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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dinner at Sam Bucco Bistro

Sam Bucco Bistro (Sam Bucco Bistro) is a restaurant in North Naples that is located in the plaza where Naples Tomatoes was before they closed. They have been at this location almost 9 years.

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I asked one of the employees where the name of the restaurant came from. He said because one of the owners is Sam and bucco has to do his love for osso bucco (Osso Bucco ), literally bone with a hole in Italian. One of my favorites meals also.

Upon coming into the restaurant, there is a nice bar area,

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 a well-stocked wine cellar,

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and a very nice dining area.

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Brian, the MC, was very nice and made us feel very welcome.

When you are seated there is a very well appointed, inviting table,

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and bread is brought to it.

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I ordered an appetizer, portobello ala lyonaisse. It was a portobello mushroom cap with roasted red pepper, goat cheese, arugula and tomato basil oil. Lyonaisse (Lyonaisse) generally means cooked with onion, and I am sure there was some in there. It was delicious.

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My dining companion ordered, as always, salmon. It was served with scampi sauce and scalloped potatoes. Very nice.

I had the veal chop. Wow! What a portion! It was stuffed with roasted red peppers and fontina cheese and finished with a porcini (Porcini) chianti (Chianti) reduction mashed potatoes and a vegetable , heavenly.

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Sam Bucco Bistro is the bomb. In the slow months, they offer a promo of 40% off your entire check, even glasses of wine.  A real value. Sorry that's gone now, but other promotions are still are offered. Eat here. Sam Bucco Bistro will not disappoint.

Sam Bucco Bistro
14700 Tamiami Tr. N.
Naples, FL 34110

Sam Bucco Bistro on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 27, 2013

Canning Class with Celia at the UF/IFAS Extension in Fort Myers

UF/IFAS Extension (UF Extension) is a collaborative effort between federal, state and county governments and The University of Florida. You can read about them (Here).  

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They have all kinds of course offerings and online information. Everything from money management to maintaining your garden.

One of the courses they teach is a primer on canning. Celia was our instructor. She has a diverse educational background and has been at The Extension since 1985. Her course and teaching style are excellent.

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This class was very interesting. There are two processing methods used in canning, a boiling water bath or pressure canning.

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A major concern in canning is botulism poising. The most important factor that determines whether botulism can multiply in canning is the acidity of the food being canned.The higher the acidity of the canned product, the less likely botulism spores can become active.

High acid foods, such as fruit, can be processed with a boiling water bath. Low acid food which include most vegetables need harsher processing conditions to kill off any botulism spores that may be present. Pressure canning uses a sort of pressure cooker, and produces much higher heat than boiling.

After our slide show, we were given a demo of the canning process by Celia.

After the item to be canned is placed into the Mason jar the head space needs to be measured. This is the distance between the bottom of the lid and the top of the liquid in the jar.

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If the jar is too full the contents may boil out during the canning process. If the jar is not filled enough all the air may not be able to exit the jar resulting in a bad vacuum seal with the lid of the jar.

The air bubbles then need to be taken out of the jar as this will increase the head space as the jar is processed.

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The lid is then placed on the jar

 and locked into place

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and put into the vessel used for processing

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Remember to get a stainless steel support rack or it will rust.

They also come in plastic

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 or DIY (DIY).

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After this we then went into their kitchen area to play.

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The first thing we made were hot pack (Hot Pack) carrots. We parboiled (Parboil) the carrots, put them in jars and covered them in hot water.

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As carrots are a low acid food, they were processed in a pressure cooker.

We also made pickled carrots. These were first parboiled in vinegar and pickling spices. The hot vinegar mixture was then poured over the carrots. The jars were put into a boiling water bath to process. All the vinegar that was used enabled us to do that.

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The jars were then removed

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and left to cool. 

If you look closely at this photo you can see a small dimple in the middle of the lid. After about 5 minutes of cooling, you hear a small pop and a small concavity forms on the lid. This is one of the ways one tells if there is a good seal or not.

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We also talked a little about making jams and jellies

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As a going away present we were given a cookbook that had a lot of useful information on canning.

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We also learned how to make a "redneck" wine glass.

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This was made by putting a Ball jar on top of a glass candlestick holder. I never would have thought of that! Very clever.

I was now transformed into one of those that can't to one of those that can. Christmas is coming up. I see Ball jars filled with pickles and decorated with gingham ribbons as Christmas presents for friends and family!

Before I go I'd  like to remind everyone of Restaurant Week (Restaurant Week) which runs October 11th-20th in Fort Myers. One of the events they will be having will take place at Rabbit Run Farm (Rabbit Run Farm). It will feature chef Kristina (Chef Kristina) and chef Brandon McGlamery. Chef McGlamery was a semi finalist for best southern chef from the James Beard Foundation and featured chef for Restaurant Week. It will include a tour of the farm and a cooking demonstration.

Now that's that. Another review on forks.

UF/IFAS Extension
3406 Palm Beach Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33916

Solutions For Your Life

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Hour at the Dock at Crayton Cove

Crayton Cove is the area in Naples, FL where 12th Ave. South meets City Dock

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and Naples Bay.

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I think these are both very nice pictures. As a reminder you can enlarge them by left-clicking on them.

I have heard Crayton Cove (Crayton Cove) being referred to as a historical point of interest in Naples, FL but never really knew why.

Well silly me, I never bothered to read the sign.

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The Dock at Crayton Cove (The Dock) is a family run business that has been around for about 40 years.

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As a family run business, it kind of reminds me of Testa's (Testa's) on Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach. Sorry, but any further discussion of Testa's is beyond the purview of this blog!

The Dock is an open-air establishment that has views of City Dock and Naples Bay.

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It kind of has this funky-dunky maritime thing going on, but it works well. My dining companion (DC) and I went there for happy hour. They have a 5-5-5 special that runs from the end of May to the end of October from 5 to 7 P.M. This is a selection of small plates and drinks for, you guessed it, $5.00 each.

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I apologize for the pictorial quality of this menu but you get the idea. This is not on their website as it is a off-seasonal offering. It is a great value. I can tell you after being to this a few times that 3 plates, and your out, in terms of being hungry. It is only offered at the bar.

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As I said earlier, the funky-dunky maritime theme prevails here, and works really well.

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Between the two of us, here is what we ordered.

The bamboo steamed (not fried) pork dumplings

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The sauce was kind of a traditional ginger-soy thang, and was good.

We also ordered mushrooms rockefeller.

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These were mushroom caps done al-a-oysters rockefeller (Oysters Rockefeller) with a lot of cheese, spinach, bread crumbs, butter and parsley. The next time I am in New Orleans, I will try them at Antoine's (Antoine's) where they were originally served. The moniker (Moniker) Rockefeller refers to the richness of the sauce. Rockefeller was the richest person in the country at that time.

Round three was the tropical shrimp salsa.

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Not bad and really low calorie if you ditch the chips.

Finally DC ordered the sea bass and shrimp egg rolls.

They came with a garnish of shredded red cabbage and carrots and had a sort of sweet/hot sauce drizzled onto them. I don't usually do fried but they were quite good.

Our server was attentive and very friendly. Would I go back to The Dock? Most definitely.

So that's that. Another meal on forks.

The Dock at Crayton Cove
845 12th Ave. South
Naples, FL 34102

Dock At Crayton Cove on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer Jazz on the Gulf at the Naples Beach Hotel

Summer is over. The sun is setting earlier. Seasonal affective disorder is imminent (SAD). Labor Day has passed and so has the last concert in the Summer Jazz on the Gulf Concert Series at the Naples Beach Hotel. It was a great one this time with an over the top performance by the Betty Fox Band (Betty Fox Band). Could that woman sing and then some, but more on that later. I encourage you to click on the Betty Fox link and take a listen. Wonderful.

As usual the joint was jumpin' (The Joint is Jumping).

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In anticipation of the evenings entertainment, people gathered on the beach to watch the sun start to set.

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Plenty of food was available. Everything from lemonaid and iced tea

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 hot dogs, hamburgers,

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to this grouper sandwich from the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill (Sunset Beach Bar and Grill).

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The Betty Fox Band was fantastic. They were one of the best bands I have seen in the area ever. Very bluesy, funky and due to the remarkable vocals by Betty Fox, had a sort of Janis Joplin (Janis Joplin) feel to it at times.

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In between sets some people took a break and gathered on the beach for a bit.

Then the band started back up again and did not disappoint.

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Sad to see them go, but that's that for the Naples Beach Hotel Summer Jazz on the Gulf. Looking forward to next summer and next year's shows.

The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North
Naples, FL 34102

Sunset Beach Bar on Urbanspoon