good Food To-Go!!!

We have been lucky over the past 10 years, and we have not been without power after a storm for too very long. Damn Good Food To-Go is in a very storm power grid so when we do lose power, it's only for a short time. We will hope for the same this time around.

My current plan is to stay and ride out the storm. I feel as safe as I can be in my condo, and I need to be able to evaluate damage, if any, in the business as quickly as possible.

I will keep you posted as things change. Thanks for checking in!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Friends in the Summer

So, there is now talk of our new friend Gustav (that would be Hurricane Gustav) passing through the area over Labor Day weekend. Contrary to what you hear in the national weather reports, it is not tracking toward Key West. Right now it looks like we may end up with a little extra wind over the weekend, BUT THE WEEKEND WILL NOT BE A WASH OUT!!

After Fay breezed by, our economy was negatively affected for over a week (we are still feeling the effects!!). I want to do my small part to let people know that Key West is here, eagerly awaiting the arrival of visitors to our lovely island.
Hurricanes are one the challenges we have living down here, and we take every necessary precaution to protect ourselves. However, we also have learned not to pull the "Chicken Little" routine!! The sky is NOT falling.
Come visit. We'll show you our little piece of paradise!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nothing but another bad hair day!!

So, that's the way it usually goes down here, thank goodness! We're out here, a seemingly unprotected little island, and manage to be in the direct path of nearly every Caribbean storm, and yet, here we remain: a little damp and windswept, but none the worse for wear.

....just another bad hair day in paradise!!

(Just so you know, we stayed open until anbout 2pm the day of the storm, let it pass and then reopened at 6am, for business as usual. For any of these storms, we stay open as long as we can - as long as we have power and as long as it's safe to get home - and will always reopen as quickly as possible. We didn't even lose power this time around, although I have reports from some friends who tell me that parts of the island were out for a few hours).

Thanks for checking in. Have a Damn Good Day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's A Fay Day In Key West

So here we are. The phones are not ringing so much. There are very few people coming in to order. And the cook and I are sharing three hats instead our normal two (I'm covering the phones and the walk-in customers and he's cooking. then when we get deliveries, he's cooking, then delivering, and I'm then covering the phones and counter, and cooking!). TEAMWORK!!

You see, we are currently under a Hurricane Watch and mandatory evacuation, awaiting the arrival of what is currently "Tropical Storm Fay". One part of a mandatory evacuation is that the tourists are forced from the hotels and sent home. This leaves something of a hole in our economy down here.
As you can see from the picture above, we are in a direct line of our friend Fay, but it seems, by all current estimations, that we are going to have a blustery (OK, winds could get up to 75-80 MPH, but still, certainly not catastrophic!), rainy few days.
We will stay open as long as there is a demand (which seems to be rapidly waning, replaced by a desire to congregate and DRINK HEAVILY). We'll see what happens tomorrow, but we'll open in the morning and then stay open again until people stop wanting food again, or until the power goes out.
Rest assured though, Key West and Damn GOod Food To-Go will be here when this storm has passed, and we'll be waiting for your visit. Please come see us soon, and don't always take the Weather Channel hype at face value. Give us a call if you want a real weather report for the beautiful Florida Keys...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Visitors from Foreign Lands

Living in a tourist community means that we get lots of visitors from all over the world. One of the things that this means is that we must understand people who speak with very strong accents and who may not understand things that we have in this country, that we take for granted.

Recently, a couple of Italian men came in to Damn Goood Food To-Go for lunch. They were reading the menu and asked the girl working at the counter (who is relatively new at Damn Good Food and has had little exposure to people from other countries):

"What is this 'toorkey', and he pointed to the turkey build-your-own deli sandwich that is on the menu. Well, at first she couldn't understand what he was saying, but after a bit of pointing, she kind of figured it out, and replied:

"It's a sandwich. You pick your bread and whatever you would like on the sandwich."

"No, no, no," he said. "I don't know thees toorkey. What is this?"

She looked at me for help, but I was on the phone with another customer (and because she is it the later stages of her training, I wanted her to come up with an answer on her own). She finally came up with an excellent answer.

"It's like a big chicken."

"Oh, no thank you. Do you have dog?"

Well, she was completely horrified, and I was, much to her frustration, laughing so hard I could barely complete the order I was taking on the phone. At this point, I DID have to jump in and help.

I pointed to the two different hot dogs that we have on the menu, and the young men were very pleased. They ordered their dogs, paid and went outside to wait for their lunch. When I got off the phone, tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard, the poor girl was nearly hysterical.


After a while, things returned to our version of "normal", and one girl's cultural horizons were broadened... just a bit.