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About Me

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I have started this blog, Southwest Florida Forks, as I want to share my dining and food experiences with you both textually and pictorially.
I love food and photography and it is my hope that through my dining/food/traveling combined with photos I can bring to you an accurate log of my experiences.
A fork can be an eating implement used to pick things up, as well as being a point where something disperses, perfect for a blog.
You can choose to use these postings as a guide, and if not, perhaps just see life through my lens.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Hour at Mereday's Fine Dining


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is a restaurant in Naples, FL. It is located in Naples Bay Resort,

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another mixed use commercial/residential development.

As you walk into Mereday's

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they have a very nice dining area

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with an open air kitchen overlooking it.

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I really think having an arrangement such as this helps patrons connect more with what is served to them on their plate. The accessibility of the chef both visually and verbally for questions and or feedback helps tremendously with this.

That day, my dining companion (DC) and I went there for happy hour, which runs daily from 4-7 P.M. It is served at the bar.

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During happy hour, items from the bar menu

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in addition to their wine and beer menu are 50% off.

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DC and I shared a number of things off the menu, the first being the seared Baby Back Ribs.

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This was a full rack of ribs, kindly served as individual ribs. They were coated with Unagi (eel) sauce and topped with Cilantro. Really good.

This was followed by the Asian chicken salad.


Perfectly cooked Rice Noodles were topped with Napa and Red cabbage, Arugula, bell pepper and a Vinaigrette made from Peanut Butter (probably not this variety though!), Soy Sauce, Rice VinegarSweet Thai Chili Sauce and topped with cilantro and basil Microgreens. All this was topped with an expertly cooked Airline Chicken Breast. The textures and flavors were exceptional. This dish was my favorite of the evening.

DC and I then moved on to the Tarte Flambee "pizza".

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This is the restaurant's take on the traditional Alsatian dish. This was served with Carmelized Onions, Gruyere Cheese and Nueske's Smoked Bacon, the latter an alternative for the traditional Lardon. Really, really good.

We finished with the the Beef Fillet.

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Beef Fillet  was served with creamed potatoes, baby carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and asparagus. This was served with a red wine Demi-Glace . The vegetables were cooked Al Dente, crisp and delicious. One of the chefs prides himself on the Veal Jus he prepares for the demi-glace, which was 3 days in the making. It shows.

The ambiance at Mereday's is very pleasant, the service well executed and the food a cut above. This is not surprising, as the owner has trained in some Very Good Kitchens. A friend who was discussed in another Post thought this was one of the best kitchens in Southwest Florida. I would agree.


It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

Mereday's Fine Dining
1500 5th Ave. S.
Naples, FL 34102
(239)732-0784





Mereday's on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Meeting of The Caxambas Chapter of The American Culinary Federation of Naples and Marco Island

As discussed in a previous Post, The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a 20,000 member organization of chefs, food industry-related members and maybe a food writer or two.  On this day, the monthly Naples and Marco Island ACF Chapter meeting  was held at The Lely Players Club and Spa,


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 a private country club.

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They have a beautiful dining area inside the club,

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perfect for this month's food theme which was barbecue.

I was intercepted by The Players Club Executive Chef, Dan Kniola, who showed me the smoker he was using that day for his Beef Brisket.

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The speaker that evening was Executive Chef Kristopher Jubinville (Chef K) of St. Matthew's House,

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a local homeless shelter and their associated catering business, SMH Catering, which helps bring in revenue to the shelter.

Chef K explained the "low and slow" approach to smoker cooking. Typically the temperature is maintained around 200 degrees for about 10-12 hours. This breaks down the Collagen in the meat, effectively tenderizing it. The importance of knowing your flavors before using the smoker was also emphasized. The voluminous amounts of smoke generated by these cookers tends to dumb down the chef's sense of taste and smell. More on barbeque later.

These monthly meetings always have a social hour, an informational component and then a wonderful dinner.

As attendees gathered for the social hour

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Pero Family Farms, one of the vendors donating their product that evening,

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was highlighting their sweet peppers with a  Bruschetta starter.

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After social hour, the general and educational component of the meeting began. 

After the Chapter President, Chas Tatigian, made a few announcements, Chef K talked a bit about barbecue.

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 He talked about the different woods used in smokers.

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He liked to use Oak or Hickory wood as a base, adding sweetness with either Apple Wood, Pecan Wood or Cherry Wood chips.

He explained the use of Spice Rubs in barbecues, which almost always contain a salty and sweet element.

Brining was also touched on, good when smoking poultry as it helps retain moisture.

Chef K also likes to spray what he is smoking every 3 hours or so to keep it moist, but then leave it be. A Dr. Pepper/Rum spray is one of his favorites.

Now for the good part! After the presentation, attendees lined up for the food.

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There were a number of salads served that evening.

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There was a garden salad served with a Ranch or Balsamic dressing, an Asian noodle salad (a new item from Pero Farms), Genoa Salami with roasted sweet peppers and fresh Mozzarella cheese in addition to Caesar Salad.

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The entree selection was really good too. Beef brisket,




chicken thighs brined in Vanilla/Dr. Pepper,


roasted potatoes





As if there were any more room left in most for more food, the dessert table was very impressive.


 There was white chocolate raspberry tart, Cheesecake, Ganache tart, fruit tart, Chocolate Mousse Tart, brownies,




chocolate cheesecake and Mocha Torte, among other offerings.



Yikes! But so good!

Before closing I would like to acknowledge Cheney Brothers, Pero Family Farms, Sturdivent's Food Purveyors and Naples Smokehouse and Deli, among others for their donations that made this great meal possible.

That's that for another post on Forks.

ACF Caxambas Chapter of Naples and Marco Island
Pres Chas Tatigian, CEC
P.O. Box 855
Naples, FL 34106
(239)304-6045

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10,000 Islands and Lunch at City Seafood

The 10,000 Islands are Barrier Islands off the coast of Southwest Florida that are part of The Everglades National Park.

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If you compare the size of the parks in the National Park Service, Everglades National Park is number three in the nation in terms of acreage. You can get lost out there if you want to.

They have a guided tour of these islands that leaves from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center

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in Everglades City, FL. The tour from The Visitor Center to The 10,000 Islands is on a covered Catamaran boat.

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If you get there early before a tour there is an observation tower nearby

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that has very nice views of the surrounding area.

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The tour on the boat takes about 90 minutes. Although it was Slim Pickings that day in terms of wildlife,

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and Royal Tern, natural Weather Vanes as their beaks always point in the direction of the oncoming winds,


could be seen on the way to the islands and The Gulf of Mexico.


After the tour my dining companion (DC) and I decided on some food. Only a few places were open this time of year in Everglades City for lunch, one being City Seafood.


When eating here, you can sit downstairs either at the picnic tables,


or upstairs which outside has a good view.


Should the bugs and heat get to be too much, there is an air conditioned, enclosed area upstairs as well.

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They have an interesting Menu

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and items are ordered from it in their seafood market

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and picked up by the kitchen along with plenty of Condiments.

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DC and I tried a number of things from the menu.

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Clockwise from left, we sampled fried Oysters, Coleslaw, Cracked Conch and fried Grouper Fingers. Overlooking the fried aspect of the meal that day, the seafood was really fresh and delicious.

On the way back through the Everglades we searched for Alligators. It was very hot that day and all the alligators must have been hiding. Alas, the only alligators that could be found were inside the local Marathon filling station.

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That's that for another post on Forks.

City Seafood
72 Begonia St.
Everglades City, FL 34139
(239)695-4700

City Seafood on Urbanspoon