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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dinner at Fish Crazy (closed)

is a restaurant in Naples, FL serving, as the astute reader may gather, seafood. As one approaches the restaurant there is outside seating which is nice this time of year.

Entering Fish Crazy there is a seafood/misc. market that had some very nice looking product.

Going into the restaurant there is a bar area,

and a very commodious indoor dining area should you choose to eat inside,

and even a Bocce court,

which was popular with the kids and probably with everyone else as they may wait for a table in the winter months.

Now for the "meat and potatoes". My dining companion (DC) and I tried a number of things from the restaurant.

First was the coconut shrimp.

These were very good, and were large shrimp in a sweetened coconut breading served with a spicy orange Marmalade.

The next thing that DC and I tried was the firecracker shrimp.

It was good and Prepared in a sort of spicy citrus cream sauce.

A bit of gumbo was next. 

Having lived in New Orleans and eaten lots of gumbo, it was not bad and the texture and seafood notes were O.K for a Florida version.

DC ordered a special off the menu, the Caribbean Cioppino.

This was loosely based on the fish stew originating in San Francisco and was lobster, scallops, shrimp and other seafood in a coconut cream sauce. It was really, really good and more than one portion for DC.

I thought I'd go basic, and ordered blackened Hogfish with cole slaw and mixed vegetables.

It was excellent, the fish was cooked perfectly and this was one of the best fish dishes I have had in recent memory.

To be fair to this review, DC has known the chef for a very long time. Unexpectedly and most appreciated, our meal was provided gratis. That being said, the starters were good but the entrees were some of the best fish dishes I have had in recent memory. I went there shortly after they opened only to be disappointed. With a good chef on board and a reworking of their back and front end restaurant staff, Fish Crazy has really got it right now. The restaurant was packed for a Monday night and I see no reason for that to be different any other day of the week.

Fish Crazy is really good and I will most definitely be back.

That's that for another post on Forks.

Fish Crazy
14700 Tamiami Trail North
Naples, FL 34110
(239) 260-1070

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dinner at Fuse Global Cuisine

is a restaurant in Naples, FL. A chef of note from our local local American Culinary Federation Chapter  highly recommended this restaurant. As it was my dining companion's (DC's) birthday we decided to check it out.

As you enter the restaurant space there is ample outdoor dining should you desire,

and as you enter the restaurant plenty of seating area,

a bar area,

and plenty of primary dining area adjacent to the bar.

My DC and I that night sampled a few thing from the Menu.

Before our orders were served, bread and dipping sauce was brought to the table which was

roasted garlic, "Italian Herbs" and olive oil. This was not bad, but I am a traditional bread and butter kind of guy, so butter it was on the next round of rolls.

I ordered a salad to start, a Wedge(ed) Salad.

The was the restaurant's version of the classic. Boston lettuce wedge, red onion, blue cheese, Maple Peppercorn Bacon, smoked tomato Aioli and buttermilk dressing with a note of citrus. This was a very good salad, and a very good introduction to the cuisine of Fuse.

My dining companion (DC) ordered an entree, the marinated and seared chicken.

My DC was Gorgonzola-averse so this was omitted from the dish which I think really detracted from it. However, DC was served an Airline chicken breast topped with Enokitake mushrooms, served over a tomato sautee, a ragu of artichokes and citrus, a spinach Gallette, and basil Coulis.  Although a main artery of flavor was omitted per DC's request, this dish was still very good.

I wanted a bit of variety and did not want to confine my self to one entree, so I ordered a couple of the starters.

The crispy pig ear and octopus was next.

The pig ears were not crispy, and were very hard to cut and eat. Usually I love these. I found the octopus very sour with this preparation, not my favorite. The shaved daikon at the base of this plate with Aji-Amarillo Aioli was also much too acidic for my tastes so I would not order this dish again. I was so disappointed as I usually love these two foods.

I finished with the Korean BBQ BAO.

This dish was bao, or steamed bun filled with Kurobuta Pork belly, Kimchi, Pequin aioli and pickled herbs. It was absolutely delicious! I was beginning to think of my appetizer experience here as a culinary Non Sequitur but this dish laid to rest any thoughts of that. I would order this again without hesitation. Highly recommended!

My dining experience at Fuse was mixed. To be fair, DC nixed a most likely essential element of the dish but it was still good. My salad was really good and so were the buns. I suppose 3 out of 4 is not bad. I would like to go there again to try a entree or two as they had many intriguing things on their menu that piqued my interest.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Fuse Global Cuisine
2500 Tamiami Trail N.
Naples, FL 34103

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Dali Museum and Brunch at Cassis American Brasserie

is an art center in St. Petersburg, FL housing the works of the artist, Salvador Dali (SD). Apart from the Dali Theatre-Museum in Catalonia, Spain, Dali has the largest collection of the artist's work. 
As you enter the museum there is a gift shop with a good selection of SD related Merchandise among other items,

and a restaurant, Cafe Gala,

that has some interesting items on both their Regular and Tapas menus.

Their exhibition space is on the 3rd floor of the museum. Architecturally, the building is engaging with it's coiled staircase

 and spherical glass dome that covers part of the building

and gives visitors a very nice view of the South Yacht Basin, Albert Whitted Park  and outlying Tampa Bay in downtown St. Petersburg.

at the Dali has many well known images created by SD that are artistic treasures of the 20th century.

and probably SD's most famous image, The Disintegration Of Persistence Of Memory.

As many times as this image has been reproduced and as larger than life it is, it was a bit of a disconnect to see it at 10"x13"! Still, very cool to see the original.

There was one image that at first view drew a chuckle due to it's apparent whimsical nature (Telephone In A Dish With Three Grilled Sardines At The End Of September)

but after doing a bit of Research this painting was anything but that.

There was also a concurrent M.C. Escher Exhibit,

but photography was not allowed. It was unbelievably comprehensive. Although I am not a scholar of Escher, this exhibit seemed to have anything you would ever want to see from this artist.

After a day at the Dali my Dining Companion (DC) and I worked up an appetite. We decided to go eat at Cassis American Brasserie.

The restaurant was still very much in Halloween mode,

If you're not in the mood for a meal, the restaurant has a cafe and bakery with some very nice outdoor seating,

 where you can enjoy coffee, fresh juices,

 baked goods,

small plates,

 or some frozen treats.

All of this looked really good, but DC and I wanted something a bit more substantial, and since it was such a nice day out that afternoon, opted for outside seating.

Some French country rolls and banana-flavored corn bread were brought to the table,

and this was one of the most appetizing looking starter bread plates I can ever remember eating.

DC ordered off the Brunch menu, and got an andouille sausage/shrimp ragout with roasted red pepper and onion on top of cheese grits.

This was absolutely delicious. Ever wonder what the difference is between a ragout and a ragu? Here is one blogger's Take on that.

I wanted something a bit lighter, so I ordered smoked salmon salad off the Lunch menu.

This was very good, and was served with butter lettuce, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, lox and a cucumber vinaigrette. Just right for my appetite that moment.

This was a very good day out. The art at the Dali was amazing and the food and service at Cassis American Brasserie equally as good. I would go back to and recommend both without hesitation.

I would like to thank The Dali Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs I took there that day for use in this blog. I very much consider it to be a privilege to be able to do so! 

That's that for another post on Forks!

The Dali Museum
One Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Cassis American Brasserie
170 Beach Dr. NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701