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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dinner at Sasse's



is an Italian-themed restaurant in Fort Myers, FL. I had dined here many years ago and remembered it as very good. I decided to go back for another visit with a dining companion (DC).
Sasse's had been around in some form or fashion for 24 years. The present and 4th owner is the restaurant's chef who purchased Sasse's 3 years ago after working there a number of years. He is one of the few one encounters that takes pride in ownership, and it shows in his food. More on that later. As you walk into the restaurant they have a very retro, but homey primary dining area


with an open air kitchen.


Again, I like kitchens such as these as I think it helps diners connect more with their food.

There is also a rear and very red seating area that can be used as a more intimate and/or private dining area.


Now for the food. They had a number of really good items on their Menu and DC and I shared a few of them.

Some really great Parmesan-encrusted Focaccia bread was brought to the table before our order.


The first thing that was sampled was the Escargot.


They were prepared in a Sherry/Gorgonzola cream sauce, which was a first for me. Delicious!

The Mussels were next, another really good dish.


These were served in a Saffron cream sauce, with fennel, onion garlic, red pepper and topped with broccoli and Mizuna Microgreens. Awesome!

Being very full at this point, DC and I decided to split an order of beef Short Ribs. 

Starting off with a split simple house salad with a balsamic vinaigrette that came with the entree,


we were then brought the short ribs.


The dish was served with a wine/beef stock reduction sweetened with Root Vegetables, and asparagus, potatoes, microgreens with a couple of edible Honeysuckle flowers for good measure. This was very good and one of the better short ribs dishes I have eaten.

Sasse's is a bit off the beaten path.  Please go out of your way, as the food at Sasse's is really good, some of the best I have had in the area. When in Fort Myers, I cannot wait to go back for more!


It's a wrap for another post on forks.

Sasse's
3651 Evans Ave. #101
Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239)278-5544

Sasse's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cooperage

There are a number of processes that go into crafting wine. A cooper is an integral part of this.

A Cooper is a highly specialized craftsman who makes among other things, wine barrels (photo courtesy of Wikipedia) . 


Of course, the type of wood chosen has a huge influence on the finished product. E.G., American vs. French Oak, the latter being 3 times more expensive than the former and both woods imparting much different flavors to the finished product.

Still being an "Ingenue" to this whole process, I found it interesting how the finished barrels came to be, known as Cooperage.  I urge readers to watch the latter "Cooperage" link. It is amazing and will help people to understand why wines can be so costly due to the hand craftsmanship that is seen by the coopers in addition to the vintners, the wine producers.

Considering a wine barrel has a life of 5 to 7 Years, no wonder people have chosen alternate methods such as Oak Chips in Stainless Steel Barrels as a substitute.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dinner at Reuben's Smokehouse and Jazz at SBDAC

Friday, March 20th was the first day of Spring. My dining companion (DC) and I decided to celebrate with some food and music.

We chose to try Reuben's Smokehouse.


This was in part because at present it is rated #2 of all Fort Myers Restaurants on Tripadvisor.

As you walk into Reuben's, they have an open air kitchen,



which I have always liked as I think it helps diners connect a bit better with their food. When you think about it, the Japanese have been doing this successfully for years with their Teppanyaki cooking.

The dining area is small but homey (love the light fixtures).


If you need to and don't want to wait for a table, there is shared seating as well.


Now for the food. DC and I ordered a number of items from the "barbecue" menu, which comes with 2 sides.  Beaten To The Punch, DC ordered the pulled pork plate. Drat!


I have always been of the opinion that one of the true tests of smoked meats is that they can stand by themselves. That is be good without the addition of any sauces, like the meats served Here, where I have been lucky enough to dine at.
Although good, I didn't think this dish could do that. The saving grace of this dish was the side of black beans. The black beans that were served with this dish were excellent, nicely flavored with sausage. I tried some of DC's side salad,


just o.k.

I ordered the beef Brisket.


This was a different story. This was one of the better brisket dishes I have ever had and was great without any condiments. The green beans I ordered were also really good, seasoned with garlic, onions, white wine and bacon. The Cole Slaw was really fresh, almost "bright" but a bit sweet for my taste.
All of the barbecue plates come with bread and strawberry jam made in house.

Talking about condiments, you can have a number of Barbecue Sauces to put on your food if you wish, all made in house.


From left to right, there is a vinegar based sauce, a sweet sauce, a pineapple-Habanero sauce (my favorite) and a mustard-based sauce.

On the whole, I thought the food was not bad and would like to go back and try a few more items. At least for me, it seemed like hit and miss that day.

Now for the music.



is an iconic, Neo Classical-Styled art center in Fort Myers, FL. For an interesting bit of history on SBDAC, go Here.

They host a number of different Events. The event that evening was a jazz concert by Grammy Award nominee, Carla Cook, and friends. I did not anticipate this, but was glad I bought tickets in advance as it was sold out by the day of the performance.

As attendees waited for the performance to begin,


there was a cash bar and a few nibbles. The ZU girls were there as well,




providing patrons samples of Zu Vodka. I was unfamiliar with this brand, and asked if it was zoo, and was told no, "Z-U".  Well, Z-U too I thought, and went to go find a seat.

The performance was excellent



and I really enjoyed being in the shadow of these wonderfully talented musicians.


After the show the crowd gave them an almost obligatory standing ovation,


and as I walked outside


I considered myself lucky to see such quality entertainment that evening. Ms. Cook and friends may be back next year. If they come back go see them, they will not disappoint.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Reuben's Smokehouse
11506 S. Cleveland Ave.
Fort Myers, FL 33907
(239)931-0420

Reuben' Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

The Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center
2301 First St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
(239)333-1933

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lunch at Mediterrano



is a dining spot on 13th Ave S. just off 3rd St. S. They have been open about 3 weeks, even too new for reviews on Urbanspoon or Tripadvisor! Besides their outdoor dining area they also have a very nice, if intimate indoor space serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.


My dining companion (DC) and I decided to try the restaurant for Lunch.

DC was in brunch mode, and ordered the eggs Benedict.



It was very good, and I can say that the breakfast potatoes served with this dish were the best I have ever had. Their seasoning, bacon, rosemary and oregano, was exceptional.

I opted for the "antipasto" salad.


This was also great, mixed greens flavored with chicken, salami, provolone, Kalamata olives and a red wine vinaigrette. It may not look like much, but most of the flavor is hidden underneath your greens.

After lunch DC and I walked down to the Naples Pier


and there was no shortage of people enjoying a beautiful day that afternoon.




The food at Mediterrano was great. I cannot wait to go back. A meal there, along with it's location promises an afternoon or evening that will not disappoint.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Mediterrano
336 13th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102
(239)261-7498


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lunch at the Real Macaw



is a restaurant in Naples, FL. They are one of the originals, and have been around for almost 25 years. Talking about originals, they are part of Naples Originals, a consortium of about 40 locally-owned restaurants. Every quarter, Naples Originals has a 30% off sale on Gift Certificates on some of their member restaurants. Having purchased one on their last sale for The Real Macaw, my dining companion (DC) and I decided to check out lunch there. It has been many years since I have dined there.

This restaurant is very East Naples neighborhood, "funky-dunky". I think this is mostly because of the Key West Style Architecture partially exemplified by the Bright Pastels used in the restaurant's decor. I only mention this as this area of town is rapidly becoming gentrified. One day there will no longer be places such as this in the area.

They have a number of open air dining areas




inside at the bar


and a dining area for dinner service.


The bar/lunch menu is served outside all day and in the bar area.




DC and I tried a number of things from the menu. The first was the portobello tower.


This was a stack of potatoes, spinach, Portobello mushroom, tomato and blue cheese. It was pretty good. The dish was sort of Comfort Food to me, probably because of the cheese and potatoes.

Unfortunately, the meal went downhill from there.

DC ordered the calamari salad.


Calamari was served over a very anemic portion of greens which were made even more anemic by placing hot seafood over them. The calamari were garlic-seasoned but very unevenly. Some tasted like garlic and some did not.

I ordered the fish tacos. Somehow I got shrimp. No big deal, still "fish", right?


The shrimp were billed as grilled, but as you can see, they were pretty much frozen cooked shrimp that were thawed. The yoghurt dressing and feta cheese were totally overpowering, why bother to put any seafood in here?

On the whole the meal was disappointing. Perhaps we just ordered the wrong thing. Would I come back? Perhaps for dinner but not in a hurry.

 

That's that for another post on Forks.

The Real Macaw
3275 Bayshore Dr.
Naples, FL 34112
(239)732-1188

Real Macaw on Urbanspoon