Friday, March 6, 2015

Hayley Snow's Rules for Finding Great Food--almost anywhere!


by Hayley Snow from the Key West food critic mysteries

You probably know some people who eat to live--I imagine that's easier than my life: I live to eat! And it matters to me whether it's good--a lot. And since I review restaurants for a living, I thought you might like to hear some of my tips for finding great food--almost anywhere!

1. Go where the lines are. And a corollary--check ahead to see if you need a reservation. If the place is booked, chances are the food is great!


2. Which reminds me of the law of converging suggestions. Try Yelp or Tripadvisor, but it helps if more than one person recommends the place. And also, try to get a sense of what kind of eater they are. One woman's filet mignon is another gal's cheeseburger, if you get my drift.

3. When desperate for something not too foreign or in doubt about the choices, go to the museum cafe. 

Here are the hummus and olives that my writer ate at the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.


4.  Steer away from tourist traps on the main drag. Okay, I'm a little bit of a food snob. People love to eat at the places along Duval Street--the people-watching is amazing.  And sometimes the food is pretty good. And sometimes the food can be sacrificed if the view is good enough, even if the folks at the next table are a little annoying... 

5.  Try the local specialties. In Key West, that's probably going to be the Key West pink shrimp, and the fresh caught grouper or mahi-mahi. And in the summer, mangoes and avocados and pineapples...and all year round, Cuban coffee, and key lime pie...


6.  Eat what's local and fresh. Enough said, and not so easy on an island...


7. Ask people who live there. They know all the off-the-beaten track places that a tourist wouldn't know about. You might strike gold with their recommendations of roasted corn, pulled pork

Little Creatures in Melbourne
or these decadent salted caramel-stuffed donuts--served warm with ice cream:).


8. If you're in a city, look for a foodie walking tour. You might get a great sample of food across the city--and some history besides.


And that brings me to one last thing--people ask how I can eat like I do, and still stay thinnish. My advice? You don't need to eat all of it--take a little bit home. And if you don't like it, don't eat it. The starving kids in the third world aren't going to get your leftovers anyway. And then walk or bike home...and go to the gym baby--it's worth it:).

(Here's Lucy swooning over one amazing bite of salted caramel...)

FATAL RESERVATIONS will be in bookstores July 7, but you can pre-order now!


  1. I travel with a foodie friend and let her plan where we'll eat...

  2. Your writer and other authors share so many good recipes that I never want to eat out, just in!

  3. I've gotten some wonderful, memorable meals at museums. Great tips!

    1. thanks Janet--we've found the museum food to be consistently good, and not too weird:). You need that sometimes when traveling. xo

  4. Great pictures. Can't wait to be back with Hayley. And good reminder that the starving kids in the third world aren't going to get my leftovers anyway - with my mom it was all about the starving children in China and Korea.

    1. I think with my mom it was India and China LOL

    2. Those starving children in China created the "clean your plate" syndrome, which is why so many of us are not "thinnish," but wish we were. Luckily those caramel stuffed donuts are only a picture and not upstairs in my kitchen. Thanks for a bit of vicarious eating. ;-)

  5. I love following Haley's visits to the different restaurants around Key West. When I read Death with All the Trimmings, I had just been to Key West and eaten at Latitude's, so it was especially delightful for Haley and her family to eat there. As far as eating on Duval, I love Bagatelle's and Caroline's, and the Banana Cafe serves a great breakfast. Of course, eating on Duval is fun just to watch all the people traffic. I can't wait to read Fatal Reservations, Lucy!

  6. Salted caramel donuts? Oh, be still my heart!

  7. It sounds like Key West foods are to die for!

  8. This book and its location is one of my very favorites. Food is another favorite, but I cannot just take one bite of anything good so that is why I am not thin like Lucy!!! I am looking forward to ordering any and all books that I have not read yet and this blog post just spurred me on. Thank you for the great photos and updates.