Tampa Olive Oil Company vends gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and other culinary accessories designed to add depth and character to meals. Fruity or grassy olive oils from Greece, Italy, and Morocco sidle up to their flavored brethren, which are infused with aromas such as basil, truffles, or roasted peppers. Customers can use the oils to flavor hearty roasts and sautés or combine them with classic and flavored balsamic vinegars for a light, tangy salad dressing.
Other artisanal offerings, including spices, specialty oils, and scented sea salts, round out Tampa Olive Oil Company's selection of edibles. In addition, serving accessories such as oil sprayers, pour spouts, and dipping saucers help customers discontinue their usual practice of serving condiments through a fire hose.
Under the capable direction of Captain Gene Becker, the 75-foot Fort Myers Princess glides into the Gulf of Mexico on a variety of day and night cruises. Certified by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry up to 135 passengers, the boat offers dual styles of relaxation on its decks: the climate-controlled lower level, where guests can sip on the ship's signature drink, the "Princess Punch," and the open-air upper deck that can accommodate more casual events. Sightseeing cruises put passengers up-close with southwest Florida wildlife and other water inhabitants.
Executive chef and restaurateur AJ Black got his first job in the restaurant industry at age 6. That's when he began washing dishes at the restaurant his family ran in their small seaside town in Sicily. Black also joined his grandparents as they fished for the eatery's catch of the day, reeling in tuna, anchovies, and other fresh seafood.
These experiences sparked a passion for cooking that eventually led Chef Black to the Italian Culinary Institute. He opened his first restaurant at the tender age of 19 before heading to Le Cordon Bleu to study classical French cooking under Paul Bocuse.
From Beaches to Borders
Fresh, seasonal ingredients inspire daily specials that let loose Chef Black's creativity in the kitchen. For the regular menu, however, he draws on tried-and-true traditions from across Italy, from the sunny beaches of the south to the French-Italian border. A dish of whole, lightly fried sardines with a dusting of chili flakes takes its inspiration from the Sicilian seaside, and a hearty order of duck leg confit with freshly made gnocchi hails from the mountainous North.
Il Tesoro's faux-stucco walls and striped awnings capture the casual spirit of an Old World bistro. Oil paintings burst with images from bucolic countryside scenes to vases of blooming flowers. The simple wooden chairs surrounding each white linen-draped table exude a homespun charm, as do the solitary brass lamps that adorn the tables.