Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel

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buffetbuster
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2009/03/09 13:28:32 (permalink)

Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel

I recently spent a weekend in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island in Florida.  While growing up, my parents owned a home in Fort Myers, where they would spend the winter.  I spent enough time in the area that I have long considered it my second home.  After my father passed away in 1998, my mother decided there were too many memories and she sold the place.  This will be the first time I have been back in over a decade.
 
Because eating wasn't the main focus of the trip and it wasn't my usual gorgefest, I'm not going to do a typical trip report.  Here are some of the places I did eat at, though......
 
On the Saturday, I drove over to Sanibel and had breakfast at my old favorite place, The Sanibel Cafe
 
Located in the Tahitian Gardens shopping center, I was pleased to see it looked the same  Even though it is a small place, they do a nice job with the decorating and it is a very attractive place. 

Considering that Sanibel is one of the best places on earth for collecting sea shells, it is only fitting they have shells underneath the glass in the tables.

 
To drink, I started off with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and a fruit smoothie.

A big thumbs up for both!!!  Lots of things on the menu sounded good, but I went with the Sanibel style omelet, which means it comes with sauteed shimp and Havarti cheese.

The egg part of the omelet was extremely light and fluffy and considering I love shrimp and Havarti, this was an ideal breakfast for me.  When I first saw the omelet, I thought they may have just put all the shrimp on top of the omelet, but the inside

was loaded with shrimp, too.  The hash browns were nice and crispy, though it did seem weird to me that I came across a cold spot in the middle.
 
Two small pancakes came as a side with my omelet.

Instead of using syrup, I found the homemade raspberry jam was a perfect topping for the pancakes.
 
I was the first person in the door at 7:00AM and by the time I was leaving around 7:30, the place was mostly full.  I did see one couple sit down and then leave, huffing about not getting waited on.  But, they could not have been seated for anymore than 5 -7 minutes.  The service I received was excellent.  I was very pleased to see this place was just as good as I remember.
 
Sanibel Cafe
2007 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL
239-472-5323
 
  http://www.sanibelcafe.com/
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/03/09 13:36:46
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    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 13:53:43 (permalink)
    That omelette looks great, and like something not easily found here in the Midwest.

    Brad
    post edited by Brad_Olson - 2009/03/09 14:09:39
    #2
    Rusty246
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:01:09 (permalink)
    That omelet is to die for.  I was hoping that the website had a "recipe" section.  I like the way the omelet was cooked to the light brown stage.  I wonder if the shrimp on the inside was precooked??  I'd like a double order of those hash browns also.
    #3
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:07:50 (permalink)
    I wondered that too Rusty--they look just-perfect pink, like maybe they let them cook inside.  I'd have been all over anything with shrimp and havarti like a cheap suit.  That place looks lovely, Cliff.
    #4
    Rusty246
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:15:30 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    I wondered that too Rusty--they look just-perfect pink, like maybe they let them cook inside.  I'd have been all over anything with shrimp and havarti like a cheap suit.  That place looks lovely, Cliff.


    WHICH could be one reason that the omelet was cooked to a darker stage, darker=longer=perfectly cooked shrimp.    Well, just plain YUM!
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:16:06 (permalink)
    On Sunday morning, my breakfast destination was the Lighthouse Cafe,


    also on Sanibel Island.  Since I arrived a few minutes before they opened at 7:00AM, I drove down to the beach and walked around.  There were some beachcombers looking for shells and I caught a few doing the "Sanibel Stoop".


     
    I was the first in the door when they opened up.  No surprise that this place is decorated with a lighthouse theme.

    After checking out the specials board,

    I grabbed a table. 
     
    What was really eye catching on the menu was that some of the benedict dishes came with a Key Lime Hollandaise sauce.  Man, that sounded good.  So, I decided on the Turkey Benedict on top of a croissant, with the Key Lime Hollandaise sauce.

    The lime taste in the sauce was delicate and subtle as it should be and I was very pleased with it.  The turkey was real turkey, rather than some turkey loaf lunch meat and the croissant was soft and fresh.  Excellent dish.  But, if I had it to do over again, I would have ordered a shrimp or crab benedict instead, since we were at the beach.  The tasty home fries included grilled onions.
     
    As a side, I also got a side of fine corned beef hash.

    And to go, a slice of Key Lime pie, which was just okay.

     
    Two mornings, two excellent breakfasts!
     
    Lighthouse Cafe
    362 Periwinkle Way
    Sanibel Island, FL
    239-472-0303
     
    http://www.lighthousecafe.com/
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/03/09 14:23:30
    #6
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:33:43 (permalink)
    Wait a minute!!!

    You had those breakfasts on SEPARATE mornings?

    For the love of God, Man....are you feeling OK?
    #7
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:37:41 (permalink)
    TTM-
    Don't worry, I plan on redeeming myself with plenty of pie photos, still to come!!!
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:48:28 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    TTM-
    Don't worry, I plan on redeeming myself with plenty of pie photos, still to come!!!

     
    Why does that not surprise us.  After you saw TTM at his pie feast at Claudia Sanders, I knew you would have to attempt to top that
     
    Sanibel is one of my favorite places although it is a bit difficult to reach.  I have stayed at the South Seas Plantation at the tip of the island many times.
     
    I have eaten several times at the Bubble House.  Some say it is not as good as it use to be but I was there about a year ago and what I got was very good.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN 

    #9
    seafarer john
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 14:51:38 (permalink)
    I wish we'd known BB before we went to Sanibel. We had no idea where to go to eat and wound up in some of the worst tourist traps on the island. (Rainforest? Oh my god!!) The best I can say of our experience there was our visit to the Ding Darling preserve where the bird watching was great and the docents were truly helpful and informative. 

    Cheers, John 
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:18:18 (permalink)
    I just have to say, I think that corned beef hash is one of the toughest things to photograph well.  I had a picture of some from the Sea Cow a couple weeks back and it looked like somebody's pancreas on a plate.  This one looks at least like food.
     
    I would have never thought of turkey as the meat in a benedict but it looks wonderful.
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    Rusty246
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:23:02 (permalink)
    It always looks like goetta to me. You can at least see some pink here.
    #12
    Pancho
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:28:10 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    I just have to say, I think that corned beef hash is one of the toughest things to photograph well.  I had a picture of some from the Sea Cow a couple weeks back and it looked like somebody's pancreas on a plate.  This one looks at least like food.
     
    I would have never thought of turkey as the meat in a benedict but it looks wonderful.
    Great looking breakfast fare....I'm still thinking that the shrimp were slightly cooked prior to the omelet. I will forever remember "pancreas on a plate". Thanks.


    #13
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:28:22 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    I just have to say, I think that corned beef hash is one of the toughest things to photograph well. 
    I could not agree more.  Don't think I have ever had a photo of corned beef I was happy with.  Same with baked/bbq beans.

    #14
    seafarer john
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:36:15 (permalink)
    It helps if the corned beef has a well composed poached egg or two sitting on top...

    Cheers, John 
    #15
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:42:06 (permalink)
    Maybe they invented putting eggs on CBH so it didn't look so dreadful.  ;)
    #16
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 15:47:13 (permalink)
    If I had time for a third breakfast, I would have checked out The Island Cow.  The place was packed, so they must be doing something right.  Anybody ever eaten here?

    http://www.sanibelislandcow.com/index.php
    #17
    leethebard
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 16:25:14 (permalink)
    What an omelet!!! Didn't see New Jersey's famous "Old Barney" anong all those photos of great lighthouses.
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    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 18:01:02 (permalink)
    Looks great!
    #19
    mar52
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 18:34:55 (permalink)
    I must admit to doing "The Sannibel Stoop" many years ago when staying in Port Charlotte.  

    I've often wondered if the shells were placed on the beach by the Chamber of Commerce.

    That omelet looks amazing.  I can feel the texture of biting through those shrimp just by looking at your great picture.

    Loving everything Key Lime I'd have to have ordered something with the Hollandaise.  ust not Turkey, but that's me.

    That Key Lime pie looks sad in that carton.  I still would love a piece.
    #20
    aleximoon
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/09 19:09:35 (permalink)
    Everything looks great!  I live in Ft. Myers and have spent a lot of time out on Sanibel.  I've eated at the Lighthouse cafe on several occasions but have never been to the Sanibel Cafe.  I will have to check it out.
    #21
    harriet1954
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 05:25:30 (permalink)
    leethebard

    What an omelet!!! Didn't see New Jersey's famous "Old Barney" anong all those photos of great lighthouses.

     
    Here, Lee, I took this one just for you in January. 
     
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/harriet1954/3317400874/in/set-72157614495649761/
     
    BB, you don't know this, but Sanibel and basically the whole of Southwest Florida is just my idea of heaven on earth, and I want to get back there ASAP!!! I would LOVE to retire in that area. Can't WAIT to show this thread to Brian.
     
    Was supposed to go to Sanibel - had a condo reserved and everything - and sadly, Hurricane Charley dashed our plans like you wouldn't believe.
     
    One day...


    #22
    AaronM
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 08:00:01 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster...do you happen to know if Mona Lisa Pizza still around? We used to eat there while on vacation when I was a kid. One large could easily feed my whole family. I remember it being really thick…like deep dish. Really good.
    #23
    charlottesailor
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 08:38:43 (permalink)
    Island Cow is worth a visit.  The food is always good, large portions of non chain type food.  Have been there for breakfast and lunch both meals are great.  Would go there more often but the bridge toll is a little off putting if your just going on the Island for a meal.
    #24
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:18:46 (permalink)
    charlottesailor-
    Thanks for the reply about Island Cow.  It sure looked like an interesting place and you couldn't help but notice how crowded they were.  The menu itself did look a little too cutsie for me.  Yeah, the toll for the Sanibel Causeway is now $6.00, which is double what I remember.  I didn't mind doing it for one weekend, especially since there were other things on the island I wanted to do.  But if I lived near there, that sure would prevent me from driving over just for breakfast.
     
    AaronM-
    Sorry, but I'm not familiar with Mona Lisa Pizza.  Can you tell me more about it and maybe that will refresh my memory.  Is it in Fort Myers or Sanibel? 
     
    harriet1954-
    Glad to read of another Sanibel lover and I'm sorry that Hurrican Charley ruined that trip.  Hopefully, you will get to go again soon.
     
    This trip meant so much to me.  I have such fond memories of the house we used to live in and all the local sights.  But mostly, the area makes me think of my deceased dad.
     
    aleximoon-
    Always glad to hear from a local.  And I am looking forward to seeing what you think of some of the other places I dined.
     
    Nancypalooza-
    I thought the turkey would work well, because it would remind me somewhat of the Turkey Devonshires I love here in Pittsburgh.  But like I said, I should have gotten it with crabmeat.  I think I ate enough shrimp on this trip!
     
    seafarer john-
    Yeah, there are lots of bad tourist traps on Sanibel.  Sorry you didn't have a better experience.  I did visit Ding Darling and will have some photos later in the report.  What a great place!
     
    Sundancer-
    I thought about you on this trip when I was going through Ding Darling wildlife preserve.  There were some serious birdwatchers on duty.  Have you been there?
    #25
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:29:37 (permalink)
    Whaaaat?  There is no such thing as 'enough shrimp' if it's good, but that's just me.  I don't know if you've ever been to Blackstone's in Beaufort here but they do a really nice crabcake benedict.  I don't know why I never thought past pork or seafood but it makes sense.

    Also, I lost my dad in 98 as well, real close to this time of year.  I like the way he springs back up in my life from time to time.  'Course I kind of secretly think that the reason I hang around here sometimes is that I miss the sound of cranky old men.  Which may actually have some truth to it.
    #26
    AaronM
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:31:17 (permalink)
    It might be gone, but I found this address for it.

    Mona Lisa Pizzeria & Deli of Sanibel
    2440 Palm Ridge Road
    33957 Sanibel, Florida

    It was probablly the mid-late 1990's the last time I was there. I remeber you had to walk upstairs...to get to it. Not sure if it was on the second floor or if the building was on "stilts." They made really good deep dish pizza with loads of toppings/cheese.

    Sadly, I can't find much about it online. Perhaps it is gone.
    #27
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:35:13 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza  
    'Course I kind of secretly think that the reason I hang around here sometimes is that I miss the sound of cranky old men. 
    Oh, we have PLENTY of that!!!  In fact, I am well on the way myself!!!

    #28
    AaronM
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:36:11 (permalink)
    I found the building on Google Maps street view...but I can't tell if it is still there.
    #29
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Weekend in Fort Myers/Sanibel 2009/03/10 09:56:25 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    In fact, I am well on the way myself!!!

    Oh honey, me too.  I hear Dad coming out of my mouth all the time.  I just have to laugh.

    #30
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