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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Hour At Bistro 821

Bistro 821 is a restaurant on 5th Avenue S. in Naples, FL. 

They have outdoor

in addition to indoor dining

though happy hour is from 4:30-6 PM daily at the bar.

Their happy hour offerings are from their Small Plates menu. Most items are 1/2 price, with only a couple of exceptions, the prawns and their cheese plate, which are $10.95 for happy hour. All cocktails, beer and wine are also 50% off.

My two dining companions (DC's) and I shared a number of small plates.The first was the grilled jumbo prawns.

Grilled jumbo shrimp were served atop fried Sushi Rice and covered with Thai Chili Peanut Sauce and ground peanuts. Very good.

We also sampled the Kurobuta Pork and Manchego cheese Empanadas.

These were also very good and were served with a Black Bean/Chipotle sauce.

Escargot were next.

Six Escargot were brought to the table with a garlic/herb/sun-dried tomato butter sauce and topped with croutons to mop up this delicious sauce.

We finally finished with a crispy Ahi Tuna roll

served with a ginger/soy dipping sauce. Also very good.

My DC's and I were very full after sharing all this food. By the time we left we couldn't help but notice how crowded the restaurant was

which usually is a very good sign. I will have to put this establishment on my list for a future visit for dinner.

The food was good and a very good value, I would go back without hesitation.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Bistro 821
821 5th Avenue S.
Naples, FL 34102

Bistro 821 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Winter Solstice At Naples Botanical Garden

The garden opened in the fall of 2009. They recently completed a major Expansion, adding a number of new gardens and structures, including a new restaurant. During the holidays, there are a series of evening events, Night Lights. These events pair light displays throughout the garden with entertainment.

Walking up to the garden

and through it there were a number of very nice light displays,

and even a laser show.

The garden's new restaurant, Fogg Cafe

was open that evening but I had already eaten. They did have an interesting menu though,

perhaps a future blog post.

It was the first day of winter that day, Winter Solstice. In the spirit of Christmas, an abbreviated performance of The Nutcracker Ballet was performed by Naples Ballet. The performance was very well attended,

and fun to watch.

All in all a very fun night out. For those of us who are SAD this time of year, remember after December 21st, it's all downhill from here! Night Lights runs through January 4th, 2015.

That's that for another post on Forks. Happy holidays to all!

Naples Botanical Garden
4820 Bayshore Dr.
Naples, FL 34112

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Naples and Marco Island Caxambas Chapter of The American Culinary Federation Award Dinner 2014

The American Culinary Federation is a national organization of over 20,000 members and 200 chapters nationwide supporting education, training and certification in the culinary arts. Their local chapter, representing Naples and Marco Island, FL is the Caxambas Chapter of Naples ACF Chefs. Every year they have an awards dinner to honor members both highly active and exemplary in a number of categories.

The 2014 meeting was held at a local gated development, Bonita Bay, in their club house.

They have a beautiful indoor dining space which was used for this event.


a variety of starters which included Cornets filled with fig Compote, crab/shrimp salad and Buffalo Chicken,

meats and cheeses such as Genoa Salami, Toscano Ham, Sage Derby Cheese and  Maytag Blue Cheese among other things,

and tastes of sesame tuna, melon and Prosciutto and smoked salmon with cucumber

were provided that evening for the social hour before dinner and the awards ceremony.

If this wasn't enough before the main course in the dining room, mushrooms stuffed with ground pork

and barbecued shrimp/tomatoes with basil-infused olive oil 

were served to guests.

All were then seated in the dining room for the dinner and the award ceremony.

stuffed with a Mornay Sauce

started the meal which I thought was brilliant.

Here was the menu served that evening.

The soup course


cheese plate

and dessert

were all really good. Hats off to chef Richard Brumm, CEC, CCA and his crew at The Bonita Bay Club for putting this together.

I do not have useable photos of the awardees but here are those that won this year.

   Awardee                       Award                           Affilation

Richard Crisanti CEC                  Chef Of The Year                  Shadow Wood Country Club

Brian Lord  CEC                     Culinarian Of The Year            Colliers Reserve Country Club

Ron Landry CEC    President's Award:Member Of The Year  Naples Sailing and Yacht Club

Dan Kniola                  President's Award:Board Member       The Players Club, Lely Resort

Paw Mikkelsen                  Pastry Chef Of The Year                    Mikkelsen Pastry Shop

Marisa Crisanti MBA             Educator Of The Year                     Golden Gate High School

Richard Blumm CEC       Chapter Meeting Of The Year                        Arthrex Inc.

Don Romeo                         Salesman Of The Year                    Gulf Coast Deli Provisions

Terry Dean                            Vendor Of The Year                                Happy Foods

Merideth Benitez                    Student Of The Year                     Golden Gate High School

With the exception of The President's Awards, all other categories were voted on by chapter members.

Afterwards, some of the crowd had even more fun dancing the night away.

Another great evening of food and fun and another post on Forks.

ACF Caxambas Chapter of Naples & Marco Island
President Chas Tatigian, CEC
PO Box 855
Naples, FL 34106

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