Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taste of the Beach Fort Myers Beach 14th Annual

Father’s Day is a tough day for an event. The Greater Ft Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce held the 14th Annual Taste of the Beach at Salty Sam’s Marina, on San Carlos Island’s Main Street. Chamber President John Albion had all on autopilot. Great advertising and a sunny day brought out several thousand fathers, moms, and kids, despite the heat. Salty Sam’s spot is much larger than the prior beachside site. I was a food judge, along with Florida-Weekly’s Karen Feldman, The Sand Paper’s Keri Hendy, and the News-Press’s Drew Sterwald and blogger Hayden Pigott. Hayden, known in the News-Press as “Petite Gourmet: The Littlest Blogger”, is the real thing, deftly reviewing food, decor and restrooms, too. Refreshingly original! We sampled some 20 restaurants' 40 items. Judging is initally fun, then a challenge. Items come in fast and furious, and are quickly tasted, hot or cold, before becoming “room temperature”at 92 degrees! We, and regular diners alike, sampled every thing from Beach Doggie Dog’s hot dogs, to Parrot Key’s jerked flank tostados, to various crab cakes, and key lime pies from Pinchers and Yucatan Beach Stand. V&J Bistro’s BBQ ribs stood out, as did seafood bisque from Dixie Fish Co. JoJo’s at Pink Shell Resort’s pulled pork sliders, and banana chocolate bread pudding caught the fancy of many. Hooter’s, NTL catering and Pinchers Crab Shack had lines for their food. Sandy Butler and B&J Bistro were busy. Parrot Key’s drinks garden was packed. The Chef’s Competition and recipe demonstration was quite popular, with chefs teaching some signature dishes. After diners tasted the chef's beautiful food, it became clear that some chefs have a new following among their students!

The food categories and winners are:
Best soup/chowder: Dixie Fish Company, seafood bisque
Best shrimp: Jo-Jo’s at Pink Shell Resort, margarita shrimp
Best crab: The Fish house and its crab cakes tied with the Sandy Parrot’s tiki rolls.
Best pork: The Sandy Butler, pork tenderloin
Best beef: Bayfront Bistro, marinated beef satay
Best pizza/flatbread: Parrot Key, beef flatbread
Best chicken/gator: Yucatan Beach Stand, tiki tortellini
Best fish: Bayfront Bistro, Asian seared grouper
Best sweet: The Sandy Butler, flourless chocolate cake with stewed berries
Blues and boogie-woogie 5 piece band Smokin Torpedos played under the big top, and were well received by all ages. About a dozen of Darcey Kuenzel's young dancers showed amazing talent and stamina in the summer heat, as “The Edge.” The dance floor was cardboard refrigerator boxes, taped together. Servers entered an obstacle course competition. There was no shortage of face painting, spin art, or rides for kids.Popular Bayfront Bistro stepped up to the plate as the main event sponsor. The live music and dancers under the cool tent added to a fun family event. Happy diners said they will try some of the restaurants.

Set your calendar for the Pirate’s Festival October 11-12, and the nationally recognized Sand Sculpture Contest in November.


Anonymous said...

What a pity you failed to give kudos where they were most deserved. Did you miss Bayfront Bistro? Won 5 awards including Best Beef (you did say), Best Fish (also), Best Appetizer (scallops), Best Entree (Lollipop Lambchops)and Best of Show! They won two of the three Chef's Competition categories. As a frequent diner at Bayfront Bistro I felt they deserved more attention than you gave them. It's a wonderful place with spectacular waterfront dining and incredible interiour design. You should try it.

Ivan Seligman said...

What a pity you failed to read my article, in which your restaurant was mentioned not once, but THREE times-that's more mentions than any other restaurant! Perhaps if you read the full article, I deserve a tad more credit than you gave me? Why must you hide you name and employment behind "Anonymous?"

I was fortunate to be one of the judges of 7 tasty categories, and put the results that I had as I left,on my blog. I did not judge the Chefs Competition. I asked for those results, and still do not yet have those results. Glad you as a restaurant "insider" got them, and provided them, if curiously ONLY for your own restaurant!

A little birdie has told me that you truly are a "frequent diner" at your restaurant- That's easy, as you are employed there, and have a hand in its website!

My blog report gives credit to many of the people at this wonderful day's event. I do not get paid for this. You are so hurt about only mentioning your restaurant three times.

Sorry, too that you "feel (your place) deserved more attention than (I) gave them". Three mentions by me of your restaurant? Hey, it is ONE of some 20 OTHER restaurants who participated, and cooked in the 94 degree heat. Do these hard workers not deserve credit for their work, too?
Cut me a break!

How about a "thank you" for my words and photos, which give public credit to organizers, dancers and other restaurants. How about credit that I was the first to post on the event, after it occurred? Hello! Really, there were more people and events to write about, than just crowing on and on as you do about your own employer-restaurant. Me thinks you doth protest too much!

When the other Competition results come out, I'm sure you will have them on your website.

I thank you for writing. Congratulations to your restaurant's chefs, and to the other great chefs at the event.

Thank you to so many volunteers, the Chamber of Commerce, and so many families who braved the heat, making a successful and wonderful Fathers' Day, and 14th Taste of the Beach!