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Friday, June 24, 2016

Lunch at Araya

is a restaurant in Naples, FL featuring sushi, grilled Asian and Thai cuisine. Araya in Thai means rare. My dining companion (DC) and I that day decided to go to Araya for lunch.

They have a pleasant, commodious indoor dining area

and outdoor seating as well.

DC and I decided to try a number of starters off their Menu

Duck buns were first.

Steamed buns were filled with duck, cucumber, scallions and hoisin sauce. Not bad.

Korean BBQ short ribs were ordered with kimchee. Not bad but I prefer more chutzpah with my short ribs, these were a bit anemic for me.

Tuna Yukke was served with Masago, avacado, seaweed salad and shredded cucumber. Tasty!

The two standouts of this meal were Hamachi carpaccio, with jalapeno, cilantro and Yuzu/Ponzu sauce. The sauce must have additional Yuzu added to it or it's just a superfluous descriptive.

This was excellent, I could have eaten two more.

The grilled octopus was also a standout.

It was great and served with a garlic as well as a pepper Aioli. I am a "sucker" for octopus and this fit the bill.

The food at Araya, though not rare, was very good. I liked most and loved some of what was ordered that day. The food piqued my interest, and I will absolutely return to try more items.

That's that for another post on forks.

2650 Immokalee Rd.
Naples, FL 34110

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Media Dinner at Sea Salt

Public relations (PR) is sort of a nebulous term to the uninitiated of us. What exactly is PR? The Public Relations Society of America defines it more globally as a tool to help “an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” This is done in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to, press releases, speech writing, creating special events targeting the public and media and market research on a client's messaging and outreach. To some of these ends, some local media outlets and I were contacted by Preddy PR , a local PR firm, to attend a media dinner at Sea Salt, a restaurant in Naples.

Sea Salt was preparing something really special for all of us. As a courtesy to both Preddy PR and Sea Salt and of possible interest for readers, I had documented the evening.

A social hour preceded our meal, and participants, mostly knowing each other in a journalistic capacity, had a chance to catch up.

A number of very interesting passed starters were served to participants. These included truffle caramel drops, the combination of the two intriguing,

liquid Mozzarella, cherry tomato and balsamic jelly

and completely over the top lobster Rubens.

We all sat down in anticipation of a very nice meal,

while one of the proprietors,  Ingrid Aielli, made all of us comfortable with her savior faire.

The meal was a complement to all attending, and included a wine pairing with each of the nine courses.

I do not want readers to get lost in the details, but wines served included a French Rose, Vouvray, a Malbec, California Cabernet and the dessert wine Sauternes.

For those of you who do prefer the details, here was the evening's menu.

It was interesting watching the chefs plate out some of our courses,

and included chefs Brooke Kravetz, Sous Chef, Josh Zeman, Executive Chef, Jason Goddard, Corporate Executive Chef and Fabrizio Aielli, Chef Owner.

Here were some of the standouts, though the whole evening's meal was quite wonderful.

Prosciutto di Parma, frozen Gorgonzola and pistachio drops,

Bigoli and octopus with Amatriciana sauce,

Breaded swordfish (Milanese) with egg, capers, anchovy and rosemary sauce and

Piedmontese New York strip, seared Porcini mushrooms, ricotta and potato Mousseline.

Everyone finished with a Humbolt Fog cheese with burnt marshmallow (Brulee) and chocolates and mini macarons.

I cannot thank the proprietors, Fabrizio and Ingrid Aielli, in addition to Preddy PR enough for their organization and execution of this delightful social and dining experience. I hope I will be fortunate to be included on their guest list next year!

Sea Salt
1186 3rd St. S.
Naples, FL 34102

Friday, June 10, 2016

Three Latin Restaurants Worth the Drive In Naples, FL

Salsa Brava is a restaurant that serves Mexican Cuisine.
Jose, the owner, serves many excellent Mexican dishes here. Some of them are recipes handed down from his grandmother.
My dining companion and I tried a number of items on our visit.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy Hour at Fish Crazy

is a restaurant in Naples, FL. As the discerning reader may surmise, they are a seafood restaurant. 
Fish Crazy has been open since early 2015.

Recently they have started a happy hour that runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. I am always looking for a good happy hour, and heard it was exceptional. As such, my dining companion (DC) and I went to take a peek.

Happy hour is offered at both the bar,

and restaurant.

Their happy hour is extensive

and has 11 food items on it. There are also "dos para uno" specials on beverage.

DC and I tried a number of things, really too many.

DC ordered a fish taco, seafood quesadilla and sriracha-cucumber tuna tartare.

The fish tacos were very good.

Fried grouper was served with chopped cabbage, tomato, avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo and a chipotle flavored creme sauce.

The seafood quesadilla was next and came with gulf shrimp and scallops.

Highly recommended.

The sriracha-cucumber tuna tartare was excellent and was served with seaweed salad as a garnish.

I am a fool for fish tacos, so that's what I ordered. Additionally I wanted to try the grouper fingers.

They were very good as were the firecracker shrimp, which were fried shrimp in a sort of spicy duck sauce.

DC has not eaten much alligator so DC ordered, off the happy hour menu, a gator taco.

We thought the kitchen had made a mistake and given us fish. No, it just looked like a fish taco. Another highly recommended item.

I had to try one more thing, the grouper fish and chips.

It may have been that I was so full at this point I wasn't into eating anymore but although good, my least favorite of the evening. It tasted pretty good with a drizzle of malt vinegar.

If you like seafood, the happy hour at Fish Crazy is one of the best in town. The seafood is excellent on par with the value.

I highly recommend this happy hour and no question, will be back.

Fish Crazy
14700 Tamiami Trail N.
Naples, FL 34110

Friday, May 27, 2016

Three Naples/Fort Myers Restaurants Serving Breakfast Worth a Drive

Breakfast lovers are different. They all seem to have their favorite breakfast spot that is off the radar and known to few but themselves. There are many in the area to choose from and if you are not a breakfast aficionado, it can be a difficult choice. Here are three that have made an impression on me. Read More

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Blue Ribbon Evening:Peter Michael Wines at Bleu Provence

is an establishment in Naples, FL that serves French food. The proprietors are Jacques Cariot and his wife, Lysielle, who is the restaurant’s Chef De Cuisine. 
Recently, Bleu Provence sponsored a very special food and wine pairing with Peter Michael Wine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kat Epple and Nathan Dyke at The Happehatchee Center

is a 5 acre preserve of land in Estero, FL. As you enter Happehatchee

and learn more about the property it has an interesting history. It was acquired by the Girl Scouts in the middle of the 20th century until sold to a private individual in 1972. Over time, it became a property that was environmentally and spiritually friendly and became open to the public in a limited fashion in 2013.

The Happehatchee Center offers a number of community events. There are Children's programs, Events for whom English is not a primary language and spiritual events such as Yoga in Nature.

Perusing the center they had some interesting things including a Labyrinth 

and a bridge (albeit closed) across the Estero River.

Recently, the center sponsored a concert by Emmy and Peabody awardee Kat Epple accompanied by Nathan Dyke. 

Before the performance, there was a potluck dinner with many interesting items. Attendees brought shared items such as deviled eggs,

fried chicken, corn bread and Quinoa.

Attendees had a great time sharing

and engaging in conversation.

The musical performance by Kat Epple and Nathan Dyke was exceptional.

Ms. Epple per usual held a stunning woodwind performance

while Mr, Dyke complemented on instruments such as the Digeridoo 

 and the Ngoni

This was a wonderful evening of food, camaraderie and music. Highly recommended.

Happehatchee Center
8791 Corkscrew Rd.
Estero, FL 33928