Shopping and Seeing Art at Il Mercato

On March 22, I got the chance to visit two of some of the most famous fine art galleries in Naples:  the JoGi Art Gallery and Gallery on 5th, both located at the Il Mercato Shopping Mall in North Naples.  Naples is known for its art scene, both for attracting artists and art collectors.  Il Mercato’s art galleries are merely an extension of the vibrant Naples art scene as visible in the many art galleries along 5th Avenue in Downtown Naples.  For example, several art fairs are held in this area throughout the year in Il Mercato as well as along 5th Avenue.  Some of the art galleries in Il Mercato, like Gallery on 5th, who moved to the shopping center after a long, respectable run along 5th Avenue. 

Nonetheless, art galleries like Gallery on 5th and JoGi Fine Art Gallery are enabling Il Mercato to get local attention as part of Naples’ sophisticated art scene because of the art fairs and most importantly, special events like the ones I attended at both of these galleries on March 22nd.  Now as a visitor to the Southwest Florida area you’re probably wondering:  why should I care about visiting these art galleries and also these events, and how would they enhance my vacation here in the area?

Here’s why folks:  you will have once in a lifetime chance opportunities to meet some of the greatest artists of the 21st century; artists who are renowned around the world for their work and who are inspired by the local area!  For example, at the Gallery on 5th’s March 22nd event, I got to meet Russia’s premier neo-impressionist artist, Igor Korotash, and see his stunning landscapes of scenes both from Russian and here locally in Naples which was incredible.  Mr. Korotash told me that he had been in the Naples area for three weeks this time, painting as much of the local area as possible.  I was also informed by the owner of the Gallery on 5th that this is the ONLY GALLERY IN THE US THAT FEATURES Korotash’s work which is incredible!  This has made me wonder if there are other artists, like Korotash who exclusively show and sell their art in Naples, FL and no where else in the United States!  

At the JoGi Gallery on March 22nd, I also got to meet and see the work of internationally acclaimed Romanian-born French artist, Rody.  She comes to Naples annually and shows her work at the JoGi Gallery, and does a meet and greet.  She is also quite popular with the local aristocrats, who buy and commission her to do work.  When I spoke to her, she and the JoGi Gallery’s owner told me that Rody had been commissioned 6 paintings, including a landscape of a local person’s mansion (which I got to see some of her early outlines of it in paint which was really cool).  You have to understand that 6 commissioned paintings in a short period of time is a big deal for an artist, and really told me how valuable of an artist Rody was deemed by Naples’ art collectors but also the community.  It was also a privilege to know that this very famous, talented artist loved to come to Naples and paint and show her very romantic, nostalgic work, which does its best to capture the romance and nostalgie of pre WWII Paris and old photographs of cars and urban areas. 

It art is not your thing and/or you want to do more than visit art galleries, Il Mercato is a great place for the traveler who likes to shop and/or fine dinning.  There are some great shops here like the Z Gallerie, Charming Charlie, Sur La Table, and Bio.  In regards to fine dinning, I highly recommend Naples Flat Bread Company, any of the Italian restaurants at Il Mercato and/or Mesa.  There’s also a really great delicatessen, cupcake bakery, frozen yogurt shop and a really nice Whole Foods and a charming Irish pub. 

 

Thanks so much for reading and happy travels! 

Brought to you by www.evergladesrides.com

Accommodation of the Week: The Rod and Gun Club

Accommodation of the Week: The Rod and Gun Club

Posted on March 18, 2013

Hello everyone and welcome to the second blog entry of the accommodation of the week segment here on the Traveling Floridian!  Today, I’m going to tell you about Everglades City, Florida’s premier and historic hotel, The Rod and Gun Club.

During the 19th Century, the Rod and Gun Club had served as a private residence for the Storter family.  In the 1920s Barron G.Collier bought the place, turning it into a special club in order to entertain dignitaries and business associates.  Later it was converted into a hotel, serving the likes of several US presidents like Hoover, Eisenhower and FDR and famous movie stars like Sean Connery, Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.

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This is a picture of the Rod and Gun Club’s iconic lobby, which captures the spirit of old Florida and this hotel’s heritage as a former club.  All the wood you see on the walls and floors are made from cypress wood, which can only be seen in historic Florida homes because cypress trees are protected from being harvested anymore for construction.  The old gator skin and the other taxidermied animals that you will find in the lobby echo of Everglades City’s long historical relationship with hunting and the local wildlife. 

For accommodations, the Rod and Gun Club offers stately rooms in little “cottages” on the property, starting at c. $140 per night during the winter tourist season and $95 during the summer, which is the low tourist season.  The amenities at the hotel include a pool, a restaurant, a private fishing guide service. 

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So do you think this hotel is for you?  Here are some things to consider before you book a room here.  First, the location is fabulous if you plan on spending a lot of time in Everglades City fishing, taking airboat rides, visiting the museums and eating stone crabs, since everything is within walking distance or a short car ride.  However, if you plan on spending more time in Naples and/or Miami rather than Everglades City expect to rent a car and spend an hour or more commuting from Everglades City to these other destinations.  Therefore, you need to determine if you are comfortable with renting a car and having a long commute and/or want to spend the majority of your visit in Everglades City.  Another thing to consider is the price of the cottages $140 is considered a moderately priced hotel, but depending on how many people you are traveling with and if you have small children this might be more than you want to spend.  However, the benefits of staying at the Rod and Gun Club are the cottages, which will feel more like a vacation home and will give you and your family and friends more privacy. 

In regards to luxury, if you are looking for high end amenities like wi-fi, business centers, babysitting services, and a spa you will not find that here at the Rod and Gun Club but there are local vendors in the area that offer day spa treatments to locals and guests that you could inquire about if you want to stay at the Rod and Gun Club and have that extra luxury experience. 

In regards to fine dining, the menu represents local tastes and traditional cuisine such as fried gator tail, fried frogs legs, grouper sandwiches, key lime pie and smoked fish dip just to name a few.  Prices during breakfast and lunch are moderate (between $5-$20) while dinner will have items as high as $21-$30.  From my dining experience, I can tell you that the food is worth the money you pay for because the ingredients are fresh, well prepared, the portions are generous and the waiters and waitresses are very professional, helpful and knowledgeable about the menu.  I ate at the restaurant for lunch-I ordered the Caesar Salad with grilled grouper on top, which came with a biscuit and served in an old fashioned glass fish serving platter/dish with the dressing on the side.  The fish was prefectly cooked, tender and sweet and the salad, made with romaine lettuce, contained crisp, clean and green pieces of lettuce leaves which were easy to eat with a knife and fork.  This item was priced on the menu at $14.95

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As you can see, the presentation is very humble yet appealing, but also quite generous.  For dessert, I ordered the homemade key lime pie, which I must say cannot be missed if you do decide to eat at the restaurant.  It costs $6.00 a bit high for dessert however it is worth every penny because it tastes like someone’s grandmother or mother made it:

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My only complaint is that the only napkins available were paper ones, and that I would have liked a more sophisticated presentation and menu.  However, if you want to get an authentic taste of the local cuisine, un-adultured  that is fresh, uses local ingredients and is served in a classic, historic atmosphere with a killer view of the Barron River, than by all means eat at the Rod and Gun Club’s restaurant.  

Another reason why I recommend this hotel is because even if you are unable to book a room here, the staff love to welcome all visitors to look around the hotel and dine in the restaurant because of the property’s historical significance.

 

Thanks so much for reading, and happy travels!

Morning Ride in the Glades

This morning I took my first airboat ride in twenty years through Everglades Private Airboat Tours.  I had made the appointment for 9:30 am however I arrived twenty minutes earlier than expected, which was good because the staff here do recommend that you arrive 15 minutes before your boat departs.  As I waited for the captain of the airboat I was assigned to was ready for me, I looked around the company’s small little gift shop,which contained books, alligator plush toys, souvenir alligator heads, t-shirts saying Everglades Private Airboat Tours on the front pocket, snacks and beverages and hats.  There was also a television playing scenes and interviews with some of the drivers.  Finally, the captain I was assigned to came in, asking me “are you ready?”  I replied with a yes and followed him outside towards the dock and his airboat.  As I walked behind the captain towards the dock I noticed that there was a sign that cautioned for all visitors to refrain from heading to and from the airboats unless accompanied by the captain they’ve been assigned to.  I took comfort in seeing this because this policy told me that they want their guests supervised at all times by their assigned captain possibly as a safety precaution for them but also to make sure the number of guests there at the time have been accounted for by the front desk and have properly paid for the excursion before heading towards the dock.  This sign showed me that the owners have spent a lot of time working on organizing the tours in regards to when boats leave and come back, assigning paid guests to each get a chance to ride that day but also to insure the safety of their passengers.

Once I got onto the airboat, my captain introduced himself, asked me where I was from, and informed me to make sure that any easily detachable items I had like a hat or flip flops were secured in my hands and/or belongings because the fan mechanism that propels the boat will drag and destroy items like this so he wanted to make sure that I had them taken care of before he started the boat. 

As the tour started he and I talked a little bit where I was from, what I was doing and what brought me here today.  I’m originally from Everglades City I told him but I’ve lived in South Carolina, France and Massachusetts for the past ten years; ironically I went to school with both his daughter and son.  Image

So the tour took full swing through the private estuary that the Everglades Private Airboat Tours owns; I was the only one on board so I certainly felt like I was getting a private tour with my own personal guide, however if you come and do this you might end up taking it with at least ten other people depending on what time of day and year you come by.  I was recommended to come before 10:30 am because it was less crowded.

Anyway, the airboat winded down the watery path that was framed by tall saw grass and various species of mangroves.  Eventually the captain decided to speed up, which increased the wind speed, causing my hair to blow in the wind behind my head but also for the landscape to wisp past this unique sample of the Everglades ecosystem.  The water was very still, despite the boat’s presence, making it appear that the mangroves and grass were upon a glass surface and that we were gliding above it. 

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As you can see, I did get to see some wildlife.  In total, I saw three alligators, primarily females and six rosette spoonbills.  According to my captain, the Everglades is currently experiencing one of the most unique changes found in nature-a rush of salt water in exchange of fresh water.  My captain stopped in order to show me how one can physically see this change occurring- “Look at the water and see how brackish and muggy it’s gettn’?  That’s the salt water comin’ in more and replacing the salt water.  This happens always around this time of year, which is going to cause certain animals like the alligators to move to parts of the Everglades where there is fresh water.”  I then asked him about the famous fact that the Everglades is the only known ecosystem in the world that sustains both alligators and crocodiles.  “Oh yeah, you start to see more crocodiles this time of year because of the salt water,” he replied.  “Well then where do the alligators go?”  “They move up north, literally across the other side of the road because over in that part of the glades some fresh water ponds still remain in tact.”  

Another interesting thing I learned about alligators from him is that the males tend to not stay in one place and are much larger.  I figured that the females were smaller, but never realized that they stayed close to their young and their nesting place and rarely venture outside of that area.  My captain took me to several of these spots because he reasoned that there was more of a chance of seeing an alligator than none at all.  Sure enough, I was able to see two through his guidance, and one at the very beginning of the tour on my own because of his close observations regarding where female gators in the estuary normally nest.  

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I also got to see lots of local and migratory birds; here’s a lovely picture of three rosette spoonbills, who normally migrate from the Caribbean to the Everglades during the winter.  They feed on the many shrimp that live among the mangroves (the same species we humans love to dine on in fact) which gives the spoonbills their distinct rosette color.  According to my captain, you can tell how much shrimp a rosette spoonbill has eaten because of how bright their feathers are; he said that he’s seen some that are really really, a bright pink; these were rather pastel as you can see.  When we saw these rosette spoonbills my captain commented on the fact that he found it unusual to see rosette spoonbills in the area so late in the season with the salt water coming in because normally they have migrated back to the Caribbean by now. 

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Towards the end of the tour, my captain pointed out a “prairie” which was basically an area filled with saw grass where larger animals like panthers, deer, bear, etc like to hang out in, hunt and feed.  He began to tell me stories about some of the animals that he would see out there like a panther, a few bears, a deer; today was not the day to see anything though however I appreciated the fact that he pointed out this interesting feature to me. 

So the tour ended around 10:30 am or so.  I left the airboat accompanied by my captain whom I thanked and told him to say hi to his son and daughter for me.  I then go inside in order to complete the final part of the tour which was to hold the baby alligator they promise for all guests.  This the second time I have ever held an alligator before and actually it’s pleasant; their skin is very smooth with a few bumps and scale like sensations here and there but they’re very sturdy animals and do not feel or smell slimy or gross at all.  The alligator I held was from a gator farm so he was used to human contact, and was very placid; he kind of had a look on his face like “why is this human just holding me and what am I supposed to do.”

So how would I rate this experience?  On a scale of one to ten a nine because of the knowledgeable yet friendly staff, the beautiful property they own which is a stunning example of the fundamentals that make the Everglades’ ecosystem one of the most valuable and unique ecosystems in the world, it’s great value (only $40 per adult), and the company’s respect and passion for the Everglades, airboats, and the local wildlife that is not only enlightening to the visitor, but also respects everything natural and technological that locals treasure about this area.  Airboats are a part of the heritage of the local people here because many of them grew up with families that used them to hunt frog and alligator.  Now they are only used for hunting frogs and for showing tourists the Everglades.  Taking an airboat ride is definitely an iconic experience you must have during your visit to South Florida because you will not only get a taste of the local heritage, but be able to see the local wildlife in their natural habitat with a knowledgeable local/guide.  Thanks for reading and happy travels!  

A Day at the Waterside Shops

Hello everyone!  I hope you have had a great weekend!  Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite shopping districts in Naples, called the Waterside Shops.  If you are the kind of traveler who is always looking for fine shopping and fine dinning, then this is for you!  Located in North Naples, near Pelican Bay off of Pineridge Road and Seagate Drive, the Waterside Shops is an open air mall with luxury boutiques selling products by famous designers like Louis Vutton, Gucci, Valentino, St. John, Max Mara and Burburry.  There are also chic department stores like Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Saks Fifth Avenue, and specialty stores like Teavana, William and Sanoma, White House Black Market, Ann Taylor and Juicy Couture.   Yes I realize that the list of stores are very international and not really unique to the area, however the shopping experience is comparable to that on Newbury Street in Boston, MA because a) a lot of the same stores but b) the personal service you will get.  I see a lot of tourists at the Waterside Shops when I’m here; from England, Germany, France, Canada, and from all over the United States.  Some of the people come here for the shops that they can’t go to back home or that are uniquely American.  Some of the stores have unique collections and experiences, like the Gucci boutique, which has Florentine handbag makers spend a few weeks from time to time during the year to make ALL the bags in the store right there in the shop for you to buy!  These handbag makers are among some of Florence, Italy’s best, a city known for its leather industry and craftsmanship.  Even though I’m a local and I’ve shopped at most of these stores millions of times all over the world, but I come here because of the great service from the employees, some of my favorite shops are here like Ann Taylor, Black House White Market, Teavana, William and Sonoma and Barnes and Noble however I like the ambiance.  The reason why the Waterside Shops has its name is because the open air concept of the mall contains several decorative fountains and water displays; there are plenty of benches and its pedestrian friendly so that you can walk around.  It’s this concept that attracts people here, at least I know that’s what attracts me because I find it to be a relaxing place to walk around, shop, relax and take a break from my busy life. 

There are also some really nice restaurants, mostly chains but ones that are not found in all fifty states and are really good fine dinning options.  I highly recommend Brio, which is an Italian restaurant and Brickstone which is a Contemporary American fine dinning restaurant.  There’s also a California Pizza Kitchen which is nice but rather predictable and there’s a Starbucks which is great but too small to really hang out in; Nordstrom also has a really nice cafe up in the second floor that serves excellent food at moderate prices with a great view.  I had a fabulous crab bisque soup for $6.00 as like an afternoon snack which was one of the best seafood bisques that I have ever had in my life!  For dessert, don’t forget to head towards the Haegen Daaz shop for some great ice cream yum! 

So I highly recommend you to consider adding the Waterside Shops to your itinerary when you come to South Florida because of the great luxury shopping, fine dinning and wonderful outdoor concept with the decorative water features.  Thanks for reading and happy travels! 

Accommodation of the Week: Waldorf Astoria Naples, FL

This is a new segment that I would like to start on the blog known as accommodation of the week.  The purpose of this segment, obviously is to help my readers with choosing the right hotel/lodging that is suitable for them while on vacation. 

So, those of you are probably wondering, why would I want to stay in the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, FL when the original, historic hotel is located in New York City?  The experience at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, Florida I am gathering is a very unique experience apart from the one in New York City; First, the hotel’s campus is much larger than the one in New York City, located on 23 acres of land, with tons of parking and a huge driveway that leads up to the main building.  The inside of the hotel’s main building is HUGE, with a lovely Zen-like open concept interior design and structure with a huge front desk, plenty of chairs and sofas for you to sit in (all well appointed and contemporary of course) and also lots of staff members to greet and assist you.  There are also three restaurants; so far I’ve only tried Aura for lunch which I highly recommend and you will probably see more posts from me about not only that restaurant, but the Waldorf Astoria in future postings on this blog.  At Aura, I ordered the Asian salad with the fish of the day (c. $15.00) which was local grouper for my main course and for dessert a key lime creme brulee (c. $9.00).  I have eaten a lot of Asian salads and I must say this one deserved the title because of its use of shredded cabbage, fried white rice noodles, shredded carrots and I think I remember seeing pickled ginger slivers and bean sprouts in a carrot/peanut vineagrette, which tasted sort of like a noum-chuk sauce.  Even though the salad was hard to eat with a knife and fork because it was so shredded (I would have preferred chop sticks actually to eat it) I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to the adventurous eater who doesn’t mind risking table manners while dining.  The creme brulee was beautifully presented with two fruit coulis and some sort of cream topping; the texture of the creme brulee was very thick and creamy, with a hint of key lime flavor.  I would have liked more key lime flavor however I found it to be a very satisfying sophisticated take on traditional key lime pie; in fact in reminded me a lot of a very thick and smooth key lime pie filling without the gram cracker crust but instead with a nice, burnt sugar crust on top.  The staff at the restaurant and at the hotel lobby were very benevolent, generous, amiable and helpful.  Even though I was not staying at the hotel, the staff was eager to help me find the restaurant, and my waitress and I engaged in small chit chat, was knowledgeable about Aura’s menu in regards to helping me make my final choices, and even offered me coffee in a to go cup, complimentary of my initial bill, to take with me on the road.  As I left, she said goodbye and invited me to come back, telling me about their fabulous continental breakfast buffet.  According to the Waldorf Astoria website for this hotel and location hotel features include a concierge, fitness center, wireless internet (free in room, $10.00 for the lobby) and outdoor pool and a tennis court.  There are also business facilities, such as a center and meeting rooms.  In fact, when I was there the hotel was hosting a conference and the hotel staff were helping to direct its attendants to the proper location.  The hotel is also very accessible to handicapped guests, and offers special services for family.  In fact the hotel is extremely family friendly with babysitting services to children’s menus to cribs and high chairs.

So you ready to book your room at this wonderful hotel?  There are a few things to consider before you do because one important thing you must do is always choose your accommodations according to your traveling needs, the skills and professionalism of its staff and basic needs NOT the brand name and/or luxury aspect.  Now that I’ve written that you’re probably wondering, ok Danielle, what are these things I should consider about the Waldorf Astoria Naples before I book?  It sounds like a fabulous place; I do agree, if I could afford it I would book a room at this hotel RIGHT NOW even though I live an hour away, however price might be an issue.  According to the Hilton website, rooms start at $254 per night at Waldorf Astoria Naples and there are only c. 424 rooms available.  This price for some maybe too steep, especially if you only plan to spend one night, or depending upon your budget might be too much if you spend a week or more in the area.  Definitely research websites like travelocity, expedia or trip advisor for example to see if you can get a cheaper room at this hotel at your budget but if not there are other hotels in the area, and also check the hotel’s main website for deals and specials, etc.  you will find a place for you and your family to stay.  Another issue might be whether or not you plan on renting a car during your visit and how much traveling within and around Naples you plan to do.  If you plan to stay pretty much in Naples, this hotel is your best bet because it’s close to all the major sites:  Naples Pier and all the beaches, Waterside Shops, Coastland Mall, Tin City, Collier County Museum, Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts and Art Museum, 5th Avenue, etc, however you will need a taxi or your own car to get there.  I’m not sure how much taxi fare runs in Naples, however you could ask the concierge at the Waldorf Astoria, talk with your travel agent, consult your guide book and/or do an internet search to learn more about how much taxis charge in the area. 

So if you’re going to stay in Naples and you don’t mind paying $254+ a night and feel that the amenities are right for you and your family and friends than come here!  However, if you plan to visit other cities, especially Everglades City and Marco Island, you will need to rent a car probably (but ask the concierge before you book to make sure you can manage without a car if that’s your preference) and it’s location is quite a long drive; for example, from the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, FL to Everglades City, FL would take you 1 1/2 or 2 hours depending upon traffic, while Marco will take you about 45 to 50 minutes.  Miami is also 3 hours away, but if I were you I’d just book another hotel in Miami if you intend to include Miami and Naples on the same itinerary.  So this hotel might not be for you if you plan to do a tour of other surrounding towns during your visit and you are against long car trips, traffic and driving yourself or it’s just not feasibly possible for you to rent a car because you can’t drive or it’s too expensive for your budget. 

However, if you can’t book a room here, don’t feel so bad because you could always schedule dinner, breakfast or lunch at Aura or the other restaurant Strip House where you can have a fabulous, distinct meal that you’ll be talking about for years and you don’t have to be a guest at the hotel.  There’s also little coffee shop and a bar, so you can hang out for a bit and just soak in the atmosphere.  Also see if you can take advantage of some of the hotel’s facilities like the tennis court by calling up the concierge, which might be possible, however I predict that most likely those are restricted to guests only. 

So that’s my accommodation of the week!  Be sure to tune in for next week’s and happy travels until then! 

Breakfast at Hoots

Yesterday was a dreary day in Naples; it was cold and gray with no sun.  For most locals, this is a kind of day that they dread because they would say “where’s the sun and the warmth we live in paradise!”  Even though I’m a native Floridan I guess I’m weird in the respect that I like the cold, and I don’t mind the dreary day; it’s days that are extremely hot that drive me batty.

However, it was a good day to do activities inside.  On my way to meet my client at the Collier County Public Library, I decided to stop for breakfast at a restaurant that I’ve passed by for years but never walked in and tried the food.  It’s called Hoots, located in the Eagle Creek Shopping Plaza off Tamiami Trail.  I go into this shopping plaza a lot because of the huge Staples, and now there’s a Lowes, and my family and I used to frequent the Subway there when we used to like that company’s food, in addition to the dentist office and the Florida DMV satellite office there.  However, even though Hoots is right next to the Florida DMV satellite office, we had never eaten in there, but I always noticed the crowds of people who would wait outside of the restaurant and walk in and out of it, carrying take out containers with whatever they couldn’t finish eating.

Since I had time yesterday morning after a brief visit to Staples, I decided to eat my first meal at Hoots.  It was breakfast time, around 8:40 am when I walked in through the door; there wasn’t a line outside like normal which I was surprised to see, however I lucked out on getting seated immediately.  I decided to sit at the counter and I was immediately greeted by a waitress.  She talked like your stereotypical American diner waitress; she called me sweety, and was very polite and warm when asking my order, if I wanted anything else other than the short stack of pancakes that I ordered “would you like bacon with that honey, or ham or sausage?  Would like something else than coffee to drink sweetie, like orange juice or water?”

“I’ll take some bacon ma’am and water please,” I replied.  With that, she smiled picked up my menu and headed towards the back of the restaurant to a door that I presumed led to the kitchen.  My food came on time:  a small stack of pancakes containing two filled with blueberries, syrup on the side, and huge plate of bacon (like 6 strips) on the side and my glass of iced water.  All the waiters and waitresses made sure that my coffee was filled, which was pipping hot, energizing and comforting.  The place was busy with regulars; many of the waiters and waitresses already knew what their customers were ordering; there were a lot of families with small children there and old retirees talking, eating and enjoying this dreary yet enjoyable Tuesday morning in.  If you want to know how good my pancakes were; they were fantastic, probably the best I’ve had out in a long time.  The bacon was crisp and smoky and salty, which made a great compliment to my very sweet, mordant fruity pancakes.  I couldn’t get enough of the coffee, in fact I wanted to order a cup to go, but instead I looked at my smart phone and noticed that it was 9:03 am, time for me to go and meet my client at the library.  So instead, I just paid my check, and left thanking the restaurant’s staff for a wonderful meal.

Will I go back to Hoots?  You bet I will, the atmosphere was very homey, humble and rustic, the staff was very helpful, professional and warm towards their customers; the place was filled with regular customers which was a good sign; the menu had a great selection of food, including a crab cake eggs Benedict all for low prices under $20.00.  The coffee is refillable and the waiters and waitresses make sure of that, and they bring your check right to you.  My pancakes tasted as good as my mothers, but also as good as any proper diner should (even though this place doesn’t refer to themselves as such).  I recommended this place to my parents last night when I came home, told them we need to come back here together as a family.  I plan on recommending this place also to all my friends, and any visitor to Naples, FL who wants to not only have a great, traditional American style breakfast, but to have a unique, homey experience out in a restaurant, which is a rare experience in the US these days.  Kudos for Hoots for being among the few American restaurants to keep this kind of atmosphere and food alive!

 

Thanks for reading and until next time…..peace out