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From the Editor

David Sendler (Stefan Andreev)We editors can’t restrain ourselves. You’ve got our readers poll Best Of choices (p. 66), our editors’ and experts’ picks (p. 59) and—please forgive our enthusiasm—more from us editors below.

Best Spot to Stop and Smell the Roses

Naples Botanical Garden, which offers the fragrance and beauty of its stunning venues and even helps body and soul with its Sunday morning yoga classes.

Best Master of Time

Clockmaster of Naples. This is the charming, Scottish master craftsman Jack Anderson, whose deft fingers and encyclopedic knowledge can get your ailing timepieces—from a 1700s grandfather clock to a Rolex—ticking happily ever after.

Best Rookie of the Year in Higher Education

James Towey, CEO of Ave Maria University, who has stepped in for the legendary Tom Monaghan and propelled the university forward with his vision, smart management and sense of community.

Best Dessert for Your Pocketbook

Jason’s Deli in North Naples will not only tickle your taste buds with such offerings as the New York Yankee (hot pastrami and hot corned beef) but will finish it off with free ice cream from dispensers at the back of the eatery.

Best Taste of the Sea

Sea Salt in downtown Naples. Chef Fabrizio Aielli continues to dazzle with his innovative flourishes, and the daily shipment of fresh fish—even from faraway spots like Hawaii—guarantees gourmets the pure pleasures they’re seeking.

Best Treat for Yourself

(And others, if you’re up for sharing.) Those chocolate ganache cakes that the Publix stores turn out are wonders of flavor, texture and décor—an irresistible combination to discover at your local supermarket.

Best Quick Fix for Your Ethnic Foods Craving

Our new Trader Joe’s in Naples knows just what you like in spicy flavors and offers many a frozen taste treat for a fast dinner after a hard day’s work. We like the prices, too.

Best Bet for Culinary Surprise

Charlie Chiang’s keeps wanting to top itself with its superb Chinese cuisine. Its new Flowering Fish dish (petite fish filets rolled into a beautiful flower and steamed with a fermented rice sauce) is a perfect example of its creative flair.

Best Empire Builder, Restaurant Division

Dining mogul Sandy Stilwell’s seemingly got her finger in every pot in Lee County with her holdings in Keylime Bistro, RC Otter’s Island Eats, Cantina Captiva, Latte Da Coffee Shop & Deli, Sunshine Café, Sunshine Grille and Captiva Pizza.

Best Way to Say Goodbye to a Legend

The two days of Thank You Myra tributes at the Phil for its retiring founder, CEO and creative genius Myra Daniels blended stellar performances (including surprise guest Michael Feinstein), warm reminiscences and the outpouring of affection from her many admirers.

Best Snack for a Movie

Sure, there’s always popcorn, but try the truffle fries at Silverspot Cinema in Naples to add some zing to your star gazing. Sinful, yes: They’re just the right mix of salty and gooey and they go down oh-so-nicely with the wine or beer you can carry into the theater.

Best Return to the Age of Aquarius

Shelly Stayer’s 50th birthday bash at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, brought back the Woodstock days—hippie beads, leisure suits, headbands and all. You had the turned-on guests snapping to the beat of those great old ’60s tunes, former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason on hand in an outrageous wig, the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro creating and personally delivering a cool themed cake. It was peace and bliss for all.

Best New Reason to Go to Fifth Avenue South

Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro is moving from North Naples to downtown and Proprietor/Chef Michael Mir will be whipping up those exotic dishes with customary flair. Expect plenty of nifty seasonings and lots of fresh local produce. Ambiance? How about a new tiered Persian garden?

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