I don’t know why, but when I’m in the Florida Keys, Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” starts playing in my head. You know the lines, "booze in the blender, and soon it will render, that frozen concoction that helps me hang on." We're not actually listening to this on the radio, you know: the words and melody just play in my brain, spontaneously. And what that means, when Zickie and I are taking an Island Runaways escape to this laid-back island chain, is that inevitably, we’re going to want a margarita.
Although we’re staying this weekend in Key Largo, the largest and uppermost key, we ventured down a little further south to Islamorada. (Island Runaways tip: Pronounce it “I-la-morada” to sound like a local.) Today has been a bit cloudy, even drizzly, but the ocean views, warm breezes, and laid-back attitude of the Keys has kept us happy. So if we can find that noteworthy, visions-of-paradise margarita? Instead of icing on the cake, let’s call it “Fresh Whipped cream on the Key Lime Pie.”
So, we’re checking out an enormous fishing emporium and marina when we stumble across a sign for Morada Bay. Past the brightly colored surf boards, we spot coconut palms and cheerful painted tables. Seems like a good sign. Is that live music we hear? Yes, indeed. And this guy’s a talented guitarist and good singer, too. So already, I’m feeling pretty positive.
We take a table, and the friendly waitress gives us a menu with some serious cocktail selection. There is a Painkiller, made with Pusser’s rum, coconut cream, fruit juices, and nutmeg. Sounds yummy. Or you could choose a Watermelon martini. Or what about the Man Overboard? With not one, but four flavors of Cruzan and Captain Morgan’s, along with Blue Curacao and tropical juices. So, what do we finally select?
A Morada Margarita, of course. It comes served in a Mason Jason, all 32 ounces of it. This gigantic drink entails three shots of Sauza Tequila, Cointreau, and a Grand Marnier floater. Definitely big enough to share!
Add along to that some freshly made, multi colored tortilla chips and some of the best salsa Zickie has ever tasted, and we’re in business. Pelicans fly by, riding the wind. People nod in time to the rhythm of the music. There’s a cute little shop with t-shirts and other gear in a classic Airstream trailer.
The atmosphere and decoration of the place all add to our appreciation.
And yes, I’m enjoying my shrimp ceviche and Zickie likes his crab cake, but really, the star attraction? A margarita in paradise. That's what the Florida Keys are all about, after all, relaxing with the sea and sand just in front of you. Without a care in the world.
I wonder if Jimmy Buffett has ever been here...
Morada Bay Beach Café is located at 81600 Overseas Highway, or Mile Marker 81.6, bayside, in Islamorada.