Samples of the island's top cuisine were available at the 2013 Taste of the Island.
Not only did attendees have an opportunity to sample menu items from 23 island restaurants, but they strolled along the greens at The Dunes Golf and Tennis club listening to live music from Rocker and Late Night Brass.
The event had been moved from The Sanibel Community House to The Dunes this year to accommodate the larger crowds, and many of the attendees said they liked the open space.
Traders Cafe & Store won the People's Choice Award, Best Appetizer for the jumbo scallop/coconut curry sauce, and Best Seafood for the shrimp and crab cocktail with avocado salsa. Mckenzie Cassidy.
A panel of judges blindly tasted all of the dishes and named winners in different categories: Taste of the Taste, Best Appetizer, Best Vegetarian, Best Meat, Best Take Out, Best Seafood, and Best Dessert. The general public was also able to cast their vote for the People's Choice Award.
The Taste of the Taste Award was presented to Rosie's Cafe & Grill and the People's Choice Award went to Traders Cafe & Store.
"The Taste of the Taste is actually a traveling trophy that goes around, it's the eagle, so when you visit them you will notice the eagle," said Melissa Congress, a board member for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. "They are one of the best restaurants on the island."
2013 Top Honors:
- Taste of the Taste: Rosie's Cafe & Grill
- People's Choice Award: Trader's Cafe & Store
- Best Appetizer: Trader's Cafe & Store (jumbo scallop/coconut curry sauce)
- Best Vegetarian: Island Cow (black beans and rice)
- Best Meat: Thistle Lodge (Asian braided short rib)
- Best Take Out: Rosie's Cafe & Grill (Philly steak sandwich)
- Best Seafood: Traders Cafe & Store (Shrimp and crab cocktail with avocado salsa)
- Best Dessert: Rosie's Cafe & Grill (Cake sundae with ice cream)
CROW, a non-profit island organization that helps injured or orphaned wildlife, is the main beneficiary of the annual event.
"The event really isn't possible without all of the restaurant tourists that are here, so the people who are still here should thank them when they go and eat in their restaurants. CROW does not benefit without these restaurants for their time and commitment to all of the island and everyone in Southwest Florida," said Congress.
This year's judges included Stephanie Davis, columnist for Florida Weekly; Chef Christen Vivet, Blue Windows French Bistro; Chef Jeff Acol, owner of A Table Apart Restaurant; Chef Greg Van Horn, The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater; and Chef Scott Kazalla, Fresh Catch Bistro and Junkanoo's on the Beach.
Bank of the Islands/Edison National Bank was the 2013 Taste of the Islands Presenting Sponsor.
Participating restaurants included Bailey's General Store Catering, Blue Giraffe, Cip's Place Island Restaurant, Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille, East End Deli/Sanibel Oasis Cafe, Fresh Taqueria, George and Wendy's Sanibel Seafood Grille, Gramma Dot's Seaside Saloon, Island BBQ, Lazy Flamingo, Matzaluna Italian Restaurant, Rosie's Cafe & Grill, Sanibel Deli and Coffee Factory, Sanibel Fish House, Starfish Grille, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, Sunshine Seafood Cafe and Wine Bar, The Island Cow, The Jacaranda, The Sangria Grill, The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market, Thistle Lodge Restaurant, and Traders Cafe & Store.