tracking

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to Southwest Florida Forks

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Meeting of The Caxambas Chapter of The American Culinary Federation

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a national organization of 20,000 members and over 200 chapters. Their membership is made up of professional chefs, food industry-related people and maybe a food blogger or two. Their mission is mainly educational and to provide professional certification (e.g., Master Chef)  in the culinary arts.

The local ACF chapter is The ACF Caxambas Chapter of NaplesMarco Island.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


In the slower months of the year (May-December) when all the winter residents have left, they have a monthly chapter meeting. They are almost always at private country clubs in the area as chefs in these venues make up the majority of the membership. They always start off with a social component followed by an educational presentation and then dinner.

The May meeting was held at Pelican Isle Yacht Club.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


This is a private club offering dining and a marina providing access into the Gulf of Mexico.

When I initially started this blog I did not want to include places that the public did not have access to, as they could not eat there. Rethinking this, blogging about places such as these gives readers a window into somewhere they would not normally be able to see.

The social part of the meeting was held in the bar area of the club

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

and there were some very nice appetizers served. These included smoked fish,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

bacon-wrapped shrimp and smoked sausage rolls,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

in addition to a variety of fruits.

SOUTHWEST florida food and restaurant reviews

I really loved the presentation with this, especially the red and yellow beets surrounding a pineapple top.

southwest florida food and rrestaurant reviews

After everyone was seated in the dining area

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

matters relating to the chapter were announced and the educational part of the meeting began.

southwest florida forks

The topic that evening was a demonstration on Spherification, a technique used in Molecular Gastronomy. What is this you may ask? Molecular gastronomy involves cooking techniques that combine principles of food science, chemistry and physics to produce novel culinary dishes. Spherification is the process of shaping liquids into spheres which hold their shape when served. The spheres can be of any size, from that of an egg yolk to caviar.

The methods demonstrated that evening produced Strawberry Spheres


and a smaller sphere, Caviar of Contreau, Contreau being an orange-flavored Aperitif.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


Here is some of the finished product.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

The meal served that evening was really good and Memorial Day-themed.

Salad,


Coleslaw and pasta salad,

Snapper with a mango salsa,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews




barbecued Beef Brisket cooked for 12 hours in a slow cooker and topped with a mango barbecue sauce

and Coca Cola-marinated fried chicken. The acidity of the Coca Cola tenderizes the meat. It was delicious.


Corn


and Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes were served as side dishes.

Sponge Cake with strawberries and whipped cream, chocolate Marble Cake 



and Apple Strudel  were served as desserts. 

This was a very educational and tasty chapter meeting of our local ACF, and I cannot wait until the next one.


ACF Caxambas Chapter of Naples & Marco Island
Chas Tatigian CEC
PO Box 855
Naples, FL 34106
239-304-6045
acfcaxambas@gmx.com
Facebook page: ACF Caxambas Chefs

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lunch at Olde Fish House Marina

After touring Pine Island Botanicals farm, my companion and I really worked up an appetite. We decided, upon local recommendation, to eat at Olde Fish House Marina just up the road in Matlacha, FL.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

Their fish shop had some great looking seafood

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

at "reasonable" prices. In my book, a half-full fish case is a good sign.


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

They have an open indoor dining area

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

in addition to outside seating by the music.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

The band that day, County Line Road, was pretty good playing old southern rock standards.

My companion now turned dining companion (DC) and I split a couple of things on the Menu. To start, fish chowder was ordered.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA FOOD AND RESTAURANT REVIEWS

The chowder was really good. There was a lot of seafood in this and the flavors very well balanced with the vegetables in the chowder.

DC and I then split an order of fried oysters.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

The oysters were very fresh. I try to stay away from Coleslaw and French Fries, but they taste so good after you haven't had them in a while.

On the way out, I picked up some shrimp to eat later that day. They were really really good and priced a bit less than would be paid buying them in town.

The food as ordered was great and served in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. As a plus, if the timing is right, you will also have some good music to listen too as you dine.

Although  I do not get out to Pine Island that often, I would come back here either to eat or buy seafood and hopefully both.


There you have it for another review on Forks.

Olde Fish House Marina
4530 Pine Island Rd. N.W.
Matlacha, FL 33993
(239)282-9577

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pine Island Botanicals

Pine Island Botanicals (PIB) is a farm on Pine Island, FL.  They grow many things using Hydroponics and more traditional methods. They also raise poultry. The owners, Michael and Christina, are interesting. One of them was in the fashion industry for many years, finally working at the clothier Chico's which is what brought him to the area. Christina had a degree in mathematics and a graduate degree in computers before deciding to switch gears and go into farming.

The property has been farmed for 15 years, initially starting off with 1.5 acres and expanding to it's present size of 4 acres. From a tour of the property it very well might as well be a Garden of Eden.

The Subtropical Climate in Florida allows for the growing of many exotic fruits and vegetables exemplary of what Pine Island Botanicals has to offer. The owner has culled his agricultural skills from his experiences living in the Caribbean, Indonesia and Turkey and it shows.


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurat reviews

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews



southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews




southwest florida food and restaurant reviews




southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

and Kaffir limes.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

There were also
Saba Bananas on the property, which grow 30 feet tall,

soutwest florida food and restaurant reviews

"false horseradish" or Moringa native to the foothills of Northwestern India ,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

and Florida Prince peach trees, modified to bear fruit in a climate such as Florida's.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

Through his travels learning different farming methods, the owner is very proud that his farm is virtually pesticide-free. He uses almost exclusively biological agents for pest control. These include Bacteria and insects such as Ladybugs

Another big part of their business is growing Microgreens and Sprouts

southwest florida food and resteraunt reviews

This is largely under the purview of one of the owners known by the moniker,  The Sprout Queen.

For sprouting, seeds are soaked in water until they germinate,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

then kept moist and allowed to sprout until they become of an edible size.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

They sell seeds to sprout as well as kits for the home "sprouter".

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

They also sell quite a bit of the finished product. Wheatgrass,

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews


southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

are among the many things that are grown to be packaged and sold.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

The chickens raised here are Paragons of Sustainability as they eat most of the farm's unsalable product due to spoilage. In addition they produce really good eggs.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

What is really impressive about PIB are it's hydroponics. The system in use here is brilliant in it's simplicity and cost efficiency.

Plastic piping is joined together in a closed system filled with nutrient solution, holes drilled at regular intervals on top of the pipes and the plants grown in small baskets inserted into the holes.


Almost anything can be grown in this, including herbs and strawberries. Even though these strawberries were immature, they were delicious!




This system can be easily scaled up for large production.

southwest florida food and restaurant reviews

With some plants, the root system can be too large impeding the flow of nutrients down the pipe.


In situations like these, the system can be modified and plants grown in large plastic buckets.


One of the owners told me he gets these gratis from a company that makes pool-treatment chemicals, did not want to recycle the buckets and was trying to find someone who would take them off their hands. Love it!

The owners are big proponents of some of their product being used as Nutraceuticals. This will have to be left to another discussion as this topic is beyond the scope of Southwest Florida Forks.

For those interested, they sell at a number of Farmer's Markets and from the source by appointment.

PIB is an engaging place. Their "nuts and bolts" are very interesting, and their product is beyond excellent. I am grateful to the owners for spending so much time with me that day on one of their few days off.

After a rather lengthy tour, my tour companion and I were ready to sample some of the local food.

Another fun and informative day out, and another post on Forks.

Pine Island Botanicals
12571 Aubrey Lane
Bokellia, FL 33922
(239)222-9494