Along the Gulfshore


Sunday's finest


 

Sunday brunching is fast becoming a tradition in my world. I’m not sure why I didn’t recognize how perfectly it completes a weekend earlier in life, but I’m more than making up for it now. So I’ve been working my way around various brunching establishments in Southwest Florida, all in the name of research, of course.

So far, I’ve had a couple standouts that, by virtue of how delish they were the first time, I’ve been compelled to return to. The Jolly Cricket, located smack in the middle of downtown Naples, offers the type of menu where you can’t go wrong. I’m partial to the lobster and crab croissant—seafood salad with avocado, sprouts, ginger aioli, lettuce and tomato—but the lox platter is also a must try. And everything comes with a generous serving of fresh fruit, perfect for balancing out any gluttony (in my mind, anyway).

BUT. No brunch is complete without a mimosa or bloody Mary, and this is where The Jolly Cricket really shines. If you sit at the bar, they’ll serve your fresh-squeezed mimosa in a wine glass, which means even more bang for your buck. I’m not a bloody Mary type of girl, but I’m assured that they’re spectacular, too. And its location encourages you to take a stroll down Fifth Avenue South when you’re finished.

If you’ve got a larger group, Naples Tomato is your best bet. The first time we went there, we stared at the menu for a good minute or two before simultaneously blurting out, “…Wait. You get all this for under $13?” The waitress, not surprisingly, was accustomed to that reaction. She confirmed that, yes, you actually do get an all-you-can-eat buffet, with all sorts of baked goodies, fruit, pancakes, pastas, quiche and more, AND an entrée of your choice. Plus mimosas are only $4. As per our seasoned waitress’ advice, be prepared to stay a while. Bring along some good company, and you’ll be set for a good part of your Sunday.

Of course, a reporter’s work is never done. The experiment continues this weekend…