If you are looking for authentic Mexican cuisine, rather than the Tex-Mex many places serve up, go to Manzanillo’s Cocina Mexicana. The décor lends a warm ambiance, accenting flavorful dishes such as fisherman’s soup, Yucatan-style ceviche and the tableside- prepared guacamole. Savor slow-cooked chicken in mole sauce or Veracruz-style broiled red snapper with a glass of red hibiscus or tamarind juice. Flan or pastel de tres leches are top desserts. 13240 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, 260-7635, manzanillosnaples.com
Royale Café Vinoteca is a refreshing European-style casual oasis, three blocks north of busy Fifth Avenue South, marked by a trio of red umbrellas. Enjoy a healthy breakfast or lunch with super-fresh GMO, antibiotic and gluten-free entrees. Pair beautiful quinoa, lentil and Panini dishes with fruit juices, tea, wine or fresh-brewed Segafredo coffee. 180 Tamiami Trail S., Naples, 263-0747, royalecafenaples.com
Fort Myers’ United Café Bar & Bistro’s hardy British and American breakfasts and lunches and welcoming staff are enticing. Traditionalists favor “the King’s English breakfast” with back bacon and sausage; the cheese-topped English cottage pie; and the “farmer’s feast” of Scotch egg, meats, chutney and creamy brie. Specialties are bronzed scallop eggs Benedict, eclectic curries and quiches. Regally relax with English tea, draft beer and wine. 2236 First St., Fort Myers, 362-1831, unitedbistro.com
What We’re Drinking
We ask local wine experts for the bottles they are bringing home.
Good wine, great food and wonderful company can easily make for an extraordinary evening. To me, a special dinner always involves inviting my 94-year-old grandmother, Frances, to join us.
The day started with an inquiry at the local butcher to choose the steaks we would grill tonight, a terrific way to get the most flavorful cuts of meat. Next, a quick stop for broccoli and an organic Red Garnet sweet potato, both my grandmother’s favorites. Since Frances only occasionally drinks red wine, a moderately priced bottle of 2009 Punto Y Seguido Grenache Viñas Viejas from Calatayud Spain was a good choice. This is an up-and-coming wine region of Spain, where fantastic quality and incredible bargains can still be found. With a price under $15, we all enjoyed this immensely.
The wine, harvested from 50-year-old vines and aged for 11 months in French oak, perfectly complemented the meal with tastes of ripe cherries, just the right amount of tannins and a great finish.
Joel Greiff is a sommelier and owner of FANTASTIC! Wine Consulting, which builds and manages wine collections. fantasticwine.biz