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Monday, November 25, 2013

Lunch at Sushi Thai

Sushi Thai is a restaurant that has 4 locations in Southwest Florida. My dining companion (DC) and I had lunch at the original location in North Naples.southwest florida forks
This location has been here for almost 10 years.

They have a nice dining area (I like booths)
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or you can choose to eat at the sushi bar if you like.

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They have a variety of lunch specials, all an incredible value.

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With most of these specials, you are served a bowl of soup and a spring roll. That day the soup was chicken noodle.
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DC opted for chicken in fresh ginger sauce.
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This came with green onions, mushrooms, pineapples and celery.

I ordered the beef red curry.

This is prepared with bamboo shoots, bell pepper, coconut milk and red curry paste.

This location is the only one that also delivers. Please call to verify their delivery area.

All of the food was great and again, an incredible value for $8.99/person. Would I go back? As I have probably been here 20 times over the years for lunch and dinner the answer to that question is yes.

Sushi Thai
869 103rd Ave. N.
Naples, FL 34108

Sushi Thai of Naples on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dinner at Citrus

Citrus is a seafood restaurant on 5th Ave. S. in Old Naples. They have been open for about 3 years.
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They have a very nice outside dining area great for people watching on 5th avenue. You can also choose to eat indoors, also a great space.
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Their menu is interesting and they have a good wine and beer selection.
The owners are big believers in using fresh, local ingredients and it shows. 
They came up with the name for their restaurant as they have always liked citrus notes on their seafood. What better place to appreciate citrus than Florida?

I opted for the fish cakes for an appetizer and they were delicious.

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The fish in these cakes was shredded cobia. It is a very firm fish and gave the cakes a really good texture. This dish was also very well complemented with it's topping of pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and a drizzle of lobster oil.

As an entree, my dining companion ordered the crab cake appetizer. These were topped with a citrus remoulade and orange wedges. The citrus zest in the remoulade went really well with this.

I decided on the hogfish entree. It was a really nice presentation with the whole fish on top of a bed of jasmine rice and a medley of corn, roasted red pepper and jicama.
To top it all off, the service was excellent. Not only are the servers very attentive but are also very knowledgeable about the food and menu. I would go back without a second thought.

So that's that. Another review on forks.

455 5th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102
(239)435-0408 Citrus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy Hour at Ruth Chris Steak House

Ruth Chris Steak House is a chain of at present 135 steak houses. Most, if not all of these are franchises. With their first location being in New Orleans almost 50 years ago, they are currently the largest luxury steak company.

Recently I was at their Bonita Springs location

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for their happy hour billed as $7.00 Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour at the Bar. Each item on the menu is $7.00.
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This special runs from 4-6:30 P.M every day.

They have a number of good items on the menu. My dining companion opted for the spicy lobster dish served on greens with a spicy Asian-style cream sauce.

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It was very good. I opted for the crab BLT with zucchini fries.

This was served on grilled garlic bread with tomato, bacon, lump crab meat, greens and red pepper ranch dressing. It was also quite good. They have changed their happy hour dramatically since I had been here last. What used to take 2 to 3 orders to fill you up has now decreased to one. Sorry, I didn't have room to show you more of the appetizers.
My dining companion and I got there early (5 P.M.) and sat outside. By 5:30, there wasn't an empty table outside

nor a seat or table available inside at the bar.

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All in all a very good value and I would go back to this without hesitation.

There you have it, another review on forks.

Ruth Chris Steak House
23151 Village Shops Way Ste. 101
Bonita Springs, FL 33922
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Lunch at The Local

The Local is a restaurant in "The Bed Bath and Beyond" plaza in North Naples. They have been open since April of this year.
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They are modeled after the farm to table movement. This is acquiring ingredients from smaller, local food vendors. Generally, these ingredients will be fresher and of higher quality than those obtained from big agribusiness. This is very much in the spirit of Alice Waters who was a pioneer of this concept and also discussed in another post Rabbit Run Farm.

They have a set menu
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and also one on their chalkboard that changes daily.
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They are also open for dinner but that is the topic of another post.

You can choose to eat inside
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or out, which is what my dining companion (DC) choose to do.

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DC started off with an agua fresca which that day consisted of juices of lime and cucumber which were seasoned seasoned with mint.

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We both started off with the gulf chowder with vegetables, mangrove snapper and red grouper. It was good but could have had a bit more chutzpah.

DC ordered the blackened mullet sandwich
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while I ordered the grass-fed cheeseburger.

The burger was very good. So were the greens served with a citrus vinaigrette. The greens were as fresh as fresh could be. Frisee, leaf lettuce and arugala straight from the owner's garden in his backyard. It doesn't get any better than that.

It was very pleasant lunch that day. I would definitely go back for a second look, probably for dinner.

So that's that for another review on forks.

The Local
5323 N. Airport-Pulling Rd.
Naples, FL 34109

The Local on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Veneto-Chablis-Languedoc Wine Tasting at Bleu Provence

Fall was in the air again and it was time for another wine tasting at Bleu Provence.
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Bleu Cellar

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is the wine retailing side of this business and was discussed in another post.

There were 4 vintners this day and here is what was served.
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The reason for this tasting was to celebrate the re-release of Kermit Lynch's 1988 book, "Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France." M. Lynch was discussed in another post. Briefly, M. Lynch is a renaissance man who has had a tremendous influence on the quality of European wine imports during the past 20 years. Many of the wines at Bleu Cellar are from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant and all of the vintners that evening are represented by Lynch. For those that are interested, there is a very good interview of M. Lynch that was recently in the New York Times Magazine annual food and drink issue.

There was one vintner from Italy, and 3 from France. The Italian vintner was from Sommariva. Cinzia Sommariva was at this event

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and was nice enough to tell me about her family's Prosecco Superiore. What makes their prosecco superiore is the terroir, or the interaction of the geology and climate with the genetics of a plant, in this case grapes.

David Laventureux of Domaine Laventureux was there with a Chablis and a Petit Chablis.

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Again the difference is terroir. With this vintner, chablis, almost exclusively a chardonnay grape, is grown in soil high in limestone. This very much increases it's minerality. Petit chablis is grown here in soils with much higher clay content, giving it a more fruity flavor. I talked with David about how interesting his job must be. I told him I thought it was Bon Chic Bon Genre, he agreed.

Cyriaque Rozier, the wine maker at Chateau La Roque and his own winery, Chateau Fontanes, was also there

with a number of different wines from both chateaus.

The nibbles that evening were delicious. A nice fruit plate


a Charcuterie plate

with (left to right) Pate, Aged Saucission, smoked duck breast and saucission

and a cheese plate.

The cheeses (left to right) were Tomme de Savoie, Manchego (a Spanish cheese, but why not), Bleu de Bresse, aged goat cheese and Morbier.

The food table was mobbed

and the line to sample wine was practically halfway down the block.
The attendees were having a great time sampling the food and the wines.

I would like to thank the owner, Jacques, for his largess and this wonderful event.

Bleu Provence
1234 8th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102

BLEU Provence on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rabbit Run Farm Tour and Culinary Class With Chef Kristina San Filippo

 Gourd almighty! Fall was in the air
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and as part of The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Restaurant Week 2013 there was an event scheduled at Rabbit Run Farm. This was a tour of the farm followed by a culinary class with Chef Kristina (CK). Usually she teaches at The Good Life, a culinary store in Naples, FL but the attendees of this event had the privilege of interacting with her here. As with a previous class I had attended taught by CK, her class that day consisted of a cooking demonstration, lots of useful information on food and a meal for all the attendees.

The class was held at the cottage at Rabbit Run Farm.
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As space for the attendees and the cooking area were limited, for practical matters, a vegetarian menu was chosen.
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The first cooking demonstration was putting together an herbed feta cheese dip.
Orange zest and juice (not from Rabbit Run Farm)

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and fresh herbs (from Rabbit Run Farm)

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were combined into a "binder" of cream cheese followed by feta cheese and other ingredients.

During the assembly of this, we were reminded that quality local produce is much better, for the simple reason that procuce purchased in a grocery store may, at it's freshest, have been cut a week ago. For this reason there are things you just cannot buy from a grocery store such as heirloom tomatoes. They are traditionally "thin-skinned" and just don't travel well.

We were also reminded that when buying produce, do not go into a retailer with preconceived notions of what you want to buy, but focus more on what looks the freshest that day, and plan your meal from there. Probably very good advice.

The dip was assembled

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and the final product at table side was quite good served with summer squash and watermelon radish slices.

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In between this and the next course we sampled a number of products from Rabbit Run Farm chosen for their taste and texture.

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Pink eyed peas, dixie speckled butter peas, marconi beans, burgundy okrachidori kale and haricot verts (a pole bean). I did not know this but you can tell how fresh one of the pole bean variety of beans are by the integrity of it's tail that is present on the bean.

Denise, the owner of Rabbit Run, reminded us that she sends out an e-mail Friday of available produce at the farm on Saturday. She also told us about her use of coconut oil as a sunscreen. All very interesting information.

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All of this information was given to a seemingly very engaged audience. 

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The second course was soup. Various greens were added

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  the soup was cooked

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and the final result was quite tasty. Okra was used as a thickening agent here. Much easier and healthier than a roux.

The final course was a vegetable salad with cheese and pumpkin seeds and a fruit vinaigrette. It was fun watching it being assembled.

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The vinaigrette was made

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and the dish plated out.

All in all a really good entree.

This was followed by chocolate chip and macademia nut cookies.

As the class closed new friends and farewells were made.

Well that's that. Another food related event at Rabbit Run Farm. Should you want to buy produce contact Rabbit Run.

Rabbit Run Farm
5150 Neal Rd.
Fort Myers, FL 33905