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CROW’s Taste of the Island attracts a nice crowd

By Staff | Nov 26, 2014

Sandbar general manager Brian Silveira, holds the CROW Taste of the Taste trophy, after winning one of the best food item during the Taste of the Island event Sunday, Nov. 16, at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club on Sanibel Island. BRIAN WIERIMA

A total of 19 Sanibel-Captiva Island restaurants packed The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club’s first tee and driving range area for the 2014 CROW’s Taste of the Islands, which came under perfect, sunny skies Sunday, Nov. 16.

The event was originally scheduled for the previous Sunday, but rainy weather conditions moved it to Nov. 16, instead. Good thing, too, because it was a gorgeous day to be out enjoying some good food.

Restaurant crews were busy underneath tents covering their booths, as winding lines occupied the green grass of the golf course.

There were plenty of flavors being past out by the 21 restaurants, including savory shrimp, tender steak kabobs, smoky baby back ribs, a variety of tasty salads and an abundance of some of the best tastes on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

CROW bucks were sold like crabcakes, as people took in the sun and shade, enjoying food from many of the island food places. There was also plenty of refreshments available from soda products to wine to an assortment of full bar choices.

The Sandbar, which opened its doors two years ago this coming Jan. 9, won one of the Eagle Award trophies in the Taste of the Taste category.

“This was our first year in the Taste of the Islands, and it starts with better quality food,” said Sandbar general manager Brian Silveira. “We don’t cut corners.”

CROW’s Executive Director Linda Estep said the turnout was again a fantastic one, with plenty of fun had by the participants and the restaurants who were serving the food.

“The Taste of the Islands has a long 33-year history and it’s an event which pulls the island community together,” Estep said. “Everyone comes together for a good cause and a good time.”

CROW increased their advertising of the event to attract more off-island attendees, which it seemed it worked with a good turnout.

But the featured attraction was the food.

“The restaurants take it very seriously,” Estep said. “They put their best foot forward, because they want to make a good first impressions on those first timers who come to the event.”

There was also plenty of hardware handed out for the restaurants’ hard efforts, which were given out by the judges at the end of the five-hour event.

The award winners included:

The Taste of the Taste The Sand Bar

People’s Choice Traders (keeping their title from last year)

Sustainable Seafood Thistle Lodge: Macadamia Encrusted Mahi Mahi with Coconut Beurre Blanc

Best Appetizer Thistle Lodge: Tuna Tatake Purse

Best Appetizer Honorable Mention Timbers: Shrimp Jalapeno Spring Roll

Best Dessert Rosie’s Caf and Grill: Cupcake Sundae

Best Meat Blue Coyote: “Kurobuta” Pork with Sweet Blackberry Gastrique

Best Meat Honorable Mention The Jacaranda: Cochinita Pibil

Best Seafood The Sand Bar Crab Cake

Best Seafood Honorable Mention Starfish Grille Crunchy Tuna Roll

Best Vegetarian Timbers: Greek Salad and Summer Roll