Hot Dish & Best Bite
Shannon Yates’ Lush is Fort Myers’ newest restaurant, at the former site of Cin Cin. The eclectic, broad menu covers gourmet tapas and paella, artisanal cheeses sourced worldwide, exotic topped flatbreads, and chicken, beef and elk. Wines, beers and ports fit any price point. Whether dining under a banyan tree or inside, it’s a great place to mingle. Shannon has a large loyal following for his innovative cuisine and live entertainment. Lush, 13456 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers. 791-8554, www.lushfortmyers.com.
Southwest Florida can hop on the hot new trend “bandwagon” of fine mobile kitchens with Scott Sopher’s Nosh Truck. The former chef at Cin Cin and Olio on the Bay offers everything from comfort food to gourmet cuisine at various venues in Lee and Collier counties. His meals feature local farmers and suppliers’ fresh goodness. Savor a variety of breakfast crepes with fresh fruit and Nutella fillings, and Belgian waffles. Try crab cakes, tapas, Korean-style barbecue sliders and gourmet burgers for lunch. Nearly all items are $4 to $9, easy on the wallet. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Mercato has 12 popular restaurants. Top off a great meal there with a visit to Mercato’s brand new cigar bar and lounge, Burn by Rocky Patel. The Arabian nights-style décor is the perfect spot to relax with fine cigars nicely complemented by fine wines, single malt scotches, bourbons and other spirits. Burn, 9110 Strada Place, Naples, 653-9013.
Tony’s Off Third Pastry Chef Emily Duncan creates a light and flavorful strawberry pistachio tart (see cover photo). The dessert is filled with a natural pistachio cream, placed on a thin layer of homemade strawberry jam, and topped with ripe strawberries, pistachio Chantilly and a French macaroon. It is accompanied by a buttery tart, Florida lemon curd and white chocolate accents—a wonderful way to cap off a perfect dinner at Tony’s. 1300 Third St. S., Naples, 262-7999, www.tonysoffthird.com.