Hot Dish: July 23, 2008
By Ivan Seligman
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene
Go out to eat this week!
Naples Originals, the grassroots association of more than 40 local, independently owned Collier County restaurants, is celebrating its first Restaurant Week through Sunday (July 27). In honor of what will become an annual event, member restaurants are offering a lunch prix fixe at $10.08 per person, and dinner $20.08 per person (not including tax or gratuity). The specials are unique to each restaurant.
Naples Originals is donating $1 for each Restaurant Week lunch or dinner served to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Nice! You get a great meal, and others in Collier County benefit directly from your participation. To learn which restaurants are members of Naples Originals, visit the Web site at www.naplesoriginals.com.
Shannon Yates and Bacchus Come Full Circle
Shannon Yates created Bell Tower Shops’ Bacchus in 2000, left to help create Crü, and now brings Bacchus’ theme of “Krafty Kuisine & Swanky Wine” back to the site briefly occupied by Toro. Try half-priced wines at special Sunday dinners in an atmosphere complete with music videos. Chef Yates’ high energy and innovative, beautiful and very tasty culinary creations set Bacchus apart from the crowd.
Try the salmon ceviche ($7.50), braised short ribs with veal sauce ($20), or the seafood paella ($18). In the next few months, chef Ruth Cohen will offer lunch- and dinner-to-go, seven days a week from the associated Mad Takeout kitchen in the Pine Brook Plaza in south Fort Myers. Also in that plaza, Velvet will soon offer exotic cheese and wines. Bacchus, Bell Tower Shops, south Fort Myers, (239) 437-8676.
Soup and Satay… and Salsa?
Enjoy free salsa dance lessons with Hector Vazquez at Harvest Moon Modern Chinese on Saturday nights from 9:30-10:30, and practice salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton, and even hip-hop till 2 a.m.! Co-owners Paul Prestopino and chef Ricardo Wilson’s creativity has clearly trumped the usual Happy Hour and 2-for-1 offerings, bringing in 150 people on some nights.
Chef Ricardo says, “I’m here to make people happy with great food and dancing. I’ll come out of the kitchen to dance a waltz, fox trot or just about any dance on the floor, and I might even dance on a table!” With Chef’s Choice of appetizers at $2 each, there may be a little room left on our table to dance, between the ten-spice calamari and other chef’s choice treats. Harvest Moon, 14700 Tamiami Trail, Suite 6, Naples, (239) 566-9409.
Riverfront Dining and Jazz
The Shelton Duo's Patricia Dean and Stuart Shelton at Bay House Restaurant
Naples’ Bay House Restaurant has a new lineup of summer fare from executive chef William Blum and chef de cuisine Mickey Bergeron, paired with live jazz. The $25 chef’s summer menu, served from 5 p.m. includes an appetizer, entrée, glass of wine and dessert. A sample menu may include crispy fried oysters, sautéed flounder, glass of white wine and three different sorbets. Another choice may be roasted heirloom beets, oak grilled filet mignon, white wine and a warm Valrhona chocolate soufflé.
The river view with lush mangroves can’t be beat, and the Shelton Duo plays live jazz on Friday’s from 6 to 9 p.m. and during the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday brunch. Bay House Restaurant, 799 Walkerbilt Road, North Naples. Reservations recommended. (239) 591-3837.
South American Delights
Paila marina at Latin Family Bakery
Naples’ Latin Family Bakery serves tasty Chilean and Peruvian fare, and owners Francisco and Jeannette Robles have built up a loyal following over four years. The Paila marina is a filling Chilean seafood soup that’s rich and filled with clams, mussels, fresh fish, crab and octopus for only $13.99.
The empanadas are some of the best I’ve ever tasted from South America. Other classics to try include Aji de Gallina (hen in chili pepper sauce with creamy cheese sauce) or the pastel do choclo, a pie filled with creamed corn, chicken, meat, onion and olives. Latin Family Bakery Restaurant, open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, Bed Bath & Beyond Plaza, corner of Pine Ridge and Airport Pulling roads. (239) 598-3244.
E-mail me your hints and experiences to email@example.com and let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together.