Great new Tex-Mex in Naples: Blue Agave

Strange Name. Great food.  Shimmy on over to Blue Agave in East Naples for traditional Mexican fare and the ever popular Tex-Mex for an evening of great food and tequila baby!  So, once I discovered what exactly Blue Agave is, it all made perfect sense to name this Tequila Bar and Grill this unforgettable name, which is a Mexican plant that is used as the base for tequila.  Every now and then, you come across a restaurant that hits it “out-of-the-ballpark” and I think this is going to be one of those that will be hanging around for a while.  The interior is a well planned open space with half walls in the front areas for privacy, warm lighting with wood ceilings in the main area, sparkling dark ceiling tile in the front of the urban kitchen and dining area with picture windows and just an overall warm atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re stepping into a friend’s home.  The wait staff is very knowledgeable and friendly, without being pushy, and can navigate you through the well selected menu.  I can’t even tell you how many selections of tequila they have but if you’re a fan this is one place you’ve got to put on your list.  Everything from an appetizer of salmon & shrimp ceviche marinated in fresh lime juice and cilantro, to daily made guacamole, to mini tostada loca, there’s something for everyone to start your dining experience, not to mention the low-heat salsa & warm chips served upon seating.  My mother-in-law ordered the chicken chimichanga, and yes I did sample it and it was truly a gift from the heavens.  I rarely eat anything that is deep fried but felt I needed to sample it if I was going to talk about it.  My husband had the traditional beef tacos and I was served the Tex-Mex version of red-sauced chicken enchiladas.  The serving size of the entrée on all three, plus those that were eating around us, were all very ample and generous sized with the refried beans and rice just the perfectly sized duo meant to accompany, not overpower.  Next time, I think I’ll try their signature Blue Agave Salad with cactus, pinto beans and avocado tossed with blue cheese in a balsamic vinegar dressing.  This menu challenges you to actually pick just one entrée.  I’d suggest dining with friends that you don’t mind sharing with and enjoy their great selections because with a menu like this, you’ll need to go back weekly to sample everything.  All in all, it was a great dining experience and I just hope the owners, Judy Barney and Arturo Perez will stick around for a long time.  They seem to have the recipe for success at the Marco Island fav, Arturo’s Italian Restaurant, which has been around for 15 years.  Let’s hope word spreads on Blue Agave that’s only been open since mid-December.  I heard about it from a friend, who heard about it from a friend, who heard about it from a friend.  And so the story goes.  When you need a break from dining, let’s look at some homes for sale. For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Bleu Provence, Naples, Florida

Bleu Provence, Naples, Florida © Rick BethemWhen you’re in Naples searching for real estate and you crave authentic French cuisine, in an atmosphere that will make you want to come back time after time, do drop in to Bleu Provence, but in season (December – May) you’ve got to make reservations.  My 20 year old niece, Audrey, just came back from a trip to France and England a few days ago and after talking about her experiences in Paris, and reminiscing about the wonderful food, it prompted me to talk a little bit about a tasty French morsel we have here in Naples.   Saturday night, Rick and I dined at Bleu Provence at Crayton Cove at the end of 8th St. S.   The owners, Jacques and Lysielle Cariot, retired here from Provence, France in the late a 1990’s and opened this sweet, country French dining experience far enough away from the touristy area of 5th Ave S. and 3rd St.  Anyone with a taste for well prepared, authentic French cuisine know all too well how easy it could be to copy recipes from the masters, but Lysielle, the master chef that she is, is as creative in her selections as one would expect.  I started with the cheese plate that consisted of a wedge of a triple crème cheese, a roguefort and one more that the name escapes me at this point, dotted with the teeniest, tiniest figs I have ever seen and were just the perfect size, along with wild blueberries and walnuts with warm french bread and a glass of Domaine de Reuilly Sauvignon Blanc “Pierres Plates” 2009.  Followed by the seared Ahi Tuna “au Poivre” with Sauce Vierge and an apricot risotta that literally danced around my tongue like a well rehearsed minuet waltz!  Yikes!  And I mean that in only the best way.  I am a huge fan of risotto but usually I go for the wild mushroom blend.  Never would I have imagined the most delicate of taste of the apricot in itsy-bitsy sizes blended so delicately with the nutty cheese which just totally complimented the tuna.  If I ate it 5 times a week I still wouldn’t tire of it.  I just can’t remember when, in recent history, had I enjoyed ahi tuna more than I did at Bleu Provence.  Finishing it with the warm chocolate cake served with a mocha ice cream finished the evening on a truly decadent note.  So, enough about me.  Rick started with the traditional french onion soup and as such was exactly as expected, followed by the appetizer crab cake, which he seeks out at almost every restaurant.  He said the crab was good but could have easily done without the melody of chopped veggies on top.  Following that his entrée was the Filet-Frites.  A generous 8 oz Prime Filet Mignon Served with French Fries.  The man always enjoys ketchup on his fries but he said he felt oddly strange about ordering it and it wasn’t offered to him so he muddled through it.  The steak itself was tasty and a bit rarer than what he described to the server, however, he didn’t send it back and ended up leaving the cooler interior on the plate.  With every chef having their own idea about what medium to medium-well is, it always surprises me when it’s cut into and the blood still oozes out.  Maybe because I don’t eat red meat it’s more annoying to me than it is to him.  He enjoyed it for what it was and that he said, was a tasty cut of beef.  He ended his dinner with the black and white chocolate mousse, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  Rick and I were married on the beach in Naples on New Year’s in 1984 & had our reception at the French restaurant that is now occupied by Joe’s Crab Shack on 5th Ave on the Gordon River.  For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was absolutely gorgeous inside and provided the perfect background for photographs.  We both still talk about the Grand Marnier mousse!  Rick proposed to me at the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. and after the shock of it wore off, we then traveled to what had become one of our favorite spots in Great Falls, Va:  L’Auberge Chez Francois, another fine country french restaurant.  They create a salmon mousse that would make a grown man cry.  Well, that ends my tour of one of our favorites here in Naples.  Please keep me in mind for information and questions regarding Naples real estate.  You can contact me at Ruth@RuthBethem.com or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.