Hot Dish

Hot Dish: May 28, 2008

BY May 28, 2008
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene

Learn to cook like Roy

Chef Roy Yamaguchi and Ivan Seligman at Roy’s in Naples

Chef Roy Yamaguchi sure packed the house at Roy’s in Naples on Saturday as he personally hosted “Taste of Twenty Years Dinner.” His Hawaiian fusion cuisine was wonderfully seasoned, beautifully presented, and well-paired with Gary Branham’s Branham Estate Wines. Roy, with 37 eponymous restaurants worldwide, is calm, quiet and clearly respected and loved by his staff. He cooked on the line and greeted admirers with a word and a handshake. Try the upside down pineapple cake, check out his cookbook, Fish & Seafood, and cook up a favorite!


Judi Gallagher and Jeannie Lee at Roy’s in Naples

So you missed the dinner? Not a problem! Join Chef Javier Vasquez at Roy’s in Naples (475 Bay Front Place, across from Tin City) at 10:30 a.m. June 10 for a cooking class. The menu: Thai chicken wraps with peanut dipping sauce followed by shrimp pad Thai with golden coconut broth. Call (239) 261-1416 for reservations. Or visit Chef Wade Lowe at Roy’s at The Promenade in Bonita Springs (26831 South Bay Drive), also on June 10, for hibachi-grilled salmon and butterfish. Call (239) 498-7697. All lunchtime cooking classes will be held on the second Tuesday of each month.


Comings and Goings

Chardonnay Nouveau’s new executive chef, Mark Guilbault of Dinners by Design, is adding new and beautiful creations to the menu. The setting is sleek and inviting. Summer specials include Happy Hour from 5-6:30 p.m., salad, choice of prime rib or baked cod, veggies and a dessert for only $23.95. Add an innovative $5 martini, 50-cent fresh shucked oysters and 25-cent classic escargot, and you’ll be dining with plenty of company! I’ve dined with former chef Claude’s selections for years and look forward to chef Guilbault’s creativity. I also look forward to chef Greg Shapiro opening Chardonnay’s catering, with offerings from barbecue to fine dining. Chardonnay Nouveau, 2331 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. Call (239) 261-3111.
Sanibel Island’s Casa Ybel Resort Thistle Lodge has two new chefs, John Wolff and Jamie Crist, both formerly of Sanibel Harbour Resort. Former food and beverage manager Suzanne Watral has left Thistle Lodge. New elegant food and wine pairings will be presented at the Lodge, as the menu evolves with seasonal creations. This is perhaps THE most romantic setting in an Old Florida-style building on the Gulf, perched over a sand dune. I like to walk barefoot along their beach after dinner.
It’s a Grind recently closed the doors of its Naples Mission Square Pine Ridge store. This is a particular loss, as it was one of the few coffeehouses with live entertainment. Be it acoustic guitar, New Age flute or musicians jamming, this was the place to go for an intimate setting. Now, it leaves Naples with just two options for coffee house entertainment: Bayshore Coffee’s Open Mike every Wednesday at 8 p.m., at 3570 Bayshore Drive, (239)775-5676, and The Bean, at 8803 U.S. 41 N, Naples, (239) 594-0088.
The former location of Sanibel Steakhouse in Bonita Springs became Cozze’s and is now Angelina’s Ristorante. Angelina’s looks to stay the course, serving treats such as duck risotto, butternut squash ravioli, lamb with prosciutto and apricots, and traditional Italian favorites. Angelina’s is across from The Ship, at 24041 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, (239) 390-3187.

Tempting the Tastebuds

Chef Brian Elwell serves a guest at the 25th Annual Taste of Collier.

The 25th Annual Taste of Collier brought more than 30 restaurants and staff to Naples’ Bayfront for a sunny day of food tasting and the annual Waiter/Waitress Race. Children flocked to the carving of 500-pound blocks of ice into ships, whimsical birds and even a sailfish! Very well attended were Stoney’s, Tropical Reef, Grill Club Churrascaria, Fleming’s, Planet Smoothie and Salad Creations. Special treats were Kiko’s Argentinean empanadas, Noodle Saigon’s satays and Bella Maria’s ceviche and tiny fruit pies. Executive chef Brian Elwell, formerly chef at sophisticated Moorings Park, served a chicken mango cilantro wrap… and serves a different ministry: introducing St. Matthew’s new catering branch. Chef Elwell conjures tasty meals from donated foods to feed the homeless. He also mentors some homeless people and teaches basic kitchen and cooking skills.

E-mail me your hints and experiences to and let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together.

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