A tasty festival of sorts will enjoy its inaugural splash throughout Lee County beginning this weekend.
The first annual Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel Restaurant Week involving participating restaurants and unique culinary experiences will kick off this Friday (Oct. 5) and run through Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (www.fortmyers-sanibel.com) is proud to sponsor this "delicious and sustainable 10-day culinary celebration" featuring local chefs and a wide variety of area restaurants. It will celebrate the "sustainable dining offerings and delicious local product" from local farmers, fishermen and restaurateurs.
Six establishments from the Fort Myers Beach area will be among the participating restaurants from Lee County. Each will offer three-course Prix Fixe menus for lunch and dinner.
Diners are encouraged to visit their favorite of the participating Beach eateries, including Parrot Key Caribbean Key Grill, Matanza's Inn Restaurant, The Shoals Restaurant, Chloe's Seafood and Steaks at DiamondHead, Flippers on the Bay at Lovers Key Resort and Bayfront Bistro.
The schedule of events, created by Lee VCB and Chef Kristina San Filippo, graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will also include one-of-a-kind culinary experiences such as wine tastings, classes and cooking demonstrations.
"We are trying to get this season off to a really strong start," said San Filippo. "Obviously, getting the locals to go out to area restaurants on a regular basis is absolutely vital."
Chef Kristina, who caters and works with Rabbit Run Farms in Fort Myers, is encouraging folks to try restaurants that have fresh product from local farms or local seafood to "create a little loyalty" when they dine.
"Shoals is doing one of our culinary experiences, which is our featured element to restaurant week," said San Filippo. "We chose them to be one of eight restaurants for those experiences because they have their own farm in Alva. They bring in a lot of their own produce from that family-owned farm."
On Saturday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 13, participants will be able to shop at Sandy Butler (The Shoals market) to choose ingredients for their lunch, then help prepare their lunch with the chef guiding them.
"How often does an executive chef invite you to make lunch with them? That's going to be a pretty cool event," she said.
For more information and a list of the week's culinary experiences, please visit www.tastedeliciouslee.com. Tickets must be purchased in advanced.