Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable. Produced by Cindy Hatcher
South: The Florida Keys' Best Foodie Finds
When leviathan cruise ships began docking in Key West in 1984, they diminished some of the Conch Republic's offbeat charm. In their wake came the usual tourist-town suspects: bars with spinning cylinders of sugary frozen cocktails and deep-fried whatever. But the quintessential Key West experience can still be found with a little exploring.
Part of the charm is crazy diversity. Croissants de France (pictured) overcomes the 90-degree temps and near 90% humidity to produce as perfectly flaky and buttery a croissant as you could want, and Seven Fish, located on a quiet, shaded neighborhood corner, serves a tasty curried snapper. Just across Cow Key Bridge on Stock Island lies Hogfish Bar & Grill, the kind of place that seems like a template for every seaside "shrimp shack" you've ever visited. Except this is the real deal. Nab a waterside table and experience the namesake hogfish, a "have-it-when-we-have-it" treat. It's fine, flaky, and sweet with an almost scallop-like flavor. If it's not available, steamed local shrimp and ice-cold beer make a fine meal, too. —Phillip Rhodes