One bite is all you need to fall in love with the many spectacular dishes showcased at the First Bite Menu Release Party for Food Idea Group’s SWFL Restaurant Week. presented by Mercedes-Benz of Bonita Springs. Jaguar Fort Myers is the other presenting sponsor. I was among the first to see and taste the 2017 Winter Edition SWFL Restaurant Week Prix Fixe menus, meet the chefs and enjoy unlimited wines, brews and “First Bite” samples from over 25 participating restaurants.
All attendees were given a card to vote on who they thought had the best bite of the evening. The winner was Vergina’s, in Naples, with their incredible Four Cheese and Pear Fiocchi Truffle and Parmesan Cream Sauce. One of my favorites of the night! It was creamy, fresh and had just the right amount of truffle oil. I always say ‘go cheesy or go home’ and Vergina’s hit the mark.
Another fabulous First Bite was Ridgway Bar and Grill with their Chef’s New England Clam Chowder. The clams were succulent and plump. I had paired it with the Four Roses Bourbon on their station and, WOW! What a marriage. Mediterrano of Naples made an elegant rendition of Beef Tagine with a hearty braised beef, fresh herbs, roasted vegetables and Mediterranean spices. I am looking forward to tasting the Braised Lamb-ofto Kliftico on their 3-course menu.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant served six wines and a tasty Jambalaya – from which I chose to pair with the Blanc De Blanc. The flavor was off the charts. I got burst of flavors from Copper’s Hawk Winery’s prosecco and La Corte Garden Bistro’s vanilla cake and chocolate cream. I was happy to see Wagyu Beef Carpaccio brought in by Marco Prime Steak and Seafood. It was wrapped around goat cheese and sautéed spinach. It melted in my mouth! Their prix fixe menu for $35 features Wagyu Beef Tips and Wagyu Meatball. MFR Martin Fierro made a grand-slam with their juicy Chicken Empanada Argentina and Tostada Mendozina. A world of wonderful flavors. Bravo, chef!
King’s Kitchen made a showing with Loaded Tostones containing fried green plantains topped with melted cheddar cheese, Mexican mozzarella, shredded lettuce and Pico de Gallo and roast pork. The Fish House Restaurant had an amazing Coconut Shrimp at their station and The Melting Pot made us all drool with Bacon and Jalapeño Fondue.
Besides all the wonderful foods, four breweries came to the party; Bone Hook Brewing Co, Bury Me Brewing, Millennial and Palm City. It’s truly amazing when beer comes in as a fabulous dance partner with food. All the savory foods and sweet desserts were elevated to a new level of yumminess.
Some furry friends were among the guests. Little puppies and one great dog, all searching for a loving and warm home. The net proceeds of the evening’s tickets went directly to benefit the animals at the Humane Society Naples and Gulf Coast Humane Society.
A celebration of food, family and friends is in order, and you’re invited! SWFL Restaurant Week is from November 30th to December 13th in Naples, Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral. For participating restaurants and menus, visit the SWFL Restaurant Week website.
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