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Thursday, March 16, 2017

St. Partick's Day Parade in Naples and Lunch at Molcajetes

Attendees, St. Patrick's Day Parade, Naples, FL

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. March 17th is traditionally recognized as the day of his death, celebrated as St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick is significant for bringing Christianity to Ireland. It was said that Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity to the non religious of Ireland. As such, besides the many parades on St. Patrick's Day many people wear green items of clothing or other green accoutrements partially symbolic of the shamrock. The celebration has become somewhat known as being a bacchanal, in part because historically the restrictions on eating and drinking during the observance of Lent were lifted for the day.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in many parts of the world, and Naples, FL is no exception, having held St. Patrick's Day celebrations for over 40 years. The parade route runs through downtown and adjacent, mostly residential areas of Naples. This year, in 2017, over 30,000 attendees populated the parade route. The parade, always held on a Saturday, was almost a week early to mark the observed celebrations on Friday, March 17th. High school marching bands, many floats representative of government and community organizations and others participated in the parade. Lucky attendees made off with mementos of beads and tee shirts thrown to them by members of the parade. I was fortunate this year to have an invite to a gathering on a second floor balcony on the parade route that had a bird's eye view of the festivities.

Entrance, Molcajetes Restaurant, Naples, FL

After two hours of parade-induced revelry, my dining companion and I worked up quite an appetite. We decided to travel to Molcajetes, a Mexican-themed restaurant in East Naples. What better place to commemorate the memory of St. Patrick than in a Mexican restaurant! What is a molcajete you may ask? I'm sure most of you have seen one, which are the mortar and pestle type cooking accoutrements sometimes made from lava rock that is used to make guacamole or crush spices.

There is limited outdoor seating at Molcajetes. Indoors, the seating at either booths or tables or at the bar is more than adequate. As you are brought your menus, you are served this wonderful appetizer of freshly made tortilla chips and 3 delicious salsas. Salsa roja, made from arbor chilies, salsa verde with of course, a tomitillo base and pico de gallo, that delicious mixture of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos and lime juice. This was almost a meal in itself, and a portend of the meal to come.

There were many things on Molcajetes menu, and here are a few of them.The first thing we tried was the barbacoa soup. This is a traditional Oaxacan dish. An adobo slathered piece of lamb is set inside a roasting pan on a roasting rack with vegetables and water, covered and cooked on a grill. After the lamb is cooked, the cooking liquid is reserved as a soup and the lamb (now falling apart) is used with other grilled vegetables to be eaten with corn tortillas and dipped into the soup. This was really, really good and different from most Mexican fare I had tried before.
We then ordered a carnitias and chorizo taco, both excellent. I had to try their tostadas, and a chicken tostada was sampled. It did not look like much, but the chicken, cheese, iceberg lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and refried beans melded perfectly into an excellent dish. The price point ($10.00) was a bit on the high side for this dish, but this was one of the better tostadas I have eaten.

They also have a number of specials including a daily happy hour and half price tacos on Tuesday and Thursdays.

The parade on St. Patrick's Day in Naples is a lot of fun. If you have never attended, please go at least once. Afterward, if you are hungry, I would highly recommend Molcajates. The food, for the most part, is reasonably priced and delicious. Both the parade and food are highly recommended.

3367 Bayshore Dr.
Naples, FL 34112
Molcajetes Restaurant Website 

Open from 10 AM to past midnight; All major credit cards accepted; Kids meals available

Golden Gate High School Band, St. Patrick's Day Parade

Naples Daily News Float, St. Patrick's Day Parade

Interior dining area, Molcajetes restaurant

Salsa roja, salsa verde and pico de gallo; Molcajetes restaurant

Half portion barbacoa soup, Molcajetes restaurant

Chorizo and carnitias tacos, Molcajetes restaurant

Chicken tostada, Molcajetes restaurant

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