October 22, 2014

Hot Dish

Inside the Gulfshore's Dining Scene

March 2012

03/21/12

Barbatella Brings Delectable Italian Delights

Barbatella Spirited Italian Trattoria recently opened at the corner of  Naples’ Third Street  South and 13th  Avenue South, offering a bounty of foods in a trio of welcome settings. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunlit open courtyard—perfect for people watching; have a pizza, salad, grilled steak or fish  in the cozy brick-lined  trattoria, or get comfy in the spacious new bar that also overlooks Third Street. Where else can you choose from three wonderful and quite different dining settings?  The food is light, healthy and full of flavor— like its nearby big sister, Chef Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli and Lily Montes’ highly regarded Sea Salt. I enjoyed orecchiette with sausage, roasted Berkshire pork, half Long Island duck, lamb chops, fried calamari and several...

Posted at 11:00 PM | Permalink

03/14/12

Trader Joe’s: Here’s what all the fuss is about

  Naples’ Trader Joe’s opened last month, and thousands of local patrons couldn’t be happier. After giving it a few days to weed out the monster crowds, we decided to take a peek and see what the fuss is about. Trader Joe’s (“TJ’s” to the faithful) enjoys a well-deserved, cult-like following for interesting, relatively inexpensive, good food. There’s a casual Caribbean look now at the former Borders bookstore with waterskiing cows, beaches and boats on the walls. The food is generally organic or wild-caught, with funky “shrimp corn dogs” tossed in for good measure. Most patrons I talked to flock to TJ’s for “healthy,” “unique” and “tasty” foods. I've had fun buying and tasting my way across the store.   Their $2.99 “Two-Buck Chuck” Charles...

Posted at 11:40 PM | Permalink

03/07/12

Food trucks: A delicious bounty on wheels

Have you been to a food truck rally? It’s the best. Across the country, food trucks have been  culinary magnets on wheels. The prices are inexpensive ($3to $9) for good-sized portions. Each truck’s chef specializes in unique dishes that have been honed to perfection. You get to sample perhaps 10 chefs’ top dishes, with the trucks within  20 feet or so of each other.   Seminole Immokalee Casino will be hosting Paradise Food Truck Rally every Sunday in March from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  with a Live DJ. Each week, there’s a different set of trucks, coming from Miami to Tampa and Gainesville.  I’ve been and can’t get enough of the variety. Treat the event as a tailgate party—bring chairs, perhaps a table, or grab a blanket for a picnic lunch feast. Best part for...

Posted at 11:23 PM | Permalink