The man had a point.
Just 90 miles from Havana, Key West and Cuba are inextricably linked: In the 1860s, many Cubans began crossing the Florida straits to make Key West their home, first as the cigar makers who made the island a rich little outpost indeed, and more recently as refugees seeking asylum. (Since October of 2014, more than 2,000 Cuban migrants have been picked up in the waters surrounding the Keys, trying to make the brutal crossing.) From the Spanish you hear on street corners to the omnipresent cafe con leche to the rhythms of Guantanamera in the air, Key West has a decidedly Cuban tilt.
Which brings me to...the food. (Duh. You had to know I was headed there, right?) If you want real deal, home Cuban cooking (and if you are in your right mind, you do), I suggest you get in your little automobile and hoof it the 20 hours to the Keys. Glide that baby into a parking spot at El Siboney, dodge the rooster that will inevitably ambush you when you alight, and thank Jesus you have arrived.
Once you settle into your plastic-covered table (always a good sign, IMHO), and before you have time to take in the Cuban travel posters dotting the walls, you'll be brought some buttered and grilled Cuban bread---and you will be oh-so-grateful.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go wipe the drool off my face. Buen provecho!