Osteria Tulia – Naples, FL

One of my favorite restaurants in Naples, Florida is Campiello…it has been for years.  When I read that the former chef from Campiello, Vincenzo Betulia, opened a new restaurant on 5th called Tulia, I couldn’t wait to check it out!  It’s very different from Campiello – although both serve Italian cuisine, each restaurant has completely different menu’s, atmosphere and vibe.  Tulia offers indoor and outdoor seating, right on the main street of Naples – 5th Ave.  You can sit inside and take in the high energy environment (avg age had to be 65 when I was there and the place was still hoppin’! – they also had March Madness playing on the bar TV’s) or you can sit outside and enjoy the lovely spring weather of Southwest Florida and people watch and family’s walk by with ice cream in hand.  It was a perfect way to arrive in Naples for the Easter long weekend…I settled right in and enjoyed…

The linguine with clams was a dish worth returning for!  For dessert we had budino with salted caramel (and I believe dark cherries?)…this was a life changer…one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted!  Can’t wait to return next year!  Good job Tulia!

http://www.tulianaples.com/index.php

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The Chapel Grill – Naples, Florida

On my recent trip to Florida, my last dinner out was at a restaurant with my Mother.  We decided to go to the new Chapel Grill downtown.  It’s a classic Floridian style restaurant, with great food, lots of selection on the menu, outdoor seating (covered with heat lamps if necessary) – a good choice overall.  Check it out if you are in the Naples area soon.  http://thechapelgrill.com/

Creamed Spinach $4.1 ~ $8.2 Baby spinach with double cream & a splash of pernod.

Creamed Spinach $4.1 ~ $8.2
Baby spinach with double cream & a splash of pernod.

Plank Roasted Salmon $25.6 Bourbon maple glazed, Dijon mashed & grilled asparagus.

Plank Roasted Salmon $25.6
Bourbon maple glazed, Dijon mashed & grilled asparagus.

Lobster à la Minute  Market Pricing 1½ pound Maine lobster prepared steamed or butter poached.

Lobster à la Minute Market Pricing
1½ pound Maine lobster prepared steamed or butter poached.

Coco Loco Caribbean Calamari $11.9 Coconut milk dredged flour dusted tubes, chorizo & squash with a 
roasted garlic aïoli.

Coco Loco Caribbean Calamari $11.9
Coconut milk dredged flour dusted tubes, chorizo & squash with a
roasted garlic aïoli.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes Trio $13.5 Louisianan rémoulade, Old Bay aïoli & garlic onion jam.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes Trio $13.5
Louisianan rémoulade, Old Bay aïoli & garlic onion jam.

Pretzel Bread

Pretzel Bread

Sassycakes Cupcakes. Oooh La La…

Anyone who knows me well, knows I prefer to do my own baking over ordering from a bakery/cupcake shop, etc.  With my Dad’s 70th birthday coming up, I had to decide, will I bake him a cake or cupcakes or order from somewhere local?  There were a lot of preparations to be done so I decided to order the cupcakes from a local Naples shop and take that stress off myself!  I did my research and decided to go with Sassycakes!  What a treat!  These cupcakes were phenomenal – peanut butter chocolate, carrot cake, key lime, red velvet, oreo, etc.

So fresh and moist, flavorful and not too sweet.  All ingredients tasted like good quality ingredients.  Absolutely as good as homemade – in fact I’ll bow down here…Bayah and Sassycakes would kick my butt in the cupcake kitchen!  🙂

Thank you Bayah for the beautiful assortment of cupcakes!  We are still eating them 3 days later.  Everyone at the party raved about them and were asking where they were from!  Hope you have some new visitors to the shop soon!  See you next time (my birthday is just around the corner 😉 !)

http://www.sassycakesinc.com/

Barbatella Wine Tasting and Dinner Pairing – March 5th, 2013

Since visiting, the then new, Barbatella in Naples last Winter, I joined their Facebook page.  Luckily I did so or I wouldn’t have known to make a reservation for their fun and fabulous wine pairing dinner.  With family friends in from out of town for my Dad’s 70th birthday, we decided the do this tasting dinner as a group.  Good food, good wine, good laughs shared by all!  Further to this, we ordered a lasagna from Barbatella for my Dad’s party the following night.  It was outstanding!  Almost everyone at the party asked about the lasagna – it was fantastic.  If you ever need local catering, Barbatella will not disappoint!  Having Barbatella and Campiello on 3rd St are the perfect compliment to each other.  Very different style Italian food but both excellent in every way.

http://www.barbatellanaples.com/

Naples Date Night with Melissa. At Campiello of course!

I’ve had the privilege of spending the past week in Naples with my dear friend Melissa (and her 2 sweet boys).  When Grandma Peg offered to babysit one night, Melissa and I jumped at the opportunity to head to our favorite restaurant in Naples – Campiello!  Such a great meal!  I’ve posted about Campiello before but I couldn’t resist sharing another fine meal from there.  http://campiello.damico.com/FoodFL.aspx

NYC Foodie Weekend – Pre Christmas. What a treat.

I recently went to NYC for a little fine dining and Christmas shopping.  What a weekend.  If you’ve never been to NYC between American Thanksgiving and Christmas, I highly recommend it!  Really gets you in the spirit!  We went to my favorite restaurant (in the world), Babbo – a Mario Batali restaurant – it was flawless.  My third time there and I’ve yet to order a disappointing dish!  Difficult to get a reservation but I would go and wait hours for a table or for a seat at the bar!  It’s that good!  Drink some wine while you wait…you’ll be fine!  It’s an experience!

The second night we went to Tribeca Grill.  They have a highly acclaimed wine list.  We drank well and had decent food.  If they have wine you’d like to try, the food is good enough to keep up but if you’re looking for a foodie experience, go somewhere else.  Lively atmosphere, comfortable seating, good location…worth a try BUT if you have to choose between one or the other…GO BABBO!!!

I spent hours on the Saturday wandering around EATALY!!!  I have been dieing to visit ever since it opened (a couple years ago)!  Another Mario Batali establishment that did not disappoint!  If I was to move to NYC I would want to live across from Eataly.   I would spend wayyyyyyyyyy too much time there and LOVE every moment of it.  The next best thing to Italy.  🙂  Truly a food mecca.

Los Angeles Restaurants. Mr. Chow, Cut, Tasting Kitchen, Gjelina, Madeo, etc

Last month, I spent 5 glorious days in Los Angeles with a few friends who had rented a house in Venice Beach.  We had great meals everyday!  If you’re going to be in LA anytime soon, make sure to check out where we ate because we found some great spots to dine!  Gjelina’s got me addicted to dark greens and I’ve been salad binging ever since I got home!  If I lived in Venice Beach, I’d have a hard time venturing away from the main strip (Abott Kinney) because I would eat at Madeao, lunch & dinner, every day of the week!  It’s perfect, casual dining.  Madeo gave us our celeb spotting fix!  We were amongst Jimmy Fallon, Ellen Degeneres, Portia De Rossi, Hayden Christensen – after the Emmy’s!  Mr. Chow lived up to it’s great praise from my Dad!  He just loves it there and it ended up being our last and favorite dinner of the trip!  We ordered the Balanced and Harmonious Two Course Dinner From the sky, land, and Sea – $64 per person – (that’s the way to dine here) served with vegetables and sautéed rice.  Tasting Kitchen was fun in Venice Beach and we brought out own fabulous Napa wine (a first for me doing corkage).  Take a look and the photos…you’ll be drooling!

http://www.chateaumarmont.com/barmarmont.php

http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/

http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3789

http://www.gjelina.com/

http://www.urthcaffe.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Madeo-Restaurant/109738879061931

http://www.thetastingkitchen.com/

http://www.mrchow.com/main.html