The Naples Tomato

Our trip to Florida wound its way down to Naples for a day, and it will be the highlight of our time in this state. We visited Corkscrew Audubon Sanctuary, caught up with long-time friends, and went to an amazing restaurant, the Naples Tomato. If you’re within fifty miles of Naples, Florida, it’s worth the drive to come to this great restaurant!

We started the day with a visit to Corkscrew Audubon Sanctuary, a gorgeous spot not too far out of Naples. There’s a short (2.25 mile) boardwalk hike, with lots of opportunities for viewing wildlife. iPerhaps it was the time of day (noon-ish) or the weather (still chilly, a recurring theme for us in Florida), but we didn’t see a lot of wildlife during our two hours there. But it was definitely worth the visit, and a place we’d come back to.

A long-time professional colleague (first) and personal friend (second), Jack Serfass, moved to Naples over seven years ago. A repeat software entrepreneur that I had backed, Jack and his wife Nadine started a restaurant in Naples called the Naples Tomato. Our families have spent time together on multiple occasions, so we were excited to see them again. And my wife and I have followed the progress of their restaurant, with all the accolades it’s received, and had a life goal of eating there. Boy, were we not disappointed!

I’m not a foodie (my wife is), so I’d be smart to let her provide the restaurant commentary. All I can say is that it’s the best dinner I’ve ever had out. Unless you absolutely hate great Italian food, you just have to go to this restaurant. All courses were superb, with so many very different offerings. Jack and Nadine arranged for us to get our courses with samples of a half-dozen items off the menu. If I went back, I’d be hard-pressed to pick what I liked best, although the lasagna is a signature, the tilapia was my favorite, and you could readily gain ten pounds just eating the desserts. The key lime pie is outstanding, and they offer a Krispy Kreme bread pudding.

We drove around Naples a bit and it’s a charming town. If we were to plan this trip over, we’d blow off Fort Myers Beach (charming is not a word I’d ever use to describe FMB) and stay a week in Naples. It looked too hard to get to spring training, but it’s taking us 30-60 minutes to get on/off the island here, so Naples couldn’t be much worse, and is a heckuva a lot more appealing than Ft. Myers.

Oh, and our pig update. Not too much to talk about today. She couldn’t get out of the car for Corkscrew or the Naples Tomato, so she was largely out of sight today. Sterling, as is her custom for the day, spent some time reading with Rosie beside her, and the two are getting more alike by the day, for better or worse :-) .

Tomorrow, we’ll take in the opening game of the Red Sox 2010 Exhibition season, and otherwise hang out in chilly Fort Myers. Our trip is coming to an end, and seems much longer than three weeks. More later on why.

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