Hot Dish

Hot Dish: July 21, 2010

BY July 21, 2010

Hemingway’s Wine Dinner Offers Four Delicious Courses

A wine dinner is often the best bargain for sampling a restaurant’s finer cuisine and upscale wines. It’s also a great opportunity to make new friends. Hemingway’s Island Grill at Coconut Point in Estero, popular for its family-friendly price point and Caribbean cuisines, is offering its first Four-Course Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29—a $65 value for $34.95 per person.

Hemingway’s Island Grill at Coconut Point

The dinner will start with baby lamb chops with smoked paprika and warm hummus, paired with Bearboat Pinot Noir. For the second course, Hogue Chardonnay Reserve 2006 will accompany grilled zucchini, onion and shaved ricotta salata over mixed greens with cherry-Dijon vinaigrette. The evening’s star will be seared filet mignon with tuna carpaccio “crepes” stuffed with wild mushroom ragout, paired with Cosentino Cigar Zinfandel. One of my favorite desserts is grilled pound cake. Hemingway’s version has poached pears and blueberry mascarpone ice cream, to be savored with Bluefield Riesling. Hemingway’s Island Grill, 8001 Plaza Del Lago Drive, Estero, 495-7240.

Fast, Affordable, Tasty Chinese in Bonita Springs

New Jasmine Garden opened at Springs Plaza in Bonita Springs by Sweetbay Supermarket and Iguana Mia. With four tables inside and fast service, it’s ideal for dining in or take-out, with free local delivery for orders greater than $15.

New York-style Chinese cuisine is offered at very family-friendly prices. Most lunch specials, served with pork fried rice and hot soup, are $5. Dinner items are $6 to $12. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Saturday; only dinner is served on Sunday. New Jasmine Garden, 8951 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 550, Bonita Springs, 495-6688,

Comings and Goings…

Grillroom Chophouse & Wine Bar at Coconut Point in Estero, part of a national chain, has closed after three years. I was not surprised. Whenever I went by over the past year, there was no shortage of happy hour patrons, but few were dining inside.

Dixie Fish Company on Fort Myers Beach closed after being a quaint landmark for many years. Owner Ken Pool could not be reached for comment.

V & J Bistro on Fort Myers Beach has recently closed. The quintessential mom-and-pop place, which served imaginative, nicely plated food, closed due to financial and other reasons.

Bayshore Landing Café has closed on Bayshore Drive in Naples. The wonderful coffee house/entertainment concept originated about five years ago a mile away as the Bayshore Coffee Company, then moved to the Palm Tree Plaza in 2009 and closed. Singer/guitarist Robyn Schoessel and cook/husband Kenney opened the café earlier this year and made a valiant go of it. I’ve heard everything from bluegrass, torch singers, operatic soloists, rock bands, alternative music and comedy teams at both locations over the years. It will be missed.

Let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together. Post your hints and experiences below or e-mail me at

Related Images: