Hello Florida. San Diego hound here. Will be attending a conference/retreat on Sanibel Island this Wednesday - Sunday. Some of the meals are included in conference package, but not all. There is planned free time that I suspect some of us will use to explore the island a little more. I will have a car and I'm not afraid to use it. Looking for bakery/breakfast recs and mid-price range casual, cafe-style options for late afternoon or early evening. Oh, and one more thing, if there are any good happy hour spots, please let me know. TIA, appreciate the assistance.
Well it seems I actually needed dinner recommendations, not breakfast. But, ni modo. I'm back from my trip to Sanibel Island, here's where we ended up.
Stopped at Jerry's Market for breakfast and snack supplies. Liked their salad bar, got some good cold cuts, but I thought their produce was a little on the pricey side and had seen better days.
For dinner one night about 15 of us ended up at The Timbers. The Manhattan was good, the food a little on the underwhelming side. Food at the conference - held at the Sundial Resort - had been a steady diet of fish, fish, and, um, more fish. So by the time we hit the Timbers I was ready for something other than fish. I had the petite filet mignon, medium rare, and it was good. At my end of the table the oysters on the half shell were well received and eagerly consumed by one individual. The mussels, however, were something of a problem. The broth they came in was nice and flavorful, and there were a heap o' mussels in the wide soup plate, but about 10 of them had failed to open, which was a problem. The kitchen did eventually take care of it, but I think they should have caught the problem before the bowl came to the table. The other 2 people at my end of the table were very happy with their shrimp scampi. One thing I did like was that a baked sweet potato was offered as one of the starch choices, this is not something we see in CA very often.
A couple of nights later 3 of us ended up at the Lazy Flamingo. We had intended to order the grouper but all 3 of used ended up ordering cheeseburgers. I ordered mine medium rare, but it arrived cooked all the way through, but that didn't really matter. This was a seriously good burger no matter what degree of doneness the meat was. It's been a long time since I've had a really tasty burger out and this one really hit the spot. The fries were okay, nice to nibble on. I also enjoyed a Blue Moon beer with my burger. I'd not tried this beer before and I really like the nice citrus undertones to it and the orange slice that came with it. We split some conch fritters which were good, though I thought they were an awful lot like hush puppies...but what do I know, we don't get conch on the West Coast.
The last night after the conference closed about 40 of us descended on La Dolce Vita for a final dinner. We did warn the restaurant we were coming, so they were prepared. Mixed bag here, I had to send my first Manhattan back because they had used sweet vermouth when I had specified a dry Manhattan. The replacement cocktail while better still didn't taste like a Manhattan. The soup of the day was cream of spinach, which I elected to try. I really liked the silky smooth texture and pleasant spinach flavor, but it was somewhat salty. The escargot were wonderful. Perfectly tender and served in an enticing garlic butter that no vampire could resist. The residual garlic butter made a great dip for the bread on the table. The carpaccio starter also got very high marks from the woman that ordered it. I had the wild boar entree. The meat was wonderful, tender and rich without being overpowering. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for demi-glaze sauce that was served with it and suffered from a too heavy hand with the honey pot. The fish dishes, especially the sea bass, got high marks from those that ordered it, as did most of the pasta dishes.
One of the things that impressed me at all 3 places was the level of service. I'm used to beachside service, and know that it can often times be a little too relaxed. Service was casual while still maintaining a good degree of efficiency and professionalism. And everyone was friendly, always a good thing in the service industry.
Thanks for all the suggestions, even though I didn't really get to use many of them. I appreciated that you all took the time to give me some ideas.
I second the Lighthouse Cafe for breakfast. Another option you may want to consider is Bailey's General Store, especially for bakery items. For happy hour I recommend both Doc Ford's and the Lazy Flamingo.
Diva: For a casual breakfast try the Lighthouse Cafe. After you cross the causeway and reach the four way stop at Periwinkle - take a left - stay on that road and wind around towards the lighhouse at the end of the island - Lighthouse Cafe will be on your left just before you reach the lighthouse. Another casual place is the Island Cow on Periwinkle or the most casual would be the restaurant at Jerry's supermarket - also on Periwinkle. Good luck!