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THE ULTIMATE DINING GUIDE FOR SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Our food editor challenges opinion-based websites like Yelp and serves up the definitive list of the best restaurants in Southwest Florida. BY DOROTHEA HUNTER SÖNNE We’ve all seen them: those ubiquitous TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence hanging in windows of local eateries. Likewise, we’ve had those little green or red cards slipped into our bill asking us to “share our opinions.” Restaurants even link to Yelp or put an OpenTable booking calendar on their homepages. But I Read more…

Chef Melissa Donahue of Sanibel

Chef Melissa Donahue opened Sweet Melissa’s Cafe on February 14, 2009, and has been delighting Sanibel diners ever since. Melissa and her husband, John, along with their children, Olivia (16) and Benjamin (13), relocated to Sanibel after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. She’s been an island resident and culinary treasure ever since. •Inspirations: That is ever changing. Right now I am into the fresh local stuff. I like to play around with odd flavor combinations. Sometimes Read more…

Sweet Melissa’s: Fresh, Local Food on Sanibel Island

This Fort Myers area restaurant celebrates five years in its current location By Gina Birch Fort Myers Local ExpertAUGUST 1, 2014 Sweet Melissa’s Café, one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the Fort Myers area, is celebrating five years of tantalizing taste buds at its current location on Sanibel Island’s famed Periwinkle Way. Other than a friendly hostess, an open kitchen greets guests as they enter the café; it’s a perfect vantage point to see the energetic Executive Chef Read more…

Saffron and Tomato Steamed Mussels Recipe

On a recent trip to Sanibel Island (just across from Ft. Meyers, Florida), Editor Anne Weaver and I enjoyed some of the most incredible mussels we’ve ever eaten at Sweet Melissa’s Cafe. Owner and Executive Chef Melissa Donahue trained at Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute and earned her stripes at some of the most respected restaurants in the United States including Union Cafe in New York City, and, in New Orleans, both Commander’s Palace and John Read more…

The Culinary Journey of Chef Melissa Donahue

A family that didn’t cook, a detour from law school. the September 11 crisis, Hurricane Katrina, and an untimely death: One might say that a series of curious events – perhaps even inescapable fate . . .  To continue reading, please visit: http://www.virtualonlinepubs.com/publication/index.php?m=12183&l=1&i=73640&p=14&ver=html5

Sanibel Lime-elo Sorbet

Sanibel Lime-elo Sorbet Around 2007, Sanibel resident Steve Maxwell was amazed to discover that two fruit trees in his backyard had somehow produced a naturally germinated hybrid between a key lime and a Mineola tangelo honeybell. Since the discovery of the plant — he christened the Lime-elo — Maxwell’s natural wonder is bearing its own fruits with the recent launch of several baked goods, which have incorporated the one-of-a-kind sweet, but tart, flavors. The Sanibel Read more…

Sweet Melissa’s worth the drive (and the bridge toll)

| June 10, 2009 karenFELDMAN cuisine@floridaweekly.com It wouldn’t occur to most of us mere mortals to combine watermelon, mozzarella, olives and spiced pecans then marry them with a delicate vinaigrette. Or to give tuna carpaccio an Asian flair with a dusting of Chinese five spice and a drizzle of miso dressing served over daikon and cucumber salad. Or to serve parsnip puree with brown sugar-glazed pork belly and spicy braised red cabbage. But such innovative dishes Read more…

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