A licensed urban winery, Time to Make Wine churns out batches of wine and winemakers. The facility presents 2,400 square feet of temperature-, humidity-, and light-controlled space, inside which visitors learn how to concoct personalized potables. When needing a sip of inspiration, visitors may also browse Time to Make Wine's own products, or stock up on accessories ranging from corks and wine kits to fermentation containers.
Fernanda's International Market, a treasure trove of rare ingredients and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches, bakes robust breads and fine pastries. Among a troop of hearty sandwiches, the Martorano ($8.99) stands out for its spicy temper and muscular blend of sopressata and cappacola meats. The Churchill ($8.99) loads its taste gun with Branston pickle relish and fights hunger pangs on ham-coated beaches, cheddar cheese fields, and hot mustard streets. Fernanda's also sells prepared food by the pound and hard-to-find international groceries like Thai lemon grass.
Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
Locally produced artwork lines the walls of this charming neighborhood café, and organic, fair-trade coffees fill the air with frothy fragrances. The life cycle of each health-conscious menu item is quite short, as each selection is made to order and swiftly served to the detachable jaws of voracious vertebrates. Accelerate over midday speed bumps with an asian chicken salad, tossed with mandarin-orange-ginger dressing ($7.95). A signature espresso drink, such as the white-berry mocha, tickles tired brains back to life with an uncommon combo of chocolate and fruit flavors ($3.10 for 16 oz.). At dinnertime, bacon-starved stomachs can be sated with a filet mignon in a demi-glace sauce, floating in clouds of fluffy garlic mashed potatoes ($19.95). Menu items and drink lists change regularly, so stop in to Cgrape and see what’s cooking, brewing, and pouring.
Chef Dan Virola of Twisted Vine Bistro combines proteins from the air, earth, and water with fire to create delectable dishes that are complemented by an extensive list of domestic and international wines. The spiced rack of lamb with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and a wild mushroom ragout over cranberry chutney tempts forks to twirl with delight ($35), as lost wild salmon find themselves in a hoisin brown-sugar glaze with wasabi-whipped potatoes and a pineapple-lemongrass butter froth ($25). Stuffed breasts of chicken distract diners with dollops of sage and chicken mousseline, glazed carrots, garlic whipped potatoes, mushroom jus, and repartee ($18). An asparagus-cream soup with crispy, ground chorizo floods palates by the spoonful ($5) and a watermelon salad featuring mixed greens with strawberry-maple vinaigrette, local watermelon, and goat cheese perks up taste buds and bored salad forks alike ($8). An extensive list of domestic and international wines ($6+/glass, $18+/bottle) offers more enjoyable sips than a candle full of melted wax.
Presented by the River District Alliance, the annual Fort Myers New Year's Eve Downtown Countdown helps tens of thousands of local revelers ring in the New Year in style. As midnight approaches, the main stage's ball drop counts down the waning seconds till the New Year and braces visitors for the keynote spectacle: a dazzling fireworks display over the New Caloosahatchee water basin. The bands and DJs play long after the display, entertaining crowds until as late as 2 a.m., at which point guests are encouraged to return home and set all their clocks one year forward.