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Friday, April 17, 2015

Old Captiva House

     Blind Pass Bridge is a magic portal that swiftly transports you from the well-to-do Sanibel Island to the obscenely affluent Captiva Island on Florida's west coast. Sadly, many of its palatial homes stand abandoned this late March weekend because the snowbirds that own them have flown North. What a waste!

      Old Captiva House is a staple of Captiva Island dining located on the grounds of the 'Tween Waters Inn. White linen, bamboo chairs and European-looking servers succeed in giving this restaurant the Continental air intended. They even have a dress code, although it's not heavily enforced. It definitely caters to the wealthy tourist population that roams these parts. On our way to our table, I eavesdropped on at least two separate conversations in which people were reminiscing about their latest trip to this or that section of Europe. The area is full of Grand Tourists of the 21st century.
     John ordered a beer, but now I think he's just trying to outdo himself at picking the craziest name because neither one of us can remember what it was called. I ordered a Tropical Dream to satisfy my craving for a sweet cocktail. It had mango, pineapple, coconut, orange, even peaches, I think, and yet with all those flavors working for it, I still wasn't drawn to the taste. I don't even remember what type of alcohol was in it. Rum. Yes, that's it, rum! Fruity and pleasant but forgettable.

      The much coveted bread basket arrived and it didn't disappoint. It contained three different varieties of bread, all satisfactory. John was happy with the French baguette which was meaty and moist, as we like it. The honey wheat was also a gracious companion to the olive oil on the table, but top billing must go to their Kalamata bread. The oil heightened the flavor of the olive chunks, and the dough indulgently soaked up the cream sauce in my dish, but even alone it was addictive with those big, bold pieces of olive that infused the bread with flavor.
     For entrees, John chose the veal porterhouse, and I the shrimp and scallops linguini. John's veal was generous and cooked well. However, it was a letdown for him because he only heard porterhouse when the server offered the specials, and he thought it would be beef. My shrimp and scallops were cooked well and along with the pasta, they were gently folded into a velvety garlic cream sauce.
    Any meal can turn out to be ordinary, but redemption can come in the form of a great dessert, and this one did. We were full to bursting this evening, but still wanted our sweet finale. It had to be something light and refreshing, however. We ordered the Florida Orange Pie and were quite pleased. Each bite had layers of flavor. At first, the orange is sweet and tangy, but the after-taste is sour and piquant, evocative of Key lime pie. A citrus feast for the palate.
     I wished for the first dinner of our Spring Break getaway to be casually elegant and this place fulfilled that wish. Too bad the entrees and drinks fell just short. From the 'glass half full' perspective, I choose to focus on the majestic sunset and the sumptuous dessert.
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