Sunday, April 10, 2011

Naples Winter Wine Festival 2011 Presents Checks, and Dines with Naples Originals

It was an upbeat day spring day at the beautiful Naples Botanical Gardens today, as
much of the $12 million dollars raised by the vintner dinners and auctions of the Naples Winter Wine Festival was dispersed to nonprofit Colllier County organizations devoted to assisting children in need. So much also depends on the assistance of tireless volunteers to keep all running smoothly.
Bruce & Cynthia Sherman and Staff of Shelter for Abused Women & Children
 After the presentation, the attendees went for elegant bites, supplied by members of Naples Originals, a group of over 35  independent fine local restaurants and caterers. If you missed the food at this event, you can sample the same delicious cuisine at their restaurants, and have the benefit of sitting down, too!
Vintners and Trustees Grace and Ken Evenstad
The restauranteurs volunteered their time and services as their gift to Naples Children and Education Foundation. Below, in no special order, are highlights of the culinary offerings!

IM Tapas was smokin' with hot shrimp in Spanish garlic sauce,
 and crispy roasted cold beet towers with fine Catalan goat cheese, Serrano ham, lardons and pine nuts, drizzled with balsamic glaze.
This is the spot for great Spanish tapas!

Bha! Bha!'s Michael Mir and staff offered a luscious slow braised lamb with plums and roasted butternut squash, served with saffron Basmati rice.

Persian cuisine is light and delicately spiced, with rich braises and wonderful flavor combinations.

KC American Bistro's Chef Keith Casey
 had a dynamic duo with warm Parma ham wrapped Medjool dates containing Gorgonzola cheese; and a hot 'n crunchy Ritz crusted grouper slider, that's new to the menu.
He serves real Black grouper-you can appreciate the difference! He serves Amerian Cuisine, and during the season, the restaurant has been packed since day one! 

Tony Ridgway's Ridgeway Bar and Grill features a delicious ginger and soy marinated lamb with mango salsa,
and got rave reviews for Pastry Chef Emily Duncan's cinnamon gelato- topped crisp apple galette, or tart.
Tony's spot is one of my top spots for the well stocked wine shop and fine bakery.
 
The Real Macaw went Southern-style, with a beautiful pulled roasted pork topped with a swirl of mashed potatoes, cherry tomato and tamarind gravy-everyone thought it was a beautiful dessert!
The black bean salsa shooters are Island comfort food! It's one of my favorites restaurants to bring visitors who seek a uniquely Naples spot. Who else has oudoor dining with tableside macaws?
 
Phil Lavigne's Gourmet Catering's beef tenderloin rolls with caramelized onion was very popular.
His marinated veggies-artichokes, hearts of palm, tomato, feta and cucumber was refreshing!
 
Lisa and Philippe Boet's Bamboo Cafe  featured Provencale Gulf shrimp with espelette AOC pepper, with riz rouge de Camargue. Lisa is the founder and "energizer bunny" of Naples Originals.

Lisa & Isabella Boet
  Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar was traditional with a twist, featuring lollipop lamb chops with a beautiful, rich mint pesto,
 followed by the clever banana bread pudding with cinnamon glaze. You can't beat the water view from their restaurant!
 
Bleu Provence's Oeufs a la Neige, the classic French dessert with toasted almond- topped meringue islands floating in a creme Anglaise sauce,
was a "don't miss" treat, even overshadowing their other popular dessert, chocolate mousse. Their "early bird special" is one of the best in town.
 
M Waterfront's Chef Brian Roland and staff's
low and slow braised beef short ribs on a silky-delicious taro-pasnip puree topped with dehydrated pineapple was inspirational,
it looks like mashed potatoes and tastes like heaven! He's one of most creative Chefs in Naples.
 
These restauranteurs support the children of Collier County. Visit their restaurants, enjoy the delicious foods, and you too can taste a delicious part of the Naples Winter Wine Festival!

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