She is a baker. She is an artist. She is the former owner of The Bubble Room restaurant in the heart of Captiva Island. Now, she is an author.
Katie Gardenia recently released "A Bubble Moment," combination of a cookbook and coffee table book sure to delight islanders and island visitors. For years, Gardenia owned the whimsical Bubble Room famous for serving the biggest slices of homemade cake, with wedges that looked as if they were designed for an art gallery. In her book, she shares all her recipes, including red velvet cake, bubble bread, and orange crunch cake. But, she emphasizes, it's more than a cookbook.
"It's a un-cook book," said Gardenia. "It is a treasure hunt with little anecdotes and really a preservation of history."
Katie Gardenia’s new book “A Bubble Moment” is a collection of fond memories, short and tall stories and secret recipes. Each page is “hand stamped” in chalk by Gardenia, who also detailed each envelope by hand.
The four-color, hardcover, 117-page book chronicles the history of the Bubble Room building, the people who came in and out of its door, the people who helped create it, long and tall stories, local color, her original recipes, old photos, and page after page of handmade collages. As the reader travels through the story, they will come upon handmade paper pages that have "secret envelopes" that were artfully hand stamped, chalk colored, that are waiting to unveil more information.
"It is three years of love and labor," Gardenia said about her unique book.
Her longtime friend and owner of McCarthy's Marina next door to the Bubble Room, Paul McCarthy, thinks this book truly represents Gardenia. "She is a breath of fresh air, creative and fun," he said. "To have this book is to have a treasure."
Sunset and Cocktail Cruise with Katie Gardenia
Hosted by Captiva Cruises
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22
Next door to the Bubble Room
Cost: $35 per person
To make reservations:
Call Captiva Cruises at 472-5300
While Gardenia admits she is not a writer, she felt "A Bubble Moment" had to happen. It was a way for her to hopefully answer frequently asked questions. Or to answer questions not asked, McCarthy noted.
"I feel very blessed to have done this book," Gardenia said.
She will be signing copies of "A Bubble Moment" on a sunset and cocktail cruise from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22 hosted by Captiva Cruises. While aboard the Lady Chadwick, Gardenia will share some of her fondest memories, stories and experiences while running the world-famous Bubble Room. Red velvet cupcakes prepared by Gardenia and a complimentary glass of champagne are included in the $35 per person cost.
As a self-taught artist, Gardenia really brings the world of dreams and fantasy to life with her unique doll sculptures. To fashion these fanciful figures, she uses all natural materials. Gardenia began making them after selling The Bubble Room, which she opened in 1979 and ran until 1989. Well-known for her baking, this Texas native learned to bake from her grandmother, and her legendary cakes have been the centerpieces of many private parties and public events throughout Southwest Florida.