Naples Potpourri by Bill Barnett
For those of you that follow my articles in Life in Naples you know my subject matter is probably as varied as can be. Depending on what’s happening in Naples and if I think you might be interested in it then I’ll write about it. Ever since I started writing articles my major worry was that I would write something that my readers would find boring. I know that’s unrealistic but that’s just the way it is.
There are so many new restaurants opening in Naples that it’s physically impossible to keep up with them. My wife Chris and I love trying them out and many years ago when I was Naples first restaurant critic known as Jacques Gourmand it sure was a lot different. Now I’m talking about the late eighties and I would review one restaurant a week and was able to keep up with no problem. Today would be a major problem because there is no way a food critic could do a top rate review with the many restaurants we have. I will absolutely say that today’s Naples restaurants have to be at the absolute top of their game, or they will become history in a hurry. I am not being critical with my next remark but unless I’m wrong, we don’t have a top shelf Chinese Restaurant in Naples. Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say there were no good Chinese restaurants in Naples, because there are. I said top shelf which to me means cooking fresh original food in their kitchen (including fresh Peking Duck) and having a nice atmosphere to sit in. The last one we had was Charlie Chiang’s in North Naples.
If you were to ask me after living in the City of Naples for 49 years to name one restaurant that is no longer here that I would want back, it would be St. George and the Dragon. It was here when
we moved here, and it was fine dining before its time in Naples. It was dark and comfortable inside with a nautical theme. They specialized in Prime Rib cut off the bone and if you had a huge
appetite you could order the King Arthur cut with the bone. I don’t think I ever saw anyone finish one of those cuts. Their two other specials were their fresh cut battered onion rings and their almond fried shrimp. If it were here today it would still be a top place to go!
Before I finish this article, I will share with you that this past holiday season was a sad one for us. Many of you knew that I wrote about our rescue Bulldog Zsa-Zsa many times in past years along
with our two rescue cats. We got her when she was barely one year old. She was now twelve years old which is old for a Bulldog and although she had slowed down a lot and had lost her sight in one eye she still loved to eat, and never missed a meal! She definitely ruled our lives and she knew it. Although I loved every dog I ever had and there were a lot of them throughout my life I never loved a dog as much as I loved her. She had a stroke on December 10th, and after rushing her to the veterinarian it was clear that her quality of life was gone, and we had to say goodbye to her. Her passing has left a huge void in our lives and if you’re a pet lover you know what I mean. It seems that every day another memory pops up. A dear friend said to me “Bill, you should be happy because you gave her a wonderful life.” My response was “yes, but she gave us equal ones as well”. I always like the saying that the first greeting you get when you go to heaven is from every pet that you ever had.
It’s hard for me to think that we are in February and the Season is in major gear although it has been since before Christmas. Although whenever I hear someone complaining about the miserable traffic and the long lines at the supermarket and their favorite restaurant was full and they couldn’t get in I just smile and say I know what you mean. That’s definitely not what I wanted to say, but you can figure it out what I would have said!
Enjoy the gorgeous weather and the rest of Season!
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