Hot Dish

Hot Dish: Dec. 23, 2009

BY December 23, 2009
Inside the Gulfshore’s Dining Scene.
The Capital Grille’s Coconut Crème Pie is Just Ducky
Don’t miss Dessert with a Duck at The Capital Grille from Jan. 1 through Feb. 27. With each purchase of a $10 coconut crème pie, you will receive adoption papers for your own serial-numbered rubber duck to be entered in the Great Venetian Duck Race. 

The Capital Grille’s Coconut Creme Pie.

Then on Feb. 27, 10,000 rubber ducks will be dropped in the bay at The Village on Venetian Bay. Some lucky ducks will win thousands of dollars in fabulous prizes to support the Children’s Museum of Naples. To adopt a duck now, visit The 2009 race raised $87,000, and the 2010 goal is $150,000! The Capital Grille, 9005 Mercato Drive, Naples, 254-0640,

Decanted Wine and Beer Offers Tastings to Fit Your Schedule
Decanted Wine and Beer just had its grand opening, and I predict it will be going strong in 2010. Co-owners Al Fialkovich and Jessica Palmer are outgoing and friendly, offering scheduled wine tastings as well as personal tastings that fit your schedule. In one week, they may offer a flight of California Pinot Noirs, Argentinean reds, select Oregon labels, Chardonnays from various continents, all topped off with a night of tasting a dozen fine beers. 

Wine tasting at Decanted Wine and Beer.

Coming up are two big events: a sampling of Argentinean wines with chocolate, and a tasting of all of Napa’s ZD Wines. Al and Jessica generously share their wine enthusiasm and knowledge. It’s refreshing to taste and then buy wines from lesser-known wineries. Decanted Wine and Beer offers very good pricing on these special “finds,” especially when compared to similar-tasting, yet more costly, generally available wines. Want to have a wine tasting at your home, or for a special event? They’ll do that and even bring a caterer to pair food with wines to make for a memorable event. Decanted Wine and Beer, 1410 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 21, Naples (in Goodlette Corners), 434-1814,

Istanbul Kebab House Brings the Spices of Turkey to Naples
Istanbul Kebab House has wonderful kebabs to savor, with spices direct from Turkey. Owner and Chef Deniz Suuctugu was raised in Istanbul and uses unique, delicious Turkish spices on his kebabs, shish kebabs, salads and desserts. The price is right, with generous sandwiches and gyros ranging from $5 to $8.50. Located in the Coastland Center’s food court, it’s a healthy option for a tasty lunch or dinner. 

Istanbul Kebab House in Coastland Center.

My favorite is the mixed platter ($8), with the savory kebab formed from ground beef, peppers and onions. The shish kebab’s hunks of grilled meat are perfectly charred on a skewer. The gyro is marinated with onions, peppers and seasoning, and served on a bed of rice with a side cooling cup of tzatziki sauce (a Greek-style yogurt with cucumbers, lemon juice and dill) and green salad. Istanbul Kebab House, 1876 Tamiami Trail N., Naples (in Coastland Center’s food court), 263-1862.

Ring In 2010 with Great Food and Entertainment
Chef John Wolff of Casa Ybel’s Thistle Lodge beachfront restaurant on Sanibel is preparing a mouth-watering menu to ring in the New Year from 5-10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31. His array of items, including choice of soup or salad, will range from $50 to $68. Among them will be an herb-crusted rack of lamb, lump crabmeat-stuffed sole, grilled filet mignon and lobster tail, and what some say is Chef John’s piece de resistance, pan-seared sea bass. New York singer and musician Robert Mosci’s smooth, mellow voice will delight guests as they partake in the elegant New Year’s Eve celebration. Thistle Lodge, 2255 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, 472-9200,
The Sandy Butler restaurant on Fort Myers Beach is hosting its own special New Year’s Eve dinner from 5-10 p.m. Guests will enjoy live music, a champagne toast and Chef Michael Ragusa’s four-course dinner. The first course is a choice of lobster bisque or cheese platter. The second course offers half-pound stone crabs or mini Beef Wellington. The third course features a surf and turf entrée that includes a six-ounce Maine lobster tail with eight-ounce filet mignon served with asparagus and fingerling potatoes, or the land and sea option offering Colorado rack of lamb with port demi and stuffed fillet of sole with lump crab meat. Finish with a chocolate soufflé. The cost is $75 per person. The Sandy Butler, 17650 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 482-6765,
It’s Time for Gasparilla Inn & Club’s Annual Food & Wine Weekend
The Gasparilla Inn & Club on Boca Grande invites gourmands and wine enthusiasts to the Annual Food & Wine Weekend beginning Friday, Jan. 15. Guests will learn the cooking techniques of leading chefs, taste wines from the world’s most famous regions and experience the delectable cuisine of the Inn & Club’s Executive Chef Peter Timmins.
During the welcome reception, guests will embark on a virtual tour of the world’s most famous culinary regions, sampling distinguished wines paired with flavorful food. Guests will also meet Chef Timmins as well as guest chefs and vintners. On Saturday, guests will attend culinary events and demonstrations as well as wine tastings. The featured “Master Chef’s Dinner” is a special, multi-course dinner paired with wine selections. For information on specially priced event packages and reservations, call (800) 996-1913 or (941) 964-2201. The Gasparilla Inn & Club, 500 Palm Ave., Boca Grande, (800) 996-1913,
Let’s broaden our dining choices together. Post your hints and experiences of great Southwest Florida restaurants below, as a comment, or e-mail

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