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Saturday, December 13, 2014

California Pizza Kitchen

is a Casual Dining restaurant chain.  There are over 200 locations worldwide. They have recently started a renovation of their existing restaurants. Naples, FL was one of the first ten renovations. To promote this, CPK invited a number of local food-oriented people and provided food samplings gratis.

The Naples, FL location has been operating for very many years, and their makeover was significant.

Their dining space is much improved, commodious and inviting.

We sampled a number of  items from a special menu culled from their regular menu for this event.

We were served some of their signature cocktails to start, here are a couple of them

The ginger tangerine cooler, lemonade with Monin orange/tangerine flavors, fresh ginger and oranges was the first,

followed by the blueberry ginger smash.

This drink was flavored with Monin Agave Nectar, ginger, bourbon, and blueberries and lime. These drinks were good though being more of a Savory than sweet person, I was more interested in the entree items.

Now for the food. The first thing brought to the table was the bianco flatbread.

Gorgonzola and Mozzarella cheeses were accented by sage leaves and Truffle Cream Sauce. Not bad, but better was the brussels sprouts and bacon flatbread.

Roasted Brussles Sprouts, Carmelized Onions, bacon, goat and Romano cheeses topped this flatbread, delicious.

We then were treated to the"sunny side up" bacon and potato pizza.

Fingerling potatoes, bacon, caramelized Leeks, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses were topped with 2 Fried Eggs. Very savory and right up my alley.

Harvest kale salad was next.

Baby Kale, Farro, Butternut Squash, pear slices, Cranberries, Pecans, goat cheese and a citrus Vinaigrette made this salad which was very good.

Chicken was next. Roasted chicken breast was brought to our table served with potatoes, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower and a lemon garlic sauce.

Now for a few entrees.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak,

served with potatoes and a lemon/garlic Arugula salad, and

served with a corn and spinach Succotash and Feta cheese.

Another fish dish, Halibut,

was sampled served atop butternut squash, farro, kale and grilled asparagus. All of these dishes were really good but at this point, I was glad there were 3 other people dining at the table.

If all this wasn't enough, we were also brought a few desserts to try.


with chocolate pudding, chocolate chunks, Graham Crackers and Marshmallows

in addition to the salted caramel pudding,

were brought to the table served in glass canning jars which I thought lent itself to a very nice presentation.

Finally their Butter Cake was brought for us to try.

Another really good dish for those with a sweet tooth.

After all of this, our table was invited to learn how to toss pizza dough by CPK's chief Executive Chef, Brian Sullivan.

A very nice ending to an evening at CPK.  I was very impressed by the quality of the food and would come back without hesitation.

That's that for another post on Forks.

California Pizza Kitchen
5555 Tamiami Trail North
Naples, FL 34108

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 8, 2014

Happy Hour at Avenue 5 and The Christmas Tree Lighting On 5th Avenue South

is a restaurant on 5th Avenue South in Naples, FL. My dining companions (DCs) and I decided to try happy hour here while waiting for the annual Christmas tree lighting in adjacent Sugden Square. The restaurant has been open for about 1 year.

The interior of the restaurant is both contemporary and beautiful.
southwest florida forks

southwest florida forks

There is even outside seating which that evening was ground zero for the Christmas tree lighting.

Happy hour runs daily from 4:30-6:00 P.M., with special pricing on various items.

My DCs and I sampled a number of things. The first was a deconstructed Oysters Rockefeller.

Cornmeal-encrusted oysters were served atop spinach with bacon bits, and topped with a Sabayon/Fennel Jam mixture. Not bad.

Another dish that was ordered was the lump crab cake oscar.

This was the restaurant's take on this Classic Dish, served with Bernaise Sauce and asparagus. I do not usually order crab cakes out as they are frequently "short on the crab and long on the cake". This was not the case that night, and this was probably my favorite of the evening.

The barbecue duck flatbread came next.

I love duck, especially Confit Of Duck, which is what came with this dish. However, I thought the pineapple really clashed with the Savoriness of the other ingredients ( Caramelized Onions, peppers and Monterey Jack cheese.)

Better was the vegetarian flatbread,

topped with squash, zucchini, baby Arugula and Monterey Jack cheese.

Finally the steakhouse burger was sampled.

This meal in itself dish was topped with Gruyere cheese, an onion ring, roasted mushrooms, Bernaise sauce and a version of Irish Nachos, potatoes making the nachos Irish. I am not much of a hamburger person but this dish was not bad.

On the whole, I thought the happy hour offerings were good and will come back again.

Being very full at this point my DCs and I decided to join everyone else outside

for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

After wandering 5th Avenue for a bit which was closed that evening to accommodate the crowd,

and still very full I felt tired like the attendee in this picture and decided to call it a night.

Merry Christmas everyone! That's that for another review on Forks.

Avenue 5 Restaurant
699 5th Avenue South
Naples, FL 34102

Avenue 5 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chez Boet Restaurant, Naples Originals and Cruising With The Chefs

Lisa Boet, co-owner of Chez Bo√ęt French Home Cooking and founder of Naples Originals was on Southwest Florida Forks radio show giving listeners her thoughts on food. She also talked a bit about the upcoming sale tomorrow, December 1, on Naples Originals gift certificates and next year's Cruising With The Chefs event( ). For more on the food scene in Southwest Florida check out my food blog, .

Friday, November 28, 2014

St. Matthew's House and Executive Chef Christofer Jubinville

Chef  Kristofer Jubinville was on Southwest Florida Forks radio show on WGUF 98.9 FM. Listeners were treated to his views on food and also about some of the things SMH does for the needy over the holidays. For more about food, check out my food blog, Southwest Florida Forks-

Wine Pairings With Turkey for Thanksgiving With Master Sommelier Barrie Larvin

Master Sommelier, Barrie Larvin, gave us his thoughts on wine pairings with turkey for the holidays or at any time on Southwest Florida Forks radio show WGUF, 98.9 FM. For more on food, visit my food blog,

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lee County Restaurant Week 2014

Interview with Nancy Macphee, Program Manager of product development for The Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau talking about Lee County Restaurant Week 11/2- 11/9/2014. Ms. Macphee was interviewed on Southwest Florida Forks radio show, which runs every Saturday from 2:20-2:35 PM on 98.9 FM, WGUF


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dinner at Randy's Fish Market Restaurant

is an eponymously- named restaurant in North Naples, FL as it is both a fishmarket

and a restaurant. As you walk through the entrance

there is a market area

which leads into the dining area/fish market.

There is even an adjacent bar area

should you want or need to wait on a table.

My dining companion (DC) and I ordered a number of items from the Menu. Really good 7 grain bread was brought to the table to start.

DC and I split the calamari starter.

It was some of the best calamari I have had, made better with the lemon and Marinara Sauce.

DC ordered the fish tacos.

They were very good, almost as good as the fish tacos from Captain Kirk's. These were filled with Blackened Grouper, avocado, Chipotle mayo and fries. The Pico De Gallo and slaw finished the dish as 2 good toppings.

I ordered the Bikini Bottom Salad with blackened Mahi-mahi.

Romaine Lettuce, Blue Cheese, candied Pecans, Craisins and avocado were served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette. The fish portion was 5 ounces, perfect atop this salad. I did not care for the dressing and ordered another choice, problem solved.

The food here was really good. I had heard the food suffered since a recent change in management. This was not the case at least for what was ordered here. Using a Naples Original Gift Certificate the price of this meal was very reasonable when all was said and done. Since I have one gift certificate left I will certainly be back for another meal.

That's that for another post on Forks.

Randy's Fish Market Restaurant
10395 Tamiami Tr. N.
Naples, FL 34108

Randy's Fishmarket Restaurant on Urbanspoon