Saturday, April 30, 2011

Savor the Flavor -The 2011 Community School of Naples' Food Festival & Live Music Program

Savor the Flavor is a yearly fundraiser for The Community School of Naples. The $100 ticket is a great way to sample the cuisine of fifteen restaurants, try great wines from The Wine Merchant, and enjoy live music. The restaurants donate the food, staff and setups, and attendees happily visit the restaurants over the ensuing year, especially with coupons to try out! The tickets and silent auction items directly benefit students with scholarships and other assistance at the Community School. A good afternoon rain cooled off the day, so the evening was as rain-free delight!

The Trail Café & Grill led the pack from the starting gate with their signature Razzleberry stuffed French toast-so rich in berry goodness. The Homemade chicken salad with crackers is a keeper, and is not like any chicken salad you’ve had before! This is one of my favorite spots for breakfast and lunch, and with a full liquor license, will soon open for dinner, too!
Trail Cafe owners Christopher and Patricia Jubinville
Rossopomodoro turned heads with their tender Gnocchi and its a delicious rich red sauce. Their Bruschetta is perfect for a spring or summer evening with cold freshly diced tomatoes. Co-owner Francesca Neri (on right side, below) and friendly staffers happily were meeting and greeting people.
 Rossopomodoro, with two ovens, one for regular Italian cuisine, and another just for pizza,is a magnet on 5th Avenue South, is so popular that Neri will open a second Rossopomodoro- in Fort Lauderdale soon.

The Capital Grille is tops for me in Naples for steaks, service and ambiance. Their Kona crusted seared tenderloin with shallot butter is beautifully cooked, and the shallot butter is a savory delight you could happily add to any steak.
 The Lobster Macaroni & cheese is the best in town, with four wonderful cheeses. Don’t miss their several course wine dinners over the summer!

Chef Alain Petitbon (on right, below) offered heavenly conch fritters with a New Orleans style remoulade sauce, with just the right touch of cayenne pepper for heat.
 The fritters are full of conch, and the remoulade sauce is a carefully honed balance of flavors. The classic sauce, invented in France and a New Orleans classic, includes Worcestershire sauce, garlic, capers, scallions, parsley, olives, celery and various chilis within a mayonnaise base.

Service by Jordan’s Asparagus tips wrapped in coiled puff pastry was a welcome surprise!
A thin layer of prosciutto was between the grilled asparagus and the pastry, giving a nice slightly salty taste that wonderfully complements the asparagus.

Alexanders’s Restaurant had people come back for seconds on their Jumbo lump crab cake with a light Maine lobster sauce. This was paired with the Miso Butter fish with a tropical mango sals and  rice.
“To die for!” said one woman as she went back for thirds! Alexander’s closes for the summer, so visit the reetaurant at the end of September to try these delights.

Want a great New England style Lobster roll slider? Go to The Dock at Crayton Cove, for their slider that’s packed with lobster and no fillers!
Their Chilled minestrone is a perfect soup for a hot summer’s day.

The Sauce Lady hit home runs with Mushroom Boscaiola sauce and also a rich meaty Beef Bolognese with meatballs and pasta.
Ela Vivonetto (on left, above) uses great family recipes for her beloved sauces. You can sample them from her internet store, or coming to the Third Avenue South Farmer’s Market behind Sea Salt.

I took a breather to say hello to Mr. Bob Beamon, a hero to many since he set a new Olympic world record in the long jump by beating the previous landmark. 
Mr. DeVito and Mr Bob Beamon
 He didn’t just set it an inch or two past the prior record, as might be expected. He exceeded it by just under two feet during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games! This 29 feet, 2.5 inch record, known as “the leap of the century,” was not touched for 23 years. He still holds the Olympic record! Even more amazing, this was done in the higher altitude in Mexico City, where there’s less oxygen available in each breath, AND there was a slight head wind, not a tail wind! He’s also an accomplished motivational speaker, and fine graphic artist-see his works at Art of the Olympians in fort Myers.
A bonus for Naples-this soft spoken gentleman and his family are moving to Naples, after living in Chicago and New York!

“Year-os”, not “guyros” or “jeeros” is the Greek way of pronouncing the delicious roasted meet on a pita slice, with tomato slices, onions and feta- The Greek Gourmet does it right!
 Visit them for a filling Greek salad topped with great feta cheese and a choice of great entrees!

Café Normandie brought a Touch of France with Beef Bourguignon and baguettes. Followed by a rich crème brulee, I could not ask for more! This intimate spot is often standing room only for their popularly priced cuisine.

The Strip House, known for great steaks, did a switcheroo that had many coming back for seconds! Their Strip House roasted bacon salad with baby arugula, grape tomatoes and Russian Dressing was tops!
They even gave out the recipe for it, (with maple syrup and dark molasses) however it’s easier to order it at the restaurant. While known for their 20-some layered chocolate cake, they gave sample mini-cakes that also had the right stuff.

Rita’s gave a refreshing break with rich, juicy ices. Try a Mango, Raspberry lemonade, Wild black cherry, or Iced coffee Cream ice-you’ll be glad you did! These are light years better than the ices you had as a kid.

The Wine Merchant brought a bounty of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay and other great wines, sourced from around the world. Trying the assortment is my kind of geography lesson! Now’s the time to pay them a visit, as there are many great bargains to be had as season ends.

Stevie Tomato’s Sports Page kindly brought a variety of beers, wines and mixed drinks.

Enchanted Rock Martini Bar created special “Savor the Flavor” martini’s that were very popular.

Emack & Bolio brought their top sellers-Chocolate addiction Ice cream, and the Deep Purple Cow. Great things to savor, in all four seasons!

Gracie’s Cup Cakes own Grace Bolen brought many artfully displayed mini cupcakes, including the ever popular Red Velvet and some chocolate cupcakes that are my favorites!

Grace Bolen with Mini Cupcakes
  There’s a new strawberry icing topped cupcake that’s well worth a visit. Her Naples and Fort Myers’ shops’cupcakes grace many fine dinner parties- enjoy the best at Gracie’s!
Talking to guests at the event, quite a few got to taste delicious food from restaurants they’d heard of but never visited. Now, these attendees will visit some of the restaurants, knowing how good some of the dishes are. There you have it. So many people coming together to help students at the Community School, and networking to help support the restaurants that support the Community School.

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