April is one of my favorite months in Key West. Not only is the weather superb (our average daytime temps are in the mid-70s to low 80s, with low humidity), but it’s also my birthday month — and the birthday month of many of my “April Gayby” friends on the island.

Taste of Key West wine at sunset

A dining booklet with value-added offerings available for a year replaces the traditional Taste of Key West fundraising evening for 2021.

That, in turn, means it’s also time for lots of birthday dinner soirees at our favorite eateries across Key West. We take turns treating each other to a night of decadent high-calorie meals and maybe a few libations as well.

April is also when the extremely popular and highly anticipated Taste of Key West waterfront charity fundraiser typically takes place. However, due to COVID, organizers had to come up with a creative alternative this year.

Therefore, instead of the 25th annual one-night in-person event, foodies can sample tasty temptations and savor the subtropical flavors of Key West through the “Taste of Key West 2021 Reimagined” dining card.

The value-added dining cards — priced at $106 each, with only 350 to be sold — are usable for an entire year beginning April 19, 2021. They’re ideal for visitors seeking value-added dining or a unique birthday gift.

The cards feature one-time options offered by participating restaurants (click here for the list), such as a complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entrée. Also, hot off the press: select restaurants will be offering two-for-one entrées with the card (wow)!

The more than 30 participating restaurants include local favorites like Alonzo’s Oyster Bar (off-the-charts fresh seafood), La Trattoria (Mama Mia, it’s so good), Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar (trendy and tasty), New York Pasta Garden (delizioso!), and many other local dining superstars that provide a wide variety of cuisine for virtually all tastes.

Alonzo's Oyster Bar Key West

Participating restaurants include local favorites like Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, whose seafood menu is abundant and fresh.

Also, FYI, new Key West restaurants have opened recently with breezy open-air spaces, while many favorite venues have expanded outdoor dining (perfect for people watching and social distancing). And trust me, with spring in the air, you’ll definitely spot people worth watching!

As well as delighting our island’s diners, Key West’s much-admired restaurant owners and personalities, chefs, cooks, and staffs actively give back to the community.

Proceeds from the Taste of Key West 2021 dining cards will benefit the Florida Keys’ A.H. of Monroe County Inc., focusing on accessible healthcare, affordable housing and services for residents living with AIDS or HIV.

So how do you get a dining card for yourself or a lucky gift recipient? They’re available through A.H. of Monroe and will be mailed directly to purchasers.

Plus food lovers and gift seekers who happen to be in Key West can stop by the office of We’ve Got the Keys, located at 922 Caroline St.

(Please note that the card isn’t valid during holidays or special events, and can’t be used in conjunction with any other offers or coupons.)

I hope you can take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to support an amazing cause like A.H. of Monroe, and also support the local restaurant industry as it rebounds from the pandemic.

Want more tasty details? Visit ahmonroe.org/ or ahi.ticketleap.com/taste-of-key-west—2021-dining-card/, or call 305-296-6196 or 305-295-9112.

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