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March 10, 2011: BBQ at Music Walk, Cuban feast, India Palace, Roy's and more

BY March 10, 2011
Fort Myers Music Walk has great barbecue classes—and, then, great barbecue
Emmett Todd is, hands down, one of Southwest Florida’s best barbecue cooks. The proof is in his ribs, brisket and pulled pork! I’ve tasted his fare and it’s authentic, slow-cooked barbecue that holds its own against many national competitors in taste and tenderness.
I’ve also taken his $69 barbecue class, where he shares insider secrets on rubs, sprays and cooking styles that will make you a quality barbecuer in your own backyard! He’s a very good teacher.
Emmett Todd’s Backyard BBQ School.
Why share these barbecue facts? There’s a special barbecue double-header March 19 at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers. First, Emmett will hold his Backyard BBQ School from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There, he will give out detailed handouts, demonstrate all aspects of barbecuing, and feed you a delicious lunch. 
Then, for those still hankering for barbecue in the evening, he’ll sell his artisanal fare from 6 p.m. until it’s gone. (Fort Myers Music Walk begins at 7 p.m.) So come for Music Walk and leave with ribs, Redneck Reubens, chicken and brisket! 2301 First St., Fort Myers,

Cuban Cuisine and Art at Naples’ von Liebig

Cuba on My Mind will be on display from March 12 through April 30 at The von Liebig Art Center in downtown Naples, and will open with a preview reception for the exhibition on Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ($10 for nonmembers).
And while the art at the reception promises to be transcendent, let’s not forget about the Cuban cuisine that will be offered there. 
It will include plantains, chicken, pork, galletetas (cookies), a langosta (Caribbean lobster) spread, wines from Chile and  Argentina, a variety of bold cheeses (sharp cheddar, jalapeno, red pepper), and Caribbean fruits platters. 
This is a coup for Naples to have these internationally known artists, their works and this food! 585 Park St., Naples.

India Fest, India Palace—you can’t lose
Fort Myers’ India Fest, held last weekendat Hammond Stadium, is a cultural gem. This year, it exceeded all expectations, with excellent activities for the whole family. I loved the wonderful choreography of the numerous dances!
The dancers of India Fest.
It definitely put me in the mood for Indian culture, especially its cuisine. If you have this hankering, too, I recommend fresh takeout from Fort Myers’ India Palace (11605 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, 939-2323).
Start with the $12 variety tray’s vegetable samosa, meat samosa, seekh kabab, onion bhaji; aloo, chicken and cheese pakoras; and papadam. Then, try some unique sweet Kashmiri naan with raisins, cashews and fruit. Save room for lamb rogan josh, lamb sag or lamb Madras cooked South-Indian style with coconut-tomato sauce ($16-17).
Classic desserts ($4-5) are kulfi, a homemade ice cream with various nuts and rosewater, or gulab jamun’s deep fried sweet pastry balls.
Incense is optional.
Roy’s “My Prix Fixe Mondays”
Go to Roy’s Restaurants Monday evenings, and order any appetizer, any main course and any dessert for only $35.95. This is a great opportunity to try one of my favorite restaurants. I recommend crispy fried calamari, grilled Szechuan-style pork ribs for appetizers, Hawaiian style butterfish, Opa or beef short ribs for the main course, and pineapple upside-down cake or melting chocolate-filled cake. Considering that the entrees alone can be more than $30, this offer is worth it, and the food quality beats any two-for-one you’ll find anywhere! 26831 S. Bay Drive, Bonita Springs, 498-7697 or  475 Bayfront Place, Naples, 261-1416.

Closings in Lee and Collier counties
Fort Myers’ Nirvana Indian Fusion is now closed, and the website and phone are no longer in use. Creative owner James Rajiah brought delicious cuisines, dancing and varied live music to Fort Myers. It did well enough for its first two years, but then crowds dwindled. This is also a significant loss for the music community of Fort Myers.
Naples’ Remy’s Bistro closed suddenly on Feb. 26. The service and food quality had been declining. Owners Kosta Jankovski and Chris Mangovski could not be reached for comment.
Let’s broaden our choices of great Southwest Florida restaurants together. Post your hints and experiences below or e-mail me at

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