Welcome to Pelican Sound Newcomers Club! One of the things that we experienced during our rental month at Pelican Sound last March (2010) was that it took us a really long time to get into the swing of the social life at Pelican Sound. This was not due to the lack of things to do here, but more the fact that we had to feel our own way, mostly by word of mouth at the pool and during the Wednesday and Friday night Happy Hours. In fact it took a week to find out about Happy Hours. So Rebecca and I thought that we would start this page on our website as a way of helping out newcomers to Pelican Sound. A lot of our topics will involve the social fabric of Pelican Sound, but many others will discuss the surrounding communities, how to find the best stores, restaurants, and sites in the area, and for people new to Florida how to figure out how things are done here.
We welcome your suggestion of topics, and, of course comments along the way. We hope we can give you the benefit of our experiences as newcomers to Estero! Finally, our goal is to take what we have learned and translate this into an free, monthly get together for newcomers to our community. This will be a sort of practical orientation to help people quickly get up to speed on the many things to do and see at Pelican Sound and in Southwest Florida. We do want you to know that this website is not sponsored by Pelican Sound Golf and River Club or by Club Management. It is simply our idea to help out newcomers to our community.
Come along for the ride, and we guarantee that all of you will learn something about this wonderful area of Florida and our great Pelican Sound community!
Here is a restaurant review without any comment about the food. The Turtle Club Restaurant (9225 Gulf Shore Blvd. North, 239-592-6557) on Vanderbilt Beach in Naples is clearly a beautiful location right on the beach just a short distance north of the beach entrance and parking lot at the end of Vanderbilt Beach Road. No doubt that this is a prime location, and one that everyone would like to visit at sunset. Our problem was more about how we were treated by the restaurant staff, since we never did get to eat anything.
Having heard much about this location, we decided to go with some friends down to the restaurant for drinks and appetizers outside on the large cement deck overlooking the beach and the Gulf. We left our car with the valet, and strolled on into the restautant which is in back of a small hotel. There are many tables inside and a large bar, but the highlight were the beach tables outside with umbrellas. We never got that far.
The fellow running the desk when asked for a table simply said you needed to reserve at least a week and a half ahead. No sorry or let me see if there is a cancellation, just no way! “Don’t you know that it is Season?” he went on to say. “If you want a drink, you can buy one at the bar and take it to the side patio (which has basically no view!).” We chose to take the drinks down to the white plastic chairs on the side of the restaurant for a clear view of the beach. While we were there for about an hour with our drinks looking at the beach and the pristine water of the Gulf, we counted at least 7 open tables outside during that period and more inside of the restaurant. Since all we wanted was drinks and appetizers, this would have been an easy way to turn another table without interrupting any later reservations. However, this was not to be for us, and we left disappointed and likely not to return. With the state of the economy as it is, and the tough road that many restaurants have to follow, it is always amazing to see such snooty treatment of what would be good customers. Shame on you Turtle Club!
We have been looking for the perfect, inexpensive restaurant nearby Pelican Sound, and we finally found it. Nino’s Thick and Thin Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, located at the Ace Hardware Plaza on Highway 41 North (18911 So. Tamiami Trail, Unit 6 – Fort Myers, FL 33912 – 239.267.6800) easily fits the bill as the closest really good Italian food. We have now gone to this place twice and each time have been amazed at the high quality of the food in a modest setting with really good prices.
We are basically suckers for the veal. Either the veal piccata or veal parmagiano will do. However, looking at the tables around us, a whole lot of people were ordering the Zuppa di Pesce or some variation of this large bowl of seafood over linquine with a red sauce. One thing is for sure at Nino’s you are going to take food home from your dinner. The waitresses are accomplished at quickly boxing up and bagging what easily is another meal for even heavy eaters.
A few tips for those who want to go to Nino’s . First, they have a curious system of reserving a table. No reservations allowed. You go in and tell John (he is the older fellow with the ball cap) how many in your party and whether they are all there. Next you wait for a seat in the hallway and move down the chairs as people are seated. This is reminiscent of the Soup Place on Seinfeld, and John easily plays the role of the soup guy (“No soup for you!). While we were there he kept looking at me and saying “six,” and I kept repeating back “four” until he got it. In any event the line moves quickly as the service is razor fast.
The second tip is that they have a very limited selection of beer and wine. No need to worry about labels or vintage here, since it is really red or white served in a half or whole carafe. While this may disappoint some, the wine, especially the lambrusco, is very good, and the prices very reasonable.
Finally, the pizza, served either thick or thin crust, had a legion of devotees in the line while waiting. The takeout service seemed to be even busier than the restaurant, so add this to the list of very good places to try for a quick pizza fix or a nice and fast meal.
Here are a few more recommendations about local restaurants we have received from our Pelican Sound Members:
“. . . Also, a fun little restaurant for interesting breakfast, lunch, and dinner (dinner on weekends only) is The Survey Cafe in downtown Bonita Springs. It’s a taste of old Florida with an innovative menu. Find them online for menus, location, hours.” (http://thesurveycafe.com/) Ginny Sexton.
“We love Paradise Seafood (http://www.paradiseshrimponline.com/) on 41 for buying the best seafood if we are cooking in. There is usually a coupon for them in the Banner every week. Mike thinks that The Fish House on Bonita Beach Rd ( http://www.naplesnews.com/places/fish_house/) has the best grouper sandwiches down here. Polly and Mike Burson
“Old 41 Restaurant – great for breakfast and Sunday Brunch. Favorites are Pumpkin Pancakes and Western Omelets (http://www.naplesnews.com/places/old-41-restaurant/) Carol and Barry Hawtin, Edgewater
“We are not much for sitting on the beach, but enjoy taking the boat to Lovers Key and walk the beach to have lunch at Flippers (http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/feb/05/dining-water/). We walk the beach to the bridge, then cross the road and walk to Flippers. They have music at time and have an excellent lunch while being on the beach.” Nancy Walsh, Turnberry
“Charley’s Boat House in Fort Myers (near 6400 Estero Blvd.) (http://www.boathousegrill.net/). Have a hugh salad bar and do a combination of steak/seafood/and chicken. Have enjoyed everything!” Jan Pauli and Richard Schmickle, Island Sound Circle
“Doc’s Beach House – Bonita Beach Road (http://www.docsbeachhouse.com/docsrestaurant.html) – beach side dining experience.” Jan Pauli and Richard Schmickle
Here is a reminder from one of our Pelican Sound Members of an upcoming event:
“One thing Newcomers may not know is that the Bonita – Estero Christian Womens Connection meets at Pelican Sound the 2nd Wednesday of each month, November – May. It is open to ALL, and this is not a membership organization, but rather a time to gather with ladies from 11:30 – 1:00 for a program, speaker, and fabulous lunch prepared by our Chef Dan. We try to have invitation cards each month in the Ladies Lounge as you enter the door. February 9 is our fundraiser for our Stonecroft Ministries and fashion show from Evelyn & Arthur (at the Promenade); cost is $30 inclusive. Call Anne Reese at 239-992-6372 for reservations and details.”
The number one question that we receive from Florida newcomers is how to obtain residency in Florida to take advantage of the lack of income tax here. What follows is a quick review of the steps that we took to achieve this goal. Everybody has slightly different circumstances (this procedure may not work the same way for everyone, and it is only a summary of what worked for us). A great source of information about this process and other issues for newcomers to Southwest Florida can be found on the Lee County Website under the topic “New Residents.” Continue reading The Five Steps to Florida Residency
We have now visited Pagelli’s Italiano Restaurnant at Coconut Point in Estero several times both last Season and more recently. We think that this is really a perfect place to go on occasion to have a good meal outside watching the sunset over the lakes at Coconut Point or listening to the variety of entertainers that are brought in by both Pagelli’s and Hemingways which is next door.
About the menu, we have a few favorites, but in general you are either a fan of this variety of Southern Italian food or not. We think that the Eggplant Parmagiano as either an appetizer or entree is first rate. The menu has many Italian favorites, along with grill offerings, gourmet pizza, and Mama’s pastas. All of these are truly standards of this genre. Like other places, I like the veal or chicken parmagiano and the veal marsala. Rebecca had the Pork Chop alla Griglia which she liked very much. In general, there are few surprises with the menu, and the food is good but not great. The prices are on the high end for this type of menu, but after all this is Coconut Point!
Again, in general, we like this place for its atmosphere and the entertainment. In season, you will need reservations well in advance, especially when they have a singer present. Usually there are two seatings for these nights, I believe at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. One night we were seated for the early show, and the service was a bit slow. We were rushed out to accomodate the later reservations, before we could have dessert. We were given gift cards for a later time for dessert, but somehow this didn’t seem like a real deal. They tried hard to make us feel better, but the long and short of it was we were told we had to leave the table. Somehow this didn’t work for us.
Why don’t you give Pagelli’s a try and let us know how your experience went. That way we will have a broader range of comments about this restaurant.
We were new to Carraba’s, having never been to one until we got to Southwest Florida, but we are now really hooked on this very affordable chain (started in Houston by two popular restauranteurs, they are now being established by Outback Steakhouse throughout the US and have over 200 locations). We have visited the Bonita Springs location (27220 Bay Landing Drive on the North Side of Route 41 opposite Bonita Bay) and the newer location in the Gulf Coast Town Center off Alico in Estero). There are also two in Naples, farther down on 41, and one on the South side of 41 in Fort Myers).
All of these restaurants are usually full of people any given night, especially on the weekends. They do not take reservations as such, but you can call ahead and get your name on the list. Waiting times can be around 45 minutes to 1 hour in Season. The reason is that the food is really good and reasonably priced, the service fast (almost too fast for me) and the atmosphere is really pleasant. I usually ask them not to fire the entrees until we have devoured the apps or salad course. This restaurant is really a treat if you like Southern Italian cuisine and meats done to perfection. We have found that the best time for us to go to Carabba’s is early enough to get bar seats right in front of the open kitchen (usually arriving a bit before 6:00 p.m.). These are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and you have to be prepared to be a close-in part of the action of the kitchen while you eat. We think that this is great entertainment. Having been in the restaurant business for over 10 years, we can attest to the fact that these guys and gals in the kitchen really know how to get the food out, and the expiditers who work on the restaurant side calling out orders and putting the trays together are first rate.
Having a bar stool in front of the kitchen (depending on which restaurant you visit) seems to entitle you to partake of a free sample of food, usually a free appetizer, or sometimes a dessert. Some of our favorite entrees include the Veal Marsala, Lobster Ravioli, and the Linguine Pescatore. If you want to end your meal with a sweet (“dolce” in Italian), try out the Sogno Di Cioccolata “Chocolate Dream,”a rich fudge brownie brushed with Kahlua, with chocolate mousse, fresh whipped cream and homemade chocolate sauce. Too decadent to imagine!
Overall, we recommend these restaurants highly. I know that some of you will say it isn’t a real Italian Restaurant in the true sense of it all, and is just a chain, but give it a try and you will definitely be surprised with the quality of the food and the fun atmosphere.
We went with friends Paul and Sandy last night to the Cantina Laredo, 5200 Pine Way, Fort Myers (in the Bell Tower Shops off 41). They bill themselves as a Gourmet Mexican Restaurant. I guess this means that the prices are higher than expected, and this is true, but the food and service were quite good for this type of a chain restaurant. First of all, you can’t really go wrong after a few Margaritas and Cervesas!
The chips and salsa were really good with two versions of the latter; red and hot and spicy green. Rebecca had an appetizer platter called Botanes for her entree, which consisted of a variety of the other appetizers. I feasted on combination plate of fajitas, and both the steak and chicked were really first rate. Paul and Sandy had a selection of enchiladas which looked really great.
Overall, we had a very good, but pricy Mexican meal, and if you are tired of the alternatives, the Cantina Laredo will surely be a great cure for a yen for Mexican. They do take reservations (239) 415-4424, and you can usually find a coupon in the Daily News.
The next meeting of the Pelican Sound Newcomers Club is scheduled for Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at the Golf Club from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. We plan to share some more information about our Pelican Sound Community and then have a social gathering so that all of our new members and renters can get to know each other. We have also invited the full community to come to meet all our our newcomers. We hope that this meeting will be both informative and a pleasant diversion for all of you. If you are new to our Community or have been here a while longer, please do not hesitate to join us.
The Pelican Sound Newcomers Club is all about helping out Newcomers to our Community. A lot of the topics on this website will involve the social fabric of Pelican Sound, but many others will discuss the surrounding communities, how to find the best deals, stores, restaurants and entertainment in the area, and, for people new to Florida, how things work here.
We welcome your suggestion of topics, and, of course, your comments along the way. We hope that we can give you the benefits of our experiences as Newcomers to Pelican Sound and Estero. Finally, our immediate goal is to take what we have learned and translate this into a monthly get together of Newcomers and old hands as well. This will be a social gathering to make new friendships and a sort of practical orientation to help people quickly get up to speed on the many things to do and see at Pelican Sound and in Southwest Florida. See you all on February 3rd!
The Pelican Sound Newcomers Club is all about supporting newcomers to the community whether they are owners or renters. Here is something that I believe most members of the Pelican Sound Community do not realize. The statistics show that about 50% of new owners at Pelican Sound were current or former renters of units here. In addition, as newcomers in the community learn more about the various kinds of units here, they often upgrade to larger units or single family houses. This is clearly borne out by the demographics of those who visit units on the market each weekend during the many open houses of units for sale in our community. So why is this such an important statistic? Continue reading Why Pelican Sound Newcomers are so Important!